Experiencing Culture Through Culinary Arts

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The scents of Latin cooking filled the halls of the Senior Building this week, as Chef Julie Jacobs led students through a recipe for enchiladas in the Culinary Arts elective course. In preparation, the students have been making components like corn tortillas all week long. Earlier in the week, they whipped up a red sauce infused with ancho chilies, a green tomatillo salsa, and a traditional pico de gallo. The class is frequently enhanced by the students’ geographical diversity. For example, when the class made guacamole, a Mexican student’s family method served as their guide.

The students made two varieties of enchiladas: one with red chile sauce and shredded chicken, and a second, vegetarian version filled with beans, squash, and corn and topped with tomatillo salsa. The combination of beans, squash, and corn is known as “the three sisters” because the vegetables are both native to the Americas and often planted together because they aid each other’s growth.

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Cousins Marlene Haas and Johanna Ludvik-Haas joined the course because they love to cook at home in their native Austria. Marlene said some of her favorite things to cook are traditional dishes like schnitzel (a thin, breaded, and pan-fried veal cutlet), but she looks forward to recreating some of the dishes they prepare in class for her family when she returns home.

If you’d like to try your hand at making the students’ corn tortillas, try the recipe below:

Corn Tortillas
Yield: 12 6-inch tortillas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cups masa harina corn flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups hot water

Mix salt into the masa harina corn flour. Slowly pour the water into the dough to get a good consistency. The dough should be firm and springy when touched, not dry or sticky. Let rest for about an hour, covered with a damp towel.

Preheat a griddle or flat surface. Divide the dough into 2-inch balls. Press dough between two pieces of waxed paper, or flatten in a tortilla press, into 6-inch circles. Place flattened dough on a hot griddle or flat surface and cook until the top of the tortilla starts to look cooked, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and heat for another minute.

Recipe courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill.