Between the pre and post European visits to the Andean mountains, the Latin American cuisine has withstood time and is now trending all around the world with its many influences on other cultures foods. People can savor soups, casseroles, meat and vegetable dishes and end the evening with an interesting and flavorful dessert. For the adventurous eaters you can dine on guinea pigs traditionally fried, a native delicacy of the Andes. When one thinks about the worlds food, Mexico, and Spain to name a couple of countries, are influenced by the Latin flavors, spicy, rich ingredients of Latin American Andean Mountains.
Some of the foods grown in this region include: corn, lima beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chili peppers, avocados, peanuts and chocolate. They also raised llamas, and considered guinea pigs a delicacy. When the Europeans came to the Andes they brought with them pigs, chickens, cows, goats, citrus trees and wheat and almonds. Bringing back to Europe were the tried and true cooking methods that the Natives have used such as cooking meats in a very deep whole for long periods of time.
Nowadays trendy restaurants are using ingredients like alpaca meat, grains such as quinoa, and kiwicha; kiwicha is a gluten free grain that is good for people with celiac disease. Yucca and maca, which are tubers are also being used in sophisticated ways in trendy restaurants all around the world. Tubers store energy and include potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, and dahlia. Nuevo Latin cuisine is growing in popularity at gastronomically proportions.
Due in part because of the way the population of the Andean mountains chose to pair the ingredients that they grew such as corn which is used also in southern cooking. The outside covering of tamales are made from masa, which is ground corn. Many casseroles and savory tarts have corn in them as well as a popular beverage called Chicca. Chili peppers are the most important seasoning in Latin American cooking. Peppers are known to be both hot and sweet. Ceviche is a very popular dish with peppers; some restaurants have Ceviche Bars. Latin American recipes pair the heat of peppers with the sweetness of fruits grown in the Andean Mountains such as: coconut, mango, guava, pineapple and papaya. Another staple used by the native population is cheese Queso Blanco a lightly salted, unripen cows milk. Queso Blanco is used in sauces and crumbled up in salads.
With so many herbs and spices, I am going to go to Churrascos with my husband on the weekend. For appetizers, I am going to order the Corn Smoked Crab Fingers, which is made with red peppers, jalapenos, scallions, lemon butter and yucca puffs. I will also order Pampas, which has mix greens, cotija cheese, asparagus, peppers, onion, mushrooms, fire roasted tortilla. For the main course, I will order the Filete En Salsa Jalapena; its an 8oz grilled petite filet with mild onion jalapeno crema, avocado mousse and grilled poblano cheese stuffed flauta. After all of this mouthwatering food, I dont think I will have space to eat any dessert, but if I do, I will order a tres leches cake. I will let you know of my experience soon!