I’ve had a lot of reasons to be grateful for this year, but one of the things I’m most thankful for is that so many of you have stuck with me during long absences while I completed my first cookbook. It’s been equal parts exhilarating and exhausting, and I can’t wait to share the details with all of you over the next few months as it starts coming together. Read more
Posts from the ‘General’ Category
Now that I’ve talked about the Tabasco, I wanted to get back to the food and more importantly the people, because both were pretty great. Waking up that first morning at the Marsh House, I opened the door and followed a cloud of bacon upstairs to large family style dining room just off the kitchen where Stanley Dry, Louisiana chef and food writer, was making breakfast. Aside from the bacon that woke me up, there was chicory coffee, eggs, boudin sausage, fig preserves spiced with fennel and bay leaves, fried pies filled with persimmon jam or peaches sweetened with Avery Island honey, pain perdu dripping Steen’s cane syrup and trees dripping in Spanish moss on view from every window. That was how we started every day and it couldn’t have been lovelier. Read more
I was very close to not making it. A few months ago, I’d been invited to join a group of food writers at the Tabasco Tastemakers event hosted by the McIlhenny Company. Coming up against an all consuming deadline, I was working until the last possible moment….and then a few minutes after that. Stressed and sleepless, I arrived at the Lafayette airport in a kind of daze. At some point in the short drive thru New Iberia, Lousiana to the Marsh House on Avery Island where we’d be staying, I started to feel a little easier, chatting with other bloggers in the group and asking Dave who was born and raised on the island the first of a million questions he’d answer for us over the next few days. By the time we arrived at Marsh House where we’d be staying, I took my first deep breath in what felt like weeks and it was full of pepper in the best possible way. Read more
Recently, I had the rare chance to attend a dinner for Edible Brooklyn hosted chef Diego Felix of the Colectivo Felix and chef Hugo Orozco Carrillo at La Slowteria. Rare, because Diego is rarely in one place for very long, but then, that’s kind of the point. It was the kind of lingering, midsummer evenings you almost think you imagined the next day. Fortunately, I was there with photographer Emily Dryden who took some lovely pictures to capture it all.
When my mother told me to grab a spoon I was confused. I looked around the kitchen and only saw her opening a can of something without a label. “Traeme una cuchara,” she insisted. I walked over to the drawer and brought her back two spoons. She quickly took them from my hand and scooped something brown and gooey out of the mystery can. ‘Try it!’ She said confidently and then she started enjoying her own spoonful. I carefully took a lick and proceeded to light up the only way a fat kid could. I couldn’t believe my mom had made something so delicious. “How did you make this?” I was 8 years old and amazed. “Carefully!”, she answered looking over at the pressure cooker. Read more
When talking about regional Latin American food, the subject of heat is polarizing, especially for those countries who don’t really use it. Viewed as a generality that paints us all with the same brush and overlooks an incredible diversity of ingredients and flavors, most people, myself included, are quick to point out that Cuban food is spicy but not hot – though that’s not entirely true either. While it’s kept out of many traditional recipes, peppers pop up in the food of eastern Cuba and a few drops of hot sauce always work their way into camarones enchilados. I may balk at adding chipotle mayo to my Cuban sandwiches, but a small red bottle of Tabasco sauce stands guard at most Miami lunch counters. Still, when I was asked to develop a few recipes for McIlhenny Company’s Tabasco, I was hesitant at first. Deep into an intense recipe testing period, I didn’t see a way of working it in until I made pulled chicken cooked down with guava barbecue sauce. Spiked with a good dose of heat, it stood up to the guava paste, cut through the sweetness, and sharpened the flavors. It’s was a good enough reason to draw outside the lines. Happy Fourth! Read more
Beginning next week, I’ll be taking a pretty extensive cookbook research break that will keep me away from this site well into June, so I didn’t want to miss the chance to post one more time. In what might be the most boring premise for a reality television show ever – leading up to any trip, I stop buying food and try to only use what I have on hand. That left me with a few links of chorizo bought for garbanzos, an extra 2 pounds of malanga that never became fritters, and a half bunch of parsley because – well there’s just always parsley.
I just missed the last year’s Brooklyn’s Food Book Fair, so it was loooong wait for it to come around again. This makes it that much more exciting to not only attend but participate at FBF’s Food + Conflict panel with Joan Nathan of the New York Times on Saturday, May 5. I’ve tried to single out a few talks or demos to recommend, but there’s such an incredible diversity of opinion and approach that I don’t know where to start – except to say they all deserve a close read. It’s going to be a great weekend full of not to be missed events – mostly taking place at the Wythe Hotel or Williamsburg mother ship – and nearby venues. If you need extra motivation or are still trying to figure out what to see, here are a few discounts to help you make up your mind. Hope to see you there! Read more
Now that it’s almost over, I can admit that this winter has been hard. It wasn’t the severity but the unpredictability that had me – and almost everyone else I know – on edge. Desperate for any lasting sign of spring, I wrote this short piece on getting through the final weeks for Devour. Last week, in a fit of spring induced optimism, I brought an armful of herbs home from the farmer’s market. I’ve never been great with plants, but seeing them lined up along the windowsill, I’m hopeful that these will be different. Read more
I always loved Palm Sunday when I was little. There was something about getting those palm fronds that felt important. For once I had a focus for my fidgeting, and I’d spend the service shaping and reshaping them. Last Sunday, though I (somewhat guiltily) didn’t attend mass, I fussed with hearts of palm instead. Read more