Corn is a-MAIZE-ing



Once you harvest the corn you can use it for many different things. The leaves can be used to wrap tamales up. You can use the actual corn for a multiple number of things. You can make corn tortillas and really nothing is wasted. Back in Mexico, the tortillas that are left over are still used not just simply thrown away. If the tortillas turn hard from being out too long after being cooked people make them into tostadas. You fry the tortilla and you don’t need to buy corn chips anymore. 
Story Collected by Tania Sosa

I recently spoke with my mom, Vicenta Sosa, about her Mexican heritage and the familiar practices that have defined who she is as an individual. I specifically asked her about practices that she did that were seen as eco-friendly. Among many that she shared with me, there was one in particular that stuck out. My mom talked about corn and how versatile a plant it was.

She started off by saying that here in the states we have become very wasteful and one thing that made her miss her home in Mexico was the fact that even in Illinois (where we grow corn) we do not make use it to its full potential. Here she explains the process of how to cultivate corn and the different things that you could make with it.

When you plant corn you have to take care of it. You have to make sure the soil is healthy because what you plant is only as healthy that the soil it is in. So you lay down compost and take out the weeds, keeping the soil as healthy as possible.

Once you harvest the corn you can use it for many different things. The leaves can be used to wrap tamales up. You can use the actual corn for a multiple number of things. You can make corn tortillas and really nothing is wasted. Back in Mexico, the tortillas that are left over are still used not just simply thrown away. If the tortillas turn hard from being out too long after being cooked people make them into tostadas. You fry the tortilla and you don’t need to buy corn chips anymore.

You can make your salsa, ceviche, or tinga de pollo and you have the corn chips or tostadas right there for you to eat. People do not throw away a single tortilla. If the don’t want/need tostadas they make some chilaquiles. With the maize you can make tamales, and clascales, which is a type of dessert bread. Gorditas con carne can also be made. Along with picaditas, sopes and quesadillas, really the possibilities are endless when using corn.

I ask for one of her favorite recipes that used corn and she said enchiladas verdes con pollo.

Enchiladas verdes con pollo
garlic, onions, jalapeños, green tomatoes, tortillas, chicken

Make the salsa by blended some garlic, onion, jalapeños, and green tomatoes. Fry the salsa in a pan.
Then (if you would like) dip the tortillas in a bit of oil and put them into the salsa that is frying
Next, boil the chicken. Once it is fully cooked, break it apart into thin pieces add it to the salsa and tortilla.
Roll up the tortilla and serve.

You can add cheese, sour cream, and some onion on top if you would like.
It is delicious, simply, and easy!

I then went on to ask my mom where she learned about the versatility of corn. She said that her dad was the one that planted and took care of the corn back in Mexico. When her dad had harvested the crop, her mom was the one that did the cooking. My grandma is the best cook in the family, and she was the one that always tried to make the most of what little that they had. My grandma learned what she knows from her mom, the knowledge being passed down from generation to generation. My mom said that she missed being back home because of the many things that they did that was not only beneficial to her family and coincidentally also very good for the environment. She hopes to bring some of those things from the past back into our lives so we can all benefit from them. 

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Collected by Sarah Hernandez 

When I first started gardening, I had created this recipe from my own resources and what was in my garden at the time. It ended up being one of my favorite creations! Every time I make this, I get so many compliments on the wonderful smell.


-       Kale
-       Onion
-       Garlic
-       Parmesan
-       Spaghetti pasta
-       Hot curry powder (I like to use Jamaican curry powder)
-       Garam masala spice
-       Salt
-       Pepper


1.     Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta on the side and when it’s done set it aside.
2.     Sautee the onion and garlic until soft and brown.
3.     Add the hot curry powder and a dash of garam masala – cook for about 5-10 more minutes until fragrant and delicious smelling.
4.     Add the kale to the onion and garlic and mix in every 5 minutes until cooked down (usually takes 10 minutes max). Add salt and pepper to taste.
5.     Add the veggies as a topping to the pasta. Add parmesan cheese to taste.

Feel free to tweak this recipe and the spices to your taste.
If you also have mustard greens to add to the kale, it makes this dish even more delicious!



kimchi Stew



Collected by Jinyoung Chang 


8 ounces pork, chicken, or beef*
1 cup kimchi
8 ounces medium or firm tofu (1/2 package)
1 each green onion
2 tablespoons fine ground red chili pepper (DO NOT USE THE MEXICAN CHILI POWDER BLEND)
1 tablespoon coarse ground red chili pepper
4 cloves fresh garlic
2 cups water**

* Omit meat for vegetarian soup
** Replace water with 2 cups vegetable, beef, or pork soup stock for a richer flavor


Prepare Ingredients:
Cut meat into small pieces.
Cut kimchi into 1/2 inch by 1 inch strips.
Thin slice the garlic from top to bottom
Cut tofu in half lengthwise, then slice into approximately 1/4 inch thick slices.
Cut green onion diagonally in 1/2 inch lengths


Place kimchi, meat, and water in a medium pot or large stone bowl over high heat and bring to a full boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes.
Skim any oil/foam from the top.
Add tofu, garlic, and red chili pepper, return to full boil, and cook for about 10 minutes.
Add green onion just prior to serving.

