Recetas/Recipes

Happy St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans! Carne con Papas con Salsa Verde

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I’m not Irish but I grew up in Chicago. If you know anything about Chicago then you know that the South Side Irish is as legendary as our deep dish pizza. Go to Chicago during St. Patty’s day and you will see the Chicago River dyed green, the entire city joined in the festivities and a corned beef special with an Irish beer on every menu from the North Side to the South Side. Here is a song that captures the South Side Irish and Irish history in Chicago:

South Side Irish Song

Written by, Tom Black and Terry McEldowney, A.K.A. The Irish Choir

We’re the Windy City Irish-where the craic is always best
Where every day is Paddy’s Day and everyone’s a guest
If you’re Irish on the North Side or Irish on the West
Welcome to the South Side come join our Irish Fest!

(Chorus) We’re the South Side Irish as our fathers were before
We come from the Windy City and we’re Irish to the core
From Bridgeport to Beverly from Midway to South Shore
We’re the South Side Irish-Let’s sing it out once more!

Our parents came from Mayo, from Cork and Donegal.
We come from Sabina, St. Kilian’s and St. Gall
St. Leo, Visitation, Little Flower and the rest.
The South Side parishes are mighty-they’re the best!

Chorus

We live on the South Side-Mayor Daley lived here too
The Greatest Irish Leader that Chicago ever knew
he was always proud of his South Side Irish roots!
So here’s to his honor to his memory we’ll be true.

Chorus

We sing the songs our fathers sang when they were growing up
Rebel songs of Erin’s Isle in South Side Irish Pubs
and when it comes to baseball-we have two favorite clubs
The Go-Go White Sox… and whoever plays the Cubs!

When I moved to New Orleans, of course I would want to celebrate St. Patrick Day’s as any true Chicagoan would! Like Chicago, New Orleans has a rich Irish history. Irish immigrants came to New Orleans penniless and looking for work. Many settled in shotgun houses in the historic Irish Channel neighbourhood of Uptown, New Orleans. (One of my favorite neighbourhoods!) Irish immigrants to New Orleans worked as stevedores, built canals and bridges, opened breweries and went to Catholic mass every Sunday. The Irish, along with so many ethnic groups have contributed blood, sweat and tears for this great city we call New Orleans.

Here is a link to the Irish Channel Neighbourhood Association and a great article about the history of the Irish in New Orleans.

http://irishchannel.org/

http://www.gonola.com/2013/03/04/nola-history-the-irish-in-new-orleans.html

Okay let’s get to the meat and potatoes folks. In celebration of St. Patrick Day’s, I went around the Irish Channel and met up with some of the locals. I met an awesome group of friends who were prepping to roast a pig in their front yard, a sweet group of gals with the Daughters of Lyra, the only Irish women’s marching group and a soldier who recently returned from Afghanistan who was at the parade with his parents. His dad had the coolest costume! Crawfish hat and Zydeco washboard vest. I walked through the parade with a big smile on my face and an Irish beer. 🙂 

Later today, I went home to make one of my favorite Cuban dishes Carne con Papas- Meat with Potatoes. Like any ethnic group that had to struggle, meat and potatoes kept generations alive with the faith that it would get better for their children and their children’s children. My version of Carne con Papas is based on a recipe I made in 2009 during grad school at the University of Toronto. A group of us went to Montreal for a research trip and stayed with one of our classmate’s parents. I already introduced my classmates to gumbo, which they loved, so they asked me to prepare something that evening. I was up for the challenge, even though I was in Montreal, Quebec! The culinary capital of Canada and at my classmates Quebecois parents house! Dios Mio! Yet I was inspired by Montreal, the museums, the culture, the people…..and the FOOD! That night I made a vegetarian and meat version of Carne con Papas con Salsa Verde a lo House of Zella…translation: Meat and Potatoes with Green Sauce a lo House of Zella. They loved it! Even my classmate’s parents…I received so many Quebecois kisses that my cheeks stayed blushed for many days even though it was one of the coldest winters in Canada. We drank wine, dined on my food and talked about art, politics, life, travel..you name it. C’est supercool! So to make a long journey short, here is my recipe in honor of St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans via Chicago via Montreal. I always said I wanted to be Auntie Mame when I grow up ;-).

