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Mucho Gusto

Maya’s Guatemalan Tacos

This is the thirty-fourth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Odds are you’ve probably indulged in a classic taco from a Mexican restaurant. With a perfect balance of crunch, spice, salt, and a hint of gooey, melted cheese, tacos are an incredibly popular dish that many enjoy—how could you not? Tacos are iconic pockets of bold, authentic flavor that are undeniably loved by all. 

But, what about a rolled taco? One that is even crispier and crunchier, fried to golden perfection? I’m not talking about the taquitos in your freezer (although those are a guilty pleasure!), but rather my family’s favorite recipe—Guatemalan tacos. Yes, Guatemala has its own version of tacos, and they are actually quite different from the Mexican ones that you know and love. Simple but always satisfying, these tacos require just a few staple ingredients from Guatemalan culture. Tasty corn tortillas are filled with savory meat and rolled into a flavorful food vessel. The experience is comforting and familiar, yet captivating; each crunchy bite becomes more and more irresistible. It is no wonder that this favorite is both a great appetizer and a rich, satiating meal. 

Traditional Guatemalan cuisine is derived from the Mayans, with influence from the Spanish. The diverse gastronomy usually involves some of Guatemala’s most famous native crops: corn, chiles, beans, and avocados. In name, the dishes are similar to those of Mexico, but the resemblance stops there; the recipes are unique to each region and vary from town to town. 

Guatemalan tacos are typically eaten at the refacción time, which is a short break in the day for workers to enjoy a snack, or refaccionar. This meal in particular was practically my introduction to my Guatemalan heritage, as it is one of the first traditional plates I had and loved as a child. It was a way to connect me with my family’s home country from miles away in our own kitchen. So, though this dish may sound a little unfamiliar, I promise you it will still be a crowd-pleaser. 

Moreover, this recipe is dynamic and easy to adapt. I followed the traditional route, a recipe that is tried-and-true in my family, using beef and a spicy tomato salsa. Other variations can be made using different dipping sauces, such as guacamole and tomato or chile sauce, and different fillings can be used as well, such as chicken or potato. The possibilities are endless and delicious!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 20-25 corn tortillas
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup Spanish onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • About 1 cup Canola oil (approximately ½ cup per 10 tortillas)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Salsa Picante:

  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup Spanish onions, chopped finely
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ Chile Guajillo
  • ½ Chile de Árbol
  • ¼ cup of water

Instructions: 

Start by cooking the ground beef in a pan. In a separate pan, sauté the garlic, onions, green bell pepper, and tomatoes in butter until all the water is absorbed, forming a paste. Then, add this paste to the beef. Mix the ingredients all together and cook over medium heat until the meat is fully cooked. This step should take approximately 15 minutes. 

In another pan, begin heating the oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, warm up your tortillas over low heat, 2 at a time, with one on top of the other. Traditionally in Guatemalan culture, a comal is used, but a pan works as well. Flip the tortillas so that both sides are evenly cooked. Add 1-1 ½ heaping spoonfuls of the meat mixture to the edge of the tortilla. This is the key to the rolling process. Once you put the meat at this one edge, tightly roll the tortilla around the meat, going to the other end, like a wrap. It usually helps to use toothpicks to keep it tight. The folded side of the tortilla then goes into the hot oil to prevent unraveling and keep the roll intact. Fry each taco for about 4-5 minutes in medium heat. Be sure to evenly coat and fry every side of the tortilla by carefully rotating it during the frying process, making sure the roll is held together. It will become easier as the tortilla crisps up.

Traditionally, the tacos are served with steamed cabbage, tomato salsa, chile sauce, guacamole, onions, Guatemalan cheese, and chopped parsley. However, in my family, we garnish them with cilantro, fresh cheese, and most importantly, the salsa picante. Salsa picante is made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, green pepper, and two kinds of chile peppers: Chile Guajillo and Chile de Árbol. Simmer the ingredients over medium heat for 30 minutes until very little water remains. After cooling, blend everything to a smooth, liquid consistency, thus forming the classic red sauce. 

This recipe makes about 20-25 rolled Guatemalan tacos. Enjoy!

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Mucho Gusto

Allison’s Pesto Bruschetta

This is the thirty-second installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

In my big, Italian family, we crave our pesto, olive oil, and bread. Pronounced broo-skeh-tah, this Italian appetizer is extremely popular around the world. Bruschetta is actually just a name for toasted bread, but the classic version usually includes tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. 

