Since this is my first real catching up post this year, I had to find the right image to illustrate the month. It’s been such a mild winter that February didn’t really look like February, so I thought of valentines instead. My absolute favorite came in the form of Fernando Trueba’s Chico & Rita, set largely in 1940’s Havana, Paris and New York and scored by Bebo Valdes. Lovely from the first note, I can only say that the film is una joyita. Though it inexplicably lost the Academy Award to a movie about a lizard (full disclosure I’m both biased and haven’t actually seen Rango), there were some inspiring wins at this year’s Oscars like Christopher Plummer for Beginners and Octavia Spencer for The Help. On her fantastic new blog The Peacock Chronicles, my sister Carmen used a recent experience filming a commercial to write up her own take on the Help controversy in To Maid, Or Not To Maid. Read more
When chef Michelle Bernstein described Miami’s lunch counter croquetas as “leaden”, I hated to admit that she was right. Made of pureed ham, chicken, or beef, they’re often left to sit out in glass cases for hours. Even if you’re lucky enough to come across a freshly fried batch, it’s more ham spread than creamy béchamel. On a recent trip home, I had one from an otherwise good bakery filled with a flourescent paste that could not have possibly been found in nature. Sold in large trays for family parties, the tiny versions pack an even weightier punch. Still, I haven’t given up on them yet. Using any excuse to visit the crowded coffee stands and bakeries that dot Miami, they’re usually the first thing I ask for when I land and the last thing I pick up on my way to the departure gate. Read more
Before the official start of summer’s grilling, beaching, hazy half days, I wanted to thank everyone who’s been reading and commenting with my first cookbook giveaway. Since its release last year, Michelle Bernstein’sCuisine à Latina has become one of my favorites. Raised in Miami by her food-loving Argentinian and Jewish family , she’s become known for the contemporary Latin cuisine with Spanish, South American, Caribbean and Mexican accents that she serves at Michy’s and Sra. Martinez in Miami and Palm Beach’s MB. The book is full of great recipes to make at home for anyone who’s home is always elsewhere. To win a copy, let me know what dish your most looking forward to having this summer. Leave a comment here (one entry per person) between today and June 4th midnight (EST) when I’ll pick a winner at random. Read more
With so many “best of” lists coming out not only for the year but the decade, it’s good to have a focus. Looking at the best of cookbook lists that are coming out, I realize that the year has gone by in blink and I have a lot of reading to do. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m happy that Francis Mallmann’s Seven Fires is popping up, hope to see Michelle Bernstein’s Cuisine á Latina included on more, and need to make jasmine rice pudding from The Craft of Baking, by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox, immediately.