February 2010

Cumin-Scented Fried Potatoes, Rack of lamb with Dos Chiles, Mussels a la Chalaca and Tierrita Dulce

Ahhhh, February-the month dedicated to el amor! That said, it is also the time of year when most of us are rueful about all those resolutions we made a month ago. I am happy to report that I have upheld my resolutions (so far!!), and after “a chockfull of busy” January, I am looking forward to a warm and fuzzy Valentine’s Day, not to mention the anticipation of the launch of my new book Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night (Atria) at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival February 25-28 2010!!!

I’ve actually seen a hardcopy of the actual book, and I am so over the moon about it that I can barely contain myself. The recipes are very user friendly and delicious, and whenever I use specialty ingredients, I always provide suitable, easily available substitutions. I am sure that you will love this new addition to your cookbook library! If that weren’t awesome enough, the book is being released in Spanish later in the Spring!! Just in time for Mother’s Day!!

I would be remiss, if I didn’t take a moment to mention an event that touched the entire world deeply, and that, of course is the disastrous earthquake that shattered Haiti early in the morning on January 12, 2010. As a New Yorker, I can tell you that the last time I felt that desperate and desolate was for 9/11, and so I was very grateful when dear friend, fellow chef and cookbook author Ramin Ganeshram approached me about doing a fundraiser called Food 4 Haiti which would be held in the Saugatuck Church in Westport, CT. Ramin organized a bake sale, signed cookbooks from Ted Allen, Cat Cora, Rachael Ray, to mention a few, and book sale, as well as a silent auction that included items like a dinner party by Iron Chef Sous Chef Lorilynn Bauer, beautiful jewelry by designer Carrie Land, and tasting menus in various local restaurants. My contribution was a dinner for 4, hosted by me at one of my fave restaurants Don Coqui in New Rochelle, New York. I can tell you that the staff at the Saugatuck Nursery School and their volunteers supported Ramin’s effort in making the event a huge success (and the donations keep coming in, God bless you all!!), and at last count we had raised close to $10,000.00 What a wonderful community! I did mention warm and fuzzy-right? Thank you dearly, Ramin!

When the kids were younger, I used to get up extra early on Valentine’s Day and set a beautiful breakfast table, decorated with candy hearts, streamers, balloons, and little Valentine’s Day gifts at their place settings. Heart shaped French toast, pancakes, and sausage patties had pride of place on the table alongside the cranberry juice completing the festive theme. The boys would go to school asking they’re friends what they had received for Valentine’s Day, thinking this was the way everyone celebrated the day. Needless to say, they learned it was my own personal neurosis, soon enough! LOL!!

Today, there isn’t much of an audience here for breakfast, and at dinnertime, it is often just Jerry, Angela and I, but I still try to set a pretty table and make a special dinner for the three of us. For our Valentine’s menu this month, I am going to give you a preview of the new book and share a new recipe with you, so our new looks like this:

Chorros a la Chalaca

Rack of lamb with Dos Chiles with Cumin Fried Potatoes

Tierrita Dulce

That should make for a beautiful table this February 14th, and maybe even get you a little something extra – earrings, anyone?

(The empty place setting is mine, or course! Heehee!)

Don’t forget that February 5th is National Wear Red Day promoting Women’s heart health, so break out those Valentine’s Day sweaters out a week early and represent!

And for all my peeps in Miami-I’ll be looking for you all at South Beach!! We are going to rock that festival six ways to Sunday!!! See you there!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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