There is no clear origin, but bruschetta is centuries old, possibly dating back to the Ancient Romans. For years, it was a simple snack, just stale bread and tomatoes, that was eaten by farmers and workers doing intense manual labor. It’s served far and wide across the Italian peninsula today, but the toppings vary in the different regions. For example, in Tuscany, bruschetta is usually topped with chicken liver or kale. In Abruzzo, they use salami. 

My family prefers this pesto version, which has been with us for as long as I can remember. Plenty of cooking and tasting has led us to conclude that these measurements and combinations work best! Regardless of the recipe you choose, the most important part of a good bruschetta is having the right ingredients. The key is using fresh mozzarella, high-quality olive oil, and good bread.

Over the past few years, my cousins, brother, and I have taken over the bruschetta making and mastered it. Whether it’s over holidays, family dinners, or our annual family beach trip, we make this recipe. I truly believe that cooking and working in the kitchen together is one of the best ways to bring a family closer to each other. There are many ways to make bruschetta, but I promise this Vuono classic will not disappoint. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette, long
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese 
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes 
  • ½ cup walnuts 
  • ⅔ cup olive oil (extra-virgin)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan-reggiano cheese 
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ tsp pepper 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 

Instructions:  

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the baguette into ½ inch thick pieces. On a baking tray, toast the baguette slices in the oven for approximately 2 minutes, or until slightly crisp and golden. Flip the slices over, and toast for another minute. Turn off the oven, remove the slices, and set them aside while preparing the pesto. 

Place the walnuts and garlic inside a food processor and process for approximately 15 seconds or until finely chopped. Next, add in the salt, pepper, and basil. Process for 1 minute or until the mixture forms a creamy paste. Add the parmesan-reggiano cheese and olive oil to the mixture, and blend for another 30 seconds or until smooth. If the pesto is too thick, add olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until the preferred consistency is reached.

Once the pesto is ready for plating, slice the mozzarella cheese into ¼ inch slices and the sun dried tomatoes into halves. To assemble, spread the pesto on a toasted bread slice, add a piece of mozzarella, and top with a sun dried tomato. Repeat for each slice, serve, and enjoy!

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Mucho Gusto

Valeria’s Tuna Tartare

This is the thirty-first installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

If you’re looking to achieve Michelin star chef status at your next small gathering, it’s time to stop shying away from preparing raw fish. Try out this straightforward tuna tartare recipe, and you’ll surely leave your guests in pure amazement.

I recently made this tangy recipe for my family after coming home from the beach on a scorching hot day, and I can assure you it’s the perfect summer dish to soothe burnt skin and excite tired taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 4-6 oz frozen yellowfin tuna steak 
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • ½ mango
  • 1 tsp thinly chopped scallions (green onions)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos for a low sodium alternative) 
  • 2 tsp citrus ponzu sauce
  • A pinch of salt
  • Optional: a pinch of black sesame seeds
  • Optional: a few plantain chips for decoration and crunch

Instructions:

Begin by using a sharp knife to slice the whole tuna steak into pieces about the size of your nail. I recommend freezing the tuna steak prior to making the dish, as it allows the fish to stay compact and tender while you cut it into small cubes. Once you finish slicing, place the tuna cubes into a medium-sized bowl. 

Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Leaving the flesh inside the skin, use the knife to cut even lines both horizontally and vertically, making little squares. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of each avocado half and add it to the bowl containing the sliced tuna. Then, dice the mango into small pieces about the same size as both the tuna and avocado. Thinly chop the scallions. Add both ingredients into the bowl. 

Add the coconut aminos or soy sauce, the citrus ponzu sauce, and salt to the bowl. Use a spoon to mix everything together thoroughly. 

Viola! Now you’re ready to plate.

The key to excellence in this recipe is creativity in your plating. I recommend using a mold or cookie cutter to firmly pack the tuna tartare in the center of the plate. I used a pinch of black sesame seeds to decorate and served the dish with a few plantain chips for some extra crunchiness that paired perfectly with the tenderness of the fish.

This recipe makes about 2 servings.

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Mucho Gusto

Prashanti’s Homemade Ice Cream

This is the thirtieth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

It’s a hot summer day, and the school year has just ended. My friends and I are walking towards the local ice cream shop, celebrating our first official day of freedom as all our responsibilities from the school year wash away. For a split second, it feels as if we are all little kids again. The first bite is heavenly, taking us back to our youth and innocence. 

