Food Presentation-Vegan Dirty Rice

Hope Buhl

Food & Culture

Dr. Annemarie Perez




Food Presentation:

Dirty Rice-Vegan Style


My dirty rice dish is a recipe that always brings back childhood memories when I prepare it. My childhood was very humble but it was also full of love and great food. I am the youngest of six children whom my Mother raised and because there were so many mouths to feed my Mother always had to be creative to make food last and also to create what we thought were these grand dishes but really it was just my Mother being creative to make ends meet. This dish has always been unique to me because it was different every time and every time my Mother made it, it was delicious. The reason it was different every time was because my Mother would always cook dirty rice when our food got low and so she would use the ingredients that we had in the fridge and cabinet and she would create a master piece out of nothing.

I now prepare the many variations of this dish for my daughter and my family. It is the only dish that I have come to master; my family loves it and often request for me to make it for them. I love to make it for breakfast for my daughter because it’s quick and tasty. I scramble eggs, cheese, white onion, green onion, sausage salt, pepper and rice and she just loves it. I also make a soup out of this by preparing my own broth with tomato paste, water or vegetable stock and seasonings and just add the rice (a photo of this is attached and you can see how red and thick the sauce is).

Now that I have become a working Mom myself, I realize that rice is actually “a saving grace staple food” and what I mean by that is that rice is one of the most inexpensive foods and being that it is so cheap it keeps many bellies full across the world without breaking the bank. It made me emotional writing this paper because as a single working Mother myself of one child, I realized how hard it must have been for my Mother to have to feed six children and at the time and three grandchildren was also added to our family. I couldn’t even imagine having to do that on the income she had. So when I think of it I am both sad and proud of my Mother for having the strength and courage to even attempt such a great task. I am sad because I know it must have been very difficult for her and I can remember that a lot of the times all we had was rice and she would prepare a “sweet rice”, which was boiled and she would add sugar, butter, salt and pepper and it was just devine!

Rice is a staple food around the world and I thought it was so beautiful to research and experience the way people around the world enjoys rice as I did when I was younger and as I continue to enjoy.

Vegan Dirty Rice:


  • Jasmine rice (brand-Goya 2 cups)
  • Pinapple (1 can of dole chopped)
  • Serrano peppers (5 sliced)
  • Garlic-fresh (half clove)
  • Onion (1 white finely chopped)
  • Parsley (half cup) mix at the end of preparation.
  • Green onion (half stalk) chop finely
  • Broccoli florets (fresh stalk 2) chop small
  • Veggie bouillon, chicken bouillon or tomato bouillon for flavor and taste (2 table spoons)
  • Grape seed oil (4 table spoons)
  • Garlic powder (1 tablespoon)



  • Cook two cups of Goya Jasmine rice in a medium sized pot with two cups of water and two cups of rice: I cook it until it is almost done because you don’t want it to be mushy when you fry it at the end. Set the rice aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Chop onion, garlic, green onion and broccoli florets add to a few tablespoons of grape seed oil and sauté until tender and golden.
  • Sauté the Serrano peppers in separate skillet with a tea spoon of grape seed oil until golden or until your desired texture.
  • In the same skillet you just sautéed the Serrano peppers in add six tablespoons of grape seed oil and add in the rice and veggies
  • As you mix in all the rice and veggies, add the 2 table spoons of the bouillon of your choice and also add in the 1 table spoon of garlic powder
  • Add in the parsley (half cup and mix in).
  • Mix really well so that all the veggies and seasonings are mixed evenly throughout the rice.


Jambalaya posted for Donald Tucker

Jambalaya: “The word is said to be a compound word of Jambon from the French meaning ham, and Aya meaning rice in Africa, as there were many slaves in the Louisiana at the time. Common belief is that it originated from the Spanish Paella, which has also transformed in the United States to a dish called Spanish rice.” (Kitchen Project)  Although the exact origins of the dish are not known for sure, the most commonly held belief is that it was the result of a variety of ethnicities mixing in the port of New Orleans.  Stanley Dry noted that the earliest known recipes were found in two cookbooks from the city published in 1885. Unfortunately it was not common for cooks to add a place and date to recipes during this era, so it is impossible to know if any pre-dated these recipes. (Veetee Blog UK)

New Orleans is famous for many different one-pot meals such as etouffee and gumbo; and jambalaya is one of the main ones that come to mine.  It is primarily a rice dish with a variety of smoked meats, (ham, chicken, sausage and seafood) seasonings and spices usually to the liking of the one preparing the dish.  Some versions of the recipe for jambalaya have even used boar, turkey, venison, oysters, duck and alligator.  It was created by those living in the Creole and Cajun regions of Louisiana with a variety of versions based on the region.  The region also played a part in the color of the jambalaya where the Creoles made it with a red hue and Cajuns would have a brown-earthy color. There can be as many versions of Jambalaya as there are cooks that prepare it.  Jambalaya like gumbo came about through necessity of having something to eat.  Whatever ingredient was readily available for a meal it was thrown in the pot and became jambalaya in this instance?  Many living in the lower bayou areas used game from those waters.

