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Discrimination alive and well in 2011

I have never been so insulted in all my life! I CANNOT believe that in this day and age, Latinos are still being discriminated in such a blatant and obvious manner.

This week I was contacted by a staffmember of Emeril Lagasse’s show to ask if I wanted to be a guest on his new show, on a episode that was featuring tamales. I was thrilled naturally, and was even more excited when I was asked to invite four friends. I submitted names and contact information for all the guests. Shortly thereafter, I received a strange phone call, which asked me if the guests had “accents”…when I asked what exactly “accents” meant, I was told that the guests needed to be clearly understood. I assured the staff member that all my guests were fluent in English (one of them is my EDITOR for God’s sake!!).

Today I get another phone call from the Emeril team to tell me that while they “liked” one particular guest (it’s funny that she had THE most ethnic name), my other 2 guests sounded too ethnic. Excuse me, but when did this become a mono-ethnic society. My guests are not only fluent, they hold jobs where the English language is a career necessity, and as such they are clearly well versed (like I said, FLUENT!!).

I assured the said staff member that I was completely insulted; I thought it hypocritical that an episode which is featuring Latin American cuisine (tamales) deems it necessary to serve and instruct people who only sound WHITE!!

I have always had nothing but repect and admiration for Emeril, who I consider a collegue and a peer…until today! Wild horses couldn’t drag me there and I am going to make sure that everyone I know learns about this disgusting display of discrimination.

Daisy’s June News !

Hot time, summer in the city! The beaches are open, the kids are out of school, and I’ve even been invited to march in the Puerto Rican Day Parade! There is no shortage of things to celebrate, including receiving multiple awards from the 2011 International Latino Book Awards.

Best Cookbook – English

First Place:

DAISY: MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT

Daisy Martinez

Atria Books

Second Place:

DAISY’S HOLIDAY COOKING: DELICIOUS LATIN RECIPES FOR EFFORTLESS ENTERTAINING

Daisy Martinez

Atria Books

Best Cookbook – Spanish or Bilingual

First Place:

DAISY: MAÑANA, MEDIODIA Y NOCHE

Daisy Martinez

Atria Books

 

I am still breaking into spontaneous bouts of dance every time I think about it! Thank you all so very much for supporting the books, and to the wonderful Judith Curr, Johanna Castillo and the rest of Team Atria for making my dreams come true!

But I digress…we’re talking summer, and nothing says summer to me like salad, and I don’t mean an iceberg lettuce leaf, a slice of tomato and a slice of avocado (I call this “Puerto Rican” salad). There is no shortage of seasonal delicious produce to put in a salad, and you can include greens, vegetables, fruit, nuts, bread, herbs…the possibilities are endless!

Every time I serve this salad, my friends and family always says, “I would have never put these ingredients together, but this is my new favorite salad!” Not only is this salad colorful and delicious, it is incredibly easy to put together with a minimal amount of prep, but is incredibly colorful and festive. Take a peak at my Watermelon-Blue Cheese Salad with Red Onion, Black Olives and Balsamic Glaze Dressing.

 

 

The variations to this salad are only defined by what you have in your fruit and veggie bin in the refrigerator! Play with a variety of olives, capers, caperberries, blueberries, black berries, spiced pecans (*catching my breath*!!), Parmesan curls, feta crumbles, grated Cotija cheese, pineapple mint, basil, parsley…well, you the picture.

 

I’ll also be appearing at the Havana Central Restaurant Wednesday June 8th for a cooking demo and book signing (did I mention they are award winning books? ;-), so for all of you who inundate me with emails asking, “Where can I see you?”, “When are you signing books?”, this is your cue! Stop by for a fun demo, great food, and a few laughs!

 

You can also find me on eHow.com’s new section starting this month “Rach’s Buddies doing some new “how to” webisodes. Make sure to stop by and take a peek at Boriquablog.com for the link, which should be available in the next week or so!

Churros, Chocolate and Champagne

The warm weather this past week (along with the Book Expo America at the Javits Center) brought The Sofrito Girls together for some catching up. As usual, the Girls leave it to me to come up with restaurant reservations, and after some very strong suggestions from the ever tireless Carola (my assistant), and their win for Most Creative Paella at the 3rd Annual Paella Parade at Pier 17 last Monday, I made our dinner arrangements at Nuela in the Flat Iron district.