Many of my best childhood memories involved eating ice cream, whether at parties or just with friends. When I was in elementary school, I often begged my parents to buy an ice cream cake for my birthday. I believe that no matter where you’re from in the world, you’re bound to love ice cream, so today, I am sharing a simple recipe for a homemade version of the treat. This is a cookies and cream flavored ice cream that can easily be modified to your liking. 

Time: 4 hours & 10 minutes total 

Ingredients & Supplies: 

1 medium mixing bowl 

1 hand blender or mixer

1 rubber spatula

1 rolling pin 

1 Ziplock bag 

1 cup heavy cream  

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

⅓ can of sweetened condensed milk (approximately 5 oz.)

Optional: 4-5 Biscoff cookies, or any type of cookie (Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, etc.)

Instructions:

Add the heavy cream to a medium mixing bowl. Use a mixer or hand blender to mix the heavy cream until it forms whipped cream. Be careful not to blend the heavy cream too much as it will form butter instead. 

Add the vanilla extract and sweetened condensed milk. Use the mixer or hand blender to mix the ingredients together until they are well combined. If the mixture is not sweet enough, add more sweetened condensed milk to taste. 

Place 4-5 Biscoff cookies in a Ziplock bag, and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies. Add the crumbled cookies to the whipped cream mixture. Use a rubber spatula to incorporate the bite-sized cookie pieces into the mixture. If you prefer, you can skip this step and make plain vanilla ice cream instead. 

Freeze the whipped cream mixture for a minimum of 4 hours before eating. Freezing overnight produces the best result. 

Adapted from Eitan Bernath’s  “Four Ingredients Oreo Ice Cream”

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Mucho Gusto

Maya’s Arroz a la Valenciana

This is the twenty-ninth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Loud party music plays as a plethora of voices pass through the open air. My family and I are all sitting outside at the patio table in my backyard, enjoying the fresh summer breeze and sipping on homemade lemonade. Everyone cheers as my grandma brings out the large skillet of rice filled with vibrant colors, reminiscent of the famous Spanish paella. For a moment, everything is quiet—save for the occasional clang of dishes and utensils—as we eagerly dig in. The first bite is silent bliss. Then, the sounds of the festivities boom once again, and the graduation celebration resumes. This is Arroz a la Valenciana, a dish that brings people together around a table to pause, sit back, and enjoy delicious food among good company. 

Rice is a staple food in many cultures, and the Latin American culture is no exception. In my experience with the Guatemalan culture, rice is not just a simple, traditional dish. It can be complex and requires hard work, love, and dedication; it has heart. It is a delicious, hot, satiating meal that carries with it fond memories of good people and family history in every bite. So, while chicken noodle soup is the satisfying, feel-better food for many, this rice is my go-to comfort food—a cozy, warm, filling dish that reminds me of home and loved ones. Today, I am sharing with you my grandmother’s legacy and most sought-after recipe, her beloved Spanish rice, which she first learned to cook from her own mother back in their home in Guatemala. Salty and savory, with hints of sweet caramelization, this Spanish-derived dish is packed with fresh vegetables and fiercely-flavored seasonings that harmonize to form a bold, but balanced meal. Smokey, savory meat and sautéed onions, tomatoes, and peppers compliment the star of the dish, saffron spice, creating this rich, golden-colored cultural classic. I guarantee that this traditional dish will be a hit at your next party, family dinner, or even your relaxing night in. 

Time: 1 ½ – 2 hours total

Ingredient & Supply List:

You will need… 

1 medium pot

1 large pan

4 cups of water

2 green onions, chopped into medium-sized pieces

1 ½ tomatoes total, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole

1-2 dashes of salt, to taste

1 handful of cilantro, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon of Caldo de Pollo chicken broth flavoring

½  pound of chicken, chopped, preferably with the bones for enhanced flavor (other proteins such as sausage, tuna, or chickpeas can also be substituted)

½ stick of butter

1 ½ Spanish onions, sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 large eggs, hard-boiled

2 cups of rice, preferably white rice for the traditional recipe

2 heaping tablespoons of capers 

2 carrots, peeled and chopped finely into slaw-like pieces

1- 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of saffron (Sazón seasoning with added saffron can also be used)

½ cup of peas

1 handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 handful of olives, chopped in halves (optional)

Recipe:

This dish has two major parts: First, the broth, which is the base for the rice, and second, the cooking of the rice itself.