To get simple idea of what it takes to make the basic recipe for jambalaya it starts with a cast-iron pot, the tool of choice for most cooks preparing this dish.  “We don’t know when cast-iron was first used, but it has held a revered place in household kitchens for centuries” especially for a one-pot meal like jambalaya. (Hobby Farms Johnson)   The “trinity” stock was prepared which are celery, onion and bell pepper.  The choice of meat for the jambalaya is prepared and lastly the rice is added.

Jambalaya today is still a favorite in the state of Louisiana and a big part of family and social gatherings.  There are annual contests, cook-offs and a festival in many parts of Louisiana celebrating this dish.  The festival is held in the city of Gonzales, which was proclaimed as the “Jambalaya capital of the world” by the governor of the state in 1968.  This cheap, filling and delicious dish called Jambalaya is a unique and uniting dish that is likely to be enjoyed by generations to come. (Veetee)

In my house jambalaya is a happy dish, a dish that is not on the table every week like chicken and mashed potatoes.  Jambalaya is a dish that is rarely made, maybe 3 or 4 times per year if that.  I like preparing it for house parties.  If you told folks you were preparing jambalaya or gumbo you can guarantee that they would show up for the party.  So with all that said I hope that after tasting jambalaya it will make its way into your homes and kitchen tables. Enjoy!

Introduction (Food and Culture)

Good Evening Everyone,


My name is Crystal Rodriguez, I’m an undergrad student here at Dominguez Hills who transferred from Los Angeles Harbor College. I was in the PACE program before transferring, therefore I decided to join the IDS/PACE program here at Dominguez. It’s convenient for those who have a full-time job and want to pursue their education. As an IDS major, my area of concentration is Environmental Studies. I love the natural world therefore I decided to focus on understanding the world and the implications of individual, community, and government actions on the environment.

I am an enthusiastic, creative, and caring individual has a passion for dance, culture, nature, food and art. At this present time I am a dancer (danzante) for a group called ‘Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc’. As an indigenous young woman, I have realized that the world has been putting such labels on the roots. The world of jungle, you can either run or fight your way. The souls of my ancestors peer out from behind my mask skin, and through our dances and foods they live again. We can’t forget where we came from, and that is why my group members and I organize to preserve our dances, food, and culture. With that said, I am looking forward to learning more about other food and cultures. I am interested in knowing how others have managed to keep their traditions alive through their dishes.

Cook Book Entry (Chicken Mole)

Mexican Mole from Scratch

As a child I spent a lot of quality time with my grandmother, in fact she practically raised me. My mother was a single teenage mother who was obligated to spend a lot of her time working, trying to make ends meet. Since I spent most of my time with my lovely grandmother, she was the one who took the responsibility to make sure my needs were being met. In other words, she made sure my belly was always full. My grandmother would always be willing to cook me any meal I craved, she loved to cook for me. Not only because I was her very first grandchild, but because I wasn’t a very good eater when I was growing up.  One of favorite dishes I would constantly ask her to make me was her Mexican Chicken Mole (from scratch), a rich savory sauce that has complex layered flavors. Her recipe included:

10-12 Chile Pasilla (stems and seeds removed)                3 Green Tomatoes

8 Chile California  (stems and seeds removed)                 Peanuts (a handful)

4-6 Chile de Arbol ( Spicy)                                               ¼ cup Almonds

1/2 cup Sesame Seeds                                                       2 Garlics

2 tsp Pumpkin Seeds (Peeled)                                          2 Bay Leaves

1/3 Onion                                                                          1 Toasted Bread

Water or Chicken Broth                                                    ½ to 1/3 cup Canola Oil

½ Ibarra Chocolate                                                           ½ Platano Macho

Salt (to taste)

In brief, I was always amazed at all the ingredients she included in her tasteful Mole sauce; I would’ve never guessed what was in her Mole. Most people I know, typically cook with the Mexican Dona Maria Mole sauce that is pre-made and sold in Mexican grocery stores. I occasionally cook with the pre-made Mexican Dona Maria, but I add other ingredients to make it spicy.  However, it is nowhere near as tasteful as my grandmothers Chicken Mole. In fact, it is rare when I come across someone who cooks with precise ingredients, like my Grandmothers homemade Mexican Mole. This particular dish is one of my favorite meals my grandmother cooks because the recipe has been passed on from generation to generation within my family. For that reason, she refused to share her step by step instructions.