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"Preserving Peace" Spicy Dill Pickles



Collected by Christian Alfaro
        This is the recipe used during the Hull House Museum's Preserving Peace Dialogue. Museum visitors have the option of scheduling a dialogue (Immigration, Social Change, or Preserving Peace) which is an hour long conversation that takes place in the Residence Dining Hall. Preserving Peace is a facilitated hands on dialogue where the conversation happens while pickling some fresh vegetables. We talk about ways we preserve communities, culture, and food. I've facilitated a few of these pickling dialogues and it is really interesting to hear the diverse stories and experiences that folks share.

Ball Jar(s)
Measuring Cup

Purple Cabbage
Pickling Spices
Serrano Peppers

Wash the veggies and herbs. Cut the veggies in long strips or disks and place them in the ball jar. 
Add a couple sprigs of dill and 3 cloves of garlic. For the perfect amount of heat, add 2 serrano peppers sliced.
Add a tablespoon each of salt, sugar, and pickling spices.
Fill 1/4 of the jar with vinegar and the remaining 3/4 with water. 
Seal the ball jar and shake.
Leave in the fridge overnight and it will be ready the next day.

Note: The longer you leave it to pickle, the stronger the flavor will be. The pickling juice will last up to 3 months, so once the pickled veggies are eaten, cut up some more veggies and put into the jar.

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Collected by Karl Novak

Depending on Serving Size: 1 Serving = 4 Bruschetta

2 whole tomatoes

4 baguettes

1 garlic clove

4 basil leaves

Remove seeds to remove excess water and dice tomatoes.
Add chopped fresh basil, 1 clove garlic, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Serve on toasted baguette.

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Pasta Fresco



Collected by Karl Novak 

Fresco Sauce:  1/8 cup fresh chopped garlic, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar,

1/8 cup sweet white wine, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Cook a package of bow tie pasta and drain.  Heat 3 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan until very hot.  Sauté 1 cup cubed roma tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes, 1/3 cup chopped red onion, and pasta.  Add 1 package fresh spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce



Collected by Karl Novak

4 cups sliced rhubarb

1/2 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 pint halved strawberries

Cut rhubarb into 1 inch pieces.  Combine the rhubarb, water, salt and sugar in a large sauce
pan.  Simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until tender, stirring once or twice. Just before removing from heat, add strawberries.  Cool and chill. Pour over vanilla ice cream or your favorite dessert and serve.

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Sopa De Almejas / Clam Soup



Collected by Eduardo Munoz

This recipe comes from my mother. My grandma taught my mother most of the delicious food that she now cooks for us. We typically have this soup during easter time or when I need to boost up my immune system. My mother always says “con una sopita calientita, se te quita todo los germenes malos” - with a warm soup, all bad germs goes away

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups finely chopped parsley juice of 1 lime

¾ chopped onion

2 cups of chopped celery

3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes

8 cups chicken clams drained with juice reserved

1 clove garlic

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot or oven. Add the onion celery and garlic. Let it cook for 5 minutes or until transparent Add the potatoes, chicken stock and 1 cup of the clam juice and simmer,covered over low heat for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

before serving, bring the broth to a boil and add the chopped clams. Return to boil and add the chopped parsley, remaining olive oil and lime juice.  

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Okro Soup Recipe    



Collected by Obehi Ilenikhena

Okro soup (nope not the American one)- cut nice whole okro into pieces, put in blender (faster way),mix with a little bit of water, blend till is slightly smooth ( you still want to leave some chunks in there), pour in pot (you can add a little bit of water if it’s too thick), put a little of salt, seasoning (MAGGI), thyme, curie, and pieces of meat, fish, or nothing, and bring to a boil (low )And constantly stir until you have a slimy, delicious okro stew. 

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Recipe - Chinta’s Flan



Collected by Sarah Hernandez

1 8oz. pack of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 12oz. can of evaporated milk
4 Large eggs
1/2 cup Sugar
1 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbs Vanilla extract
14oz. Milk

1. Cook 1/2 cup of sugar on stove. Add 1 teaspoon of water. Cook on medium-high.
2. Pour carameled sugar into greased flan pan(s) and let cool.
3. Put 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk in blender.
4. Fill empty 14oz. can with milk and add to blender.
5. Add 4 eggs to blender.
6. Add 1 Tbs vanilla extract to blender.
7. Blend at low speed.
8. Add 8oz. pack of cream cheese to blender.(cut into small cubes)
9. Add 12oz. can of evaporated milk + 6oz. of milk to blender.
10. Blend at low speed.
11. Pour into flan pot(s).
12.  Cook in a large pot with 1/2 – 3/4 inch of water at 350˚ for an 11/2 hours.
13.  Flip when cool.

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