Carne con Papas con Salsa Verde a lo House of Zella

* You will need a food processor or blender.

Ingredients:

–       3 large peeled cubed potatoes

–       1 ½ pounds of cubed pork loin (optional)

–       1 stick of salted butter

–       1/3 cup of a finely diced yellow onion

–       1 small bunch of fresh cilantro

–       2 garlic cloves

–       2 stalks of green onions

–       2 limes

–       1 small bunch of fresh parsley

–       1 tsp. of cumin

–       Sea salt and fresh black ground pepper

 

Preparation:

1)    Peel and cut your potatoes in medium sized cubes.

2)    Cut your pork loin into cubes and season with cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper and a squeezed lime. Set aside.

3)   Dice your onion.

4)    In a medium size stockpot on low medium heat add potatoes and a stick of butter. Add about 1/3 cup of water. Cover and simmer.

5)    Meanwhile, in a pan on medium heat, sauté the pork with the yellow onion until the meat is no longer pink.

6)   With a large spoon gently stir the potatoes to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot.

7)    Add the pork to the potatoes and cover. Cook for another 15 minutes. Add a little olive oil and water if the potatoes stick again.

8)    In a food processor or blender, add cilantro, parsley, green onions, a minced garlic clove, a squeeze of the lime and a little olive oil to pulse. Blend until it becomes a thick sauce like consistency.

9)    When the meat and potatoes are done transfer them to a ceramic dish. Ladle in the green sauce and serve with your favorite salad or for St. Patrick’s Day steamed cabbage. Buen Provecho!

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It’s Lenten Season in New Orleans and here are some Latin recipes for Meatless Friday!

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My sister lives in Brooklyn and has been a vegetarian for years. I spend every Thanksgiving at her house and I really enjoy eating at some of the local New York vegetarian restaurants and eating some of her food. She is an awesome cook and never compromises flavor for her dietary beliefs. I was amazed by some of the meatless food I tried that taste just like chicken and beef while in New York. I remember eating meatless substitutes in the past that taste like cardboard. And if you live in New Orleans, it’s all about the flavor and we won’t compromise flavor for anyone! So I was amazed to taste meatless meat that I actually liked with my sister.

So like Thanksgiving in New York, I appreciate Lenten Season in New Orleans where I can cut back on all of the rich foods we eat. Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to Beyond Meat’s beef free crumble, a plant protein that taste like meat. I know there are so many meatless meats, however, I really like Beyond Meat.  So here are a few Latin recipes from my kitchen for Meatless Fridays and for any vegetarians out there. Buen Provecho!

Fully Loaded Avocado

(Use Florida ripe avocados. Available in any Latin grocery store. They are much larger but if you don’t have a Latin grocery store near you just buy the largest regular ripe avocado you can find. See image below)

Ingredients:

–     1 Florida ripe avocado

–       ½ cup of cooked meatless beef (Beyond meat preferably)

–       1/3 cup of minced Spanish yellow onion

–       1/3 cup of black beans

–       Goya Sazón Achiote packet (Now sold in the Latin section of most every grocery store in the U.S. if not available use a little Spanish paprika)

–       Sea salt and fresh black ground pepper

–       1 dollop of light sour cream or tofutti sour cream

–       Grated packaged Mexican cheese or alternative shredded cheese

–       1 sprig of chopped cilantro

 

Preparation:

Mince the onion. Saute the onion with the meat on low medium heat. Add the Sazón Goya packet for color and flavoring. Season with sea salt and fresh black ground pepper to taste. Add 1/3 cup of rinsed organic canned black beans. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Cut ripe Florida avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop the bean and meat mixture on top of the avocado. Garnish with sour cream, cheese and chopped cilantro.