(From left to right) Daisy, Loni, Violette, Esmeralda

The Sofritos are a pretty energetic, vocal group (ahem!), but when it comes to ordering in a restaurant, they pretty much defer to me, so without much fanfare, I started the evening’s culinary adventure with a variety of appetizers.

Empanada Mendocino

We started out with a delicious short rib empanada garnished with hardboiled eggs that was chunky, savory, and delicious with a slightly tangy-sweet finish. The crust was tender and flaky and the Sofritos agreed that this was a definite candidate for the Empanada Hall of Fame. Okay, we were off to a seriously good start, but could the rest of the evening still inspire the oohs and ahhs that our first appetizer elicited? We were about to ofind out!

Continue reading ‘Churros, Chocolate and Champagne’

March 2011

What Lion? What Lamb?? March is Soup Season!!!

I don’t know about you, but when the crazy weather of March arrives, you can park me right in front of a steamy, fragrant bowl of soup, and you can color me happy!! That is our March newsletter’s theme this month: SOUP, SOUP, GLORIOUS SOUP! I love it with chicken, with beef, with chickpeas and bacalao. I love it with lentils, and pasta, and rice, and….well, you get the picture. In my home nothing says comfort and love like a big bowl of slurpy, satisfying soup!

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books was Maurice Sendak’s “Chicken Soup with Rice”. I never tired of reading it, in fact, I actually committed it to memory! Such has been my love affair with soup, so, here we go, sipping once, sipping twice…!

I could never start a conversation about soup without talking about my Abuela’s chicken soup. That recipe has undergone numerous revisions, but my current favorite is one that I enjoyed while visiting Mexico with my family. It is a dizzyingly delicious soup with an aromatic, enriched broth, tender chicken, vibrant veggies, and some surprise garnishes that will leave you wanting for more. I don’t want to give the secret away, so make sure you watch the video of Daisy’s Latin Cooking 101. You’ll never look at chicken soup the same again! You might even add some favorites of your own. Let the wind blow, you’re armed to the teeth with your Chicken Soup!

When Mami and Papi visit, I always leave a pot of soup simmering on the stove while I pick them up at the airport, so they’ll have a bowl of something comfy when they arrive at my house. Papi’s favorite is Split Pea Soup, and the thicker, the better. In fact Papi always says that he likes his split pea soup better on the second day, so I make sure to make enough for leftovers. I plunck a big smoked ham hock in the simmering soup, and that adds a smoky sweetness to the split peas that is nothing short of rapturous. I’m here to tell you that when that soup is ready, all you have to add is your spoon!

Next on the lineup of our soup parade is my Lentil and Dominican Longaniza Soup. I often marvel at how some of the humblest ingredients can often be coaxed into the most deliciously amazing dishes…think bacalao (salt cod), beans, a perfectly poached egg, a pot of gently simmered lentils. I start mine out by browning a ring of longaniza (if you can’t find longaniza, try another sausage ring, as long as it is highly seasoned), cut into smallish pieces, and then caramelizing the aromatics (onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and thyme), adding beef broth, and adding my own little spin at the end. Honey, it will be like taking little sips of heaven!

So there you have it! There are soups that can be served as a first course, or hearty enough to be the main attraction; the choice is yours to make! Make sure you stop by Boriquablog.com to see our fun cooking lesson videos, and make sure you leave a comment or two! I always love hearing from you, and enjoy your tips and suggestions! See you in April!

Buen Provecho!!

January 2011

Tabula Rasa

Isn’t the feeling you get after the New Year the best one in the world? Everyone has the promise of new chances and starting over, of dreams fulfilled, and sparks of new ideas…all backed by the courage that a new year promises. Sign me up!

That said, I’ve decided to revamp Boriqua Blog a little bit. As some of you might have noticed, I’ve taken to posting instructional videos on You Tube through Facebook (and if you haven’t noticed, you better jump on that bandwagon!!). The feedback has been so positive, that I’ve decided to do monthly themes this year, and while I’m fond of saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, what I’ve planned is that every month will be dedicated to a “theme” and every week I will blog about and post a video pertaining to a recipe or technique related to that theme. Let me give you a “for instance”.

