The Cuban Table will be here next week but I couldn’t wait until then to share a recipe from the book. I’d been planning on this post for awhile but it was hard to choose just one. Not only are they all attached to a memory or favorite moment during this long process, they’re also attached to some of my favorite people. They were great company as I wrote and I’m so excited to introduce them to you. Even now, I feel like when I open the cover they all start talking once – a familiar feeling if you’ve ever walked into a Cuban gathering. It’s also at those parties where you’ll most often find … Arroz Con Pollo. And that’s how I finally decided. Read more
A week ago, I got tired of playing kitchen Jenga in my overcrowded pantry. Deciding to clear the decks, I went through every can and bottle, checked expiration dates, and relined the shelves. While there weren’t as many items to throw away as I’d feared, there were enough to make me feel more than a little ashamed and wasteful. I hate throwing away food to the core, and there’s no excuse for it. Read more
I usually dread fall-back but I’ve been looking forward to daylight savings for weeks. Normally a morning person, getting up in the pitch black, confusing the still bright streetlamps with my alarm clock, and starting every day with the say-it-aint-sos was really getting to me. For once, I was willing to trade darker afternoons for brighter mornings. Of course, playing mind games with the sun has its price. As someone with penchant for photographing their food, I’m sure I’ll be cursing the change when I’m trying to get a decent picture at 3-o’-clock in the afternoon. Read more
Brought to the table in perfectly rounded mounds with an order of black beans, served in heavy chafing dishes on buffet tables, or ladled out of giant cookers from the kitchen counter, white rice hides in plain sight. Though a staple throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, white rice specifically anchors every Cuban meal. Its primacy partly due to large waves of Chinese immigration, I can’t imagine a better blank slate for beans, shredded beef stews, picadillos and plantains. I probably end almost every post with the words “serve over fluffy white rice” but had yet to include a recipe. When my sister texted me to find out how to make it. Rushed and reluctant to text back, I wondered why she didn’t just look it up here, then I checked and realized it wasn’t on my site. Oops. Read more
Arroz con coco rates high on the long list of things I should have tried sooner. A staple of Caribbean cooking, especially along the coast of Colombia, it’s essentially white rice cooked with coconut milk then served with fried fish, plantains, avocado. Deceptively simple, I used equal parts canned light coconut milk and water for the first attempt, combining all the ingredients and bringing them to a fast boil. The result was great if I was going for rice pudding but otherwise too sticky and un-fluffable. Trying to get the proportions and the timing right, I used a second can and sautéed the rice with a little bit of oil before adding the liquid. It may have worked but I let it go too long and the amount of rice was way off, so it burned before it cooked. Read more
Nothing takes the fear out of making a soufflé like making three in a row. I found a recipe for one combined with amaranth that I couldn’t wait to try. My training for this year’s New York City marathon is nearing the 20-mile mark so I’ve been cooking up batches of amaranth to have on hand for cereal topped with honey and fruit. While adding eggs and cheese may not be the best way to enjoy my vitamin high grain, it sounded wonderful and I’d been so good. Read more
I missed my kitchen. While there’s been plenty to post, it’s mostly been food that was blended or frozen, steamed or fried, quickly. In and out, I’ve avoided recipes that would force me to spend too much time in the warmest part of my hot apartment in my sweltering city. Though I couldn’t stand the heat, I wasn’t staying out of the kitchen much longer. Read more
I’ve always known that if stranded on a desert island and forced to choose only one dish to eat for the rest of my life, it would be arroz con pollo. I understand that this is ridiculous. Obviously, with the plethora of fresh seafood available on a desert island, paella makes more sense. Nevertheless, the scenario itself is unlikely, so I allow myself to imagine an arroz con pollo eternity. With beer instead of wine, more chicken and less rice, a little burnt on the bottom, it’s always the perfect one-pot Cuban comfort meal. My choice is made. What would your desert island dish be? Read more
I noticed that I’ve been dessert heavy lately when even my WiiFit avatar plumped up a little. I wanted to make something light to get through a heavy week and found this recipe for quinoa pilaf on Yanuq, my favorite Peruvian food site. Each time I go to it, I find something familiar and healthy but with a twist that I can’t wait to try. The Read more
I hold take-out chicken fried rice responsible for the freshman 10 I gained in college (except it was closer to 15 and I was a senior). While others may dabble, I know I can’t stop at a pint and have largely avoided it for years. However, since I’m preparing to run a half-marathon this Saturday and need to eat carbohydrates covered in soy sauce, this kind of indulgence is not only permitted, it’s encouraged. Plus, I’m stronger now. The stars seemed to align for making my own when I found a recipe on Laylita’s recipes, one of my favorite sites, for chaulafan de pollo, a popular Latin American version of fried rice popular in Ecuador and Peru. This is the first time I made fried rice at home and at first glance it seemed like standard take-out – chicken, peas, scallions, carrots, eggs. It was the seasonings like achiote, chili, cilantro, and more cilantro that really set it apart. My favorite addition though were the raisins. Not sure how they would blend, they were like tiny, interspersed packets of plum sauce. Served with sliced avocado as suggested, it’s the perfect light meal to enjoy in moderation. Starting tomorrow that is, right now I just want more.
Click here for the complete recipe.