I’d been looking for a way to use chirimoyas since I came across them a few months ago in a nearby market. Originally found in the Andean region between Peru and Ecuador, they’re also cultivated in small pockets throughout Chile, California, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and Israel. Heart-shaped and scaly, they could be a dragon’s paw and are almost as rare in my Brooklyn neighborhood, so I was excited when I found them. Also known as custard apples, they’re like everything and like nothing else. The fruit can be likened to strawberry, banana, pineapple, papaya, avocados, mango, ripe pears, and commercial bubble gum while Mark Twain described it more simply as “deliciousness itself.” Read more
Posts from the ‘Brooklyn’ Category
Shopping in Brooklyn can be a unique experience, each store its own world staffed by the designer/owner/manager who’s set up shop. Going into the final week before Christmas, I decided to do a quick tour of my favorites looking for housewares and kitchen gadgets, preferably utilitarian but with something more. After all, if they’re pouring out the same 1/2 cup of milk, why shouldn’t measuring cups come shaped like matryoshka nesting dolls or salt and pepper shakers as penguins for that matter? Here’s what I found:
Decembers are a blur whether or not it’s snowing. With no plans to host, I’ve decided to spend the holiday party season as a kind of foreign exchange student. I’m just showing up when asked and however they’re celebrating, I’ll just go with it. Last Christmas was my family’s turn to have Noche Buena dinner and before that I had a party for friends before everyone went their separate ways, so it’s just not my year. Read more
I first came across pan de muerto, or “bread of the dead” in the long stretch of Mexican bakeries and stores in Sunset Park. Placed on family altars for el Día de los Muertos (November 1 & 2) as an offering to their deceased loved ones, I asked everyone I knew how they’d celebrated in Mexico and whether they continued to do so in the States. Read more
I may have waited until the very last weekend of the summer to have my first lobster roll, but now that I had, I wasn’t letting it scuttle away just yet. I decided to try a recipe from the 1930s for Lobster Havanaise, a cross between a Thermidor and Newburg but with rum instead of brandy. The rum is added off heat just before serving so the flavor is very pronounced. I started at Fish Tales in Brooklyn since they’re always helpful and let me take complimentary limes, even on a 1/4 pound of salmon. I almost left empty handed when I realized I would need at least two Maine lobsters to make up for the 2 pounder called for in the recipe. They pointed me instead to the Brazilian rock lobsters right for Caribbean cooking. With no claws, rock lobsters carry all their meat in the tail (no kidding, and I thought the only Cuban element was the rum). Though they’re not as sweet as the Maine variety, they’re in season from the end of the summer through winter, so they’re is plenty of time to play with. Read more
A friend coined the term produce shopaholic on her blog, Mindy’s Recipe for Disaster. If I’d read her post earlier, I may have recognized the symptoms before I went on a why-not-bender at the Park Slope Food Co-op yesterday. Though I love figs, I rarely buy fresh ones. I have plans for tarts and compotes, but the slightest delay and they’re past all use. Still, I couldn’t resist when I found organic Calimyrna figs. I reasoned that the green ones would at least give me a head start, and they were so cute and plump I had to take them home. A quick search online and through my books gave me a couple of ideas. I had some this morning drizzled with peppered honey and Spanish goat cheese with sweet olive oil crackers. It was sweet, spicy, flowery and creamy all at the same time. The recipe from Bon Appétit could not be easier, so there is no reason to put off using them straight away. I also found an interesting recipe for fig compote with red wine and spices among the formidable 1080 Recipes, one of my favorite cookbooks/step stools that I’ll try next. Now that I’m hooked, I’ll need more figs.
For the complete Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Peppered Honey recipe click here.
After writing about Calexico a few weeks ago, I learned that some friends from the neighborhood were about to open Oaxaca, their own taqueria on Smith Street. I’ve known the young owners for a long time since they grew up nearby and worked at Lobo, one of my favorite brunch spots. Though still in high school, they never scowled, even if I did something stupid like ask to split an order of french toast or substitute my home fries for fresh fruit. That’s why I was so excited to come across this mostly positive review in this weeks New York Times Dining & Wine section. Though it’s still coming together, they’re off to a good start.
At the risk of losing points on my facebook “Are you a real New Yorker?” quiz, I don’t actually like to eat and walk at the same time (though just to be clear I can do it). Naturally, I was interested to read that Jesse, Bryan and Dave Vendley, the brothers behind the popular Calexico Carne Asada trucks in Soho were putting down roots and opening a new restaurant in Red Hook. Serving traditional Mexican street food from the California border town where they grew up, everything we tried – pulled pork taco with pickled red onion and crema, Anson Mills grits topped with fresh corn and jalapeños, carne asada burrito and cantaloupe agua fresca – was bright, well seasoned and straightforward. Read more