Archive for the 'Family' Category

Arriving in Chile

When I was invited by Winebow distributors to participate in a tour of the vineyards of Chile and Argentina, I asked my trusty assistant, Carolina, “Why me?” Now don’t get me wrong…I like a good glass of wine as well as the next guy or gal, but I don’t consider myself a wine expert or a wine writer of any capacity. I’m pretty much strictly a “stick to what you know” girl, and while I can write and discuss (and every once in awhile even cook!) a great meal, the extent of my comments concerning wine would be quite limited. In her infinite wisdom, Caro answered, “Well, this might be a great opportunity to learn more about the wines that would complement the food that you cook!” When she put it like that it made all the sense in the world, and so we accepted Winebow’s gracious invitation, and we set out to pack our bags.

We arrived in Santiago, Chile at about 2PM Sunday October 3rd after quite the adventure! Santiago being Caro’s hometown, her mom and family had prepared for us a sumptuous family dinner with a houseful of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends…it felt like home! Carolina’s mom, La Vicky was there to greet us with a pitcher of chirimoya sangria, a mixed with white wine and the chirimoya fruit from Chile, that might well be the best I have ever tasted in my life!, Snacks of cheeses, dips and pates served with bread and crackers accompanied the delicious beverage that shared pride of place with delicious bottles of Chilean red wine and ice cold beer on the table.

When dinner was served there were platters of delicious roast chicken, potato salad, yellow rice, green salads, and too many more sides to mention! Did I mention that the entire time I was there I could only think of Sundays at my abuela’s and mom’s houses. I couldn’t keep the grin off of my face! Sadly, the dinner wrapped up altogether way too soon, and we headed out to meet our group at Zanzibar Restaurant.

Upon arriving at the Zanzibar, we were met by the representative and head of Winebow, Alfredo Bartholomaus, a gracious, handsome Chilean gentleman who’s knowledge  of oenology can fill volumes! The consummate host, Alfredo introduced Caro and I to our fellow adventurers, and I was please to see that I actually recognized Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, fellow New Yorkers, authors, and food writers. Alfredo instructed one and all to put their notebooks and pens away, as this was a night for fun, food, and getting to know you! The evening wrapped up with an incredibly limber belly dancer! I got the feeling this trip was off to a running start and that’s without mentioning that our first stop the following morning was to the wonderful Leyda Vinyard in the town of Santo Domingo, about 80 kilometers southwest of Santiago! I made sure to go straight to bed after our delicious evening, so as to get a bright start to the adventure that awaited us on our next day!

Shrimp Ceviche “Xni Pec”

(Marc’s Favorite)
2 pounds U41-50 shrimp

  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Juice of 2 orangesFOR THE XNI PEC:
  • 1 large tomato, seeded, and cut into medium dice
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Spanish onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chile (see note)
  • Juice of 1 lime.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Good quality corn chips, for serving

Makes 8-10 Servings

  1. Toss the shrimp together in a non-reactive bowl with the lemon, lime and orange juices.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours or until the shrimp have turned opaque.
  3. While the shrimp is “curing”, make the Xni Pec:Toss the tomato, cilantro, olive oil, onion, chile, and lime juice in a bowl mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When the shrimp are ready, drain them and discard the marinade.
  5. Toss with the Xni Pec. Divide among martini glasses and garnish each with a corn tortilla chip.

NOTE: Choose your chile depending on how much heat you can tolerate. I love heat, so I would go with a habanero chile seeds and all, about the hottest there is, for this. For a milder dish, choose serranos or jalapenos and remove the seeds before chopping.

THIS is why I LOVE my Job!!

fromSam Velez <>
Daisy Martinez <>

dateSat, Jan 31, 2009 at 7:06 PM
subjectPa’ que te quento……..

 7:06 PM (29 minutes ago) Reply
this is what happens when you watch Viva Daisy on the food network at 9:30 eastern/8:30 central….
that looked too good, that I had to make it.  notice my first “successful”  achiote oil on the right hand side.
Buen Provecho.
keep up the amazing work! i learned so much on your show today,  thank you. XO

I cannot say how happy this email has made me! I am SO proud of my Sammy!!