As an illustration, an Oaxacan-Style Mole Sauce:

  • Manteca(pork lard) or canola oil
  • 10-12 chile pasilla, stems and seeds removed
  • 8 chile mulato, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 full teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • salt to taste



  1. Heat 1/3 to 1/2 cup oil to medium heat. After a few minutes, add two of the dried chiles. Cook for just about 20 to 30 seconds per side. They will become brighter in color at first, then start to darken in color. As soon as they become darker, take them out and transfer to a plate. Repeat until all peppers are done.  Once peppers are done, break them into smaller pieces(they should be very brittle) and cover them with boiling water. Let them steep.
  2. In that same pan, add a little more oil and heat to medium/low. Add the cumin seeds, oregano and garlic. Cook stirring often until the spices and garlic become aromatic and slightly toasted. Remove from heat.
  3. Drain the water from the chiles and transfer them to the blender. Add 2 cups of fresh water or chicken broth and all of the remaining ingredients, including the oil that you cooked the spices in. I prefer not to use the water that the chiles were soaking in. It can be bitter at times. Blend on high until smooth. Taste for salt. Strain sauce through a wire mesh strainer.

1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano                                1/4 cup blanched almonds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds                                              1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon anise                                                       1/2 cup sesame seeds

2 whole cloves                                                            1 large roma tomato

6 to 8 peppercorns                                                       2 to 3 chile serrano

1 inch piece of Mexican cinnamon                             6 to 8 cloves garlic

1/2 large white onion                                                  1/3 cup raisins

2 corn tortillas                                                             1 1/2 tbsp. peanuts

1 disc Mexican chocolate                                            8 to 10 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper (to taste)



  1. In one skillet, combine the almonds and pumpkin seeds. Heat to medium and add just a drizzle of oil. When they begin to sizzle, stir as needed and cook just until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Wipe out that same skillet and add the sesame seeds. Heat to medium and toast until golden in color. Stir as needed. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet. Reserve 1/2 of the toasted sesame seeds for garnish on the mole.
  3. In the skillet, add the spices and heat to medium. When they become aromatic, stir often. Toast for just a few minutes and remove from heat. Wipe out the skillet. Again and finally in this same skillet, add the tomato, onion, serrano and garlic. Drizzle with a little oil and heat to medium. Cook until they begin to char in some spots and cook through. Remove the garlic after 15 minutes. If you feel comfortable toasting several ingredients at once using a few pans, you could do that as well.
  4. Using a coffee grinder or mini chopper, add the toasted nuts.  Grind by pulsing until it resembles a thick paste. Set side. Using a coffee grinder (I use mine strictly for spices) add the toasted spices and seeds. Grind until you have a fine paste/powder. Set aside.
  5. Once everything is toasted, roasted and charred, add the ground seeds, nuts and spices to the blender. Also add the charred tomato, onion and serrano. Remove skins from garlic and add them, along with the raisins, charred tortillas and peanut butter. Add 2 cups of broth. Blend on high until smooth. For a smoother sauce, strain sauce through wire strainer and set aside.
  6. In a large oven pot, add 2 tablespoons of pork lard (Manteca) or oil of choice, and heat to medium. After a few minutes when oil is hot, add the strained chile sauce (sauce from dried chiles). Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the other blended sauce and 6 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the Mexican chocolate. Stir as needed to melt chocolate. Cover 3/4 of the way and continue simmering the mole sauce for a good hour or two. The sauce will become darker and thicker as it cooks and reduces. Add extra broth (2 or more cups) depending on how thick you like it. Taste for salt along the way (, 2016).

Throughout the years and throughout the nation this Mexican Mole dish has been modified by many and continues to be modified. The sauce is made with numerous ingredients, chili peppers being one of the main ingredients. The original Mole is a dark brown or red sauce that is typically served over meat (preferably chicken). However, Mexican Mole sauces are well-known to come in a variety of flavors and colors. Mole can be anything from soup-like too thick paste like sauce and can be either bright green, brown, red, yellow, or black depending on the region. The different styles of Mole sauce depend on the ingredients you add; the dried chile peppers you decide to use determine the color and taste of the Mole sauce. Also, one can either toast or fry their ingredients which might make a slight different in taste.