 

Sweet Plantain Canoes/ Canoas de Platanos Maduros

 

Ingredients:

 

–       3 ripe almost black plantains

–       1/3 cup of cooked meatless beef

–       1 minced small garlic clove

–       1/3 cup of Mexican shredded cheese or alternative shredded cheese

–        1 finely minced Roma tomato

–       1 sprig of chopped cilantro

–       Olive oil

–       Goya Sazón Achiote packet

–       Sea salt and fresh black ground pepper

 

Preparation:

 

Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel the ripe plantains and place them on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Bake the plantains for 20 minutes and turn them and cook for another 15 minutes. The plantains should be golden brown. While the plantains are cooking, mince the garlic clove, tomato and cilantro. Sauté the garlic clove with the meat on low medium heat in a little bit of olive oil. Season with sea salt and fresh black ground pepper to taste. Remove the plantains from the oven and stuff with them with the meat mixture and cheese. Bake the stuffed plantains for 3-5 more minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped tomato and cilantro. Serve while the plantains are still hot.

 

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News

Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop Book Signing

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It was a rainy day in the French Quarter this past Sunday. The Krewe of Barkus was scheduled to parade their costumed dogs throughout the French Quarter. At Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop on Toulouse Street, an eclectic bookstore that sells cookbooks, vinyl and homeade spices. I, the author of New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking was scheduled to sign cookbooks and serve some of the dishes from my cookbook. I went earlier that morning to ‘make groceries’ at a Mid-City Latin grocery store on Broad Street called Ideal Market. A grocery store where many Hondurans, Haitians and day laborers frequent for a hot lunch or to shop for the family. I made my selections for my Cuban Chicken Soup and Garbanzos with Crawfish and Louisiana Smoked Sausage (Purchased the crawfish tails and Louisiana Smoked Sausage at Rouses) recipe and off to my kitchen to make two big pots of food. 

When I arrived at Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop with my food wrapped, hot and ready for Philipe’s (the owner’s) crockpots, I was in heaven! I am a super nerd and I love antiques and anything vintage. Which is probably why I love New Orleans so much. It gets me and I get this city. The rain came tumbling down yet the Mardi Gras paraders kept on parading with their dogs while clutching their ‘to go’ cups. I was nervous. We reached out to everyone but its tough to host an event with no parking, in the middle of the parades and when its raining. However, thanks to the only Latina (Cuban) tour guide who was at my cookbook signing, she pulled people in from the streets and enticed them with the smell of my food, beer and wine. 

I met some really awesome people and I am so grateful that we sold most of my cookbooks. Everyone left with a full belly, a memorable experience of New Orleans that they will take back to the city they reside in and my cookbook – a new addition to their kitchen library. Sunday was a good day! Thanks Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop. Support local bookstores!

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Entree

Turkey Sausage with Savoury Basil Cilantro Thyme Tomato Salsa over Couscous

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My beloved grandmother used to always tell me to treat yourself as a guest. She would make sure that I sat at the table with a napkin in my lap, posture straight and a proper table setting. I used to think she was old fashioned but now I am so grateful that she taught me proper etiquette so when I eat at fine dining establishments I know what to do. I can still hear her say,”Elbows off the table!”

Tonight I’m just eating at home and a little tired from a long week but I still want to end my day by treating myself like a guest!

Ingredients:

5 turkey sausage links
2 cans of Spanish style tomato sauce
4 sprigs of thyme
1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil
1 minced clove of garlic
2 tbs. of coconut oil
1 tbs. of agave nectar
1 tsp. of fresh ground black pepper
2 boxes of herbed couscous

Preparation:

Grill turkey sausage. (George Foreman 🙂 ) Cut sausages into small pieces. Set aside. Sauté garlic and thyme in coconut oil in a medium size stockpot at medium low heat. Add tomato sauce and a half can of water. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add fresh herbs and sausages. Simmer on low medium heat for 30 minutes. Serve with herbed couscous. (Follow box instructions for herbed couscous) Buen Provecho!