…*raises glass*…”To You All”

What a week it’s been! An emotional inauguration, meeting with my publisher (for the new book!), and great news in the “ratings” department for the new show, have been enough to keep me walking five feet off the ground. None of this, of course, has been possible without the support and enthusiasm of all of you, so this seemed an appropriate time to thank you all for your rabid support and continued enthusiasm for the book, the shows, all of you over at Facebook, and all of my diehard BBlog fans that keep it lively with your emails, stories, recipes and pictures.

It’s been a bit of a journey since we started up with the first show, and I hope that I’ve been able to grow since that time. There is no growth without a little bit of pain, but in the end, I think the journey has me right where I needed to be when I needed to be (don’t you love it when God gives you a little peek like that?)and I am hopeful and optimistic about the future. I am excited about the things we have planned for you, and giddy (like a girl about to throw a surprise party!) with anticipation. 2009 is going to be our year, and I for one, am grateful for this adventure. Like Jerry always says, “It’s all about the ride!” So cheers, everybody, here’s to you, here’s to 2009, and here’s to the ride! Salud!

My #1 fan, Luca , shows off his impeccable taste in television shows  😉

All the Validation I Need…


You know that saying that “you can please some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time”? Well, I have found in this line of business that truer words were never spoken. People can be hurtful and vindictive, and the internet is the new “cowards” way to lash out. I’m happy to say that I seldom receive emails like that, and I find I have a friendly, casual relationship with my viewers, readers, and eFans here on BBlog and at the home site. I also like to share some of the “warmer” emails, and of course your pictures and recipes…in short, I am happy to share in your life, like you have chosen to share in mine. It makes us “family”.

Every once in a while, though, I find myself sitting at the computer, moved to tears by an email sent by a fan. The following is an email I received this week. I could barely read the monitor for the tears in my eyes.

subject2: great job

name: meliza volta

comments: Watching your show brings back great memories for me. My mother was the best cook I ever known, she’d make anything taste awsome. She would make dishes that alot of people wouldn’t like and dead set ever trying it again, but I tell you once she made it we couldn’t get people to go home. My mom was a big believer in if I’m going to do it, I’m  going to do it right. When I turned 21 I lost my to breast cancer. She was the best thing that I ever had in my life, beside my daughter and husband that god has blessed me with now.
When I saw your first show I was like thank god a latin cooking show, but then as I kept watching I started saying “oh that’s the recipe for vinagre or sofrito” and so on. Watching your show sometimes makes me cry but also very happy because through you we can still have those recipes in our home today. Good luck to you and your family and also on your new show in food network, which by the way is going to be a hit!
                               Meliza Volta


 Dearest Meliza,

It is truly I who must thank you for sharing this little piece of your heart with me. I am humbled beyond belief that you have chosen to pay honor to the memory of your mom and all the meals she prepared with love for you growing up, through my recipes. I can only hope I never disapppoint you, and can continue to share these experiences with you, as you create them for your family.




Meliza and hubby

…And that’s why I have the best job in the whole world!

There’s A Feelin’ in the Air…

I got up extra early this morning to cast my vote, and I swear, the whole vibe at the poll was different than anything I’ve ever experienced before. People were cheerful, even pleasant, and smiles were plentiful. I walked into the booth to cast my vote, and I took a bit longer than usual, making sure that everything was where it was supposed to be, and that I was not making an inadvertant mistake. For the first time in a long time I felt that as a Latina, this vote was going to make a huge impact on the history of the United States…and as a Latina, I felt pride.

As I drew the lever to cast my vote, I saw a stranger, pat my son David on the back, congratulating him on his first Presidential election, and I smiled. How many other young Latinos have registered and are voting for the first time, for such a momentous occasion? I looked around the school auditorium, in my incredibly diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, and everywhere I looked I saw smiles, good cheer…and hope. My eyes met Dave’s and he said, “Let’s go, mom….Obamanos!” I feel the winds of change.

Get out there and make it count. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! It’s the only way we will make a difference!