Furthermore, Mole is a Mexican sauce that is originated in Mexico, in the states of Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, and Puebla. The dish is recognized as a culinary symbol of Mestizaje (a combination of both Indigenous and European heritage) due to the ingredients the sauce contained. The Mole sauce has a mixture of ingredients that represent either the indigenous or European heritage. This dish was inspired during the Colonial period, a period where people lived in panic because they lived in poverty. Giving them no other option but to gather the little they had and cook it together. For example, day-old bread, nuts, chocolate, spices, and chili peppers were mixed together to create an appetizing sauce to go with a turkey meal. Since the term Mole was an ancient word for mix the Mexican dish was given then name Mole (Mole, Wikipedia, 2016).

One of the main ingredients Chile Pasilla is a dark dried chili pepper that is typically narrow and long. It is recognized for its dark wrinkled skin; it is commonly 6 to 8 inches long and 1.0 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Pasilla is a species that falls under Capsicum annuum, a species native to South America and North America. This chili pepper is sold in the United States, United Kingdom, and Mexico; you can purchase the pepper whole (fresh or dry) or in powdered form. The Pasilla Chile is mild to medium-hot and is normally used to prepare sauces similar to Mexican Mole (Pasilla, Wikipedia, 2016).


Another ingredient that makes a difference in the color of the mole is the Ibarra chocolate. Ibarra is a Mexican chocolate produced by the company Chocolatera de Jalisco of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. This Mexican chocolate company produces several other chocolate products however, they are known throughout international markets for their famous Ibarra table chocolate. The Ibarra chocolate is about ½ inches thick and 3 ¼ inches in diameter it is shaped in a circle and molded into 8 pieces. This chocolate contains cinnamon flavoring, cocoa liquor (not cocoa butter), vegetable fat, sugar, and soy lecithin. It is typically used to make hot cocoa in a traditional Mexican form (Ibarra, Wikipedia,2016).

In addition, almonds seeds are also included into the Mole sauce to give it a slightly different kick to the favoring of the sauce. Almonds are edible seeds that are widely cultivated from the Almond tree itself. The tree produces a fruit by the name of Majorca which has an outer hull and hard shell with a seed inside (almond seed). These almond seeds can be purchased unshelled or shelled. The blanched almonds have to be treated with hot water to soften the seed coat given one access to the white embryo. In addition, the seed is a very nutritionally dense food; a good source of energy, carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, almonds contain campesterol and stigmasterol, which have been proven to lower cholesterol properties. Lastly, the United States is recognized as the largest almond seed producer. The production is based in California, making almonds the third leading agricultural product in California. In fact, California is known as the dominant supplier of almonds (Almond, Wikipedia, 2016).

To conclude, my grandmother’s Mexican Chicken Mole is a dish that has great significance in my life. It brings nothing but good vibrations and feelings. Every time I eat this particular dish, I recall my childhood. I picture my grandmother in the kitchen, wearing her bright green leafed apron, speaking to me as she takes her sweet time mixing all the ingredients together. By this I mean, the memory of my grandmother making Mole for me is the reason why this dish is so significant to me.








“Easy Mole Sauce Recipe -Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, MA.” Ixtapa

Mexican Grill & Cantina. N.p., 2013. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen. “Chicken Mole : Food Network Kitchen : Food Network.” Recipe : Food Network Kitchen : Food Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2016.


Schonwetter, Norma. “Mexican Chicken Mole.” MyRecipes. N.p., 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.


Hughes, Chuck. “Estella’s Mole Poblano Chicken : Recipes : Cooking Channel.” Recipes : Cooking Channel. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.


Schnozzles. “Authentic Mole Recipe.” SparkRecipes. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.


“Mole Sauce.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.


“Pasilla.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.


“Almond.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.


@almonds. “History of Almonds.” Almond Board of California. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.

<> N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.


Food Presentation Assignment


Ibarra is a Mexican chocolate produced by the company Chocolatera de Jalisco of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. This Mexican chocolate company produces several other chocolate products however, they are known throughout international markets for their famous Ibarra table chocolate. The Ibarra chocolate is about ½ inches thick and 3 ¼ inches in diameter it is shaped in a circle and molded into 8 pieces. This chocolate contains cinnamon flavoring, cocoa liquor (not cocoa butter), vegetable fat, sugar, and soy lecithin. It is typically used to make hot cocoa in a traditional Mexican form. To prepare a cup of Ibarra hot cocoa one needs two pieces of Ibarra chocolate, milk or water.

