Los Angeles, CA(8/18/04) - From the coffee and cacao grown high in the Andes Mountains to the many tropical fruits of the Caribbean and Amazonian regions, the great cattle farms on the plains, and bountiful seafood from the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Colombia is a country of vast and exotic culinary creations. Secrets of Colombian Cooking by Patricia McCausland-Gallo (Hippocrene Books; $24.95 hardcover; ISBN 0-7818-1025-6 presents the wide spectrum of Colombian cuisine to home cooks in more than 175 inviting recipes from simple, hearty sancochos (soups and stews prepared differently in every region) to more exotic fare such as Langosta al Coco (lobster in coconut sauce) and Ajm de Uchuvas (Yellow Gooseberry Sauce).
Secrets of Colombian Cooking provides a window into the diverse cuisine of this little-known South American nation. Author Patricia McCausland-Gallo, a native Colombian, traveled throughout the many regions of Colombia to gather the most authentic dishes. With a wide range of recipes and a glossary of typical ingredients, this book acquaints cooks with the array of foods that make up Colombian cuisine, including sweet and hot peppers, plantains, tamarind, gooseberries, papayas, guavas, and tree tomatoes.
Patricia McCausland-Gallo is a nutritionist, pastry chef, and teacher born in the Caribbean town of Barranquilla. She studied at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and attended the American Institute of Baking in Kansas, as well as Ecole Lenttre in Paris. She has been a food writer for local and national newspapers in Colombia and a manager and owner of bakeries in Barranquilla and Cali. She now resides in Panama City, Panama.
Hippocrene Books, a New York-based publishing house specializing in reference and trade titles of international interest, features more than 50 cuisines in its cookbook program.
Secrets of Colombian Cooking
$24.95 hardcover; ISBN 0-7818-1025-6
two-color; 250 pages; 6 x 9
Publication date: August 2004
Order Dept. T: 718-454-2366; F: 718-454-1391
Hippocrene Books, Inc.
171 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Selected Recipes from Secrets of Colombian Cooking
Arepas de Mamz (Yellow or White Corn Arepas)
Makes Sixteen 4-inch arepas
These are traditional arepas made from dried corn kernels, nowadays prepared that way mostly on farms. They are served with cheese on top, added after cooking. They are cooked on the grills directly over the heat, or on an asador de arepas*, a special cooking pan that is basically a flat-surfaced pan made of very thin metal, which has over it another very thin metal rack.
You can also form arepas with cheese already mixed into the dough. In that case, add about 1 cup (1/2 pound) of grated white farmer's cheese to the corn after it has come out of the grinder, and before forming the balls.
Mamz peto is what we call the corn that is dried and sold in bags at the market.
21/2 cups (1 pound) white or yellow dried corn kernels* (maiz peto)
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt plus more for cooking
White farmer's cheese* for serving
4 tablespoons melted butter
1. Wash the dried corn kernels with plenty of water. Place in a bowl with enough water to cover them, and let sit for 24 hours. This will rehydrate the corn a little.
2. Drain the corn and discard the water.
3. Place the corn in a medium pot or pressure cooker, and add 8 cups of water. If using a regular pot, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 21/2 hours; keep adding water, 1 cup at a time, if it dries out. If using a pressure cooker, cover and cook under pressure on medium heat for about 1 hour. The corn should be very soft; if not, return the pot to the stove and cook 20 minutes more. Let cool, uncover, and drain the corn; you will have about 8 cups of corn.
4. Pass the corn through a molino* or meat grinder into a bowl. Add the butter and salt; mix well to blend evenly.
5. Form the ground corn mixture into a log; divide it into 16 pieces. Form each piece into a ball.
6. Place the arepa balls between 2 sheets of plastic and with a heavy pan or pot cover, flatten to the thickness you desire, from 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
7. To cook the arepas, place them on a rack directly over a very low flame and cook about 5 minutes, until they look dry on the outside; brush melted butter and sprinkle salt, turn and cook 5 minutes more on the other side.
8. Serve with white farmer's cheese.
Ceviche de Corvina (Corvina White Fish Ceviche)
Ceviche is such a popular food in the coastal areas of Colombia that we can even buy it at the beach. It is served as in this recipe, or with ketchup: all you would need to do is add a quarter cup of ketchup in step 2 of this recipe. I like to leave the fish overnight in the first lime juice to make sure it is fully cooked; in many places, it is just left to marinate for just a few hours. I have added the tomato juice, not traditional in our Caribbean coast recipe, but it was an idea I adopted many years ago from a Mexican friend when I lived in Cali. If you cannot find corvina, any firm-fleshed white fish will do.
1 pound corvina fish, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 3/4 cups lime juice
1 1/2 cups diced red onion
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato juice
2 teaspoons salt
11/2 teaspoons pepper
Tabasco to taste
1/2 cup olive oil (optional)
Salted crackers or mini-tartlet shells, for serving
1. In a nonreactive container mix the fish with 2 cups of the lime juice. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Drain the lime juice from the fish, discard the juice and add the remaining 3/4 cup of lime juice, onion, tomato, cilantro, parsley, Worcestershire, tomato juice, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Let marinate at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours for the best taste. (Flavors mature and soften after sitting together for so long.)
3. If desired, which a lot of people now seem to like, spike the heat up with some Tabasco sauce.
4. The olive oil is optional; if you leave it out the flavor will be crispier and more citrusy; if you add it, a mellower ceviche is the outcome. Both options are very good; just a matter of what works best for your taste.
5. Serve with salted crackers or in mini-tartlet shells.
Contact: Rebecca Cole, 212-685-4371; firstname.lastname@example.org
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