In New York, we seemed to have skipped spring altogether and been forced to dust off the cut-offs and tanks to survive the blistering temperatures. I’ve been counting on my neighborhood ice-cream trucks to keep me cool and definitely NOT complaining! So today I’m bringing back one of my favorite ceviche recipes perfect for a weekend that promises to be filled with sunshine and playtime.
Whether you’ll be at the beach, in a park, or staycationing at home, just remember to pop a little sparkling rosé and gather your friends around this cool, clean dish bursting with tender bits of shrimp, mussels, scallops, and baby clams. I serve this simple citrusy ceviche with chifles, plantain chips as they’re known in Peru, some crusty French bread, and avocado. Happy Summer!
Just like a family recipe or a special perfume, a drink can take you to a place in time. For me, it’s the classic Margarita. The bright, zesty cocktail will always remind me of spring in upstate New York. It’ll bring back the Shawangunk Mountains jagged in the distance, and the clean invigorating air. The bright green pastures that pop neon to my city-stained eyes, the gentle sound of the creek nearby. Of the laughter and the good times, of the new friends and the old that always seem to get together around this time of year. To me, it’ll always remind me of my dear New York family.
To help you celebrate the power of friendship this weekend, here’s a #TBT recipe and video. Special thanks to my favorite Margarita-maker Cindy (and excuse the vertical shot) Cheers!
Simple Margarita Recipe
3 shots Tequila
1 shot Cointreau (orange liquor)
1 shot Rose’s Lime Juice
½ fresh lime
1 shot St. Germain (elderflower liquor)
Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker and pour into salt-rimmed ice-filled glasses
Habichuelas con dulce was the dish that had my heart when I left home almost two decades ago. And then I found it — or rather it found me. Right smack in the middle of Washington Heights, from a street vendor who sold it in plastic containers for a dollar. It was an honest way to flee the hardness of the city, if only for a few spoonfuls, and travel to a place where breezes blew salty and flowers shone bright. Right around the beginning of Lent this year, I thought of it again. My Dominican tribe was ready to indulge and secretly fulfill my wish.
Within the tribe was Argentina Diaz, a self-taught cook who began tinkering with the stove by the time she was eight years old. Born in Santiago, Dominican Republic in the late 1950s, she was part of the Dominican exodus who left the island and made its way to New York City after Trujillo’s dictatorship fell in the early 1960s. Her mother ran restaurants in Queens and she learned the secrets of Caribbean creole cooking early on. Today, after a life-long career in finance and still in her 50s, she’s retired and living in a light-filled two-bedroom apartment she shares with a roommate on the second story of a single family home in Ozone Park, Queens.
Cooking Up Something New12.03.14
Hi friends! I’m working on a new food project to be released soon. In the meantime, stay in touch via @Latinfoodie
Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on September 15, and this year we want to celebrate it right. We talked to Mexican Chef Roberto Santibañez of Fonda Restaurant about some of the ways he’ll be bringing the festivities to the kitchen.
For all of you who eagerly await the arrival of the seasonal Chiles en Nogada, Santibañez will be preparing the classic dish in his Park Slope and East Village restaurants during the first week in September. The eponymous dish which precedes independence day celebrations in Mexico fills poblano peppers with a picadillo stuffing and tops them with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds — the Mexican flag on a plate! Santibañez prepares his picadillo by adding apples and peaches to shredded beef and creates the walnut sauce with nuts and goat cheese. more »
The Ever Versatile Aubergine08.12.13
Mom prepared a plate of pickled eggplant or berenjena a la vinagreta with her signature enthusiasm. She simmered the aubergine with a laurel leaf, a pinch of allspice, onion, garlic, and a bouillon cube. After it cooled, she dressed it in a vinaigrette spiked with Worcestershire sauce and oregano, storing it in the refrigerator in a round clear pyrex. My sister loved piling on the silky tangy stuff over crispy saltines, which she snacked on with pure abandon at any time of the day. I, on the other hand, had quite a different relationship to the pickled spread and was far from being a fan.
It’s been surprising to see how all of a sudden this summer, it’s the one vegetable I can’t live without. I’ve sliced and roasted it, layering it with tomatoes and sharp cheese like the Italians do with their melanzane. I’ve diced and tossed it over a high flame with snap peas and ginger to create a hearty and flavorful stir-fry.
Alfajores: The King of Cookies08.03.13
I still remember the first time I tried a Havanna Alfajor. I was a newly minted college graduate who moved down to Miami to be closer to home. In this sunny strip of paradise, I landed my first job as a fund trader at a Spanish bank. I worked with a ton of private bankers from all over South America and Spain, a group of movers and shakers with monogrammed shirts continuously nostalgic about the worlds they had left behind.
Those who were lucky enough to fly home for work always returned with a box of Havanna Alfajores stocked with gold and silver pucks of dulce de leche treasures. The golden wrappers indicated a dark chocolate covered Alfajor, while the silver wrapper meant a cookie dressed in a thin veil of white chocolate. I loved the golden wrappers and the dense and crumbly cookies they protected, which had been dipped in milk chocolate and filled with a tangy dulce de leche. They were the most beautiful way to sweeten an afternoon cup of tea. For me and all my friends who worked with me, they meant sustained sugar-fueled giddiness for hours. more »
A Royal Soufflé06.03.13
Mom was the queen of soufflés. She could whip them up in a snap, creating a velvety béchamel while she talked on the phone. She whisked egg whites to perfection, achieving a cloud-like consistency she delicately folded into the shiny batter. This was one of her signature dishes that would brighten up any special occasion at home, as well as our weekly Saturday family lunches on the terrace.
On the table, the fluffy soufflé was the perfect foil to a salty tenderloin filet or juicy skirt steak seared and cooked on the nearby grill. (I was in charge of the Caesar Salad, which I tossed with tangy anchovies in an enormous bowl large enough to feed a small village.) There was crusty bread, Spanish red wine, Dad’s smooth jazz, and a lazy fan circling above us. We ate, listened to my Aunt Tiita’s gossip, talked, and laughed. We ended these long and sweet afternoon meals with a spongy and cool Tres Leches picked up at a nearby repostería and a Dominican cafecito. more »
Coq au vin is the French man’s version of one of my favorite Dominican dishes, pollo guisado. If you grew up in the Caribbean you, like me, have fond memories of the tangy creole chicken stew seasoned with sour oranges, oregano, tomatoes, and smoky sweet ajicitos (which grew in my backyard, by the way). So what to do when half of the ingredients that make up this flavorful dish can’t be found without having to schlep to a mercadito in Washington Heights or a remote part of Brooklyn? You have to get creative.
Enter Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve been staring at the elegant fleur de lys-stamped tome for the past three years, dog-earing classics like Moules a la Mariniere (mussles with wine) and Navarin Printanier (lamb stew with spring vegetables), but never once having the courage (or the time) to dive into one of these elaborate dishes. This week, however, whether spurred by the rainy forecast or the ridiculously decadent meal I recently had at Daniel, I felt inspired. more »