University of North Dakota
"About every six weeks, we do an international theme dinner with authentic menus from different countries. When we featured Mexican a few months ago, we offered more traditional Mexican dishes than most of our students were used to given their knowledge of ' Mexican' food.
"In order to experience the authenticity of a culture's cuisine,-it's important to use the herbs, spices and vegetables common to the region. For the Mexican dinner we made a fresh salsa (see recipe below) and incorporated it into the other dishes. The salsa is fresh and very flavorful.
"We made a baked cod with the salsa on top. We made a Mexican lasagna with layers of taco meat, pasta sheets, salsa, ricotta and mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, black olives, jalapeÒo peppers and onions. We also did a chicken mole, roasted sweet corn and peppers.
"We served all the dishes in smaller portion sizes so that students could taste a little bit of everything."
Director of Food and Nutrition Services
Sarasota Public Schools
"There is a famous restaurant in Florida called the Columbia Restaurant. It's known for having fantastic Cuban food. One of our chefs asked the restaurant if we could have the recipe for their famous 1905 salad to use on our menu. They gave it to us and it's been a hit ever since.
"We have a Spanish bean soup with garbanzo beans, a Sante Fe pinto bean soup with salsa, turkey and ham. Another is the hearty bean soup with refried beans and tomato soup as the base, with onions, cumin, chili powder and vegetable stock. We also have chicken fajitas, a Mexican style beef tortilla bake, Cuban sandwiches, a chicken rice fiesta rice bowl, beef tomalley pie, chunky chicken chili, black bean soup and black beans and rice."
Diane (Dee) Hardy
Director of Food and Auxiliary Services
University of Richmond
"Five years ago, when we used to think of Mexican, we would think of generic foods like the fajita, the burrito, or the quesadilla. Now, we're seeing Mexican influences drift into other culinary genres and day parts affecting items like cold wraps, salads, vegetarian and vegan entrees. We do a zucchini burrito, a tofu ranchero, a Mexican burger—with the spices mixed into the meats instead of just layered on top of the meat—veggie quesadillas and even a Southwestern tortellini.
"On our salad bar, we put out cold refried beans. The students will use the beans to create layered salads, panini's and wraps with the beans, pepperjack cheese, and peppers."