HEALTH

Taste the Latino flavors of Hispanic Heritage Month
Manuel Villacorta has assembled three healthy, delicious and nutritious recipes for Hispanic Heritage Month that mix together ingredients from Mexico down to Argentina. 
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Choclo-jicama salad with chili-lime dressing

Jicama is a crisp, white fleshed tuber that is enjoyed in Mexico and used in a variety of foods such as salads or as a potato substitute. Jicama’s great as a low-carb, low-calorie food item providing about 37 percent of your dietary fiber with only 9 grams of carbohydrates, all in a ¾ cup serving. An added bonus is that it only has 49 calories, ideal for weight loss. In this recipe, I combine jicama with choclo, a large corn kernel from the Andes. Together they create a refreshing salad that brings fresh, hearty goodness to your table.

Ingredients:
For dressing
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoon lime juice
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

For salad
1 pound cooked choclo
½ medium yellow bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 medium carrot, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup jicama, sliced into strips
¼ medium red onion, cut into half-moon slivers

Directions:
1. Put the vinegar, chili, lime juice, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Combine the choclo, bell pepper, carrot, jicama and onion in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
Note: Choclo-jicama chopped salad will keep in the refrigerator for three to five days.

Servings: 5   Serving Size: 1 cup

(Manuel Villacorta)

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Baked yuca fries with cilantro chimichurri      

Yuca is a tuber that can be found throughout Latin America, making it one of the region's basic food staples. In recent studies, the phytochemicals, resveratrol and yuccaols, that are found in yuca have been shown to have antioxidant properties, linking them to cardiovascular disease prevention. Usually, you can find yuca prepared either boiled or, more often than not, fried. Here, I decided to bake the yuca with canola oil spray, due to its high heat tolerance. I also paired it with my cilantro-chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri comes from Argentina, but making it with cilantro brings a flavor that many Latinos will be familiar with. I also use canola oil for the sauce because of it's a neutral flavor, which allows me to keep the Latin “zest” intact.

Ingredients:
For cilantro chimichurri
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon salt

For yuca fries
1 large yuca (about 1½ pounds with skin on)
6 cups water
Canola oil spray
Salt and pepper  

Directions:
1. For chimichurri: Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and homogeneous.
2. For yuca: Slice the yuca into 3 equal-length portions. Holding each portion on its axis, carefully slice off the outer peel and discard. Chop each portion in half lengthwise and then into 8 wedges.
3. Put the yuca wedges, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes until tender throughout. Drain and let cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. Place the cooled yuca on a large baking sheet and spray with canola oil to coat. Season with salt. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, flipping once halfway through the baking process, until the fries are golden in color. Serve warm that day.

Servings: 6   Serving Size: 4 wedges

(Manuel Villacorta)

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Quinoa pupusa

Pupusa is a classic dish from El Salvador, but it can also be found in neighboring countries such as Honduras and Guatemala. Originally made with corn flour and made into a disk, this dish is usually stuffed with ingredients like cheese or beans. Here, I decided to make the “dough” with a combination of corn flour and cooked quinoa. Quinoa, a “power seed” from Peru and Bolivia, is considered a complete protein because it contains a total of 21 amino acids. Incorporating quinoa gives the pupusas extra protein power while also adding texture to this already delicious treat.

Ingredients:
½ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup yellow corn flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
4 teaspoons canola oil

Directions:
1. Place quinoa, corn flour and salt in a medium sized bowl. Using a fork, mix it around to evenly distribute all the ingredients.
2. Add water and fold in batter with your hand. Make sure you mix all the ingredients. At this point, the masa should be sticky but should form a ball easily when rolled. If not, add water until it is sticky but easy to work with.
3. Heat up a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add two teaspoons of the canola oil and let it heat up, about a minute.
4. Take about a ¼ cup of the dough and roll it around to form a ball. Flatten the ball to make a disk of the desired thickness. Place two disks  in the pan with oil.
5. Cook for about 8 minutes on each side or until you begin to see charred marks.  

Servings: 4   Serving Size: 1 serving

(Manuel Villacorta)

Taste the Latino flavors of Hispanic Heritage Month

Manuel Villacorta has assembled three healthy, delicious and nutritious recipes for Hispanic Heritage Month that mix together ingredients from Mexico down to Argentina. 

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