If I seem preoccupied with eating flowers lately, it’s because the farmer’s markets are only just getting into their too beautiful weeks now. This Sunday I found the zucchini blossoms I’d been waiting for since April to try this recipe for Zucchini-Blossom Quesadillas again.
I’d made them for the first time last year with store bought tortillas. I loved the filling but wanted to make them with the uncooked dough called for in the recipe. I made this batch with masa harina, fresh masa that has been dried so that you only add water to form the tortillas. I used this tutorial by Chef Iliana de la Vega who explains Read more
I came across a small Kiosk installation for the first time at the Brooklyn Flea. They had cans of Jupina soda, Ricos meringues, bricks of espresso, La Cubanita guava paste, and orange gum balls exhibited together like a Cuban survivalist kit left under the Manhattan bridge. Asked to pick a handful of time capsule objects to explain Miami’s Little Havana circa 1985, I might choose the same ones (just adding a bottle of Royal Violets baby cologne for good measure). Read more
I have wanted to post this recipe for mousse de maracuya/passion fruit mousse for a couple of weeks. Written by Layla, an Ecuadorian woman who now lives in Seattle, Laylita’s recipes is full of great ideas for recreating traditional recipes far from home. This light mousse can be made with frozen fruit pulp as a substitute for fresh passion fruit and replaces condensed milk with heavy Read more
I was trying to solve my Cuban bread problem when I came across this article in The New York Times. Published in 1899, it’s a fascinating account by Dorothy Stanhope of turn-of-the-century Havana, a city finding it’s bearings after a long fought war of independence. Not surprisingly, she finds herself in a very different world:
In going to a strange country one does not as a rule think before-hand what he will eat while there. He assumes as a matter of course that he will live much as he does at home. To rid one’s mind of any idea of this kind, it is only necessary to visit Havana. Read more
Most weekends, when I’ve been to the farmer’s markets, had my brunch, and caught a matinee, I find myself at Rapisarda, the Cobble Hill store owned by Brazilian designer Claudia Rapisarda. I’m not alone. There’s always someone half-shopping, half-visiting Claudia. The store itself is hard to describe. A unique collection of pieces that she both designs and brings from Brazil, it vibrates with color.
It was during one of my visits that she tried to explain how to make farofa, a dish I had been reading about and wanted to try. Claudia can’t not help someone, so she agreed to come to my apartment and show me herself. In addition to the farofa, the menu grew to include: feijoada, a black bean stew with pork (using kielbasa as a substitute for Portuguese linguiça); couve, collard greens sauteed in olive oil and garlic; fluffy white rice cooked with more garlic; sliced oranges; and, of course caipirinhas. Read more
I try to post regularly, but yesterday I had a solid excuse since I temporarily lost the use of my fingertips. I’d been visiting Mexican grocery stores for Brokelyn so I had stocked up on a variety of peppers. Last night, I decided to make a simple, fresh salsa – just chopped tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, lime, salt to taste, and the most evil little jalapeño you could ever hope to know. I thought I was being careful though I didn’t wear gloves which I’d been warned about by the shopkeeper. I disposed of the seeds and veins where the heat hides, avoided rubbing my eyes, and washed my hands frequently. Then as I was cleaning up, the pain started. There was no outward Read more
It’s pretty common to spot celebrities in New York. Well, common for most people. I usually stare at them blankly, trying to place their face, then realize half way down the block that I didn’t go to high school with them. It’s a little less common to see someone you can hear yourself reminiscing about in your rocking chair years, beginning with “there was a man who…” That’s what it was like seeing Joe Ades, the “peeler guy” in Union Square Market. Listening to his English sing song selling potato peelers on beautiful market Saturdays made you want to jump in a chalk drawing. I still remember the excitement I felt when I saw him set up at the smaller Greenmarket in Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, feeling that out tiny market had finally “arrived”.
I love guava in all its forms, but they can be a hard sell. When I was in college and brought back guava pastries from home, I could see my friends’ initial enthusiasm for an authentic Cuban indulgence give way to politeness with the first taste. Rich and sweet, they’re not for everyone. That’s why I was excited to see a recipe for guava sorbet included in Kate Zuckerman’s The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle, one of my favorite dessert cookbooks. I’d been looking for guavas all winter, but only found them a few weeks ago during a market tour in Chinatown. Less fragrant than red or strawberry guavas, I almost passed them by. Left to ripen for a few days, they made a refreshing sorbet, not at all too rich or sweet by any standard. Read more
You’ll have to excuse me for not writing about food. Yesterday, a ticket to see the American Ballet Theatre’s performance of La Sylphide at The Metropolitan Opera House fell from the sky unexpectedly, and I’m feeling a little ethereal today. There was a magical Sylph, a Scottish reel, and a poisoned gossamer veil, but it was still not as dramatic as the Edith Wharton story I cast myself in when I realized I’d be sitting in the romantic boxes ringing the theater. Watching principal Herman Cornejo dance the part of James, I thought of a Today segment I’d seen earlier that day about the recent emergence of Latin American artists and performers in film and television. This has long been true at ABT. In addition to the Argentinians Cornejo and Paloma Herrera, there is the Brazilian Marcelo Gomes, and Read more
Plantains are my comfort food. After my second failed attempt at making Cuban bread this afternoon (so near, yet so far), I wanted something sure. When my new Food Coop friend Jennifer described the Puerto Rican style plantain pie she makes when her daughter’s home from school, I had to try it. I’d seen different versions of the pie that used fried plantains and cheese. Jennifer bypasses both to make this healthier version with mashed, boiled plantains that bring out the sweet and savory flavors really well. Read more