For instance, last week I posted a video on the ease of making that perennial favorite, Empanadas, Now, once you have the basic technique for empanandas, there is nothing you can’t fill it with, whether meat, seafood or vegetables, everything tastes better when wrapped in a crispy, slightly chewy casing of delicious fried dough (okay, you could bake it but then you wouldn’t have those yummy bubbles in the
empanada shell!). Where I come from, empanadas (or pastelillos, as we call them in Puerto Rico), fall under the category of “Frituras”, or yummy fried things. The obvious next choice in that category, for me at least are alcapurrias, a mouthwatering fritter made of a batter (or masa) of root vegetables, notably yucca and yautia, which is seasoned with spices and colored with achiote oil, filled with either picadillo or crabmeat, and deep fried to a mind altering deliciousness. You get the picture, right? Every week, for the month of January, I will feature a different fritura, post a video print the recipe, and discuss at length. Are you with me? The following month will feature a different “theme” which should be relevant to the season at the very least, whether in ingredient or “feel” (soup in March, anyone?).

So I will be diverting slightly from the previous format of the newsletter, from now on, until I get some feedback from you, fair readers, as to which version you prefer. I think this will be a bit more interactive, as I can confer with you via comments on Boriqua Blog, as well as take your suggestions and ideas, as opposed to just posting three recipes each month, and having it at that. Now that I have a MacBook, I’m even toying with the idea of video chat seminars once a month…any takers? Of course, I’d need to have a large enough response to that, to justify taking the time out to do it. The future lies in your hands!

Didn’t I start this newsletter out by saying that we love a clean slate?

December 2010

What a ride 2010 has been! Two books released, seven countries visited, countless demos, classes and appearances… I have barely had time to catch my breath, and BOOM!, the holidays are upon me again!! I’d say, “Where in the world did the time go?”, but the truth of the matter is that I managed to cram a whole lot of everything into this year! Yes, 2010 will certainly be one to remember!

Lets take a look at some of the highlights from this past year. Early 2010 brought us to the South Beach Food and Wine Festival in Miami, as my buddy Paula Deen calls it, “Spring Break for Chefs” for three days of food, fun and hilarity. There was Burger Bashing and Bubble Q’ing, and hoards of foodies from all over, and it’s where we launched my second book, “Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night (Atria 2010) and shared good times with my friends!

Daisy Dec 2010Daisy Dec 2010Daisy Dec 2010
We returned home to take of on a whirlwind book tour that started on the TODAY Show, and took us to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Puerto Rico among other places. We were met everywhere with friendly fans filled with enthusiasm and excitement for the brand new tome.

Daisy Dec 2010 Daisy Dec 2010

Daisy Dec 2010 Daisy Dec 2010

There was no shortage of classes, demos and great food, and you were all there to share it with me. We laughed, we cried, we shared stories, and boy oh boy, we ate! We went back to Whitehead Lighthouse Station for our annual cooking class, and rocked some serious tamales while taming some lovely lobsters Daisy-style!

Daisy Dec 2010 Daisy Dec 2010

Daisy Dec 2010Daisy Dec 2010

Daisy Dec 2010
Team Whitehead!

We even took to the high seas on the Celebrity Equinox, the first (and most fabulous!) cruise ship I have ever been on, to give them a taste of all things “Daisy”. When not giving cooking classes and demos, Carolina and I had a chance to do some sight seeing, and sample some local fare for ourselves! It was an unbelievable trip of a lifetime!

Daisy Dec 2010 Daisy Dec 2010

Daisy Dec 2010Daisy Dec 2010

We had just enough time to barely cool our heels after our adventures in Barcelona, Nice, Naples, Ajaccio, Dubrovnik, and Rome, when it was time to pack our bags again and set out for a wine tour in Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina. Tough gig, I know, but Caro and I decided to bite the bullet and take one for the team! It was nothing short of amazing!!