For example, my grandmother has cooked with this particular chocolate, Ibarra, for years. She does tend to make the traditional Mexican hot cocoa, but she has learned to make another type of traditional drink that goes by the name of Champurrado. This chocolate beverage taste similar to hot cocoa, however it has several other ingredients. My grandmother’s champurrado recipe contains milk, water, cinnamon, Ibarra chocolate, evaporated milk, sugar, flour, and vanilla. One can add alcohol if desired, but my grandmother never has added alcohol to her champurrado.

The chocolate based atole, champurrado, connects me to my childhood in so many ways. For one, my grandmother whom I adore is the only one who knows how to make this chocolate beverage. As a child, I always looked forward to the Holidays because it was the only time I got to taste my grandmother’s delicious champurrado. In fact, it was my favorite thing to drink served alongside my spicy chicken tamales. Not only did it the hot cup of champurrado keep my hands warm, but it kept me warm inside. I recall sitting around the fire, trying to stay warm on a cold Christmas night, with my family sharing a cup hot cup of champurrado. We sat around the fire for hours reminiscing and sharing wonderful thoughts and laughter’s. The following morning we would wake and warm-up the leftover champurrado and serve it again with tamales. A simple breakfast, yet my favorite childhood dish.

Unfortunately, I no longer have much connection to this traditional drink. My family doesn’t come together like we use to in the past therefore, my grandmother doesn’t make champurrado anymore. It is rare when I have a cup of champurrado. If I want to have a cup of champurrado I have to ask my grandmother to make me a personal batch. I have tried my friend’s mother champurrado and it just doesn’t taste the same as my grandmothers. Champurrado can be a challenging recipe to master. For one thing, one can over cook the flour which can cause the champurrado to harden once it cools. An instant mix for champurrado is actually sold in Mexican grocery stores but of course it doesn’t taste anywhere near by grandmothers delightful champurrado.  My grandmother’s Champurrado will always take me back to my childhood years where my family was happy and complete during the Holidays.

Cookbook Index


These are the cookbook entries / final project of the IDS 336 Food and Culture class for Fall 2016 at California State University Dominguez Hills.


Stuffed Deviled Eggs


Big Mama’s Hot Water Corn Bread

Spam Musubi

Vegan Dirty Rice

Avgolemono Soup


Sopa Verde

Gnocci with Grandma’s Sauce

French Toast

Gumbo 1

Gumbo 2

Guatemalan Tamales 

Butter Chicken

Molé Mexicano

Chicken Mole

Lobster Street Tacos

Tacos Dorados de Papa


Fried Chicken


Cajun Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Tostadas 1

Tostadas 2

Cuban Christmas Feast

Zuppa Toscana

Pasta with My Grandmother’s Sauce


Christmas Shoofly Pie

Milk Gelatins

Arroz Con Leche

Homemade Apple Sauce

Wait! before you roll your eyes…

My name is Melky Aleman.  I served as an active-duty Marine from 1998-2002.  In 2013 I obtained my Associate Degree in Sociology from East Los Angeles College.  Currently, I am a Senior at California State University Dominguez Hills and I will be graduating in May 2017.  I am proud to be a Labor Studies major.  Organized Labor has been at the forefront of all major social change in the United States.  In relation to this class, the poor (aka the laborer) is responsible for the world’s famous, and over priced, cuisine.  My goal in this class was to help everyone appreciate that.

I. love. to. cook.  I am the main meal-maker in the home.  I especially love to try new things and try to recreate them, at home.  My wife and I have three kids and so we are busy and on a budget.  Recreating restaurant quality food at home saves us a lot of money.  My favorite food this week, is the classic Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.  But wait!  before you roll your eyes, picture this:  A classic PB & J, but once put together, cook it like you would a grilled cheese with butter.  Seriously, you will never look at another PB&J the same.  You are welcome.

My mother is from El Salvador, so I grew up eating all things Salvi.  Growing up in L.A. however, I was surrounded food from all over the planet.  I grew up in the mid-city area filled with Black Americans, Filipinos, Koreanos and all dark skinned folks from all Spanish speaking countries!  I married into a Mexican family and am still learning. My wife and I have ate our way through many countries on the planet.  Food is everything.


