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That Time

It had been a awhile since I’d posted a recipe for ñoquis del 29. A monthly tradition that promises prosperity in Argentina and Uruguay, I wanted to start the year off right.  Looking for a new recipe, I remembered my first attempt at Meyer lemon gnocchis a couple of years ago.  I wasn’t sure how to go about it then so I thought it would be a good time to make a fresh batch. Read more

Apples and Oranges

Every year I go to Miami for few days in December and return to find that my favorite farmer’s markets have all but vanished.  Like Brigadoon in Brooklyn, the courthouse square is almost barren and there’s no trace of the small but convenient, last-chance Sunday market at Carrol Gardens.  Of course Union Square and Grand Army Plaza are still active, but it’s not the same.  For the next few months my only choices are apples or really cold apples from the few hold out vendors left at Boro Hall.  It’s one more reason to burrow away till Spring. Read more

Merengues con Chirimoya

I’d been looking for a way to use chirimoyas since I came across them a few months ago in a nearby market.  Originally found in the Andean region between Peru and Ecuador, they’re also cultivated in small pockets throughout Chile, California, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and Israel.  Heart-shaped and scaly, they could be a dragon’s paw and are almost as rare in my Brooklyn neighborhood, so I was excited when I found them.  Also known as custard apples, they’re like everything and like nothing else.  The fruit can be likened to strawberry, banana, pineapple, papaya, avocados, mango, ripe pears, and commercial bubble gum while Mark Twain described it more simply as “deliciousness itself.” Read more

Class Break

I’ve owed my teacher Steven Shaw a rave since I took the first food blogging course at the ICC this past year.  He’ll be teaching the course again starting February 18 at the French Culinary Institute, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in new media, starting their own blog or food writing.  I browse listings for writing courses and workshops all the time.  While they sound interesting, the fear is always that you’re going to pay for a teacher to ignore you and your fellow students to analyze you, at best a writer’s group and at worst group therapy with deadlines.  Absolutely, none of these fears materialized in Steven’s class.  A founder of eGullet.org and James Beard award winning writer, he was beyond generous with his time both in and out of class, so that you saw real development in everyone’s blogs from week to week (plus the speakers were great and the class drew together a perfect mix of writers, chefs, and starters).  Click here for more information and here for five more reasons you should take this class!

Tostones on the Fly

Until recently, I rarely fried anything at home.  I hated the smell, the splatter, the guilt.  When I started writing about Latin American food, I knew I couldn’t avoid it much longer and finally bought a deep fryer.  While it produces perfect batches of churros, empanadas and buñuelos, it’s the SUV of fryers requiring such a massive amount of oil that I keep it parked most of the time.  It wasn’t practical for smaller, any-night batches of plantains.  Maduros I can handle.  Overly ripe, they caramelize Read more

Catching Up in January

I took advantage of a rainy Sunday to catch up on some reading though, instead of newspaper stacks, I had  bookmarked pages and Google alerts filling up my inbox.  For the New York Times, Jonathan Miles visited Roneria Caracas, a new Brooklyn bar specializing in rum drinks, in The Choices? Rum or Rum and doesn’t miss the whisky while Paola Singer went to western Spain to sample the Dom Pérignon of Iberian ham for In Spain, A Delicacy Rooted in Earth and Tradition. Meanwhile, Read more

Islands

It’s difficult to think of something I may want when the devastation in Haiti is a constant reminder of what terrible and dire need really is.  Growing up in South Florida, Haitians were friends and neighbors.  More recently, I’ve gotten to know a Hatian mother of three at my Co-op.  She describes the latest meal she made with her daughters, and I try to get myself invited to the next incredible meal they’ll make together.  Coming to her with with questions about the Caribbean for the this site has been a constant reminder of the close cultural ties between Cuba and Haiti.  Creole or Spanish we both speak Island.  I hate to think of a country that’s given us so many lovely people in such a desperate situation.

It’s a shame that we too often become aware of each other only in the worst moments.  Facebook and Twitter has provided a steady stream of links to aid organizations.  I hope you’ll click here for the YéleHaiti earthquake fund or dial 501501, which will automatically donate $5 to the fund charged to your cell phone bill.  Though they are currently focused on disaster relief, their long term objective as stated by founder Wyclef Jean “is to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and force that is part of our heritage.”  In that vein, I thought I would post a clip that reflects our shared heritage and happier moment of recognition.

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