To make the broth, start with a pot filled with water over medium heat. Next, add the green onions to the water, followed by half a chopped tomato. Then, add the garlic and the cilantro to the broth stock with a bit of salt. These aromatic vegetables will boil in the water together and in turn, give off their delicious, hearty flavors, which will eventually be absorbed by the rice. Next, enhance the flavor profile of the broth with the Caldo de Pollo chicken broth flavoring and the chicken. Once all of these ingredients are in the pot, stir the mixture, cover with a lid, and let it simmer. It should stew for about 20-30 minutes.

While the chicken and vegetable broth are cooking, begin preparing the rice. Melt the butter over medium heat until it coats the bottom of the pan. Once the melted butter is bubbling, add and fry the Spanish onions until they begin to brown. This caramelization process creates a rich, savory-sweet base that will add great flavor to the rice. Then, add 1 chopped tomato to the mix. Stir it in so that it blends with the rest of the flavors. Add the red pepper, but be sure to save some for the final product. Together, the ingredients in the pan will form a bubbly sauce that is a deep and vibrant orange-red color. 

While the onions, tomatoes, and peppers are cooking, hard-boil the eggs. These will be used at the end of the recipe. 

Return your attention to the pan. Slowly incorporate the rice into the sauce and lower the heat. The rice should be evenly coated and take on some color. 

Now, it’s time to marry the tasty chicken broth with the rice! Remove the chicken from the broth pot and cut it into small, shredded pieces. After stirring the chicken in, add the homemade broth to the rice pan, using a strainer. You just want the broth at this point, and everything should be cooked down into it for the most part.

Next, add a heaping tablespoon of capers into the rice pan, followed by the carrots. The next step is crucial to this recipe: the addition of the magical secret spice, saffron. This is the iconic, staple seasoning that gives the dish its flavor, aroma, and signature yellow color. Then add in some peas. The pan should be colorful and well-mixed at this point. If needed, more water can be added. At this point, cover the pan and let the rice mixture simmer for about 30 minutes on low heat. Stir occasionally to promote even cooking and to prevent the bottom of the rice from burning. The rice should be fluffy and dry, but not mushy or sticky. 

While waiting for the dish to finish cooking, prepare the final toppings for the rice. Chop parsley for garnish and peel and slice the hard-boiled eggs. 

When the rice is cooked to your satisfaction, top with the parsley, red pepper slices, egg slices, and another heaping tablespoon of capers for the perfect finishing touch. Traditionally, green olives are used in this recipe as a topping as well, but they are not essential. However, I highly recommend adding them, as they really bring out the powerful flavor of the capers and work well with the other ingredients in the dish. For a less traditional approach, you can also top the rice with slices of avocado.

This recipe makes about 8 servings. Share and enjoy it with your loved ones!

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Mucho Gusto

Allison’s Shrimp and Grits

This is the twenty-eighth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

This shrimp and grits recipe is an ever-satisfying family favorite. It’s a colorful dish that is perfect for summer! Juicy shrimp over creamy, cheesy grits, what’s not to love?

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½  teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1 ½ pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 2 andouille sausages, chopped 
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 1 ½  teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 ½  cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (3 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS  

  1. Cook the andouille sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the sausage and place on a separate plate, but leave the sausage drippings in the pan. 
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the sausage drippings; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Stir in the shrimp, add the lemon juice and hot sauce, and pour in the chicken broth. Cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently. 
  4. In a separate medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  5. Gradually add grits to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in the butter, cheese, and salt.
  6. Serve shrimp mixture over grits; sprinkle with cheese and enjoy!
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Mucho Gusto

Eileen’s Banana Chip Muffins

This is the twenty-seventh installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: bananas, chocolate chips, and rolled oats

Serves 12 muffins

Muffins are one of the best desserts to make when you want your kitchen to smell amazing. What better combination for muffins than bananas and chocolate chips? For this recipe, you can substitute the flour with an alternative such as oat flour or almond flour to make them gluten-free. 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk (or water)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 3/4 cup flour (I used oat flour to make it gluten free)

1/3 cup rolled oats

3 bananas mashed (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

To start, preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Use your choice of oil or butter to grease your muffin tins. Combine the flour, rolled oats, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda in a bowl. 

