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I was out walking Bounder, the little dog our son Justin brought home from a shelter a few years ago, and was almost back home when I spotted a McArthur Dairy milk crate brimming over with a harvest of 20 or more backyard grown avocados on the edge a neighbor’s lawn.
One of the more dominant techniques that began to show up in the kitchens of the 17th Century was roux. Seldom has a technique undergone such a transformation in opinion amongst chefs and dedicated home cooks.
A high-pitched voice called out, “Arepa, Arepa, Arepa de Maiz!”
The ‘Parade of the Three Kings’ was heading our way and our son was marching with his South Miami High School band. Justin normally played the viola back in those days, but he surprised me as he hefted a huge drum and beat on it with energy and precision while he and his bandmates proceeded in musical celebration past us while tears of pride fell on my chest.
You may be making plans to celebrate our day of "National Independence" from the once “Tax Mad” English by having friends and family over for a backyard party. Possibly your menu will feature one of the all-time icons of American gastronomy, "The Great American Hot Dog".
Each day begins the same. It is want mixed with laziness. Which strikes me as why a café con leche is so perfect. The ‘want’ is the café. It is strong, primal, dark and concentrated. The ‘lazy’ is the leche, (the milk)…relaxing, passive, pure-white and life-giving. In the right ratio you can find the way to enter the day and go forth!
Most everyone knows, but I will say it for the un-baptized…chorizo is a kind of sausage. The first time I remember seeing chorizo was back in my hometown of Diamond Lake, Illinois in 1965 or so. It was around that time that many Mexican families began to immigrate to the area. They worked very hard founding a close knit neighborhood, which eventually became part of the broader patchwork quilt that epitomizes so much of North America now.
Back in the late 1990‘s at the original NORMAN’S restaurant in Coral Gables we had a young man who became our Lunch Chef named Eliecer Garcia. Like many young chefs he was very interested in cuisines from all over and when we talked about what to put on our lunch menu his ideas ranged from France to Hong Kong. I loved that but sometimes I’d say, “Eliecer. I want you to show me flavors your Cuban Grandmother would make and then we can twist them a little. Okay? Why don’t you show me how she would cook with … oh… boniato for instance? And then we’ll go from there.”
We flew up to join the family to celebrate my Mother-in-Law’s 90th (!) Birthday Celebration. When our family gets together we, like many families, get straight to the heart of the matter. What are we cooking?! What are we eating?!
I was sitting on the verandah of a hotel overlooking Waikiki beach waiting for a lunch menu. The mighty Pacific Ocean purred like a Lamborghini in the distance. I'd spent hours walking in Chinatown from early morning looking for beautiful and unique dishes I love to use for the thematic ‘Tasting Menus’ at our restaurant. But I had little luck and a keen hunger was rising up in me.