November 2012: Cooking Demonstration


DeJuanne Johnson presents a torta

DeJuanne Johnson presents a torta

November 12, 2012 was our annual cooking demonstration. This year our chef was Dejuanne Johnson, from the Social Club and Bar in Birmingham.

The evening started with a huge bowl of fresh pico gallo, a mix of tomato, cilantro, and onion, which DeJuanne had made earlier. He said it improves when the ingredients “have time to get to know each other.” He then showed us how to prepare a fresh guacamole. Both were served with chips from Honeybee Market in southwest Detroit.

After we sampled the pico gallo and guacamole, DeJuanne introduced us to torta, a popular Mexican street food. The torta was in fresh bollilo bun, similar to short fat loaf of french bread. The bollilo was partly hollowed out to make room for all the ingredients. After toasting, it was filled with guacamole, quesco fresco cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pico gallo. Chicken cutlets, fried as we watched, were the final addition. We each enjoyed half of a huge torta sandwich. DeJuanne happily prepared vegetarian and gluten-free torta on request. Everyone truly enjoyed the food.

Chrissy Bell, DeJuanne’s wife, assisted. To join us that evening, they had changed plans to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. When presented with a bottle of champagne, they shared an anniversary kiss. We responded with a round of applause.

Many thanks to our hostess Deborah Langston who allowed us to meet in her beautiful home with its large kitchen. She provided a salad and selection of desserts to go with the torta. She also brought out a bottle of margaritas to go with the Mexican theme.

See the attached page for Dejuanne’s recipes.

Torta Recipe

DeJuane Johnson’s Crispy Chicken Torta
with guacamole, tomato, quesco fresco cheese, pico gallo & lettuce on a fresh bollilo bun

5-6 avocados

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 TBsp chopped cilantro

1 lime, juice of 

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 garlic clove minced

Salt & pepper to taste.
Combine ingredients and mix well. Mixture should be slightly lumpy. May be covered and chilled for up to two days before serving. Yields about 10 servings. Also good with corn chips.

Pico de Gallo
8 roma tomatoes

1 small red onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
4 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juice of 

Salt & pepper to taste.

Combine ingredients and mix well. May be covered and chilled for up to two days before serving. Yields about 10 servings.

Note: The longer the guacamole and pico de gallo have time to “get to know each other” before they are served the better.

Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 cup of breadcrumb
3/4 Tbsp garlic powder

Salt & pepper to taste
Mix breadcrumbs and seasoning, use to bread chicken breasts/
Crispy Chicken Cutlets
1 chicken breast cutlet, a half inch thick
breadcrumb mix
Oil for frying

Bread chicken breasts by evenly covering with breadcrumb mixture. Fry, with oil, in a shallow pan. (May also be deep fried or baked.)

To assemble torta: Slice bollilo in half, scoop out some of the bread from the top half and toast in oven, cut side down. Build sandwich by filling bollilo cavity with lots of guacamole, lettuce, tomato, pico de gallo, quesco fresco cheese, refried beans or any of your favorite toppings.

Remember, a torta should be a complete meal between bread. Enjoy!

Note: Honeybee Market, 2443 Bagley, Detroit, is great source of Central American & Mexican foods.