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Hispanic Heritage Month gives fresh perspective to old-time recipes



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This delicious recipe is one way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates the immense artistic, political, and cultural contributions made by the Hispanic community within the United States.

It also pays tribute to the struggle for independence of several countries — Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico.

One of the most delicious additions to modern day society is the cuisine, which varies in every town, region and country to reflect the differences in culture, history and geography. However, corn is the one ingredient that unites the numerous styles of Hispanic cooking.

In ancient times, corn was considered a gift from the gods and cultivating it was a sacred task

Corn continues to be essential to today's Hispanic kitchen and is included in everything from tamales and tostadas to pozole and salsas.

Modern chefs looking to maintain the robust flavor of authentic recipes without relying on lard can use corn oil. A high smoking point makes corn oil ideal for frying the family's favorite meals and produces light, crisp result without leaving a heavy aftertaste and oily residue.

The robust corn taste and aroma enhance the natural flavors in everything from salad dressings to empañadas. Corn oil also is naturally cholesterol and sodium free and an excellent natural source of the antioxidant vitamin E.

However you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, this recipe for Chiles Rellenos De Queso will be sure to rally a cry for seconds. Buen Provecho.

Chiles

4 chiles poblanos or bell peppers

½ cup breadcrumbs

½ cup grated Pepper Jack cheese

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

corn oil for frying

Batter

4 eggs, separated

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup flour

Chiles: Put chiles on a hot grill or under the broiler, let skin blister and burn. Turn chiles occasionally. Wrap chiles in a damp cloth or plastic bag for 20 minutes. The burned skin will flake off easily and the flesh will be slightly cooked by the stem.

Slit the side of each chile; remove seeds and veins. Leave the top of the chile intact.

Rinse chiles and pat dry.

Filling: Mix breadcrumbs, pepper jack, cheddar cheese and cumin with salt and pepper for taste. Stuff filling into the slits in the chiles.

Batter: Heat at least ¾-inch shortening in a heavy, deep pot to 350°F. Beat egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Add salt and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Procedure: Pat chiles completely dry —or batter won't adhere — sprinkle lightly with flour. Coat with batter. Fry chiles in hot oil, turn occasionally, until golden.

Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and melt in a 350°F oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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