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Soup

Moqueca Brazilian Stew a lo New Orleans

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I first met Rubens Leite in 2009 on Frenchmen street in New Orleans, a popular street for live music and dancing. Every night he parked his taco truck to serve a diverse crowd of bar hoppers, musicians, tourists and night shift workers. His colorfully painted taco truck grabbed anyone’s attention but more so his strong Brazilian accent and Santa Claus smile.

I like many other New Orleanians frequented his truck every weekend. The smell of pineapple pork tacos and Honduran tamales lured us from the Blue Nile or Lazziza’s night club to buy a late night snack and mingle amongst gutter punks and hipsters. 🙂

When I approached Rubens about contributing his story and recipe to my cookbook he accepted with Brazilian glee. My friendship with Rubens introduced me to the Brazilian community in New Orleans where I happily danced samba on hot nights and drank caipirinha to cool my thirst.

To read Ruben Leite’s story and how he came to New Orleans from Brazil via New York during the aftermath of Katrina, his contributing recipe and amazing photographs you will need to buy my cookbook 🙂 New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Also available at my favorite New Orleans bookstores, Octavia Books, Garden District Bookstore, Maple Street Book Shop and Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop.

Here is my recipe for Brazilian Moqueca Stew a lo Latino Who Dat Nation. dedicated to the Brazilian New Orleans community. Bom Apetite!

Ingredients:

2 large whole tilapia filets cut in 4 large pieces
1lb. of frozen crawfish tails
2lb. of peeled jumbo shrimp
2 quarts of seafood stock
4 Roma tomatoes
6 ahí dulce peppers
1 chopped yellow onion
6 minced garlic cloves
1tbs.of olive oil
1tbs. of palm oil
1 8oz. can of coconut milk
1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
Sea salt
1 tbs. of cumin
1 tbs. of adobo
1 tbs. of paprika
1 tsp. of Nigerian pepper soup mix or 1tsp. cayenne pepper
Cooked white or brown rice to serve
1/3 cup of fresh like juice
4 limes cut into wedges
1 sliced and pitted avocado

Preparation:

Season tilapia with paprika, salt, cumin and Nigerian pepper. Add lime juice and 4 minced garlic cloves.Set aside. In a bowl, season shrimp and crawfish tails with paprika, cumin and adobo. Set aside. Chop 2 Roma tomatoes, 1/2 of an onion, and 3 minced ahí dulce peppers (remove seeds). Sauté on medium low heat with 2 tbs. of olive oil in a large stock pot. Add 3 minced garlic cloves. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add seafood stock, coconut milk and palm oil. Boil for 30 minutes on medium low heat. Taste stock and re-season with salt and adobo if need be. Add tilapia. Cook for 7 minutes. Slice two Roma tomatoes, 1/2 of a yellow onion and 3 ahí dulce peppers (remove seeds). Set aside. Finely chop 1 bunch of fresh cilantro and fresh basil. Set aside. Add shrimp and crawfish and cook for two minutes to stock pot and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped Roma tomatoes, onions, ahí dulce peppers, fresh cilantro and basil. Serve soup with fresh avocado slices, cooked rice and lime wedges. Buen Provecho!

Note: All ingredients accept crawfish tails may be found at a Caribbean or Latin grocery store in your city.

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Soup

L’Chaim Puerto Rican Matzo Ball Soup

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So I never told you my story and how I published my book did I? Well I was a summer intern at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans from the University of Toronto and going through a divorce. Imagínate! and I was doing research for some exhibits I was curating and after finally listening to that inner voice I made an observation. Why isn’t there any research on the culinary history of Latinos in New Orleans? They are here and New Orleans is right at the Gulf of México….hmmmm so my nerdy journey began. When I finally published the book my dad said call your Godfather and ask for advice. So he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse lol.

My Uncle Rich gave me the best advice on negotiating my first book contract and is currently helping me to schedule a book signing at Busboy & Poets in Washington D.C. and some extra events that I am excited about! So I am dedicating this recipe to my Jewish Godfather who loves Matzo Ball Soup! I love it too but who doesn’t?

