August 8, 2016

Latina Eats: Latin Concentration hosts South American Pop-Up Dinner


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This is the twelfth entry of a multi-part series by our student blogger Giselle.  Check back each week for the next installment of her experience during her semester away in San Antonio.

As my summer semester in San Antonio comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on what an amazing time I’ve had these past 11 weeks. This people on this campus continue to wow me with their warm hospitality and their ability to be a small family. I like to think the campus is this way because we’re located in the great south where hospitality is king…but who knows? All I know is that if you ever get the chance to visit this campus, or perhaps even study here, you’ll quickly realize what I’m talking about. This is our second to last week in San Antonio, so we are making sure to enjoy our last moments in the Lone Star State.

 

This Week in the Latin Kitchen…

This week we concluded our South American studies. The final two countries we explored? Ecuador and Bolivia. What amazing food they have. As for Bolivia, modongo and quinoa bread were my two favorite recipes. Bolivia’s staple ingredients are corn and potatoes, and modongo includes both of these. It’s crispy pork in a velvety smooth aji (chile) sauce with chocolate. Underneath lies a mixture of aji amarillo, pork skin, corn, and potatoes. Another gem from Bolivia is quinoa bread. Once we dove into the cuisine of South America, I learned that Incan and Quechua civilizations used and cultivated quinoa regularly, forever influencing the countries that are here today. Quinoa bread was surprisingly simple to make, and it’s an easy and delicious substitute for bread made with wheat flour.

Ecuador also had some amazing recipes. Who would imagine that potato cakes with a peanut sauce would be so incredibly good? LLapingachos are just that. A fluffy potato pancake flavored with achiote oil and cheese, then topped off with a roasted peanut and chile sauce called salsa de mani. That day in class, we decided to top the potato cakes off with a sunny side up egg, which for the record was not a bad decision at all.

 

Check out the delicious South American recipes we created this week:

 

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LLapingachos

 

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Salsa de mani

 

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Quinoa bread

 

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Modongo

 

Our Final Pop-up Dinner

This week not only concluded the South American part of our curriculum, it also featured our final pop-up dinner. As bittersweet as the whole experience was, this last dinner really reflected how much we’ve learned as a group and as individuals. We organized almost every aspect of the dinner. The courses, the drinks, even the sequence of the dinner were organized by us. We executed it together, as a group from start to finish. Thanks to Chef Remolina and his guidance throughout the dinner, we fed 16 happy diners who were very content and very full by the end of the night. We’ve definitely learned a lot from each dinner, so it was nice to see how each one was progressively smoother than the one before.

 

I don’t know where else I would have gotten this hands-on experience as a student. The pop-ups were among the most beneficial parts of the Latin concentration. Each involved planning, organizing, and executing an idea from start to finish. These dinners also taught me about my own personal style of cooking and how to collaborate ideas with people, which is such an important quality to have for this industry. I know that I’ll use all of this knowledge when I begin to work full-time in the food world.

 

Our final pop-up dinner’s theme was South America, so we got the chance to showcase what my classmates and I have been learning for the past three weeks. In our menu, we included foods from Argentina, Brazil, and Peru, to name a few. The menu included a charcuterie board, which showcased a variety of house-made sausages, compotes, and one of our favorite Brazilian breads, pão de queijo. Also included as part of a course was causas, one of the many notable dishes from Peru. As the main course, we served lomo saltado, an Asian-influenced dish that represents Peru and its multicultural cuisine in so many ways. This dish is beef stir-fried with onions and a variety of Asian condiments like soy sauce and oyster sauce. The end result: perfectly tender beef in a savory sauce served over fluffy white rice. Dessert was a Peruvian doughnut served underneath a silky passionfruit ice cream.

 

We had so much fun during this dinner, and we are so grateful that we have all of these experiences under our belt.

Mil gracias, Chef Remolina!!

 

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The finished charcuterie plate

 

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Greg plating the lomo saltado

 

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Chef Remolina with the girls of the class

 

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The guys from the class and me

 

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Juan and I plating Beet and aji amarillo causa rolls, crawfish filling, pickled beets, avocado puree

 

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Lomo saltado

 

Goodbye, San Antonio! ( almost)


Our last week of the Latin concentration starts this Tuesday. Where did the time go? It’s crazy to see how quickly time passes while you’re having fun. For our last week, we will be learning about Latin American bread and pastries with Chef Dubernard, one of the pastry chefs from the San Antonio campus. We will also be presenting our senior thesis this week! A very exciting way to end our time here in the great state of Texas.

Until next week,

Giselle

Giselle Sigala