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Posts from the ‘Latin America-General’ Category

Batido de Cherimoya

IMG_7626With my manuscript deadline closing in, I haven’t been able to update as much as I’d like.  For months now, I’ve been waiting for life to get back to normal but am starting to realize that this might be it.  Not wanting to stay away any longer, I’ve decided to keep it light and frothy – very frothy – and write about batido de cherimoya.  I had it for the first time at a small Peruvian restaurant my mother wanted to try.  Lost in a tetris-like configuration of strip malls, it was actually a great place with amazing ceviche and Miami-eccentric service.  Their jugo de cherimoya reminded me of the icy champola de guanabana (another tropical fruit with a pre-historic exterior and sweet center) I had growing up. Read more

Sweet Memory

IMG_7443My sister has been asking me to post about canned dulce de leche since I started the site in 2008.  Still away on my summer hiatus she saw her opportunity…

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

Pulled Chicken in Guava Barbecue Sauce

IMG_7552When 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

Almond-Orange Flan

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Whenever I turn out a successful flan, I always feel like I’ve gotten lucky.  Made with with relatively few ingredients, they should be simple but that’s not always the case.   I recently tried to make a Mexican flan imposible (part custard, part chocolate) that turned out to be – well – impossible.  This week, I was determined make this almond-orange flan for the Cooking Channel’s Devour the Blog dairy-free for Passover.  Making flan without my go-to cans (part condensed milk, part evaporated milk) was unnerving, but I had a feeling it would work out in the end.  I was due. Read more

Sea Scallops with a Malanga Crust

Every four years, my extended family gets together in South Carolina for a week long reunion.  Synced to both the presidential election (something to argue about) and the summer Olympics (something to look forward to), we always know when it’s coming.  This time I carved out a few extra days to visit nearby Savannah – a city I’ve had a crush on for a very long time. Read more

Hungry in Edible Manhattan

I always love coming across a copy of Edible Manhattan so I was thrilled when they asked me to contribute two pieces to their first ever dairy issue (March/April 2012). Tasked with finding the city’s best tres leches, all signs pointed to Daisy Lebron at  Bizcocho de Colores in Upper Manhattan. On what seemed like the only cold day this past winter, I made the treck to the opposite side of the island and was rewarded with an amazing tres leches (or two).  It was a treasure in a plastic clam shell. Click here to read Uptown, a Dominican Confection Makes Life Three Times Sweeter which includes an extended photo gallery by Elizabeth Leitzell. Read more

Rosca de Reyes

I haven’t brought myself to take down the tree just yet. It was love at first sight when I spotted it early December – shivering and cold on the corner of my block. A little plumper then the elegant, well-shaped trees on either side, I realized something about myself that morning, namely that I like a fat tree. Since I was staying home this year, I gave myself the luxury of a full-sized tree knowing I wouldn’t have to go away for the holidays and come back to find it dry and sinking on the stand. For once, I was able to use all of my ornaments big and small and it couldn’t get enough. No matter how many decorations I put on the tree, the branches just seemed to swallow them whole until we had to literally trim them down. If they made spanx for trees, I would have used them. On Christmas Eve, my favorite gift was a vintage Angel topper my sister hunted down for me so the tree was finally complete. In some countries, the night of January 5 that precedes it, also known as twelfth night or the 12th day of Christmas, is considered the end of the season when decorations should be taken down (don’t worry about looking it up – it’s 12 drummers drumming). I wanted to keep it up at least until Three Kings Day or Epiphany. Sadly, the time has come. Read more

Catching Up in March

March has been such a whirl that I made it all the way to April before I could stop and catch my breath. It started well with my first contribution to the Cooking Channel’s Devour the Blog  and it was great to see so many of you making the jump. A new post on stocking my Latin pantry went up yesterday with more to follow. I laid my cupboard bare (well I straightened it up first) so I hope you’ll visit the site again and let us know what’s in yours.  I also wrote a piece about Latin American staples - Running with the Grains -  for Marcus Samuelsson‘s Food Republic that combines two favorite obsessions – seeking out new ingredients and running till I just can’t anymore.  A new site covering everyone from Junot Diaz to Michelle Bernstein (who also helps spices up school lunches here), I was thrilled to be a part of their launch this week. 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

Fairy Tale Soup

It was supposed to be a fairy tale.  I found a recipe for pumpkin and crab soup that I couldn’t wait to try, a Cinderella pumpkin I couldn’t wait to photograph, and pound of fresh lump crab meat I couldn’t help but splurge on.  Using a recipe that seemed pretty straight forward if a little vague, I roasted the pumpkin and scooped out a few cups – careful to leave the shell in tact so it could it be used as a tureen – then pureed it with scallions and coriander.  Combining the puree with broth, I added way too much curry (the wooden spoon I used still looks gold plated).  I made some adjustments but it only got the soup madder.  I was moments away from throwing good crab meat into bad recipe when I decided to give up on it altogether. Read more

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