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Posts from the ‘Soups & Stews’ Category

My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook

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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.

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Sopa de Ajo con Huevos

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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

Gazpacho al Estilo de Patricia

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

Porotos Granados

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

Ajiaco Bogotano

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

Caldo de Costilla

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

Pisto Manchego

If I’ve been hard-selling farmer’s markets in the last couple of months it’s because I can’t remember a summer where I’ve taken this much advantage of them. It’s partly my dog’s fault. Orfeo Perro gets very fast walks during the week so Sunday mornings we go the long way around Carroll Park to the small market that sets up there. This should be a happy time for both of us but rarely is. The smell of sizzling turkey sausage goes to his head and I have to watch him so he doesn’t gobble up the samples (toothpicks included) that fall to the sidewalk or, even worse, get gobbled up by the much bigger dogs for whom he is a delicious turkey sausage. To make matters worse, he thinks nothing of snatching at animal crackers, cheerios and anything else that sticks out of a passing stroller. I work my way through the market in a series of tugs and apologies but that’s my dog – marking his territory and taking candy from babies. Read more

Habichuelas Blancas Guisadas

When I was little and knew I was going on a trip, the first thing I did was pack my bags.  It could be days, weeks or even months away, but getting ready made me feel like I was already on the plane.  Sadly, I’ve completely lost my pro-active packing impulses.  Almost from the moment the itinerary hits my inbox, I start running through the list of things I need to do here before I’m allowed to go there.  This weekend, after booking my Easter trip to Puerto Rico and facing dementor-like winter temperatures outside – the kind that make you feel like you’ll never be cheerful again – I felt a little of the old packing impulse when I decided to make this stew of habichuelas blancas. 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

Changua

I’ve written a lot about comfort food this past summer.  It must be natural when so many things I make are from my childhood and it is a childish season after all.  This week I got a take on comfort food I hadn’t considered before.  I was talking to one of my oldest friends who’s going through a difficult time.  Wanting to make some small gesture of support, I offered to make her something, anything.  If she could think of a great dish she had growing up, I’d work out the ingredients and write it up for her.  She suggested changua, a milk-onion-egg soup from the central Andes of Colombia.  Loved the name, but it didn’t sound very appetizing, especially for breakfast when it’s typically served in Bogotá with a piece of calado or almojábana bread to soak it up.  I had images of cracking open coconuts and frying fish but she wanted changua.  Milk soup, really? Read more

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