The Tostada

Melky Aleman

Dr. A. Perez

Food and Culture

Food Analysis: The Tostada

                My tostada recipe is an homage to my Mother who’s resilience and social improvisation made me who I am today.  Not wanting to burden me with her adult problems, she ensure I got what I needed, a warm meal every day.  Not having much, she would “figure it out”.  She would cook a full chicken and make it last a week.  The first meal was a regular chicken dish with traditional Latino sides.  The second was a variation derived from the plucked chicken meat.  It would sometimes be taquitos or a quesadilla.  But, when we were really lucky, it would be the tostada!  The fourth meal would be a vegetable soup, based from the bone broth.  And Friday, well, whatever was left over from the week! It might be one tostada with a side of vegetable soup.

Nutritional Analysis

The Tostada contains anywhere from 170 – 330 calories, depending on how the actual fried tortilla, meat and beans are prepared and cooked.  Using lard at any point will exponentially grow the caloric intake. Sodium will also fluctuate.  Pre-made, store bought, products will always be higher in sodium because it is used as a preservative.  Store bought salsa, tostadas and canned beans will have 300% more sodium than home made.  Tostada toppings can help balance some of the bad.  Many people will mix their lettuce with kale and finely chopped celery.  Others, will use reduced fat yogurt instead of sour cream.

Political-Economic Analysis

 The world’s cuisine, served at restaurants and sometimes as the main headliner of a festival, comes from the poor and is inspired by necessity!  Working class folks who’s first survival instinct is flexibility.  That flexibility is challenged exponentially as the family grows and more sacrifices have to be made.  It is off these people’s backs that entrepreneurs can mass produce their food, exploit it, and charge 400% more than what it cost to make.  This is Capitalism at work; and, Capitalism absolutely needs an exploited workforce for it to thrive.   The Tostada cost approx $.80 to make, but you can get one at Broken Spanish in DTLA, for $13.

The Burrito.  $12.87 for the Quesarito Burrito (Chipotle secret menu). The burrito is a product of the labor force.  Poor workers would wrap meat and whatever other leftovers they had into a large tortilla (also made at home) to-go.  Without access to refrigeration and too far from the farm house for a quick trip back for lunch, the Burrito became the most efficient way to “take your lunch” with you.

Fried Chicken.  Fried chicken was introduced to the Southern States by Scottish-Irish Immigrants and that’s when African slaves made it their own.  History aside, how do you feed an entire family with one chicken?  You bread it– Increasing the calorie count and obviously flavor.  The same recipe was given to Catfish, creating a separate famous southern dish.  Chicken is one of the cheapest meats available.  Drumsticks are frequently put on sale at $.70 a pound.  At Ad Hoc,a restaurant in Yountville, CA, a full fried chicken family meal runs you up to $200—something about the “special batter”, yeah whatever.

Gumbo. The modern version of Gumbo is a result of the poor getting together trying to have a good time with everybody bringing a little something to the party and throwing it “in the pot”.  Everybody eats. This hodgepodge of a dish may include chicken, ham, bacon, oysters, crab, shrimp and beef. Again, EVERYBODY eats! Harold and Belle’s will gladly feed your entire family, at $18 a bowl.

Lobster.  Seafood is supposed to be a poorman’s food.  So as long as you have a hook and some string, you can catch and cook your own seafood.  During peak season, Lobster was approximately $3.69 a pound, in Maine. You can pay up to $16.29 for one Maine Lobster TAIL (just the tail) at Red Lobster.




Arroz Con Leche

Growing up I was always amazed at my mother’s ability to mentally retain recipes and execute them flawlessly without ever consulting her cookbook.  Nearly hopeless in the kitchen, God help me if I don’t have a paper printout of the dish with precise, step-by-step instructions.  In the past I have tried to recreate a recipe, oftentimes one that I have watched her prepare countless times, and I inevitably forget something of vast importance.  This recipe, however, is one that I have never failed to prepare properly (as long as I have my notes to glance at!)

Literally translated from Spanish as “Rice with Milk,” the main ingredients are white rice, milk, heavy cream, and sugar.  Arroz con Leche is a simple dish that can be eaten at any time during the year, but is most often consumed in the colder months.  The Latin American answer to the English Rice Pudding, this delectable concoction can be served hot or cold and is typically garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks and a sprig of mint if you want to be fancy.

Although not the most nutritious meal to consume, it is similar to other Latin dishes in that it is calorie-dense and meant to keep you full for many hours.  Rice, when paired with a hearty serving of beans, combines to make a perfect protein and can completely take the place of meat.  This is beneficial to many Mexican residents, both in the past and the present,  as the level of poverty is relatively high, especially in rural areas.  Unfortunately, the lack of portability of this dish does not allow it be served while on the go or while working out in the fields.


