Alma Del Sur: Me Through Food

“Alma del sur” (translation - Southern Soul) is a recipe that represents me both personally and professionally. The arepa represents my Colombian roots and my childhood home when Mom expressed her love by making us arepas hot off the grill most weekends. She would spread a little butter, top with queso blanco, and/or a fried egg, and then serve it with a side of homemade hot chocolate. YUM and it SCREAMS LOVE!!! The pulled BBQ chicken breast recipe represents my new southern home, where I learned to like BBQ, and I married my beautiful southern wife (who is also a dietitian like me). The topping to the arepa and BBQ chicken is a small slice of avocado, which represents a little taste of various Latino cultures. What I really enjoy is the Mango Kale Slaw, which is the way I bring both my health conscious nutrition career and Latino culture into mix. Mango was also my mother’s favorite fruit, and ironically is my daughter’s as well. The Salad is topped with queso blanco (Colombia), pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice (health), salt and pepper, which is the typical Latin salad dressing! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does. Salud! “Alma del sur” (Southern Soul) recipe: Serves 8 - 3 Parts to this recipe:

  1. BBQ Pulled Chicken Breast
  2. Arepa
  3. Kale Mango Slaw
BBQ Pulled Chicken Breast: Ingredients
  • 1 pound whole chicken breast (2 halfs)
  • 1 medium yellow onion chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • ½ 12oz beer
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1/8 cup mustard
  • 1-2oz Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2oz balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Turbinado (brown) sugar
In the morning before leaving to work, add all ingredients above in a 6-quart slow cooker or crock-pot, turn heat to low and cook for 6-8 hours. The recipe will be ready when you get home after work. When you get home, or after 6-8 hours of cooking pull chicken into strips and mix with all sauce and juices in the crock-pot thoroughly. Let it sit for a few minutes as you prepare the Arepas and Slaw below. Store extra in the frig or freezer for future use. Arepa: Ingredients
  • 2 cups Pan corn meal
  • 2 ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Queso Blanco ½ pound
  • 1 small Hass avocado
Add Pan corn meal and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Heat up 2 ¼ cups water to simmer and add to the Pan corn meal and salt. Mix with fork, although hand mixing is best but be careful as the water is very hot. The consistency of the dough should be a little wet and firm. Roll into balls about 2-3 inches in diameter (about a racket ball size) and with both hands flatten into about 4-6inch pancakes, rounding the sides and shifting from hand to hand. Place arepas on a hot grill for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until light grill marks on each side. Entire dough makes about 10-12 Arepas, grill all and store in plastic zip bag in the refrigerator. Have for breakfast of other meals throughout the week. Kale Mango Slaw: Ingredients
  • 1 cup kale, chopped or julienned
  • 1 fresh mango, cubed
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, salted
  • 2 tablespoons queso blanco crumbled
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 lemon half, juice (about 1oz or 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Chop or julienne kale into small strips and place in a salad bowl. Cube mango into about ½ inch cubes and add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of queso blanco when serving. Entire recipe: On a plate, serve one Arepa, spread about ½ teaspoon of butter, add a thin slice of queso blanco, add about ¼ cup of the BBQ pulled chicken, add 1-2 strips of avocado, sprinkle BBQ sauce on top, add the Kale Mango Slaw on the side. Sprinkle queso blanco and pistachios and enjoy!