Daisy Dec 2010Daisy Dec 2010

Daisy Dec 2010 Daisy Dec 2010
It is good to be back home, nevertheless, because truth be told there’s no place like home for the holidays, and I am crazy busy getting things in order for the big festivities. Here at Casa Daisy we are making holiday cookies for unexpected (and expected) guests to take with them, bottling Choquito (“Daisy’s Holiday Cooking” (Atria 2010), and making a list and checking it twice. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and I’ve conquered a large part of my holiday shopping, so it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here ;-)!

Daisy Dec 2010
Daisy’s Holiday Cooking” launch at Williams Sonoma Columbus Circle!

In fact, I’m already feeling so festive, that when I was invited to the TODAY Show on NBC, I came bearing gifts! We were scheduled to make Caribbean Spring Rolls and Tuna Picadillo Cucumber Cups from DHC and we did, but I brought along some home-made Dulce de Leche for the crew and anchors, along with some Coquito and Choquito (Al Roker said “Choquito” sounds like a Latin superhero!!). It was a blast, as always!

Daisy Dec 2010
Daisy, and the TODAY crew!

So, to give you a hand with your holiday entertaining, I’m going to give you the recipes for the Caribbean Spring Rolls, the Tuna Picadillo Cucumber Cups, and Mushroom Croquettes to help you along with your holiday entertaining and keep the season a little less stressful-and because it’s the season for giving, I’m throwing in Coquito and Choquito, because that’s how I roll!

Happy holidays to all, and my sincerest wishes for a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Raffle winner for Today, November 1, 2010

Walelea (Lea) Jenson!!! Congratulations Wally! Email me your mailing address to daisy@daisymartinez.com so I can get your copy in the mail right away!

Thanks to everybody for posting and  stay tuned for tomorrow’s raffle!

Achiote-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Manchamanteles

  • 12 to 14-pound turkey, preferably fresh and/or organic

For the Achiote Rub:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon achiote seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Makes 12 servings, with leftovers
Make the manchamanteles up to 3 days in advance.

Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Save them for broth (see Luscious Leftovers). Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water and drain off as much water as possible. Blot the turkey dry inside and out with a wad of paper towels.

Make the achiote rub and season the turkey:
Heat the olive oil and achiote seeds in a small skillet over low heat until the seeds are sizzling and the oil begins to darken. Let the seeds sizzle one minute, then strain the oil into a small heatproof bowl. With a garlic press, press the garlic cloves into the oil. (Adding the garlic to the hot oil mellows it out a little bit and takes out the “sting.”) Stir in the salt and pepper and let the oil cool to room temperature.
Loosen the skin over the breasts and as much of the legs as you can by working your fingers gently in between the meat and skin. Flip the turkey over and do the same to as much of the skin over the back as you can. Using your fingers, work the achiote rub into the meat under all the loosened skin and inside the cavity of the turkey. Truss the turkey legs with kitchen twine and smear any remaining rub over the turkey skin.

Put the turkey breast side down on a rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate uncovered for up to 24 hours (the longer the better). Refrigerating the turkey helps dry the skin, making it crispier after roasting.

Cook and serve the turkey:
Take the turkey out to room temperature about 30 minutes before you plan to cook it. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 F.

Pour 1 cup water into the roasting pan. Roast the turkey breast side down 45 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Continue roasting until an instant reading thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh away from any bones registers 155 F, about 14 minutes per pound (or 3 ¼ hours for a 14 pound turkey) total cooking time. About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, turn it breast side up on the rack. (A pair of oven mitts that you’re willing to toss into the laundry basket afterwards is a good way to turn the turkey. The turkey will continue to cook and the temperature to rise after taking it out of the oven. The final temperature you’re looking for is 165 F. The joint where the wing connects to the breastbone is another good place to check the temp.) Let the turkey stand about 30 minutes before carving.

Luscious Leftovers:
Of course, leftover turkey is half the reason people love Thanksgiving!
Prepare a Latin version of the classic American day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich filled with turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, and stuffing by piling sliced turkey, leftover manchamanteles, and cornbread stuffing into a split length of soft Italian bread.
Or, substitute sliced turkey for smoked turkey.

