These may seem like ordinary pancakes, but to me – they are pre-historic. I was training for the NYC Marathon and developed a recipe for amaranth pancakes for the Cooking Channel‘s Devour, to run on the days leading up to it. Normally, I rely on pre-run quinoa, but amaranth, the other Latin-American nutritional super food with an ancient – not to say mythical – history, made sense. Using amaranth flour combined with white whole-wheat and a good dose of honey, they were tender and nutty with a slight tang from the buttermilk. I was really happy with the way they’d turned out and thought it would be a quick link and write-up while I rested for the race. The recipe ran as scheduled with the small post-script that I’d be running my second marathon. By then, everything had changed. Read more
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Fany Gerson for The Latin Kitchen about La Newyorkina on New York’s High Line which has become my favorite stand at one of my favorite city spots over two seasons. I love the way the park cuts into the sky line, but I hadn’t appreciated what the expanding line-up of food stands brings to the space until Fany described seeing her incandescent pops walking along the railway paths. Read more
During the summer, it’s easy to drift into your own world enjoying long days and longer weekends, but there was an intensity to this July that didn’t allow for easy disconnect. There was tragic and terrifying news , too soon goodbyes, and on a personal note – friends facing unthinkable and unexpected challenges. On the other extreme, I got to spend last Sunday at City Hall with two other friends who’d just won the literal lottery, allowing them to make it official after 27 years on the first day that it was legal to do so in New York City. Swinging between high anxiety, deep sympathy, and pure excitement, I couldn’t say the news has been all good or all bad but the past few weeks, I’ve been constantly reminded just how fragile it all is, or maybe it was the heat making everything tremble. Read more
This is a last minute post about last minute shopping. Pressed for time and more importantly money, it’s tempting to play it safe. Buy something you know they want, a gift certificate to a store they love, or the safest of all – not picking an item or even a store – just a pre-paid tab anywhere Master Card, Visa or American Express is accepted. All are good options and if any of them is waiting for me under a tree – thank you, I love it! But if you’ve waited but still want to find something bigger than an envelope and smaller than a bread box (or an actual bread box), I scouted out a few stores in my neighborhood that have never failed me. With little time to spare, I want to know that I can still find something thoughtful, unique, or beautiful whenever possible. Here are just a few stores where I found all three. If you can’t make it Smith Street before Christmas, they’re definitely worth a visit soon if only to use those handy gift cards. Read more
I generally stay away from soda. A former diet Coke addict, I’d long sworn off high-fructose pop for San Pellegrino and prissy bottles of French lemonade. Still, I made the exceptions for the Mexican sodas sold in bodegas and taquerias. Coming in flavors like tamarindo, guayaba, and jamaica and made with real sugar, I was mostly attracted to the unreal colors that radiated out of the coolers and glass cases. I hadn’t done product reviews until now but when Jarritos offered to send me samples, I thought it would be a fun way to experiment with the flavors I hadn’t tried. Having spent the summer indulging in egg creams and milkshakes , I decided to make ice cream floats for my friends and find out what they thought. My sister Carmen had an interesting perspective that she offered to write up and post, pointing out more than pretty colors. Read more
My sister Carmen has been asking me to make bistec empanizado for this blog for awhile. When I wrote about masitas de puerco, my favorite thing to order from Cuban menus, it seemed only fair to write about hers. Mine came with black beans and hers didn’t, so I’d always pass her my frijoles negros. This week we made a different deal – I’d finally make the bistec empanizado if she’d write the post. Here it is and I’m sure you’ll agree it was well worth the beans.
When I was little, the center of the universe seemed to exist at Casablanca. A bustling Cuban café on 8th street in the then sleepy little town of Miami. When my grandfather took me for lunch, I loved sitting at the counter where the vinyl covered, revolving stools gave me a 360 degree view of the action. When my parents took me at night, the same café was usually empty which gave my sister and I the odd run of the place. We’d feed quarters into the jukebox and play Donna Summer songs as my father talked about what life would have been like/could be like for us in Cuba. I don’t know exactly why I chose Donna Summer. I wasn’t crazy about disco (I didn’t want to dress like a that when I grew up) but there was something about her voice that kept me coming back. It was lonely and defiant. It spoke of another world I couldn’t possibly understand at that age. The boldness of it drew me in and it was endless. Very much like the breaded steak on my plate that I always ordered for dinner. Read more
I realized today that it was August, not that it was much of a secret. I had a hint of it last week when I went to the farmer’s market to stock up on fruit and there were no peaches anywhere. I’m sure there will be plenty in the weeks to come, but it was the first sign that end of summer was in sight. Summer Streets, the three days in August where the city closes Park Avenue to cars and opens it to just about everything else has become my end of summer consolation. Read more