Latin American treats
Aviva Kanoff has been described as “the Indiana Jones of cooking,” and the subtitle of her latest book, Gluten Free Around the World (Brio Books, 2014), is “a journey of food, travel and extraordinary adventure.” She is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and has worked as a chef, painter and photographer. Her previous book, The No-potato Passover, received the Gourmand Award for the best Jewish cuisine in 2012 and was original; so is this book.
Her 104 recipes are divided into breakfast, soups and salads, sides, vegetarian, fish, poultry, meat and desserts. There are recipes from England, Thailand, France, Ireland, Israel, Ecuador, Vietnam, Italy, India, Morocco, Spain, Scotland, Cambodia, Indonesia and Arizona. Ingredients are listed clearly and – my favorite – directions are numbered. Each recipe is accompanied by a mouth-watering color photograph and additional photos from its country of origin, all of which enhance the presentation of the book and make it unique.
Not only is this a great book for anyone who is gluten free; it is good for people who enjoy recipes from different countries that are distinctive and innovative. This would be a great gift for anyone who collects cookbooks or who likes to try imaginative recipes.
Here are a couple of recipes that would work perfectly as Chanukah treats in keeping with the tradition of eating foods made with oil.
Reviewer’s note: Churros are a fried-dough pastry popular in Spain, France, the Philippines, Portugal, Mexico and Latin America. The recipe that follows is from Ecuador.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
canola oil for frying
- In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside for topping.
- In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Line a baking sheet with greased parchment paper. After the dough has cooled for 10 minutes, add the egg and vanilla to the saucepan, and beat ingredients with a wooden spoon to blend them completely. Transfer the mixture to a decorating bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe four-inch lengths onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Heat three inches oil in a deep saucepan over medium high heat. Fry a few strips at a time in hot oil (at least 375°F), turning once, until golden brown on all sides, about five minutes. Drain on paper towels. Roll warm churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Serve warm.
BOCADITOS DE PAPA
Ecuadorian potato-cheese fritters
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- In a large saucepan, place potatoes in enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, then drain.
- In a large bowl, mash potatoes with a potato masher until smooth. Fold in cheeses, eggs, cilantro, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Shape mixture into 12 three-inch-diametre patties. If desired, covered and chill for up to 24 hours before cooking.
- In a large skillet, heat one-inch of oil to 375°F. Add potato patties, three or four at a time and fry about two minutes or until golden brown, turning once halfway through cooking time. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot and top with salsa if desired.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, foreign correspondent, lecturer, food writer and book reviewer who lives in Jerusalem. She also does the restaurant features for janglo.net and leads weekly shuk walks in English in Jerusalem’s Jewish food market.