We are now in the second year of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from the La Vista farm in Godfrey, Illinois. Every other week, we pick up our bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs. In recent weeks, we have been enjoying La Vista’s tomatoes, okra, summer squash, basil, and other similar items from our farm basket. We have also supplemented from our herb garden, replete with rosemary, thyme, and dill, giving us the full array of summer flavors.
This recipe comes together Continue reading
For the best tamales, you should use your abuela’s recipe. In my case, not having an abuela of my own, I borrowed the recipe from Stephanie’s abuela — Marie E. Salazar.
At first, I thought that making tamales would be difficult and agonized over the proper ingredients and procedure. I wondered whether the effort would pay off and whether the tamales would taste like those tamales we once had from a street vendor in Santa Fe. And most of all, I wondered whether I had the energy to embark on a two-day adventure of stewing, cooking, folding, and steaming, all by myself.
In her write-up, Continue reading
In preparing for my move, I worked on paring down what I needed and what I did not. I went through my closet to determine what clothes I was wearing and what clothes I was not. I looked around my bathroom, and decided what items had outlived their utility. And naturally, I went around my kitchen, searching for redundancies, coordinating with Caitlin to ensure that we did not arrive with two or three of every useful kitchen device.
Beyond these steps, I also worked to use up my food. There was no need to stack my car with bags of flour and sugar. By the same token, there was no sense in throwing away perfectly good butter or eggs. The last few weeks saw a veritable flood of baking and cooking.
Among these items, Continue reading
Cornbread is a so-called quick bread, because it doesn’t contain yeast and doesn’t require any rising or kneading. All of which makes it ready to bake in a flash!
Another great thing about cornbread is that no two recipes need be alike. You can mix and match ingredients as you see fit. Play with the type of cornmeal (coarse or medium), the flour (whole wheat or not), the cheese (cheddar or monterey) and the acid (buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt). Add corn or jalapeno slices . . . or both . . . or neither.
I made this particular recipe twice, Continue reading
Arepas may be the best dish I’d never heard of.
Arepas (ah-RAY-pahs) are half-inch thick corn cakes that are an absolute staple of Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine, their origins dating back to the original Indian inhabitants of the region.
Arepas are made from masarepa flour, sometimes called arepa harina. Unlike cornmeal, which is made from uncooked, ground corn, masarepa flour is made from precooked (preconcida) ground corn. As a result, you cannot use simple cornmeal to make arepas; you must use masarepa flour. I used Goya-brand yellow masarepa flour that I found at a Hispanic grocery store. Since then, though, I found that even the local Kroger carries PAN-brand white masarepa flour in its international section.
The beauty of arepas lies in their simplicity and adaptability. Arepas are Continue reading
When I first started my blog, my goals were modest to say the least. I hoped a few dozen people would visit my blog each day. I hoped my blog could be featured within the first few pages of a Google search. And above all, I hoped that someone I didn’t already know might leave an encouraging comment.
I’ve met each of my first two goals. According to the blog administrator, my blog receives over a hundred page views each day. The administrator also lists the search terms and hyperlinks that direct these individuals to the pages within my blog. When I keyed some of these terms into Google, sure enough, there was my blog – and on the first page no less!
I’ve also met my third goal – and in exciting fashion. For many months now, Continue reading
When Caitlin and I were in Santa Fe, several of the restaurants offered a bowl of posole as we waited.
Posole is a thick soup or stew, made from nixtamalized corn (corn that has been treated or soaked with lime and water, or calcium hydroxide). The nixtamalizing process improves the flavor and aroma of the corn, increases its nutritional value, and makes the corn easier to grind. Nixtamalized corn is also referred to as hominy. You may be able to find it in a local grocery store, though I went to a special Latin American grocery store to find mine. (where it was called pozole). It’s also available online.
Because corn was a sacred plant Continue reading