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Catching Up in February

I may be biased because it was my birthday month but it has been a fantastic February.  I got started on a couple of new projects that I’ll have more details about soon, spent a lot of time with friends, and saw some great performances and shows including Balanciaga: Spanish Master at the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute and El Bulli: Cooking in Progress which just had it’s New York premiere at MoMA.  When my head wasn’t in Spain past and future, I was flipping through the latest Saveur and thrilled that they featured Leticia Moreinos Schwartz’s Brazilian Kitchen in Dorothy Irwin’s Taking Root.  I was also taking vicarious tours of Chile, starting with the New York Times 36 Hours in Santiago, Chile and ending with the Atlantic’s In Chile, Molecular Gastronomy and Locavores Collide.  While the latter was a fun read, I was disappointed that it didn’t describe an actual chef rumble where no one gets hurt but everyone eats. Read more

Down South

I know it shouldn’t make a difference but I love it when food has a story and Chilean olive oil has been writing its own. Alfonso Swett who discovered small scale olive oil plantations in conditions similar to the Chilean climate on a trip through Spain, wondered why it shouldn’t be cultivated and produced in Chile as well.  Olisur, an estate grown, largely sustainable operation encompassing a 6,500 acre olive groves and expecting to produce 1.7 million liters of olive oil in their next harvest, grew from this initial why not. Read more

Guava Cheesecake

I’m susceptible to most holidays but if there was a Valentine’s Day Scrooge, I’d completely support his life choices.  Moreover, if the Grinch stole hearts instead of toys, I could really get behind him.  Forced gaiety I can handle but forced hearts and flowers can be pretty tough to take (plus you might get caught).  Maybe it’s that my own birthday falls a week before (a personal new year’s eve with the requisite highs and lows) or the wear down of a freezing winter, but I felt little need to acknowledge the day and was resisting all cheerful attempts to make a plan, make a reservation, make something happen. Read more

Arroz Blanco

Brought to the table in perfectly rounded mounds with an order of black beans, served in heavy chafing dishes on buffet tables, or ladled out of giant cookers from the kitchen counter, white rice hides in plain sight.  Though a staple throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, white rice specifically anchors every Cuban meal.  Its primacy partly due to large waves of Chinese immigration,  I can’t imagine a better blank slate for beans, shredded beef stews, picadillos and plantains.  I probably end almost every post with the words “serve over fluffy white rice” but had yet to include a recipe.  When my sister texted me to find out how to make it.  Rushed and reluctant to text back, I wondered why she didn’t just look it up here, then I checked and realized it wasn’t on my site.  Oops. Read more

Pear Gnocchi

I haven’t been exactly religious about my monthly ñoquis del 29 posts.  Meant to bring luck, I try to get to it every month but don’t always make it.  It’s a goal I set for myself so I can write my own hall pass when I’m otherwise distracted.  Still, I wasn’t taking my chances on skipping January.  I had initially thought I’d try gnocchi Parisienne as a follow up to my previous post, but exhausted from travel and deciding that gnocchi should be fun – a starchy puree of anything with only just enough egg and flour added to hold it together – I went pear shaped instead. Read more

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