In a separate bowl, mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, milk, and eggs. Use a fork to mash a banana and then incorporate it into the mixture. 

Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, slowly whisking to form a batter. Then fold in the chocolate chips and any other add ins you’d like!

Fill each muffin tin with batter about ⅔ of the way. Top them off with some more chocolate chips and a small sprinkle of oats. 

Bake the muffins for about 23-25 minutes. You can test if they’re ready by inserting a toothpick into a muffin and making sure it comes out clean

Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool. Enjoy!

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Mucho Gusto

Sofia’s Fried Cauliflower

This is the twenty-sixth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: cauliflower, tahini, lemon, parsley

Earlier this year, my dad and I ordered this amazing fried cauliflower at Farmstead Table in Newton, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  Fast forward four months, and I’m deep frying cauliflower at home in an attempt to recreate it.  Perfect as a side dish, this crispy cauliflower gets a bright boost from its tahini lemon dressing and parsley.  

2 heads of cauliflower

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 bulb of garlic

⅓ cup tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tsp lemon zest

½ tsp red chili flakes

½ cup of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Oil for frying 

Salt and pepper

Break your cauliflower into medium-sized florets, think 1-2 bites each.  Boil the cauliflower for 3 minutes in salted water, drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  You want the cauliflower to be slightly tender but still crunchy.  Spread the blanched florets onto a baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel, and allow them to dry for 1-2 hours.  Water left on the cauliflower will cause the oil to spatter when you go to fry, so don’t skimp on drying time.

While you wait for the cauliflower, roast your garlic.  Cut off the top of the bulb to expose each clove.  Give the bulb a generous pour of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Wrap in tinfoil and roast on a baking sheet for 40 minutes at 400°.  Squeeze the cloves out of the bulb and set aside.  

Heat your oil (I used 2 quarts of canola) over high heat in a deep pot or dutch oven.  Stick a kitchen thermometer into your pot to regulate the oil temperature as you fry.  When the thermometer hits 340-350°, use a spider or slotted spoon to lower your first round of cauliflower into the oil.  Be sure to leave room for each floret to rise to the top.  Working in four or five shifts, fry the florets for 2-5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.  Immediately place your fried cauliflower on baking sheets lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

While your cauliflower is still hot, make the lemon tahini.  In a bowl, smash the roasted garlic with the back of a spoon.  Add in the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, and red chili flakes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the cauliflower to a medium bowl, and drizzle in the tahini sauce, tossing to lightly cover each floret.  Throw your parsley into the mix and toss once more to combine throughout.  Serve immediately.

**If you’re not up for deep-frying, this recipe also works beautifully with roasted cauliflower.  It’s less crispy, less time intensive, equally delicious.

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Mucho Gusto

Ngan’s Raw Jicama Tacos

This is the twenty-fifth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: jicama, avocado, hummus

Serves 4-6

Quarantining has led some of us to some pretty extreme fad diets, one of them being the raw vegan diet. My friend Sophie and I tried this challenging diet for about a week, and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of recipes I was able to find and create in my own kitchen! One of my favorites ended up being these raw jicama tacos which are refreshing and decadent, and only take about 10 minutes to make!

Jicama (sliced)

1 can of black beans

1 can of corn 

Avocados

Tomatoes (or pico de gallo)

Limes 

Hummus (preferably the taco flavored hummus)

For optional cashew “sour cream”:

1/2 cup of cashews 

1/2 cup of cold water

Juice of 1/4 a lemon

⅛ teaspoon of cumin

⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder

⅛ teaspoon of onion powder

A pinch of salt

To create a flat “tortilla,” slice your jicama using a mandolin or attempt to thinly cut it yourself. I opted for the easy route and bought premade jicama wraps from Trader Joe’s. Next, I prepped all my ingredients: drained the can of black beans and can of corn, sliced the avocado, and diced up the tomato. The foundation of raw vegan diets is to not cook any of your ingredients, so that’s all you have to do to create most of your taco. Squeeze a little bit of lime juice and a pinch of salt on the jicama wraps for more flavor. Top with the hummus, beans, corn, tomato, and avocado. 

