Hispanic Cuisine in Their Heritage
Hispanic cuisine remains one of my favorites, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit with people who share that delight. I enjoyed spending a few hours with chef Ryan Rodriguez, his wife Carmina, and little son, Lucas. Ryan and his family live locally, in Lancaster Pennsylvania. His father is Puerto Rican and his wife’s parents are Colombian and Ecuadorian. Not only do they have a beautiful heritage of Hispanic cuisine, but both of them share a love of culinary arts. In fact, they met each other while studying at Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts. How romantic is that!
An offshoot of YTI, the Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts has earned ACF (American Culinary Federation) Exemplary status. It’s so exciting that local aspiring chefs can get training so close to home. Our area has so much to offer in so many ways. Hooray for Lancaster County.
Hispanic Cuisine…. and More
Ryan and Carmina have such a combined and colorful culinary background. Their skills stretch much broader than their heritage. We look forward to tasting more of their family recipes as well as their own fusion creations. But this time we were wanting a Latino flavor experience.
Ryan was our host and chef for this session, and he didn’t disappoint. He chose a very simple recipe to highlight his flair for Hispanic cuisine. At first I wondered how he would make a breakfast burrito wrap that would outshine any of the ones we so often enjoy. But I was ready to let him try. All I can say is he definitely won me over. Sometimes the simplest recipe, made with top ingredients and extra care, can really pack a wow factor. And his did.
Fresh Ingredients; Attention to Detail
Like any good chef, Ryan had selected fresh ingredients and already had them prepped when we arrived. The room smelled like cilantro and I could tell from the start we were in for a treat. He chopped his cilantro, leaves and stems, in a food processor, thus getting all of the flavor and the aroma. He added only sour cream and salt before processing again until smooth. Ryan set this aside and I was already wanting to stick my finger in the bowl for a taste. (which I did when he wasn’t looking. Yum.)
Latin cuisine includes many ingredients that I enjoy. Cilantro, queso fresco, sazon, adobo, tomatoes, beans, and chorizos often make their appearances. I saw all of these laid out on his wooden cart. Plus of course, our own Nature’s Yoke free range eggs!
Black beans and onion were simmering on the back burner with sazon and adobo. Can’t live without these seasonings at our house. I’ve switched to Badia’s msg-free products such as Sazon Tropical for my Hispanic cuisine. If it’s not at your local grocery store or bodego, you can find it on here on Amazon.
For his huevos rancheros, Ryan removed the casing from the chorizo and cooked it in a dry pan, since it has its own fat content. He drained it and left it on medium while whipping up four of our own Nature’s Yoke free range eggs in a separate bowl. He scrambled these into the chorizo….with a bit of flair, I must say. :)
Time to “Wrap it Up”
Ryan moved to his wooden cart (I want one!) to prepare the wrap. He had softened a tortilla ahead of time. Now he piled on his egg mixture, beans, and fresh chopped tomatoes. Crumbled Queso Fresco and that luscious cilantro sour cream were added. He deftly folded in the ends (no fumbling like when I do it) then rolled it away from himself. I’m thinking he could do this in his sleep.
Seal in the Flavor and Enjoy!
Ryan put a little oil into his pan. We had to get a shot of this simply because we loved his oil container. Don’t you love it? Added to the whole feel. He then gave the wrap a quick sear, moved it to the serving area and topped with a few pieces of fresh cilantro. He called it Huevos Rancheros Burrito Wrap. Burrito AND wrap? Makes sense because today when you order a burrito it is sometimes covered in sauce, or very soft and needs to be eaten with a fork. This one could be picked up, so you had the best of both worlds.
I had planned on eating one of the halves but embarrassed myself (and possibly the photographer) by eating the whole thing. And I couldn’t resist more of his cilantro sour cream on the side. Incredibly delicious. No problem. He simply made another one. Or two.
Find the full recipe here. Ryan, Carmina, and Lucas, we enjoyed the food and the company. Can’t wait til next time.