I almost skipped my catching up post because I could not believe (accept) just how fast November went by. With the holidays only starting, I don’t expect it to slow down any time soon (plus the Rockefeller Christmas tree is lit so there’s no going back). My list of things to do and see keeps growing. I finally went to Eataly a couple of weeks ago and though it was hard to navigate the sea of people I can’t wait to go back. Click here for Serious Eats’ coverage of the opening. I’m also looking forward to visiting the new Plaza Food Hall by Todd English. It’s may be over the top but I can’t resist Fifth Avenue in December. Read more
Stuffing, cranberries, and sweet potatoes go fast but there’s always more turkey. I haven’t re-posted often but this weekend has been all about leftovers so it made sense to test out my bread making skills, practice my sandwich pressing, and revisit Elena Ruz.
The Elena Ruz sandwich always seemed a little out of place on the menu. A combination of roasted turkey, cream cheese and strawberry preserves, it floats alongside the heavier ham, lechon asado and cheese melds of Cuban lunch menus – lighter and prettier with a first and last name. Named for Elena Ruz, a Havana socialite who had the unusual combination made to order for her at El Carmelo. Then a fashionable cafe in the 1930s, it landed on the menu becoming a popular item. According to later interviews, her parents were scandalized to see a sign for “Sandwich Elena Ruz 25 centavos” on display, though as she pointed out the other sandwiches only went for 10 cents at the time. Read more
I generally stay away from soda. A former diet Coke addict, I’d long sworn off high-fructose pop for San Pellegrino and prissy bottles of French lemonade. Still, I made the exceptions for the Mexican sodas sold in bodegas and taquerias. Coming in flavors like tamarindo, guayaba, and jamaica and made with real sugar, I was mostly attracted to the unreal colors that radiated out of the coolers and glass cases. I hadn’t done product reviews until now but when Jarritos offered to send me samples, I thought it would be a fun way to experiment with the flavors I hadn’t tried. Having spent the summer indulging in egg creams and milkshakes , I decided to make ice cream floats for my friends and find out what they thought. My sister Carmen had an interesting perspective that she offered to write up and post, pointing out more than pretty colors. Read more
Arroz con coco rates high on the long list of things I should have tried sooner. A staple of Caribbean cooking, especially along the coast of Colombia, it’s essentially white rice cooked with coconut milk then served with fried fish, plantains, avocado. Deceptively simple, I used equal parts canned light coconut milk and water for the first attempt, combining all the ingredients and bringing them to a fast boil. The result was great if I was going for rice pudding but otherwise too sticky and un-fluffable. Trying to get the proportions and the timing right, I used a second can and sautéed the rice with a little bit of oil before adding the liquid. It may have worked but I let it go too long and the amount of rice was way off, so it burned before it cooked. Read more
Its taken me a few days to emerge from my runner’s fog, but I finally found my way to the kitchen and decided to start with torrijas al vino. Served for breakfast, dessert or as a snack, the bread is soaked in milk or wine, dipped in eggs, then fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or soaked in spiced syrup. I’ve wanted to make torrijas since I was in Spain where they’re popular during Easter and at Christmas almost everywhere else. Commonly known as torrejas throughout Latin America, I was only familiar with the Cuban version which is typically much sweeter, incorporating only a small amount of vino seco. Though similar to the French pain perdu, the Spanish version may have preceded it, with the first mentions of it dating back to the 15th century. Read more
After completing the New York City marathon (my first) yesterday, I’ve given myself a few extra days to get through my runner’s fog. In the meantime, I wanted to post a great New York Times article about the marathon written by Carmen Peláez, my sometimes contributor, oftentimes food taster, and every day sister. Whether or not you’re a runner, it’s a lovely story about getting through the race.