6 – 2 inches of a cinnamon stick

2 – 2×1 inch strip of orange rind

5 cups rice

8 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

3 cup sugar


1/4 cup raisins

Ground cinnamon, for garnish

Add cinnamon sticks, orange rind, and water to a large saucepan.  Boil for 10-15 mins to release flavor.

Add rice and return to a boil  Once the desired temperature has been reached, stir once and turn down to medium/low heat.  Simmer 20 minutes.

Plain white rice, a staple of Latin communities

Let stand for 5-10 minutes to absorb all the liquid.

Remove cinnamon sticks and orange rind.  Fluff to break up any lumps.  DO NOT mash.

Rice after it has been cooked with orange peels and cinnamon

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the milk and sugar. Be mindful to scrape the bottom of the pan to avoid burning the rice.  Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, (10 to 15 minutes.)

Add milk and stir constantly. Rice will absorb liquid

Add heavy cream.  Simmer over medium low heat, stirring frequently, (10 to 15 minutes.)  If desired, add raisins during this time.

After heavy cream is added, continue stirring

This dish can be served warm or cold, garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.

Serve and enjoy!


Argueta, Jorge, and Fernando Vilela. Arroz con leche: un poema para cocinar = Rice pudding: a cooking poem. Toronto: Groundwood , 2016. Print.

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“Arroz con Leche – Hispanic Culture | Latino Culture | Latin American Culture.” Hispanic Culture | Latino Culture | Latin American Culture. N.p., 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

Cuevas, Dr. Marco Polo Hernández. “West Africa and the Origin of Mexican Rice Cultivation and Rice Gastronomy.” West Africa and the Origin of Mexican Rice Cultivation and Rice Gastronomy. N.p., 1970. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

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“Rice: The gift of the other gods.” Rice: The gift of the other gods : Mexico Cuisine. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

“Spanish Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche) – Spanish Recipes | don Quijote.” DonQuijote. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

“The Spanish Arroz con Leche.” United Planet Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

“What is the history of Arroz con Leche?” Reference. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.


Tacos Dorados de Papa

Tacos Dorados de Papa

My mother use to make tacos dorados de papa (fried potato tacos) a lot for us when we were children. I remember that the people from church would always ask her to make them for the parish festival or for parish food sales. She would also change it up a bit and add chicken to the potatoes or make them of ground beef. She would roll them up and called them flautas (some people call them taquitos), but I found it easier just to fold the tortilla in half and make a quesadilla shape and not have to worry about or deal with the flauta coming undone. Some people put a toothpick to make them stick, but I think that looks disgusting, plus, taking it out is not that easy and biting into one is not fun. I just make my tacos dorados stick with the melted mozzarella cheese. Although the tacos are delicious, I try not to make them too often because, for some reason, I always manage to get myself burned. After making them for so many years, you’d think I’d have it thought out by now – go figure! Another subconscious reason I may not like making flautas is because when we were kids, my mom made ground beef flautas and they were just coming out of oil and had to cool down before we could eat them. Well, I’m guessing my older brother was quite hungry because he picked one up and was trying to cool it off by blowing into it and he blew a little too hard and the hot ground beef came flying in my face! Of course, I got burned by the hot meat and I was not at all amused. It was not a pretty moment for me, but my siblings had a great laugh and I also got a glimpse of my mother trying to hold back her laughter. Even though it was not a great experience for me, we are reminded about the incident when my mom makes flautas and now we just laugh about it. My family and coworkers are fond of my tacos which makes me feel good because I don’t cook too often, but when I do, it’s big and most of the time it’s good. Over the years, I have added toppings or different seasonings to my tacos, but it all started watching my mother make her delicious flautas. This is a meal she has passed down to me and a meal I can pass on to my children.

I would like to focus on one of the main ingredients – the potato. The potato is originally from the Andean mountain region in South America – the mountains are located on the western part from top to bottom. Spanish explorers discovered it and took it to Europe. Irish immigrants brought it to the United States in the 18th century, but large scale cultivation didn’t occur until the 19th century. Today, China, Russian Federation, Poland, India, and the United States are the main producers. Potatoes are grown commercially in 30 states, but Idaho grows much more than any other state. Although China is the top producer of potatoes in the world (95,987,500 tons), the United States is above many others in fifth place (19,843,900 tons). It is considered a healthy food only when you lay off the fattening toppings, and oil. I don’t think too many Americans eat the healthy version. Although Mexico is not on the map (at least not on the list of the top 25 countries) for being know to grow potatoes, flautas are said and known to be a Mexican dish.


