Film was my first love but it was never an easy relationship. Early prep days were always my favorite time, when you were crewing up and you could anticipate any and all problems – or not. No one ever sets out to make a less than perfect movie but there are so many elements that can get away from you that it can be a heartbreaking process. It’s lovely to see good work rewarded and I’m excited to see friends making movies being honored this weekend. What’s isn’t so great is not seeing it recognized, and it was equally disappointing to see so many frozen out this year. Read more
I can’t decide if this post is too early or too late for Mardi Gras. I’ve always associated bread pudding with Lent for some reason although there is nothing ascetic about pudding drowning in butter and bourbon. While friends’ feeds filled with street scenes from the parades, I spent Sunday morning, on what felt like the coldest day in Brooklyn, standing over an enormous of red beans with smoked sausage and filling an enormous pan with bread pudding. Read more
Winter may feel endless just now but the season for red pomelos is way too short. Only a few markets in my neighborhood carry them and I all but missed them last year. Sweeter than other varieties with a thick white pitch or albedo, pomelos are perfect for making dulce de toronja and I‘d been waiting all year for them to come back around. Read more
A couple of months ago, I was asked to do a small write up on Felipe Rojas-Lombardi for the launch of the Celebrity Chef stamps series. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know very much about him when I started. Though he was famous for his work with James Beard, was the founding chef of Dean & Deluca, and introduced countless Spanish and Latin American food traditions to New York’s culinary scene at his Chelsea restaurant The Ballroom (tapas for a start and quinoa no less), his career predated the chef as celebrity phenomenon and it was sometimes hard to pull up information. Still when I did find articles, some scanned into pre-Google archives, I found some answers to things I’d always wondered about. For one, it explained why gourmet prepared food counters (like the one he developed for Dean & Deluca) are essentially Peruvian though they would never fall into the “ethnic” food category (he predated those facile distinctions as well). Read more
Every January 6th, on El Día de los Reyes, Santa Claus and reindeers are traded in for wise men and camels. Celebrated throughout Spain and Latin America, kids leave shoes out along with grass and water for the camels in exchange for presents the Reyes Magos will leave behind. Growing up, it was one of my favorite holidays because it meant having at least one more gift to open. This year I forgot to leave my shoes out last night and if the camels came looking for straw they were disappointed but I still wanted to post my favorite recipe for Rosca de Reyes. Read more
I’m known in my family for withholding information. More absentminded than secretive, I’d forget to tell my parents about field trips, birthday parties, science projects, and even award ceremonies (never for science) until the last possible moment. On the upside, friends can attest that I’m all vault. Where it’s not so great is how slow I’ve been to post the good things that have been happening since the release of the The Cuban Table…and there has been a lot of good to share. Read more
It’s Christmas Eve and I have a bag of sour oranges waiting for me on the counter of my mother’s home in Miami to make the mojo. My family of 50+ and counting takes turns hosting Nochebuena and this year it fell on us (collectively known as las Peláez) to plan and my cousin Cecilia to host. Ceci and I used to spend the weeks before Christmas looking for hidden presents after school and now we’re texting each other centerpieces and searching for the least plastic-looking plastic plates at Party City. It’s been a lot of work but grudging fun. With each run to find the best turrones or tub of manteca, I can appreciate how much easier it is to plan Cuban Christmas in an essentially Cuban city. Still, living between New York and Miami, I always have the sense of missing home while being home. This year I got to write about “Bringing a Cuban Christmas -Mojo and All – to Brooklyn“ for Edible’s joint holiday issue (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, and East End) so in some way I got to experience both at the same time. Wishing everyone and peaceful and happy Nochebuena! On a side note, the planning committee nixed my idea for a snow making machine but that will just give me something to look forward to next time around.