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Posts tagged ‘Essex Market’

Asopao de Pollo

A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a list of Puerto Rican classics to try that included asopao de pollo.  As she described it, it’s a Puerto Rican risotto that’s not quite soup and not quite stew.  My soups often go to gumbo by mistake so I was curious to know what would happen if I made it that way by design.  At Jennifer’s suggestion, I checked my Puerto Rican Cookery book first.  I realized after additional searches that there were thousands of recipes for asopao, a one-pot, comfort food solution for family dinners and leftovers.  After reading them over, I finally circled back to Carmen Aboy Valldejuli. Read more

Milking a Coconut

I was looking at different dessert recipes when my cousin sent me one for a Venezuelan bienmesabe, a coconut custard cake that required me to crack one open and extract the milk.  Picturing hammers and machetes and emergency room visits, I thought she was crazy if she thought I was going milk my own coconut.  My next thought was where in New York to find them.  In Miami this would not be a problem.  Though Miami Beach has become unrecognizable in many ways, you still see men pushing grocery carts of fresh green coconuts along red hot sidewalks.  With one balletic move, they’ll swing a giant machete to cut a tiny hole just big enough for a slender straw for a coco frio.  Fresh or dry, I knew my best chance was Essex Market in the Lower East Side.  I found them straightaway at Batista Grocery.  The clerk helped me pick out a few by shaking them to make sure they had water inside and offered to crack them open for me to be sure that the meat inside was still fresh.  For a moment, I was tempted.  It would be so much easier, but I was decided and it seemed a shame not to go through with it.  After all, it was a  pretty common kitchen technique before we were all hooked on cans.  So here are some pictures along with a few things I learned by milking my own coconut… Read more