I present to you now, my recipe for making tacos dorados de papa. I usually make a big batch of about 30-40 and takes about an hour and a half. I begin by boiling the water for the potatoes. While the water is boiling, wash and scrub about 6 russet potatoes, stick a knife into them a couple times and then toss them in. While they are in the pot, heat up the oil in another pan and begin to crumble the cotija cheese or queso fresco and cut up the lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado into slices (or make guacamole). When the potatoes are soft, drain them (keep the skin on) and put in the mozzarella cheese (there really isn’t a ratio to the potatoes so you can use as much cheese as you like – I usually use a bit more than half of the 16oz bar or use it all if I won’t be using it for something else), mash them together into a paste (you can use the bean masher for this) and add seasoning (For this recipe, I use Malher or Maggi – Central American seasonings for chicken stew, but feel free to change it up and use what you like – salt and pepper will also work). There are recipes where the tortillas are warmed by putting them in the microwave – that’s a no no, tortillas should be warmed on a comal (flat griddle) and then the potato paste is put on one side of the tortilla, folded in half and in they go into the hot oil. Caution: Please remember that the oil has to be hot, otherwise, the taco gets soggy and will not cook very well. Also, don’t throw the tacos into the oil – you will get burned! Use the spatula to slide them into the oil. Have a plate ready with a couple paper towels over it and when the tacos are a golden-brown color on both sides, take them out and let any excess oil run off. Once they have cooled, they are ready to eat with the desired toppings. I recommend that you eat them while they are warm, otherwise they don’t taste too great. The good thing about tacos de papa is that you can reheat them on the comal or toaster oven.

My salsa verde is usually done in advance, because I make big batches and freeze the excess in Ziploc bags. Although this is a recipe for tacos dorados, I will throw in my recipe for the salsa that is drizzled on top of the tacos. This is super easy and ANYONE can do it – takes about 10 minutes on high heat. Before giving you my recipe, I would like to tell you a bit about where salsa originated. The history of Salsa (combination of chilies, tomatoes or tomatillos and other spices) can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas as far back as 3000 BC. It was first called salsa by the Spanish priest and missionary Alonso de Molina in 1571. I move on now to my salsa recipe. I make my salsa quite spicy, so if you’re not comfortable with the heat, use different chilies. Begin by boiling the water. While the water boils, peel and wash about 15-20 tomatillos, cut off the ends of 8-10 habanero chilies, and peel a whole garlic. Toss all that into the pot of boiling water and wait until everything is boiled. You can let it cool before draining to avoid any burning, and then put all the ingredients in the blender and add salt to taste.


Although I always get burned some way or another from making these tacos dorados, I continue to make them because it reminds me of home, my childhood, and because they are very good – they’re a comfort food. If you are having a gathering, these tacos are a great meal – they are also inexpensive to make. If you are pressed for time on the day of, you can also prepare the tacos the day before and put them in the refrigerator and cook when you are ready.

Ingredients for the Tacos de Papa



Mozzarella Cheese

Vegetable Oil




Sour Cream


Avocado or Guacamole (optional)

Shredded Chicken, Ground Beef, or Ham (optional)

Grated or Fresh Cheese (optional)



Ingredients for Salsa Verde


Habaneros Chilies





Alena Bosse and Michael Boland, Kansas State University. Potato Profile. Revised April 2014 by Shannon Hoyle, AgMRC, Iowa State University AgMRC (Agriculture Marketing Center). Accessed 15 Nov. 2016.


Food Editorial Co. The yummy food guide. Accessed 19 Nov. 2016


Garcia, Edith. “Boiling Potatoes.” 2016. JPEG file.


Garcia, Edith. “Golden Brown Tacos Dorados.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Ingredients for Spicy Green Salsa.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Main Ingredients for Tacos de Papa.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Potato Paste.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Spicy Green Salsa.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Tacos Dorados de Papa.” 2016. JPEG file


Jackie@WifeLifeKitchen. Mexican Potato Tacos (Tacos de Papa). Accessed 19 Nov. 2016


Potato Pro. Top 25 Potato Producing Countries Accessed 15 Nov. 2016 The History of Salsa Sauce. Accessed 19 Nov. 2016.


The World’s Healthiest Foods – Potatoes Accessed 15 Nov. 2016