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Well. Just six weeks ago my husband and I moved from one side of the country (east) to the southwest again. Now that the move is over fro...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fusion cuisine of the south and the resurgence of southern food

Living in the heart of Dixie has introduced me a few new foods, better renditions of old time favorites and introduced me to a melding of cuisines.

With the recent changes in laws in Alabama many Hispanics have left the state for neighboring states with less strict immigration laws. So, Alabama is going the way of Arizona and other states cracking down on illegal immigrants. Migrant workers have made their exodus out of the state state of Alabama and taken their labor to other states. This course has led to a civil uprising of sorts in the state, much as what happened to the blacks in the 70's. Hispanics are congregating in capital cities, meeting amongst themselves and the lessons learned of the southern civil rights movements the blacks faced in the south are being brought forward yet again. Some of those moments of civil right bursting forth into the light of attention worldwide such as the bombings in Montgomery, Dr Martin Luther King and the freedom riders are etched in our history, locally as well as nationally.

Some people do not wish to dwell on what is happening in America. Uneducated Americans are stating that the Hispanics are taking their jobs. But as we all know, those are jobs others feel themselves too superior to take on - as they are service related jobs. Hence fruit and vegetables are rotting in the fields of states taking this stand, and service jobs have been affected around the nation. Hispanics are fearful of reprisal and ugly confrontations with people who wish them harm.

Quite frankly, the Hispanic population has been exploding over the past few decades. More and more Hispanics or Latino numbers are growing and will continue to grow. The unrest experienced in the states adjacent to Mexico is spilling into the neighboring border states. As of 2011, or even as early as 2010 it is not safe to go as a visitor to the border cities in Mexico which in our youth we visited to buy cheap Mexican jewelry, kitchen ware and for weekend vacations during summers. Mexican Americans with families in Mexico now must fly into cities further in Mexico or risk being shot at in border towns of Mexico and the US.

This exodus of Hispanics in Alabama has left the remaining Mexican - Americans, "born in America" Hispanics, South American's or Latin American's facing daily challenges of dealing with prejudiced outrage and unusual scrutinization of darker skinned peoples. School children are dealing with the changes in laws at school as well, which should be a place of learning not separation because of their skin color. Announcement of pedigrees is common place in the South when meeting new people as is the faith/church you attend.

I am going to intersperse recipes belonging to the South American peoples this year to document some of the recipes being shared with other Hispanics and people born in countries outside of America as I have been invited to some of these gatherings. Learning that some of the ingredients may be somewhat the same but some much different than the Tex-Mex we are familiar with.

There are a large number of Mexican-American's, Guatemalan and El Salvadorian communities remaining in Alabama. As I am exposed to their recipes I will be posting them starting today with the recipe(s) below.

Salvadorian Enchiladas

1/2 c corn oil
2 large eggs
2 medium white onion
1 medium bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
8 corn tortillas
2 T olive oil
3/4 teas Chipolte Chili powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 head Iceburg lettuce
3 Roma tomatoes
12 stems of cilantro
8 oz ground Pork
3 oz Pecorino Romano (or Monterrey Jack)

Heat Corn Oil in pan. Line baking sheet or big plate with paper towels. Dip tortillas into the hot oil, and brown for about a minute, transfer to pan with paper towels and drain. Repeat for each tortilla.

Place eggs in small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil. Then turn off heat and let them sit for about 15 minutes.

Dice onions, bell pepper and mince garlic cloves with a bit of salt.  In a separate pan heat the diced onion, bell pepper and garlic with olive oil add chili powder and cook for about 5 minutes or until fragrant and onion is soft. Add pork to the mixture, cook until the no pink remains, chopped the meat as you cook it, stir it into the mixture. Discard the fat and taste seasoning with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Shred the lettuce, slice tomatoes into 16 slices. Coarsely chop Cilantro. Drain eggs, crack them under cool water and let them cool. Then slice eggs into 8 pieces.

Arrange two tortillas on each plate. Divide pork among them. top with lettuce, egg, tomato slices, pecorino and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings, serve with black beans, sopes (similar to a gordita) and fried plantains.

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