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Archive for May, 2010

Catching Up in May

I collect links and articles for my monthly catching up posts every day so it’s not until I sit down to go through them all that a theme emerges.  The New York Times City Room covered the struggles of two neighborhood restaurants.  Due in part to the efforts of community leaders and a last minute fundraiser, Coqui Mexicano was able to temporarily stave off eviction from their South Bronx location but Manhattanville’s La Floridita, one of the last Cuban restaurants left in the area, was forced to close for repairs and faces an uncertain future.  The Village Voice interview with Fernando Ruiz of the Tortilleria Nixtamal, which is doing well, was about mistakes, misconceptions, and underappreciated ingredients — a more interesting read but still.  Even news that Rick Bayless would be preparing the state dinner President Felipe Calderón of Mexico stirred up some controversy both before and after.   On a brighter note, Carolina González wrote for the Daily News about the prominence of women chefs and restaurateurs like Zarela Martínez and Sue Torres in high-end Mexican cuisine.  I thought May would farmer’s markets and spring blossoms but there were some shadows too.

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Pea Puree and Jamón Serrano

I’d been waiting for spring to try these ricotta gnocchis with pea puree and jamón serrano.  The ñoquis del 29 are meant to attract prosperity, so a little extra green can’t hurt. Read more

Cuisine à Latina Cookbook Giveaway

Before the official start of  summer’s grilling, beaching, hazy half days, I wanted to thank everyone who’s been reading and commenting with my first cookbook giveaway.  Since its release last year, Michelle Bernstein’s Cuisine à Latina has become one of my favorites.  Raised in Miami by her food-loving Argentinian and Jewish family , she’s become known for the contemporary Latin cuisine with Spanish, South American, Caribbean and Mexican accents that she serves at Michy’s and Sra. Martinez in Miami and Palm Beach’s MB.  The book is full of great recipes to make at home for anyone who’s home is always elsewhere.  To win a copy, let me know what dish your most looking forward to having this summer.  Leave a comment here (one entry per person) between today and June 4th midnight (EST) when I’ll pick a winner at random. Read more

Carne Fria

I was at an event last week when a full tray of sliders slid right past me.  While the waiter eluded me, it reminded me of a recipe I’ve wanted to try for awhile – carne fria.  A combination of ground sirloin, pork, and sometimes fois-gras, it’s baked or poached then served cold with sweet preserves or sharp mustard.  A favorite at family luncheons, it would sit next to the pastelitos, cangrejitos, and bocaditos, proud but ugly, the only adult at the buffet table.   I’d wanted to make it last summer for a party but only had a vague idea of how to go about it.  It was one of the those second nature recipes that everyone makes but no one writes down.  With picnic season starting, I decided to try again and finally found it in Memories of a Cuban Kitchen: More Than 200 Classic Recipes by Mary Urrutia Randelman and Joan Schwartz.  There in black and white, wasn’t getting away this time. Read more

Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I hadn’t planned on re-posting this recipe until I my sister asked for Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies for a reading she was doing.  It was a last minute request on a busy day.  I gave good reasons for not making them and they were all accepted, then I decided to do it anyway.  It was a chance to go through one of my favorite recipe posts and make sure I’d gotten it all down correctly, try some adjustments and maybe find some of the typos that play hide and seek when I first hit publish (though I rarely feel like playing).  Click here for the original post.

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So Much To Do

After the relative quiet of the last few months, it seems like everyone is ready to celebrate the arrival of summer or at least have a glass of Rioja.  From now until May 27th, 25 restaurants in both New York and Chicago will be offering special lunch and dinner menus for Rioja Restaurant Week.  Lately it feels like restaurant week year around but it’s definitely worth visiting one, or two or three…Click here for a list of participating restaurants. Read more

Tisana

Some weekends are harder to let go than others.  I was really enjoying this one when Sunday night interrupted.  In the hope of letting it go just a little while longer, I decided to post the recipe for tisana, a Venezuelan party drink I mixed for my sister’s birthday brunch.  I’m always a little behind so I like to have a pitcher ready when people get there to buy time.  Traditionally served without wine at children’s parties, it’s light and fruity and worth taking back from the kids.  I wanted to add star fruit as a garnish but there was none to be found.  I’ll just have to wait till next weekend. Read more

Chilaquiles

I’ve wanted to make chilaquiles for awhile but was a little overwhelmed by the choices.  I love the precision of cooking and there was no set way to go about making these. The tortillas can be fried or baked, topped with chicken, chorizo or eggs, sprinkled queso fresco or Cotija, sauteed or covered on Oaxacan cheese then baked, the sauces can be red or green or mole, the peppers fresh or dried.  Elbow deep in books and online recipes, I saw a an opportunity to throw in some staples that I overbuy but under use testing the tips and side notes that the cookbook obsessed pick up and file away.  They can be a breakfast or brunch dish, a perfect way to use leftover tortillas, and a sometimes cure for hangovers.  A generous dish.  With no set path, there was no way to fail. Read more

Chef Jose Andres on 60 Minutes

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I was a little surprised by how quickly Anderson Cooper’s interview with Chef Jose Andres made the rounds between food friends and non-food friends alike.  It was a little frustrating to watch and not eat but Jose Andres’ enthusiasm is palpable.

A Mother’s Day Meringue

Many people have a hard time imagining their parents as children, but I very much see my mother in the little girl pictured above — sweet, expressive and indistinguishable from the cake set before her, in essence if not in form.  Last year around this time, I asked my mother to show me how to make her merengue con crema de leche.  A combination of meringue and custard sauce, it’s similar to a French île flottante but much, much sweeter — Cuban sweet.  She always made it for special occasions, though never the same way twice.  Used to feeling her way around until she got it right, I distracted her with questions.  I tried to note everything down, but secretly believed she was making things up as she went along.  When I caught her consulting with her chihuahua about the consistency for the syrup, I knew we were in trouble. Read more

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