Southern and Latino Recipes: Common Ground

Food and Travel,International Food,Regional Food
September 14, 2011

A celebrated cookbook author brings together the best of the American South and Latin America in one unique approach to flavor and food.

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Matt Hulsman/dcubeststudios
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“Hola y'all,” is Sandra Gutierrez's favorite greeting to folks who visit her kitchen. This simple phrase has also become the cookbook author and instructor's family motto—a sort of common ground between the two diverse cultures that collide in her kitchen, on her table and in her life.

Gutierrez grew up in a world of blended cultures, moving from the U.S. to Guatemala as a girl, where she learned to balance both cultures' languages and histories. Of course food was no exception to Gutierrez's mix of traditions. Special occasions in her home were as likely to feature Fiambre—a Guatemalan salad made from pickled vegetables, deli meats, pigs' feet, sausages, cheeses and olives—or a Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings.

Years later, Gutierrez returned to the U.S. to attend college and begin a family of her own. North Carolina felt like home, but without the fresh chiles, died corn husks and other Latin American ingredients she'd been used to, Gutierrez was forced to adapt again. She began substituting traditional Southern ingredients to recreate familiar flavors and fell in love with Southern food.

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The New Southern-Latino Table combines Gutierrez's experiences as she shares original recipes, cooking tips and insights into a movement that blends the culinary traditions of more than twenty Latin American countries. But what more can we say that you couldn't discover by trying a few of these dishes for yourself? Here are three recipes from The New Southern-Latino Table to give you a taste of Southern-Latino cuisine.

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

This tender chicken is wrapped in delicate corn tortillas and baked under a bubbly sauce flavored with cilantro and chiles.

Coconut Rice

Coconut and rice are a classic combination in Latin American cuisine.

Pecan Rum Cakes with Figs

Every bite of this rich sweet cake delivers the exotic taste of figs and spices and a satisfying crunch of pecans.