Party On Panama!

Dear Subscribers,

¡Bienvenidos a nuestra edición de verano! Welcome to our summer edition!

The heat is on and so are our summer recipes. During the warm months we have articles and recipes to entice your tastebuds to try new and easy to prepare foods.

On a recent trip to Panama I had the opportunity to go to some of the main markets in Panama City. During my stroll, I’ve got a glimpse of what was available locally, and most importantly, of what was in season. I discovered numerous types of roots and tubers (plants and vegetables that grow underground), and to keep them straight, I shot several pictures to make sure I remember them when I returned home. Needless to say, the Panamanian diet is rich in luscious tropical fruits and vegetables and in roots and tubers.

Roots and tubers, that is, potatoes, cassava, malanga, sweet potatoes, yams, and taro, just to name a few, are very nutritious starches popular (not necessarily native) in the Latin Caribbean that have many uses in the Latin kitchen. Some tubers can be toxic when cut and touched or when eaten raw, however, the ones you buy commercially are safe. Because of their smooth texture and subtle taste, they lend themselves to different types of cooking and flavor combinations, both savory and sweet. Also, when added to soups and stews, they turn into a thickening agent that give many a dish that hearty mouthfeel.

Without further introduction, our Recipe of the Month is for a dish made with cassava (aka manioc and yucca). Yucca (yuca in Spanish) is the Caribbean and Latin Spud that is eaten in a wide variety of ways, including mashed, in patties, in soups and stews, or simply cooked in stock or water and topped with a garlic and olive oil sauce. Without realizing it, you may already be familiar with this tuber , as tapioca is made of the yucca flour.

But before moving into the Recipe of the Month, we want to announce some SPECIALS_ for the summer months. In addition to our cooking classes and other events open to the public (shown below), we are now offering _introductory private cooking classes _for small groups (minimum of 15 guests) for $37.50+tax per person that can be taught in the comfort of your own home (during the day) or at our own kitchen headquarters at the Midtown Global Market. The classes include one-on-one instruction, the recipes, the ingredients, and professional cooking techniques and healthy cooking tips, in addition to a cultural presentation on the dishes prepared. This option is only open to you, our subscribers, and for a limited time, and only for the following themed classes. If you and your group are interested in hosting a class in your home or at our kitchen this summer, please contact us at [1][email protected] no later than June 15th for the June class; no later than July 15th for the July class; and no later than August 15th for the August class. This is a steal price and classes will sell quickly, so take advantage of the savings today!

Summer Classes

The classes will be hands-on on Latin Caribbean summer recipes that you can easily duplicate at home. The themes of the classes are as follows:

Don’t let the grubby exterior of these subterranean staples fool you…


Bright, beautiful, delicate and exotic, fresh flowers are a delight to the senses…


A tasty tour of four quick to prepare Caribbean delicacies…

Recipe of the Month

Spicy cassava in olive oil garlic sauce
Serve as a side dish, or as an appetizer in smaller portions in spoons or atop crackers or crunchy tortilla chips. Buy the yucca at your local Latin markets.

Serves 4-6

1 lb. fresh or frozen cassava, cut into 3 inch rounds
2 cups chicken stock

½ cup olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced

The juice of 1 lime
1 serrano or Jalapeno chile peppers, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the cassava in the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook until soft but not mushy, about 10-15 minutes.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over low to medium heat (if it smokes the heat is too high), then add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 2 minutes.

Combine the lime juice with the minced chile peppers.

Remove the cassava from the sauce pan and transfer it to a platter and smash it lightly with a fork. Pour the garlic and olive oil sauce, season with salt and pepper, and add the lime juice combination to finish. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot or cold.

Upcoming Events

Monday, June 22, 2009, 6-9 p.m.
Saucy Barbecue Flavors to Share
If you are the entertaining type you are probably interested in new, delicious and easy recipes to wow your guests this summer. Invite your friends or family for a feast of Latin Flavors that will sweep them off their feet. Yuca con chicharrόn (cassava with olive oil-garlic sauce topped with spicy slaw and pork rind); Churrasco (grilled spiced steak with charred-mint tomato sauce); Pollo Pibil (grilled citrus sauce-marinated chicken); Escabeche (fire roasted fresh chile pepper-veggie medley in herb-champagne vinaigrette); Mole de Plátanos (sweet grilled plantains with dried peppers, tomatoes and chocolate sauce). Demonstration.
Register at: Cooks of Crocus Hill
Event location: Grand Ave, St. Paul

JULY 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Spanish Flavors Picnic
Take a delectable journey and explore the luscious flavors of Spain with Amalia’s own spin. Learn to prepare new dishes and entertain your family and friends this summer in a lake setting or in your own backyard. Menu: Camarones al Ajillo flameados con Brandy (Spanish Brandy-flamed garlic shrimp); Amalia’s Quick Paella de Pollo (Chicken and rice with Spanish chorizo, saffron, wine and rosemary); Easy Tortilla de Pimientos (Roasted bell pepper omelet); Crema con Pasas (10-minute crème brûlèe with raisins).
Cost $50.
Location: Midtown Global Market “Kitchen in the Market”, Suite 107.
Directions/parking information at: Midtown Global Market
Register at: Cooking for Fun… Seriously! LLC

Monday, July 13, 2009, 6-9 p.m.
Fast and Divine at Home
Home cooking is therapeutic for the heart and soul. With Chef Amalia’s guidance you can spend quality time with your loved ones while creating fresh, easy and delicious meals. Menu: Dobladas Mixtas (cheese-bean stuffed corn tortillas with chile pepper sauce); Pollo Asado (grilled chicken with chimichurri butter); Paltas Rellenas (seafood-stuffed avocadoes); Verduras al Horno (roasted herbed chayote squash); Postre de Frutillas (strawberries, bananas & Latin cream). Demonstration.
Register at: Cooks of Crocus Hill
Event location: 50th and France, Edina

Warmest regards,