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Use Healthy Chia Seeds in Coconut Chia Pudding


Looking for one of the next big superfoods? Think chia.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Coconut Chia Pudding

That’s right. The stuff your parents used to grow on ceramic pets, heads and other sculptures has become today’s trendy superfood.

Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and are also considered a good source of calcium, manganese and phosphorus. People have begun adding them to water, smoothies and yogurt. They’re sprinkling the seeds on breakfast cereal, salads or energy bars and even just eating them by themselves.

Chia seeds can also be gelatinous, depending on how they”re used, which you’ll find if you do add them to water or in this recipe for Coconut Chia Pudding, which comes from Fernando Aciar, owner of New York’s FeelFood, an organic juice bar and food shop. He presented it during the recent Latin Flavors, American Kitchens symposium at the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus.

It doesn’t take much to make it, but the end result is like a coconut-laced rice pudding, only without sugar or starch.

So, let’s see: It’s a dessert that’s actually good for you. Even better, it tastes great. What else do you need to know?

Coconut Chia Pudding

1 quart coconut milk
1 cup coconut water
6 ounces chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1 generous ounce maple syrup
Zest of 1 oranges
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl. combine coconut milk, coconut water and chia seeds. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine salt, maple syrup, zest and cinnamon.

Add chia mixture to maple syrup mixture and combine well.

Makes 12 (4-ounce) portions.

From Fernando Aciar/Latin Flavors, American Kitchens

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This Year’s Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Moves into the Pearl’s Restaurants


The seventh annual Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Leadership Symposium is returning to the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus Oct. 1-3, and for the first time, the festival will have events that are open to the public.

Roberto Santibanez at Latin Flavors, American Kitchens.

Roberto Santibanez at Latin Flavors, American Kitchens.

With seven successful years of bringing the world’s best Latin cuisine specialists to the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens conference, Pearl and the San Antonio campus of The Culinary Institute of America are excited to present a unique opportunity to San Antonio’s diners. Experience a rare collaboration between our talented Pearl chefs and the most renown chefs from Mexico, Peru and Spain,” said Pearl Culinary Director Shelley Grieshaber. “The culinary magic created during our Latin takeover of Pearl on Oct. 2 and 3 will shine a light on some of the most creative culinary minds across several countries and continents. Don’t miss this opportunity to see what we cook up.”

On Thursday, Oct. 2, Nao will feature a special dinner with chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, one of Peru’s most prominent and influential chefs and member of the CIA’s Latin Cuisines Advisory Council. The five-course guest chef menu will feature Amazonian dishes, including camarones en textura de yuca and escolar in adobo with sweet potatoes. The wine reception begins at 6 p.m. and dinner starts at 6:45 p.m. The five-course dinner with wine pairings is $100 per person, plus tax with service charge, and reservations can be made by emailing info@naorestaurant.com.

On Friday, Oct. 3, renowned guest chefs attending the seminar will pair up with Pearl chefs for a Latin takeover featuring:

Jesse Perez, Arcade Midtown Kitchen:

Globally recognized chef Mark Miller joins Perez at Arcade Midtown Kitchen and will prepare some of his favorite dishes from his Red Sage and Coyote Café restaurants that will be offered as à la carte specials along with Arcade’s regular dinner menu. Dinner is available 5:30-10 p.m. and reservations can be made online at www.arcademk.com by calling 210-369-9664. As the à la carte items are limited, guests are encouraged to arrive early to ensure that they can experience the special menu.

Jeff White, Boiler House:

Chef Johnny Hernandez is opening Casa Hernan for one of the dinners.

Chef Johnny Hernandez is opening Casa Hernan for one of the dinners.

Boiler House executive chef White will team up with chef Roberto Santibañez for a three-course dinner including fluke tiradito for the appetizer and grilled adobo marinated skirt steak with smoky tomato salsa, refried beans, zucchini and corn with cream with warm tortillas for the main course. Santibañez, whose cookbooks have been consistently praised by The New York Times and Food & Wine, is the chef and owner of Fonda in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The three-course prix fixe dinner is $65 per person. Wine pairing is available for an additional fee, and reservations can be made through OpenTable or by calling 210-354-4644; be sure to request the Latin chef dinner at the time of making the reservation.

Tim Rattray, The Granary:

Together with Roberto Ruiz, owner and chef of the renowned PuntoMX in Spain, Rattray has created a four-course guest chef menu that will feature dishes such as red tuna tostadas and skirt steak barbacoa. The dinner, available from 6 to 10 p.m., is $50 per person with beverages and wine pairings offered for an additional fee. Reservations can be booked online at thegranarysa.com.

A host of Latin flavors and dishes await during the public dinners Oct. 2-3 at the Pearl.

A host of Latin flavors and dishes await during the public dinners Oct. 2-3 at the Pearl.

