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Posts from the ‘Fish & Shellfish’ Category

Casquinha de Siri

Looking over Caribbean or Central American recipes, it’s no longer necessary to seek out Latin American markets or bodegas in search of specialty items.  Increasingly popular, all grocery stores are now Latin American bodegas (or at least have a booming selection of Goya products).  I could also order absolutely anything online but it doesn’t compare to finding it in a newly discovered shop or even better, bringing back a longed for ingredient from a trip.  Portuguese and Brazilian recipes pose there own challenges.  Too often lumped in with the rest of South America, it’s a combination of indigenous, Portuguese, and African influences whose unique ingredients can put it just out of everyday reach.  I can find guajillo chiles or aji amarillo within few blocks of my house but I have yet to come across dendê oil or malagueta peppers by chance, making it that much more exciting to find farina de mandioca on the lower east side. Read more

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Tequila-Cured Salmon Gravlax

A friend from Seattle once described his family’s Christmas tree ritual.  Every December, they’d go to the woods, pick a tree, argue a little, cut it down, then bring it home where they’d have hot chocolate together.  A lovely story, but so wholesome, it seemed exotic.  Told to a bunch of urbanites who believed Christmas trees sprouted up spontaneously from the sidewalks in front of grocery stores once a year, we wanted to know if there was a designated “tree section” of the forest.  That’s the way I felt about making my own gravlax which I’d only bought pre-packaged and ready to serve (random connection I know but they’re both related to the Pacific Northwest).  I love sushi, ceviche and all things smoked and cured, but when it comes to fish, I relied on chefs and Nova Scotians to tell me when it’s raw and when it’s lunch.  This week I found a recipe for tequila-cured salmon topped with mango and lime relish that changed my mind. Read more

Grilled Tuna Steak with Roasted Tomatoes

I wish I had the ability to just stroll over to the farmer’s market, grab a couple of beets, some Swiss chard, and an apricot and turn it into a feast by finding inspiration in the season laid out under tents and weighing down tables.  But that would mean giving up the planning, the list, and the check off which I also love, especially the list. Read more

What’s Left?

I’ve always hated the word leftovers (though it’s invisible to anyone reading this, I’ve written that first sentence three times to avoid using that word to no avail).  I love the feeling of having bought, made and served just enough.  Though I dutifully store away the smallest amount that remains of any dish or ingredient, I resent it.  As someone who often cooks at home with an ongoing game of tupperware jenga going on in her refrigerator, it was time to reconsider how I used the (ugh) leftovers that were piling up.  My attitude started to change last week when I was making papas en salsa verde.  The recipe suggested serving them with refried beans.  With bags of frozen beans periodically jumping at me from the freezer, crashing to the floor, and threatening to knock out one of my yorkies, I decided to defrost some of the black beans I’d already made rather than start from scratch (too late) or open a can (too bland).  Having congratulated myself on completing a second recipe from my initial batch of beans, I decided to use the remaining salsa verde to try a third one for pipián verde, a tomatillo sauce combined with toasted pumpkin seeds.  Perfect for the last Friday before Easter, I decide to make it again tonight to end the Lenten season.  I still don’t like leftovers but I’m starting to like the idea of one dish becoming another and then another and then another… Read more

Tiger’s Tale

Like most people, I’ve been overwhelmed by the perfect storm of holidays we’ve had this weekend.  Being stared down by Cupid, I could barely make out the Metal Tiger and Abe Lincoln standing behind him.  Throw my birthday into the mix and I barely have enough time to get my guilt in order before Ash Wednesday.  Nevertheless, I wanted to commemorate the Chinese New Year in some small way.  When I first came to New York for school, Chinese-Cuban restaurants were my link to authentic Cuban food.  Chinese staff speaking hyper-speed Caribbean Spanish serving roast pork with bean curd or fried rice with maduros over Cuban map placemats.   I realized this winter that the reverse was also true.  When I was considering buying some heavy tropical fruit to bring back with me from Miami, I realized I’d be better off looking for the same items closer to home in Chinatown. Read more

Soup Day

I’ve wanted to try this recipe for shrimp soup since the summer and decided it was the perfect cold, rainy day for it.  The sky even look liked soup.  Finding recipes in old cookbooks is always a mixed bag.  I wish they had a little more detail, but at the same time, they’re liberating.  I pay more attention to finding egg shaped potatoes and watching for what supposed to happen as opposed to the timer.  A good way to pass a dreary fall day. Read more

A New Season

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