Usually, I get so caught up during holidays that my celebratory posts don’t appear until around midnight. While it’s been hard to post while I’ve been away, I didn’t want to let the day go by without putting my roundabout father’s day post.
Of course, my father had every reason to expect a boy – they already had a girl after all. Though I rarely met him even halfway (tee-ball, soccer and tennis were disasters), I did prefer Star Wars to Barbie (there was a princess in it), wasn’t squeamish about what went in the frituras de sesos he love to make, and stayed awake during The Right Stuff – so I don’t think he minded too much. A foodie before the word, he gave me sugar cane to cut my teeth on, took me to the docks to buy fish as the boats came in, presented me with meltingly tender Italian prosciutto like it was a visiting dignitary, and charmed a fast melting cooler of Mexican guanabana ice cream through customs. Read more
A couple of springs ago, I went behind the Solber Pupusa stand at Ft. Geene’s Brooklyn Flea to learn how to palmear or shape their famous corn flour cakes. I loved the process of mixing up the dough with my hands, tucking in the filling until it looks like an overstuffed dumpling, then passing it back and forth until it was a smooth disc again. They were like the play-dough cakes I would have made as a kid except they turned into something you’d actually want to eat. The first one weren’t very pretty but they improved with practice. Read more
I always hope that someone will see a recipe on my site and decide to try it out for themselves. In the case of these porotos granados, I absolutely understand if they wait for the cooler days of summer. I came across the Chilean recipe months ago when fresh cranberry beans seemed very far away. With origins going back to the pre-Columbian Mapuche Indians, it brings together my summer favorites- fresh beans, tomatoes, and corn. Available year around as dry Roman beans, I could have made the dish with frozen corn, and canned tomatoes but decided to wait. Finally, last week the cranberry beans made their appearance at my Sunday farmer’s market, right around the time someone turned the heat up to a 100 degrees. Read more
Despite a lifetime of research, I’m always discovering something new in Cuban food. While it reminds me not to take anything for granted, less pleasant is knowing that my nearest and dearest have been holding out on me. That’s how I felt when I discovered that harina – cornmeal simmered to a creamy state and topped with peppery sofritos and poached or fried eggs, ham or chorizo, shimp or crab – was a Cuban comfort food staple that everyone was having but no one was talking about. I’d enjoyed Italian polenta prepared this way, but I hadn’t realized there was a take on it that was much closer to home – just not my home. Read more
The last couple of weeks I’ve been indulging in early Saturday market runs. Loaded down with corn, currants, peaches and herbs, I head home with my haul, spread it out then have a moment of what now. As inspring as the weekend farmer’s market can be, sometimes the summer goes to my head and I overbuy (or just haven’t found a gooseberry recipe to love). That’s partly why I was so happy to make this grilled corn and quinoa salad, the first recipe I’ve tried from Lourdes Castro’s new book, Latin Grilling. Read more
I was working on a post on the Latin pantry for Devour the Blog when I decided to take a look at my own. I’m constantly straightening and organizing my shelves in the on-going game of kitchen Jenga that my limited New York storage space forces me to play. I can’t complain though because a few years ago my cupboards would have been bare. It took me awhile to figure out what I like, how I should store it, and how often I would use it. I hate waste and there were a few forgotten items staring at me resentfully from behind the much loved olive oil and sea salt, but I think I got it down to the essentials. I don’t know if it’s pure projection or all those chiles and peppers, but Latin American products seem to vibrate just a little bit more than others. I feel like if I winked at the woman on the P.A.N. Harina bag she just might wink back and I’m also absolutely terrified of the Abuelita on Nestlé’s Mexican chocolate discs though I’m sure she means well. Read more
I’m a little late in posting this recipe for humitas. Though I read about them weeks ago and made my first batch a couple of days ago, a lot of have-tos (and a few want-tos) have gotten in the the way. Initially, I didn’t recognize them as the tamales I’d grown up with. They were of course and they weren’t. Depending on whether you’re in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela or the Caribbean, they’re known as humitas, humintas, tamales, tamalli, tamalitos verdes, chapanas, bollos, choclotanda, chumales, cachapas, chapanas, chiguiles, envueltos de mazorca, ayacas, hallacas, juanes, pamonhas. The filling can be sweet or savory, made with fresh or dried corn, plantains or potatoes, wrapped corn husks, banana leaves or parchment paper, steamed or baked, served as a snack, side dish, casserole or heavy stew. Read more