I saw a reference describing end of summer/start of fall cooking as “valedictory meals”. I prefer to think of this time as a cross-fade. As one season quiets down, another one starts to roar, but for at least a moment they make the same sound. To take advantage of the markets in transition, I made an Argentinian Carbonada Criolla, a heavy beef stew lightened with peaches, pears and corn served in a pumpkin last September. This year I decided to try Mexico’s chiles en nogada. Pork or beef picadillo stuffed into poblano chiles, it’s covered in a chilled, creamy walnut sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds. Read more
July’s been a quiet month so I thought I’d focus on some of my favorite blogs for my round-up. Liz Caskey from Eat Wine posted a recipe for Peruvian Shrimp Chowder that I can’t stop thinking about and will definitely try soon. If I’m looking for projects this August, I’ll definitely check Zarela Martinez’s site for ideas like this recipe for making your own chorizo oaxaqueno or her tutorial on home-rendered lard. Going through the markets this weekend, I realized that I haven’t paid attentions to the squash, peppers, and eggplants that have been coming in, so I was happy to find Dorie Greenspan’s guide to roasting peppers and David Leibovitz’s recipe for eggplant caviar. Read more
I’ve written about the Red Hook Food Vendors before (click here) but it’s wasn’t until this past Saturday that I visited them on their home field for a tour led by Chef Aaron Sanchez, part of the Food is Art culinary program, a series of lectures, classes and special events curated by Zarela Martinez in conjunction with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York. Read more
I collect links and articles for my monthly catching up posts every day so it’s not until I sit down to go through them all that a theme emerges. The New York Times City Room covered the struggles of two neighborhood restaurants. Due in part to the efforts of community leaders and a last minute fundraiser, Coqui Mexicano was able to temporarily stave off eviction from their South Bronx location but Manhattanville’s La Floridita, one of the last Cuban restaurants left in the area, was forced to close for repairs and faces an uncertain future. The Village Voice interview with Fernando Ruiz of the Tortilleria Nixtamal, which is doing well, was about mistakes, misconceptions, and underappreciated ingredients — a more interesting read but still. Even news that Rick Bayless would be preparing the state dinner President Felipe Calderón of Mexico stirred up some controversy both before and after. On a brighter note, Carolina González wrote for the Daily News about the prominence of women chefs and restaurateurs like Zarela Martínez and Sue Torres in high-end Mexican cuisine. I thought May would farmer’s markets and spring blossoms but there were some shadows too.
After the relative quiet of the last few months, it seems like everyone is ready to celebrate the arrival of summer or at least have a glass of Rioja. From now until May 27th, 25 restaurants in both New York and Chicago will be offering special lunch and dinner menus for Rioja Restaurant Week. Lately it feels like restaurant week year around but it’s definitely worth visiting one, or two or three…Click here for a list of participating restaurants. Read more