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Olive Oil Pancakes

I was flipping through José Andrés’ Made in Spain when I came across a recipe for olive oil pancakes.  I’ve been on a pancake tear lately and was intrigued by his emphasis on Spanish products to make all-American pancakes – olive oil, chocolate, and honey.  I’d always preferred Spanish olive oil, but I had never thought about Spanish chocolate.  That morning, I found a 2 kilo bar of dark artisanal chocolate from Aragon at the Co-Op.  I don’t know how I could have missed it , it was enormous.  I heaved it into my bag and headed home.
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Catching Up in February

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve talked about what I was reading, but I didn’t want to let February go by without pointing to some really interesting articles.  Of course, the El Bulli story has continued to develop with the  announcement that it would close permanently in 2012 and re-open as a non-profit foundation 2014.  There were two interesting pieces in the New York Times Diner’s Journal by Grant Achatz and Frank Bruni about the very different emotions the restaurant inspired. Read more

The Latin American Cafeteria

If you ask Miamians for their favorite sandwich counter, they’ll often mention the Latin American Cafeteria on Coral Way.  The fact that it’s been closed for almost a decade doesn’t seem to have diminished its popularity.  While researching the Cuban sandwich, I had to deliver the sad news to friends that the original Latin American no longer existed.  People were so surprised that I had to wonder how many of us had driven down Coral Way and projected the giant arches and wrap-around counter onto the generic Sergio’s franchise that had taken its place.  Though there are still eponymous Latin American locations throughout the city, it’s just not the same.  There are many contenders for second, but it’s only what someone will settle for when they can’t get what they really want. Read more

Frituras de Malanga

I bought the malanga by mistake.  I’d considered adding it to my garbanzos last week but left it out at the last minute.  Not wanting to let it go to waste, I decided to try making fritters instead.  I’d stopped by a friends house unexpectedly when he was finishing a batch for salt cod fritters, and it looked so easy and simple that I wanted to try this variation.  They’re the kind of last minute side dish that could be whipped up in a few minutes.  I looked through a few different recipes that were very similar – malanga, eggs, a little garlic, maybe parsley.  Reading A Taste of Old Cuba, I was reminded that frying 0f any kind was always left for last so that the fritters, plantains or croquetas could be served hot and crisp, never greasy .  I hadn’t thought about it before but realized that I do associate the crackle and sizzle of frying with a great meal about to be had – a little music drawing everyone to the table. Read more

Last Call

Life inside the snow globe is pretty but it’s February and I’m tired of feeling (and looking) like a nesting doll.  It’s the final day of Carnival in Rio and I’m not there.  It’s hard to believe that there are people thinking, not about how many layers they can wear under their overcoat, but how many feathers they can get on their headdress – a headdress and little else.  I looked for coverage of the parades that have been going since Saturday but haven’t found very much.  While I hate to miss out, I love knowing that there are still events so wonderful, people don’t stop to upload.  Hoping to bring a little bit of carnival to my site, I asked a Brazilian friend for any good recipes made for the festival.  Her answer was immediate and simple – caipirinhas – the fuel behind the celebration and apparently, the unusually high November birth rate in Brazil.  As she put it, it is a country of Scorpios.

A combination of limes, sugar, and cachaça, the Brazilian liquor made from fermented sugar cane, you can also use vodka to make a caipiroskas or light rum for a caipiríssima.  I briefly considered holding my glass out the window for a caipisnowcone.  However, you mix it, it’s worth the Fat Tuesday effort lest you wake up on Ash Wednesday all repentance and no sin. Read more

Tiger’s Tale

Like most people, I’ve been overwhelmed by the perfect storm of holidays we’ve had this weekend.  Being stared down by Cupid, I could barely make out the Metal Tiger and Abe Lincoln standing behind him.  Throw my birthday into the mix and I barely have enough time to get my guilt in order before Ash Wednesday.  Nevertheless, I wanted to commemorate the Chinese New Year in some small way.  When I first came to New York for school, Chinese-Cuban restaurants were my link to authentic Cuban food.  Chinese staff speaking hyper-speed Caribbean Spanish serving roast pork with bean curd or fried rice with maduros over Cuban map placemats.   I realized this winter that the reverse was also true.  When I was considering buying some heavy tropical fruit to bring back with me from Miami, I realized I’d be better off looking for the same items closer to home in Chinatown. Read more

Heart Break

I know a Kat who sees hearts.  In leaves and trees, sidewalks and shadows, waffles and gelatos and a million other places, she spots them and posts them here at iseehearts.  I’ve sent her a few that  she’s included.  Less poetic than Kat’s, they typically involve food – like the heart shaped olive over my papas a la huancaína or a piece of garlic in a jar of marinara sauce – so I was very proud when I spotted this album cover in Park Slope.  Once you’re looking, they pop up everywhere.  If this Valentine’s Day doesn’t bring you all the hearts and flowers you’d wished for, you’ll keep an eye out for some unexpected ones.

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