I think my relationship with New York is steady enough that I can admit we’d recently hit a rough patch. I’d spent so much time away last year that it felt like I was living consecutive winters. It wore me down and I took it out on the city that had become all work. Now that we’re having this beautiful summer, every day comes closer to New York’s song-and-dance ideal and I’m in love again. I even gave in and bought a new bicycle -albeit one that is technically older than I am – a copper colored Schwinn Suburban step-through with an honeywood basket. It’s heavy, impractical and my favorite thing in the world right now. Read more
Posts from the ‘Soups & Stews’ Category
I first met Leticia Moreinos Schwartz at a seminar at the International Culinary Center. Perched in the front row with a well-prepared list of questions and samples for the class, she would have been intimidating if she wasn’t so incredibly nice. We’ve stayed in touch since and she’s always quick to answer my questions and offer much needed guidance and advice. Her first book, The Brazilian Kitchen, is full of unfailing recipes and her personal insight into Brazilian cuisine and has become a favorite. Less familiar to me than other Latin American traditions, Brazilian food has been a blind spot though I’m always happy when I make the effort. Her latest, My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook, tells an even more personal story of both the carioca home cooking she grew up with and the contemporary Brazilian cuisine she encounters on frequent trips home.
I was very late to try it, but this week I finally made Jim Lahey’s now famous no-knead bread recipe. I’m not sure how it came to mind, but around 6 o-clock one evening, I decided that I absolutely could not go another minute without digging it out from a stack must trys I’d had going for a couple of years. After looking at the online video Mark Bittman created with Lahey, I bundled up and headed out for the ingredients. By 7, I was mixing up the dough and setting it in the oven for the initial long slow rise. The next day, after a few turns and second rise, it was in the oven pre-heated to scorching hot. I was cautiously optimistic. Read more
Lately, in my heat-addled mind, the most satisfying meals can be summed up in two words – cold and simple. Though gazpacho meets both criteria, I’d yet to make it this summer. Looking for a new variation, I tried this popular recipe for gazpacho al estilo de Patricia by Spanish chef José Andrés. Having experimented with pale ajo blanco, deep pink gazpacho with strawberry and fennel, and classic red with tropezones, it was time to go green. 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
It seems that every time I look for a Colombian recipe, I fall into a soup bowl. With winter going fast and a long weekend to seek out hard to find ingredients, I was finally ready to attempt ajiaco Bogotano. Until recently, I’d only know the Cuban version – a heavy blend of root vegetables, plantains, pork and beef. In Bogota, ajiaco is a chicken only affair, thickened with three kinds of potatoes and flavored with cilantro, scallions and guascas, a pre-Columbian herb with medicinal properties and daisy relatives. When I tried it for the first time last year, I loved the ritual of adding your own dollop of thick cream, briny capotes, sliced avocado and even more cilantro from the garnishes brought to the table. Looking for a recipe, my friend Carolina’s mother, Mari Ines, tried to walk me through it on the phone but I wasn’t quite getting it. I knew I’d be home for a few days so I more or less invited myself over see it done first hand. Read more
I’ve started to think of Los Paisanos meat market on Smith Street as my own, personal, model UN. Ostensibly Italian, it’s largely staffed by Central and South Americans. Though helpful when I’m looking to translate a recipe, it can get touchy. Guatemala may concede but Mexico isn’t too happy when I defer to Colombia. This is what happened when I went there a couple of weeks ago with a vague idea that I wanted to try caldo de costilla – a Colombian beef rib broth flavored with potatoes, scallions and cilantro. Not surprisingly, without consensus, the results were uneven. Read more