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Fairy Tales

I found these fairytale pumpkins at Trader Joe’s and had to take a picture.  I actually didn’t know these existed.  Happy Halloween!

New Map

I’ve been going through this week’s New York Times travel section featuring Latin America, specifically  an awakened Chile, colonial Colombia, 36 Hours in Montevideo, Rio hot spots, Peruvian restaurants, and rejuvenated Mazatlán.  Travel exhausts me but its a fun read.

Ñoquis del 29

A few weeks ago, I read about Argentina’s ñoquis del 29, the day of the month to prepare and eat gnocchi and wanted to try it.  Unfortunately, I would invariably remember this on the 30th of each month.  I was determined not to forget this time and with all the fall vegetables weighing down the markets, I was looking for something in a pumpkin-squash-sweet potato to start a new monthly tradition.  I found a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi in October’s Gourmet (still can’t believe it’s gone) issue that was exactly what I wanted.  I’d only made gnocchi once before and while they were okay, I had that nagging feeling when you first try a recipe that you just didn’t do it right.  To avoid this, I read the recipe a few times, cross referenced similar ones for tips and techniques, gathered up the few necessary ingredients and got ready to make a mess. Read more

Stuffed Chayotes

During my last Sunset Park crawl, I couldn’t resist buying some of the Mexican chorizo that’s sold in all the grocery stores and bodegas.  Mixed into omelettes or covered in cheese, all the recipes I found for using it were pretty heavy.  That’s when I came across this version using chayotes in Marilyn Tausend’s Cocina de la Familia, a collection of recipes she collected while traveling through the United States and Mexico.  This one come from Miami by way of Mexico City.  Light, fresh and slightly sweet, the chayotes were the perfect balance for the heavily spiced chorizo.  Originally from Mexico but popular throughout Latin America, Tausend compares chayotes to the ideal 19th century woman, “somewhat exotic, always modest, very versatile, and capable of assuming any role necessary.”  I didn’t know I was looking for a Victorian solution but I found one. Read more

Park Avenue Potluck

With this week’s release of Florence Fabricant’s Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations: Entertaining at Home with New York’s Savviest Hostesses, The Naptime Chef is hosting a virtual potluck dinner featuring a slate of great food blogs.  With proceeds to benefit The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, this new release feeds more than your cookbook addiction.  I recently spent time with a friend whose son was being treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and was awed by the love and care the nurses and doctors showed, not only their patients, but their parents and siblings, during countless hours of treatment.  It’s wonderful to find another way to support their work.

Fiesta Latina

I watched the coverage of last week’s Fiesta Latina celebrated at the White House with sincere but vague interest.  Though I was happy that it went well and proud as always for the recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, multi-cultural events at the White House have become frequent enough that you don’t expect any real surprises.  That was before I came across on of my favorite food writer, Maricel Presilla’s account in “Cooking at La Casa Blanca: Behind the Scenes with the Fiesta Latina Guest Chef” in the Miami Herald.com.  Click here for the for complete article.

The Running People

“They seemed to move with the ground,” said one awestruck spectator.  “Kind of like a cloud, or a fog moving across the mountains.”

This time, the Tarahumara weren’t two lonely tribesmen adrift in a sea of Olympians…they were locked in formation they’d practiced since childhood, with wily old vets up front and eager young buck pushing from behind.  They were sure-footed and sure of themselves.  They were the Running People.

-Christopher McDougall, Born to Run

If anyone has read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, they know what it’s like to have images of Mexico’s Tarahumara racing through their minds.  A story about “a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen,” it’s really about all of us and none of us.  A story of our evolution and ability as runners that may be largely lost, except to a few who never forgot how. Read more

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