September 2007

Vegetable Pot Pie, Ensalada de Tomates Chileña, Lasagna, Estilo Mami and Bacalao con Berenjena

September has always had a bittersweet feel for me. I wax between nostalgia for the summer gone by, and anticipation for the approaching autumn, and all of the great things that come with it. In my family, September is always called “Little Christmas”, because there are about 7 birthdays in the space of two weeks! Papi and Jerry celebrate on the same day, September 21 (happy birthday, boys!), Erik on September 29, my friend Roe on September 17, and my friend Wendy on September 22 (can I get an AMEN?!!) to name a few. All that said and done, the start of the new school year is always exciting. This year Marc enters his senior year at Arcadia, David enters his sophomore year at Temple, Angela is entering the 7th grade (wow!), and Erik is busy with his AMCAS applications. Needless to say, things are pretty busy around here this time of year.

Daisy and Migui in Boca Chica, DR



Daisy meets with fans in Jacksonville, Florida

This past summer was pretty busy, as well. Of course, there was the trip to the Dominican Republic, and the retrospective that I’ve been sharing with you at I could argue that I had waaay too much fun on that trip, but let’s face it…it’s my job (and boy, do I love my job!).

In addition, I got to meet, chat, and shake hands with a lot of you who I met at the Simon Malls Super Chefs Live! Events in Miami, and Jacksonville, and that is always something that I love to do.

Soooo, what’s next? Well, this is shaping up to be a very exciting season. Starting this month I will be writing a monthly column for Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine called Mucho Gusto, in addition to continuing my column in Spanish for Siempre Mujer Magazine. I am also shopping the demo for my new show to a gazillion and one networks, and it’s getting some terrific buzz, and I’m putting the final touches on my notes for the new cookbook. As if that weren’t enough, I am doing a series of mini webisodes and events for Food University, (you can find out more about this at and will be in Napa Valley to do my second stint as a judge for the Build a Better Burger Competition! Sounds like fun, right? Actually, it’s going to be a blast because the other judges are all my homeboys, James McNair, Chris Styler and Art Smith! I can’t wait!

At the Food University Charter Class in Chicago

Yeah, it is certainly shaping up to be a great season, and in anticipation and celebration of the harvest season, my exclusive recipe of the month is Ninotchska Estevez’s Pastelon de Vegetales, a delicious take on a vegetable pot pie! I cannot say enough about this dish; it’s a great dish to bring to a potluck, or to enjoy as a meal by itself. This is one of those recipes that you will want to keep tacked to the refrigerator, so it doesn’t get lost. In addition, I am including the Salt Cod and Eggplant recipe from the book, because eggplant is at its prime this time of year.

In closing, and because we will never forget, I am nominating September as national “Tell a Firefighter You Appreciate Him/Her” month. I, for one am reclaiming September 11 to celebrate and honor the individuals who risk their lives for us each and everyday (a huge shout out to my cousin Joe Mondello at Ladder 102 in Bushwick, Brooklyn!).

Ladder 102 in Bushwick, Brooklyn
(my cousin Joe is the one with the great legs, second from the right!)

…and last but not least,

Happy Birthday Boys!



Jerry, Erik, and Papi celebrate their birthdays

Edit* I’d very much like to thank all of you who sent sympathy and condolences to my family and myself on the loss of my Tia Maria this past August. It was greatly appreciated.


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