Optional:

I took the extra step of making a cashew “sour cream” for the tacos. To do so, I soaked half a cup of raw cashews in water for two hours. After those two hours, I drained the cashews and transferred them to a blender. Next, I added the water, lemon juice, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and blended on high for about a minute. Then serve on top of your tacos. 

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Mucho Gusto

Mary’s Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

This is the twenty-fourth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: sourdough starter, flour (whole wheat, bread flour, or all-purpose)

Makes 1 medium-sized round loaf

I’m sure, by this point in quarantine, you have come across mention of the elusive sourdough starter. As yeast shortages have hit supermarkets across the world, many have turned to creating their own leavening agent, the sourdough starter, in order to explore the expansive world of homemade bread. I admit that sourdough bread-baking is daunting at first. It may take you a couple of tries to get it right, but when you do, you will understand how this mighty little natural yeast has started such a large cult following. There is truly nothing that measures up to a loaf of homemade bread and this particular loaf is one of my personal favorites. 

If you are starting from the very beginning with your own starter, I suggest you take a look at the following websites:

King Arthur Flour

The Perfect Loaf

Or, even better, ask a friend who has a healthy starter or your local bakery to give you some of theirs! All you need is about 3 tablespoons to get you started. Before you begin baking, read through the whole recipe to ensure that you have planned properly in terms of timing. I promise, once you’ve dipped your toes into the world of sourdough baking, you’ll never again be able to buy a store-bought loaf of bread.

Ingredients:

1 ⅛ tablespoons (19 grams)    mature Sourdough Starter (at its peak)

3 ¾  cups (448 g)    Whole Wheat flour (if you don’t have Whole Wheat flour, use All-Purpose or Bread flour or any combination of the three)

⅓ cup (43 g)    All-Purpose or Bread flour

1 ⅔ cups (383 g)    Water, room-temperature 

1 ½ teaspoons (9 g)   Salt

Timeline

8:00 am 

In a small bowl, mix together starter, ⅓ cup of flour, and ⅓ cup of water. Mix thoroughly so there are no dry spots of flour. This is called the leavain, which is the natural yeast culture that will leaven our bread! Cover with a clean towel and let sit for 6 hours. 

12:00 pm 

Mix together the remaining flour and water either by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix until there is no dry flour. Cover with a clean towel and let sit for an hour. 

1:00 pm

Add your levain and salt to the flour/water mixture. Mix thoroughly. The dough should look a bit lumpy and should form one cohesive mass. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a towel. I have found it best to let your dough rise inside a turned-off oven with the light on.

1:10 pm – 5:10 pm

Throughout the 4 hours that your dough is fermenting, you will perform three sets of what are called ‘stretch and folds’. I suggest you look this up in order to visualize it, but it is basically a way of stretching your dough to strengthen the glutens in the flour. Stretch and fold your dough 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 1 hour and 30 minutes into the dough fermentation.

It may take longer than 4 hours for your dough to finish fermenting. You will know it is finished when it has a smoother, domed top and there are small bubbles across the top and edges.

5:15 pm

Once your dough is finished fermenting, dump it out onto a lightly flour surface. It will be difficult to work with so make sure you use flour on the work surface and on your hands. Form into a round-ish shape and let rest for 20 minutes.

5:35 pm 

Make sure that you have a small bowl prepared with a tea-towel inside. Generously flour the inside of the bowl/tea-towel. Shape your dough into a round (use above links for references on how to shape) and place in the bowl lined with the tea-towel. Flour the top of the dough. Place in the refrigerator to proof for 16 hours. 

8:30 am (next morning)

Preheat your oven to 500 F. Place your dutch oven or cast iron skillet (whatever you are using to bake in) inside the oven to heat up for an hour.

9:30 am 

Dump out your dough onto a sheet of parchment paper on a wooden cutting board. Carefully peel away the tea-towel from the dough. Score the dough with a very sharp knife. Slide the parchment into the vessel you are baking in and put in the oven. Decrease the oven temperature to 475 F. If you are using something with a top (dutch oven/combo cooker), cover the bread with the top. (Optional: spray some water into the hot oven to create moisture, which leads to a better crust). Bake for 20 minutes with the top on. Decrease the oven temperature to 450 F and remove the top. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the bread is past golden brown. 

10:30 am (ish)

Remove bread from the oven and dump out of the pan to cool. Allow the bread to cool for at least an hour before cutting into it (otherwise it will be gummy and taste undercooked). Enjoy!!