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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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Sandwiches

Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo and Avocado Apple Mint Culantro Salad

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I love a good sandwich and portobello mushrooms are as meaty and flavorful as the real thing. Today I used a lot of fresh herbs in my avocado apple salad and my portobello sandwich. Fresh herbs brings any dish to life and just like my favorite movie Auntie Mame said,”Life is a banquet and too many poor sucka’s are starving to death!”

Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh portobello mushrooms
1/3 cup of sliced red onion
1/2 chipotle in can
1/2 cup of mayo
1tsp. of honey
2 slices of aged cheddar
4 fresh basil leaves
2 sliced Roma tomatoes
2 slices of toasted whole grain bread
1 gala apple sliced into cubes
1 ripe avocado sliced into cubes
1 sprig of fresh mint
1 culantro leaf (or 1/3 cup of cilantro)
Olive oil
1tsp. of dried rosemary
2 tsp. of sea salt
1tbs. of good Balsamic vinegar
1tsp. of fresh ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a food processor pulsate the mayonnaise, chipotle and honey. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Sauté mushrooms with a bit of olive oil and red onions on medium low heat. When mushrooms start to cook and the onions begin to become translucent add balsamic vinegar. Season with dried rosemary, sea salt and fresh black ground pepper. Cover and cook for ten minutes on low heat and set aside.

Cut apples and avocado into cubes. Mince culantro and mint. In a bowl, mix avocados, apples, mint and culantro lightly and add olive oil, sea salt and fresh black ground pepper. Set aside.

Slice Roma tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Toast whole grain slices of bread and spread with chipotle mayo. Add cheddar slices, cooked mushrooms, tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Serve with avocado apple salad. Candela!

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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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News

My First Cookbook Review in Spanish! Muchisimas Gracias El Tiempo New Orleans!

My cookbook, New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking launched on November 1, 2013. I am so grateful for the reception it is receiving. My goal for 2014 is for my cookbook to be part of everyone’s kitchen library from the East Coast to the South. So far I know the book is in Puerto Rico and Germany! Hopefully, the book will be translated in Spanish for Spanish speaking readers. The culinary history of Latinos in New Orleans needs to be shared! Le Bon Temps Rouler a lo Latino!

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Entree

Toma!!! Tortilla Encrusted Flounder with Bourbon Garlic Butter Brussel Sprouts

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Growing up my mom made the best brussel sprouts! I think most people have a distaste for brussel sprouts because they don’t know how to cook them. I saw some beautiful brussel sprouts at my local grocery store and I had to make them. For dinner this evening, I made Bourbon garlic butter braised brussel sprouts with tortilla encrusted flounder…Riquisimo!

Ingredients:

1lb of brussel sprouts
3 tbs. of salted butter
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/3 cup of Bourbon
1 tsp. of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 Flounder filets
1/2 cup of buttermilk
Multi-coloured tortillas
1tsp. of Adobo seasoning
2 lime wedges

Preparation:

Tortilla encrusted flounder:

– Season flounder filets with Adobo seasoning and marinate in buttermilk for an hour in the refrigerator
– Crunch multi-coloured tortilla chips with your hands until the chips are of a small corn flake consistency
– Remove filets from buttermilk bath and remove any excess milk
– Coat filets with the tortilla chips and bake in an oven for 30-40 min. at 375 degrees

Bourbon Brussel Sprouts:

– Sauté brussel sprouts in salted butter and minced garlic at a medium low heat
– Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
– Add Bourbon, cover and summer at a low heat for 10 minutes

*Serve with rice or couscous with lime wedges or avocado slices

Le Bon Temps Rouler a lo Latino!

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Dios Mio!!!! I just found out that my cookbook New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking is now available at the New York Public Library!!! I am so proud to have the cookbook there and I hope New Yorkers check my cookbook out. I love New York! Everything about New York but especially the food! I have soooo many fond memories of visiting my Uncle’s house for Thanksgiving and eating lechon asado, mofongo de mariscos, soul food, New York Pizza, cannoli’s, etc. etc. etc. I was just in New York for Thanksgiving and ate at Justine’s Dominican Restaurant in the Bronx with my sister and our children. Best part about Latino food is that you can feed an army on a budget and the flavors can measure up to any fine dining cuisine. Thanks New York! Viva Nueva York!!! FYI: My cookbook is available for library check out and as a reference in Hispanic Studies.

http://nypl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/19988767052907_new_orleans_con_sabor_latino

Who Dat! New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking now available at NYC Public Library

Who Dat! New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking now available at NYC Public Library

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Latino Who Dat Nation is at the New York Public Library!!!

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