Johnny Hernandez, La Gloria/ Casa Hernan:

La Gloria’s Johnny Hernandez will host chef Miguel Angel Guerrero at his restaurant Casa Hernan, 411 E. Cavallos. Together, they have curated a four-course dinner that will take guests on a culinary adventure through Latin America. Menu items, showcasing the cuisine of Baja, include octopus tentacle wrapped in russet potato noodle with prosciutto and jalapeño aioli as well as double lamb chops in pomegranate sauce with grilled kale. Cocktails will begin at 7 p.m. with dinner to follow. The four-course dinner, with wines and cocktails, is $85 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 210-226-3670.

Andrew Weissman, Sandbar:

Named “Best New Chef” by Travel + Leisure in 2011, Diego Hernández-Baquedano and Weissman will offer dishes like lobster confit, served with heirloom bean sauce, salsa Mexicana, and tortillas as à la carte specials along with Sandbar’s regular menu that evening. Dinner hours are 5:30-10 p.m., and reservations can be made by calling 210-212-2221. As the à la carte items are limited, guests are encouraged to arrive early to ensure that they can experience the special menu.

For more information on Latin Flavors, American Kitchens, visit www.ciaprochef.com/lfak/. For more information on the guest chef dinners at Pearl, visit www.atpearl.com.

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Brazilian Pork Cracklins (Torresmo)


Pork belly strip is first trimmed, then soaked, smoked and finally fried, says chef Rodrigo Oliveira.

Applying time and expertise to that inexpensive cut of pork called pork belly gives the cook a reward that is not just crisped fat (cracklins) but meaty as well. This recipe was presented recently by Brazilian chef/restaurateur Rodrigo Oliveira at the 2010 Latin Flavors, American Kitchens symposium at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio.

Brazilian Pork Cracklins (Torresmo)

11 pounds pork belly, with meat
5 quarts and 2 cups water
1 1/4 cups coarse salt
5 tablespoons baking soda
Lard, for frying, as needed

Garnish:
Wedges of fresh lime

Cut the pork belly into 1-inch thick (or wide) strips. Combine the water, salt and baking soda and stir until dissolved.  Soak the pork belly in the water mixture for 12 hours or overnight.

Set a smoker to 149 degrees and smoke the pork belly for 6 hours. The pork belly should be firm to the touch and lightly browned when it is finished.

Cut the smoked pork belly into 2-inch long pieces; discard the ends and remove any excess fat.  To ensure even cooking, take care to portion carefully to avoid separating the sides of the pork belly.

Heat lard to 302 degrees and fry pork belly pieces for 8 minutes; drain on a wire rack. Increase the temperature of the lard to 374 degrees and fry the pork belly a second time for 3 minutes, until crispy. You can make a slit between the skin and the first layer of meat, too, to ensure the skin gets extra crisp.

Serve warm with lime wedges.

Makes about 40 portions. (Recipe can easily be reduced by half.)

From Rodrigo Oliveira, Mocotó, Rio de Janiero/Culinary Institute of America

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Caldo de Hongos (Clear Mushroom Soup)


Mushrooms of many varieties are part of the cuisine in many areas of Mexico. This soup, presented at the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Symposium at The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio is a classic, said presenter Iliana de la Vega. De la Vega is a Mexican/Latin Cuisines Specialist at the CIA.

A clear broth seasoned with fragrant pasilla chiles is a flavorful base for this classic Mexican mushroom soup.

“It’s a simple, clear soup, almost Japanese or Asian in style,” said de la Vega. One may use any fresh mushroom, or a variety of types of mushrooms. Here are some tips from De la Vega about this delicate but nourishing soup:

  • Don’t cook the soup too long or the ingredients get mushy. De la Vega likes to start the soup slowly and let it “sweat” awhile, to let the mushrooms release some of their moisture.
  • Use yellow onion in the recipe if you like, but in Mexico cooks use white onions.
  • In Mexican cooking, salt is added at the end, which means that one tends to use less. Many of the presenters at this 2010 symposium also used Mexican salt.

Caldo de Hongos

4 dried pasilla chiles
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds assorted mushrooms
1 white onion, cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
4 sprigs epazote
Salt, to taste

Slice chiles crosswise in 1/8-inch lengths; discard the seeds and reserve.

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil, saute the onion for 2 minutes, add the chiles (whole) and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one more minute.

Add mushrooms and mix well, reducing the heat to very low. Cover the pot with a lid and sweat the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until they change color. Add chicken broth and epazote sprigs. Bring to a boil, season with salt to taste, simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through; discard the epazote. Do not overcook the mushrooms. If soup is being served later, remove from heat when it begins to boil. Serve hot.

Makes 6 portions.

Presented by Iliana de la Vega/Culinary Institute of America

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