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Corn pancakes

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Corn Pancakes (Cachapas de Jojoto - Venezuela)

This is commonly used as a bread or wrapper with any number of dishes, just as Mexican Americans use tortillas.

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 cup fresh, canned or frozen (defrosted) corn kernels
Olive oil (for frying)

Mix together cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
Blend the half-and-half, buttermilk and egg in another mixing bowl.
Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients, then fold in the corn kernels.

Heat approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Stir the batter so that the kernels and cornmeal rise to the top.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into the skillet.
Repeat until you have 4 or 5 pancakes in the skillet.
As soon as bubbles form on the pancakes and their edges brown, flip them over and fry until golden on the other side, about 30 to 45 seconds.
Continue with remaining batter, frying only 4 or 5 pancakes at a time and adding olive oil when necessary.

Makes 18 to 20 pancakes.

Avocado Cream soup

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Avocado Cream Soup (Sopa de Aguacate)

3 large ripe avocados, peeled, halved, seeded and diced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 cups chicken stock, fresh or canned
1/4 cup pale dry sherry (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon round white pepper
3 corn tortillas, quartered and fried until crisp

Purée the diced avocados in 3 batches, combining 1/3 of the dice and 1/2 cup of cream at a time in a blender container and blending at high speed for 30 seconds.

In a 3-quart non-reactive saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and when the stock is simmering, stir in the avocado purée.
Add the sherry, salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning.

To serve the soup hot, pour it into a tureen and strew the top with tortilla quarters or avocado slices.
Or refrigerate and serve it cold.

Brazilian Black Bean stew

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Brazilian Black Bean Stew (Feijoada)

1 (3 to 4 pound) smoked beef tongue
8 cups cold water
2 (12 ounce) packages dried black beans
1/2 pound dried beef
4 smoked chorizo links
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
Sauce
1 large orange, thinly sliced
Hot cooked rice

Place beef tongue in Dutch oven; add enough water to cover beef. Heat to boiling; reduce heat.
Cover and simmer until tender, about 3 hours.

Heat water and beans to boiling in Dutch oven or large kettle; boil gently 2 minutes.
Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.
Heat to boiling; reduce heat.
Cover and simmer 1 hour.
Remove and mash 2 cups beans and liquid; reserve mashed beans for Sauce.

Plunge beef tongue into cold water.
Cut lengthwise slashes in skin; peel off skin.
Remove any fat and cartilage.
Cut beef tongue into 1/4-inch slices; stir into unmashed beans.
Cut dried beef into bite-size pieces; prick chorizos thoroughly with fork.
Stir dried beef, chorizos and bacon into beans and tongue.
Add just enough water to cover.
Heat to boiling; reduce heat.
Cover and simmer 1 hour.

Prepare Sauce.
Stir half the Sauce into meat-bean mixture.
Cover and cook until beans are mushy, about 1 hour, adding 1/2 to 1 cup water if necessary.

Heat remaining Sauce over low heat.

Arrange beef tongue slices in center of platter; arrange remaining chorizos around tongue slices.
Pour Sauce over meats.
Cut orange slices into halves; arrange around meats.
Pour remaining beans into tureen; serve with rice.

Yields 12 to 14 servings.

Sauce
1 chorizo, cooked with beans
4 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Cut reserved chorizo into 1-inch pieces.
Cook and stir chorizo and remaining ingredients in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 3 minutes.
Stir 2 cups reserved beans into chorizo mixture; heat until hot.

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