SABOR: Kid Chef Eliana, Chef Pepín, Chef Tania Lopez & Chef Lydia Gonzalez Welch Share Fun and Easy Summer Recipes
Summer foods and dishes are alive with color, flavor, flare and crispness. Yes, lime, cilantro, lemon, orange and dill are available year-round, but they absolutely pop during the hottest of the four temperate seasons. When it's this hot, Latin chefs love nothing more than to cool down with fun and easy dishes.
Chef Lydia Gonzalez Welch, founder, chef and spokesperson at Latino Culinary Institute, shared a versatile and delicious food secret with Latin Post: "One thing that I really like doing is my fresh vinaigrettes," she said. "I make a few different ones, which are very refreshing. You can use it on pasta; you can use it on salad. I make a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. It has just a few ingredients. I use half a cup of lime juice, half a cup of canola oil, and a couple of sprigs of cilantro -- and put it in a blender. That's one of recipes I use a lot. Like I said, you can pour it over pasta; you can do a great pasta salad with a bunch of fresh veggies in there. Or, you can use it as a salad dressing. You can even use that as marinade, you can make some cilantro-lime grilled shrimp."
Cuban-born self-taught chef José Hernández, better known as Chef Pepín, was born hungry, and his food-filled upbringing provoked his success. It also led to his ongoing cooking segment on Despierta America, among many other accomplishments. He, too, shared some thoughts about his favorite summer flavors, and a quick and easy recipe.
"I like simple dishes, and we Latinos have so much to choose from ... that makes our cooking great. I love fish and I love seafood. Also, I love salads, and I love greens. I eat healthy. I'm very conscious about what I eat and how I prepare things. I like light things that are simple ... I say, if it's too difficult, go to a restaurant," the charismatic cook with the infectious laugh, Chef Pepín, said to Latin Post. "I love to cook with my people. For Latinos, everything is food. When we're happy, we'll eat; when we're sad, we eat; as well as when we want to celebrate. One thing I recommend is a pineapple flan that is very simple. Also, a mango salsa is good for the summer. It's very delicious."
MANGO SALSA (Recipe to Accompany Fish, Chicken or Beef)
1 mango, diced
¼ cup diced red peppers
2 tablespoons red onion
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
minced jalapeno (to taste)
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. lemon juice
In a glass container with lid, combine all the ingredients and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Kid Chef Eliana, the 15-year-old award-winning chef, cookbook author and radio show host shared two of her favorite summer recipes with Latin Post. An incredible Red, White & Blue Watermelon Salad and Corn & Veggie Penne Pasta, two recipes that demand fresh ingredients and pleases anyone who takes a bite.
RED, WHITE, AND BLUE WATERMELON SALAD
1 qt. blueberries
2 white peaches, diced
2 Creole tomatoes, diced
3 banana peppers, diced
1/2 large watermelon, sliced into 1 inch round slices
1 pt. yogurt cheese
1/2 tsp. jalapeño, minced
3 tbsp. basil, chopped (I used lemon basil, blue basil, and Christmas basil)
1 tsp. lemon thyme
In a large bowl, mix together blueberries, peaches, Creole tomatoes, and banana peppers. Place enough of the mixture to cover a whole slice of watermelon. In a smaller bowl, mix together yogurt cheese, jalapeño, and herbs. Drizzle yogurt cheese dressing on top of fruit mixture. Cut watermelon salad into slices like pizza. Serves many.
CORN AND VEGGIE PENNE PASTA
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 sweet peppers, diced
3 fresh corn cobs, shucked and kernels shaved
1 lb. green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Creole tomato, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked
Fresh herbs, chopped (oregano, thyme, basil, etc.)
In a large pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Sauté onions and sweet pepper in olive oil. Add corn and green beans. Cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix in penne and herbs. Serves 4-6.
Tania Lopez, founder and creator of Coqui the Chef, a device that teaches young people and their families in the South Bronx how to cook healthier meals with ingredients right from their kitchen, shared some insight about foods and flavors she enjoys during her summer hours, including her own take on mango salsa.
"Staying hydrated in the summer can be fun! So my favorite summer flavors are lemon, mint and cucumber in my water bottle. I eat fruits like grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango and of course avocado which is great for my skin," said Lopez. "When I am tanning or participating in outside activity I like to keep my skin happy and healthy, eating the right summer fruits and veggies is very important for me."
CRUNCHY MANGO SALSA
3 cups diced fresh mango
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped cucumber
1/3 cup chopped organic sliced almonds (optional)
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2/3 cup diced red onions (optional)
Juice of 3 limes
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, serve immediately. Serve with organic tortilla chips.