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Posts from the ‘Fruits/Vegetables’ Category

Dulce de Grosellas

IMG_3029I don’t remember having currants – red, black, or otherwise – growing up, so I was surprised to find them in one of the older Cuban cookbooks I’d been using, Delicias de las Mesa by Maria Antonieta Reyes Gavalán.   Written in the 1920s, I came across it at the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection.  While most other Cuban cookbooks date from the mid-fifties when everyone was only too happy to embrace cans and convenience, Gavalán’s book captures an earlier time, referencing ingredients and techniques that had fallen out of use but worth reconsidering. The book itself was so worn and frayed that it couldn’t be scanned or photocopied, so I spent most of  my time in the archives furiously taking notes before reluctantly giving it back. It was complete coincidence when my aunt Marta called from New Orleans to tell me her friend had given her a copy of the book that I could have. Read more

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

Dulce de Mora

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The weather is defrosting, but I spent Sunday half inside my freezer where I found the nearly forgotten bag of moras.  Also called Andean blackberries, moras are a little more tart, firmer, and brighter than the blackberries commonly found in the US.  I’d picked them up in an amazing Latin American market in Jackson Heights.  Well-stocked with incredible variety but hard to get to, I brought back as much as I could carry.  A few months later, I’ve barely made a dent in the frozen guavas, jarred loroco, or guasca leaves I stockpiled.  I was looking to change this and remembered a dessert my friend’s mother, Mari Ines, made when she was teaching me how to make ajiaco Bogotano.  In the time it took her to finish the ajiaco, she simmered the berries in syrup and served them with queso fresco.  After calling Mari Ines for the recipes and ratios, I quickly made it for friends that night.  There are so many things I’m looking forward to this summer, but in these in between days, it felt good to take advantage of what I already had. Read more

Cascos de Guayaba en Almíbar

It’s not really news that you should see what tops the ingredients list of certain foods and rule out anything lab born. Still, we all have our blind spots and for me its guava in all its forms. Easy enough for most to avoid, except for Cubans to whom its practically a food group, I get as far as seeing red color #20 and think better of it. When I’m in Miami, this isn’t a problem.  I can always find freshly made poached guavas, pastes and jellies in local markets.  Visting Jamaica this past November, my suitcase was weighted down with jarred preserves where the most intense add-in was clove and maybe a dash of nutmeg. In New York, I have fewer options.  Read more

Padrón Peppers

Tucked next to French beans, Shishito peppers, and curly Chicory, Padrón peppers have made their late summer appearance. A product of Galicia, they’re a popular tapa lightly fried with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. I hadn’t heard of them until I read José Pizarro’s Seasonal Spanish Food and recognized them as the compact and deep green peppers everyone crowds around during the short weeks they’re available at the market. With my current Spanish preoccupation, I thought it was time to try them. Read more

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