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Catching Up in January

If it was only the cold or the snow or the rain, it wouldn’t be so bad, but having all three, all the time, has begun to drain my reserves.  Most mornings, I wake up to the weather man letting me down easy – it’s just going to be a light freezing rain or just below twenty but with a windchill factor in mid-misery – couching it in the gentlest terms so I know he’s serious but don’t get too hysterical.  I’ll complain but if I’m being honest the snow and slush provide the perfect excuse to crawl into my over-sized shawl/undersized afghan, stream Netflix, dog nap, and catch up on my reading. Read more

Habichuelas Blancas Guisadas

When I was little and knew I was going on a trip, the first thing I did was pack my bags.  It could be days, weeks or even months away, but getting ready made me feel like I was already on the plane.  Sadly, I’ve completely lost my pro-active packing impulses.  Almost from the moment the itinerary hits my inbox, I start running through the list of things I need to do here before I’m allowed to go there.  This weekend, after booking my Easter trip to Puerto Rico and facing dementor-like winter temperatures outside – the kind that make you feel like you’ll never be cheerful again – I felt a little of the old packing impulse when I decided to make this stew of habichuelas blancas. Read more

Panquecitos de Narajna

If my posts have been Miami-centric lately it’s because two weeks at home leaves a lot to unpack.  I had one more Miami-inspired recipe I wanted to try and I finally got around to it over the long weekend.  Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve slowly become less dependent on my trips home for Cuban food.  Though I miss the fresh tropical produce and stock up on cans of cascos de guayaba, Brazilian condensed milk and Café Llave when I visit, there is very little (and increasingly less) that I can’t find locally.  The restaurants that I loved are long gone or not quite how I remember them though I keep going back — nostalgia adding its own flavor.  I promise myself I’ll seek out new spots but fall short and mostly play catch-up from the moment I land. Read more

New Routine

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks under water.  Not that I’ve been unusually busy, I’ve just returned to my aqua girl routines in hopes of washing away the holiday excess – drinking water like it’s my job, swimming laps like I’m being chased by a shark, and looking to add more fish to my weekly diet.  Cooking fish has always made me nervous.  At best, I worry that I’ll let it go too long and over cook it, at worst, that I’ll poison everyone I love in one fell swoop.  I usually stick to the sushi grade varieties in the belief that if I’d just as soon eat it raw, there isn’t anything I can do to make it deadly.  Still, no one likes a rut and the guys at the fish store automatically move towards the salmon before I’ve even placed my order.  Sometimes I’ll change it to tuna or trout just to keep them guessing but I’m pretty sure it’s daring only to me.  After a few weeks of seeing pargo (snapper) on every Cuban restaurant menu in Miami, I thought it was time switch things up again. Read more

Mousse de Turrón

I’m not devoutly superstitious so I have no problem picking and choosing which New Year’s traditions to follow.  While 12 grapes at midnight are non-negotiable anywhere Spanish is spoken, for the rest of Latin America it’s pretty much an open field.  I’ve written wishes for the coming months (Venezuela) then throw them in the fire so no one could steal them.  Unfortunately, I forgot what I’d written before the paper had turned to ash, leaving me with unstarted resolutions.  If I lived in Honduras, I’d make an “Año Viejo” doll stuffed with fireworks to set off at midnight if I didn’t find effigies and fireworks equally frightening.  I’ve never thrown a bucket of water out of my window to rid myself of evil spirits (Puerto Rico), but a water pipe bursting a few years ago started off one of my favorite New Year’s nights and great year.  A Peruvian friend suggested I wander around the block with a suitcase if I wanted to travel in 2011, but I’ve had enough of packing bags and getting nowhere in the last few days.  Fortunately, everyone seems to be in agreement on an underwear color scheme for the occassion (red=love, green=money, yellow=luck, white=health).  I don’t know if it works, but at the very least it forces you to get your priorities straight before midnight. Read more

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