In The Mornin’…In the Evenin’…Ain’t We Got Fun?

Wow! I was certainly unprepared for the response we have gotten for our “Email of the Week” feature. I am thrilled that it has been so well received, and that the feedback has been so enthusiastic. It was exactly what I needed to bring my spirits up (it’s been a stressful week!), and I am positive that you are going to find this week’s pick as enjoyable as i did. We even had some delicious looking photos to accompany it. See for yourselves!

Hi Daisy,
I am a big fan of yours and wanted to let you know how much you have helped me. I am an Italian girl from Da Bronx and my husband is Puertorican and from Queens. He is in the United States Marine Corps for 19 years now. We have been married 18 1/2 of those years. I did not know how to cook any Puertorican dishes at all. I used to help his Mom when we were dating and I loved to EAT everything she made but had no clue how to cook at that time. When my husband and I met we were just teenagers. I am now 40 years old and can finally say, thanks to you, that I can cook alot of good Puertorican food!!! I even made pasteles all by myself last Christmas. Usually I would make them with my Puertorican girlfriends where ever we are living at the time. we have lived many places. Some places it is impossible to get any of the ingredients to make Puertorican food, other places have everything you need. We are currently stationed in San Marcos California, my husband works at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside. Anyway, my point is that if it wasn’t for your cook book and T.V. shows and now your web site, I would still be in the dark on alot of the dishes I know make. I love your recipe for the perfect white rice. It does come out perfect every single time. I always use to make yucky sticky rice, and now it is light and fluffy. I hope to see another cook book from you soon so I can continue making great dishes for my husband and 3 sons!(they eat me out of house and home!) I’m enclosing a bunch of pictures of my dishes. I love to make my own home made sofrito, and empanadas, which I use many different fillings for. I attached a picture of me with a bowl of canepas sent to us from my husbands family in Puerto Rico. I thank you once again for all your great recipes, please keep them coming!
Barb Justiniano
Accompanying this lovely email were these mouth watering pics:
Empanadas and Pasteles
Pastelon & Sofrito
That may be the most amazing pastelon I have ever seen, Barb! You go with your bad self! Thank you so very much for sharing your story, your food and your family, with our family, here at Boriqua Blog…and thank your handsome hubby for all of his efforts, hard work for our country, and  for representin‘!
Barb Justiniano
MSgt. Justiniano by you.MSgt. Justiniano

We Give Them Wings…

This is a real personal post…this week has been a particularly emotional one for me. My oldest son Erik, and my second boy, Marc, have moved out of home and into an apartment together. This after Erik celebrated his 26th birthday on Monday. Those of you who know me first hand, know that my children are my life…my pride…my heart…my joy…

The boys have actually lived out of the house before. I have always encouraged love of travel and exploration, and truth be told, Erik spent four years in Ithaca in college, and Marc has spent the last four years in Philly. However, watching them load the truck last night with their bags and boxes brought out the frantic Mommy in me, leading me to empty the refrigerator and pantry in a desperate attempt to ward off starvation or worse! I rationalized that they are a mere 90 minutes away…by car…and I drive…but not even that was enough to ward off the tears that sent me running into the basement “in search of plastic food containers”.

I have been struggling with “empty nest” for the last couple of years, as poor Miguelina can attest to, but there was a finality about the move last night that left me a bit shaken. Thankfully I still have David and Angela to drive crazy (lol), but the event last evening really shook me, until of course, I realized that this is what I have been preparing them for, for as long as I have had them. They are young men, in search of their own fame and fortune, and gone is the time when I pick them up, dust off their pants and kiss their boo boos, when they fall. I was chatting with my dear friend Richard at dinner on Monday, discussing one of his favorite subjects, his son Sebastian, and I found myself smiling at his “little boy” stories… feeling nostalgic for my own  “boy” experiences.

This morning, after my second cup of coffee, I am reassuring myself that I have raised them to be independant, confident, and productive young men. They are armed with rapier wit, a discerning eye, and very good jugdement…I just hope they remembered to put the perishables I gave them for their breakfast in the fridge last night…and God?…most of all, please, let them FLY!

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