I make beans with an accent. I understand all of the elements, but they don’t always flow together as easily as I would like. A staple of Latin American cooking, I should know them better than I do. Having only developed a taste for them as an adult, I refused all forms of frijoles, lentejas, or garbanzos when I was younger. Now that I appreciate what I’ve been missing and want to make them all the time, I feel like I’m being punished for my earlier brattiness with inconsistent batches of beans. If only I’d paid better attention when my grandparents were cooking, I’d have a freezer full of stews and soups to get me through the winter. Read more
When I first found this recipe for a Brazo Gitano de Guayaba in Eating Cuban, I couldn’t wait to make it. Then strangely enough, I waited almost a year for the right occasion. I always associate brazo gitano (or jelly roll cakes) with my childhood, mostly because it was the object of a big sister-little sister showdown over a last bite that got us both in trouble (I’m sure I’ve been forgiven by now, though technically I may still be grounded). When my friend Aaron sent an invite for ORANGE, the opening of a tennis inspired playroom installation, I thought this orange-rum-guava rolled cake would be a good choice to bring. An avid tennis player, Aaron decided to create an indoor court in his Brooklyn apartment. Last night, the usual conversations-careers, politics, art- didn’t seem so adult when broken up by turns in a bright orange light-box court, smashing foam tennis balls around. A little summer, no waiting. The perfect tonic on a brutally cold day.
I’m not used to very much heat in my food. Though most people associate chili peppers with Latin America, food in the Caribbean is more often spicy than hot. While I love having a choice on one menu between caipirinhas and mojitos or lomo saltado and carne asada, trendy pan-Latin restaurants can add to the confusion. Friends insist that chipotle belongs in a Cuban sandwich, and ask me if I had elotes covered in chili powder growing up because they ordered it at Habana Outpost. The answers are complicated. I don’t want chipotle anywhere near my Cubano, but I look forward to my chili covered corn every summer (though not because I had it growing up, but because it’s so good).
I saw the announcement that El Bulli was closing for two years beginning in 2012, but it didn’t seem real until I read this interview with Ferran Adria in the Wall Street Journal. Not only is it true, but there are reasons. Outside of vague if-only-but-maybe future, I had no immediate plans to attempt a reservation. While I look forward to whatever innovations this hiatus will bring, I can’t help but regret that even if I’m lucky enough to visit future incarnations, I’d have missed an opportunity. Not ready to give up, I visited their website and saw that while 2010 is no longer available, there’s always the final 2011 season which hasn’t even begun. Already a remote possibility, there’s no reason to give up on the daydream months in between just yet.