It was unmistakable. There was a chill in the air this morning. Not a breeze, not a nip, but a chill. This summer went by fast for me and being in the final stretch of recipe testing and writing has only accelerated it. This week I was looking for a substitute for the Cuban aji guaguao and was told that tabasco peppers should work. I stopped by a few of my favorite markets but they didn’t carry them. Earlier this year, I was supposed to visit the McIlhenny Company‘s tabasco pepper fields in Louisiana but the trip was postponed until October. At the time it felt like a long ways off but now it couldn’t come soon enough. With New York produce failing me, I couldn’t wait to be where tabasco peppers were literally growing on trees (or bushes – not sure because I haven’t been there yet). Read more
Posts from the ‘Eggs’ Category
I hadn’t planned on a traditional Good Friday. I was supposed to meet my friend Carolina, who was visiting, at the Met but was falling behind. I’d spent the day making a tarta Pascualina or Easter pie to write about this weekend when the day got away from me when another friend who was moving to Chicago stopped by in the afternoon to say goodbye. For the past few weeks, Aaron and I had done a lot of before-you-go things in the neighborhood but helping me finish the pie was the absolute last. The pascualina done, I changed to plan to a low-key night at home with Carol and my sister Cami – the better to catch-up on the bear of a week we’d all had. We were about to sit down when we heard the procession outside the window. Read more
The thing about vacation is that eventually you have to come home. Always wanting to make it last a little longer, I hold on by bringing back ingredients, recreating recipes, or incorporating holiday habits to my everyday. In the past year, I’ve visited Paris and Mexico City, which is why I have tins of fois gras and impressionist teas on my shelves, half empty jars of caramel beurre au salé and cajeta in the cupboard, and stacks of corn tortillas in the freezer. This is also why I flounce around Brooklyn markets on the weekend with an enormous Provence basket and can’t stop making batches of salsa verde. Read more
I love the holidays but so much joy can be exhausting. The things I normally love doing – seeing friends, decking the halls, shopping, traveling – become stressful when done for 31+ consecutive days. I miss my kitchen and get in a panic about getting home too early to sleep and too late to cook. Faced with the prospect of nighttime pop tarts (organic maybe but still) and cold bowls of cereal, I opted for tortilla de papas instead. Read more
Nothing takes the fear out of making a soufflé like making three in a row. I found a recipe for one combined with amaranth that I couldn’t wait to try. My training for this year’s New York City marathon is nearing the 20-mile mark so I’ve been cooking up batches of amaranth to have on hand for cereal topped with honey and fruit. While adding eggs and cheese may not be the best way to enjoy my vitamin high grain, it sounded wonderful and I’d been so good. Read more
I’m not used to very much heat in my food. Though most people associate chili peppers with Latin America, food in the Caribbean is more often spicy than hot. While I love having a choice on one menu between caipirinhas and mojitos or lomo saltado and carne asada, trendy pan-Latin restaurants can add to the confusion. Friends insist that chipotle belongs in a Cuban sandwich, and ask me if I had elotes covered in chili powder growing up because they ordered it at Habana Outpost. The answers are complicated. I don’t want chipotle anywhere near my Cubano, but I look forward to my chili covered corn every summer (though not because I had it growing up, but because it’s so good).
Its bothered me for awhile that I haven’t included more Puerto Rican recipes. There are so many similarities with Cuban food, that I dip towards the more familiar Cuban side when in doubt, like a bird flying with one wing. Recently, I found a copy of Carmen Aboy Valldejuli’s classic, Puerto Rican Cookery, which I hope will restore the balance. There are many reasons to love this book. To name a few, words like carefully and thoroughly are in bold making the recipes more emotional while delicioso and sabroso are translated to”Caribbean” when no other word will do; Rafael Tufiño contributed illustrations; and there’s a sweet black and white picture of her husband, Luis Valldjuli serving her a rum drink from the chapter he contributed on the back cover. Read more