Make a delicious broth with the picked over turkey carcass:
Put the carcass along with a few peeled and coarsely chopped carrots, celery stalks, and small onions into a roasting pan. Scatter several garlic cloves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme over the vegetables. Roast in a 400F oven until the vegetables start to brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer everything from the roasting pan into a pot large enough to hold it comfortably. Pour in enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for a few minutes, skimming off the foam and fat as it rises to the surfaces. Adjust the heat so the broth is at a bare simmer and cook for 3 to 4 hours, skimming occasionally. Strain the broth and enrich it with cooked white beans and calabaza plain cooked rice, or tiny pasta shapes. Any of these soups would be better off with a little shredded leftover turkey added to them. The pasta version would be nice with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

Chile-Fruit Mole (Manchamanteles)

  • 2 ripe medium plum tomatoes (about 8 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion (about 1¼ pounds), halved then cut into thin slices (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup ancho chile paste (see Note)
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken broth, or as needed
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 4 ounces dried apricots, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Kosher or fine sea salt

Makes about 7 cups, enough to serve with the turkey and provide generous (and I mean generous!) leftovers
Make the manchamanteles up to 3 days in advance.
Core the tomatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Heat a small, heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the tomatoes skin side down and cook, turning once, until charred on most of both sides, about 8 minutes. Set them aside.

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they just begin to take on some color, about 8 minutes. Add the oregano and continue cooking until the onions are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin, then the ancho paste. Keep stirring and cooking until the onions are coated with the chile paste. Stir in 6 cups broth and heat to boiling, then slip in the charred tomatoes. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering and cook until the onions are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, blend the sauce base until smooth. To avoid splattering, either cool the sauce to tepid or work in very small batches and/or use a folded-up kitchen towel to clamp the lid to the blender while it’s running.  Rinse out the pot.

Return the sauce base to the pot. Stir in the pineapple with its juice, the mango, apricot, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and black pepper. Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and takes on a nice shine, about 20 minutes. The sauce may be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.

Note:
Ancho chile paste is traditionally made by toasting dried ancho chiles until softened, seeding them and pureeing the chile until very smooth. After pureeing, the paste is pushed through a fine sieve to remove all traces of skin and any stray seeds. The new tradition in my kitchen is to order ancho paste online. An excellent ancho paste (and pastes made from other chiles) is available online from Purcell Mountain Farms through their website (www.purcellmountainfarm.com ). Alternatively, substitute dried ancho chiles for the paste: Lightly toast 6 to 8 dried ancho chiles in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat just until they change color and smell wonderful, about 1 minute per side. Pull out the stems and tap out the seeds. Put the toasted chiles in a large bowl and pour in enough hot water to cover them. Weight them with a plate to keep them submerged and soak them until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain them thoroughly, tear them into large pieces, and put them in a blender jar. Blend, adding just enough fresh water to make a very coarse puree. Any seeds and skins you may have missed will be strained out of the sauce before adding the fruit.

Luscious Leftovers:

Pick over the turkey and remove all the meat from the bones—even the nooks and crannies. Pick over the meat to remove pieces of fat, skin, or gristle and shred the meat coarsely. Put the meat in a saucepan and spoon in enough of the leftover manchamanteles to coat the turkey generously. Warm over low heat until heated through. Serve with rice or use as a filling for soft tacos, crisp corn tacos or enchiladas. For any of the above, whip up a quick batch of Quick-Pickled Onions and pass a dish of them separately. Just about any kind of seafood—shrimp comes first to mind—off the grill would be a little happier with a splash of manchamanteles to keep it company.

Viña Veramonte

  My second stop on the first day of the Winebow Tour was at  the Veramonte vinyards in the Casablanca region, established in 1990 which primarily grow grapes for Savignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonney and Pinot Noir. The climate in this terroir apparently too cold for Cabernet Savignon and Carmenere,  those grapes are grown in the Colchagua Valley, according to our guide.

    Veramonte boasts 2-3 different soil (lyme, clay, and granitic) which dramatically affects the grapes they use in their wines. There is also a great influence from the ocean in the lower parts of the vinyard, resulting in more fog, less light, and more humidity.  There is no denying that this was a completely new world being made available to me! Light? Fog? Hardly the same elements that affect emulsion, caramelization, or braising!

Continue reading ‘Viña Veramonte’


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