Lagniappe: In Ecuador and Puerto Rico they make a Caldo de Bolitas de Platanos that is riquísimo! Thanks Uncle Rich for your advice and making phone calls to help me promote my book!

Ingredients:

4 green plantains (unripe)
1/2 cup of Sofrito (Pesto a lo Latino, will post recipe)
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 whole cut chicken in 1/4
1 tbs. of Tomato Paste
1 lb of medium peeled shrimp
1/2 cup of Annatto Seeds
Olive Oil
1tbs. of Adobo Seasoning
1tbs. of Cumin
1tbs. of Paprika
1 tsp. of Sea Salt
1 ripe avocado
4 limes

Preparation:

Season chicken with adobo seasoning, paprika and cumin. In a large stockpot, sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic, sofrito and 2 tbs. of olive oil. Add chicken and brown for 5 minutes. Cover chicken with water and boil on medium low heat.

Peel plantains and cut plantains in half. In a sauté pan fry plantains until golden brown. Set aside on a paper towel and put in a large mortar.

In the same oil, lower the heat and add annatto seeds. Cook for less than one minute until the oil turns red. Drain oil in a fine colander. Cool. Add 1/3 cup of the Annatto oil to the plantains and 2 minced garlic cloves. Season with adobo seasoning, salt, paprika and cumin. Mash plantains with a pestle or with hands. Roll plantain mixture into medium size balls. Set aside.

Re-season soup and add shrimp. Cook for another 5 minutes. Cut avocado into slices and limes into wedges. In each bowl, add 4 plantain balls and pour soup over the balls. Serve with avocado slices and lime. L’Chaim!

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Soup

I love Gumbo Z’Herbes!!

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I first had Gumbo Z’Herbes at the famous Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans made by the culinary legend Leah Chase. I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Chase when I curated an exhibit about her life, faith, family and career for the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Mrs. Chase is now 91 years old and she is still a force to reckon with. If you are ever in New Orleans you must go to the Treme and try this mouthwatering Creole gumbo that is served on Holy Thursday before Good Friday. But of course you have to go to Mass first to confess all of your sins before Lent season! 😉

Now this is a very hearty gumbo filled with yummy greens. The recipe calls for 9 different greens to celebrate the 9 different churches visited during Jesus’ walk when he was crucified. Also, as many greens go in the gumbo so does the meat. Most Creoles use chaurice (creole sausage) and other pork meats to flavor the gumbo but for this recipe I substituted pork with smoked turkey tails. I love pork! But today I wanted something a little bit nicer to my waistline. I also put some Latino Who Dat Nation in the gumbo by adding culantro (stronger cilantro herb) and Navy beans based on my love for Cuban Caldo Gallego……Tomaaa!!!!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of collard greens
1 bunch of mustard greens
1bunch of turnip greens
1 bunch of culantro
1 bunch of kale
2 cups of chopped cabbage
1 bunch of Swiss chard
Top leafs of beets
6 stalks of green onions
2 lbs of smoked turkey tails
1 finely diced onion
1 finely diced bell pepper
1 finely diced celery stalk
1 stick of salted butter
1 cup of flour
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 cans of Navy beans (rinse canned liquid from the beans and drain)
Gumbo File for thickening

Preparation:

In a stock pot cover your smoked turkey tails with enough water to cover until tender. Boil on a medium low heat until tender. Once they are tender reserve the liquid and remove the turkey tails from the pot. Chop into small pieces and remove any bones. Put the chopped smoked turkey tails back into the pot.

Wash, drain and finely chop all greens and green onions. Add the greens to the pot and boil at a medium-low heat for 40 minutes.

Make a roux. Finely mince your onion, bell pepper and celery. Sauté in a small pan with a stick of salted butter until translucent. Add bouillon cube and fresh ground black pepper. Add flour and stir to make a blond roux. Add the roux to the gumbo and stir well. Add Navy beans and your bouillon cube. Cook for another 20 minutes. Serve with toasted baguettes and Gumbo File to thicken. Le Bon Temps Rouler a lo Latino!

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