There are days when I miss home. I didn’t grow up with my mom cooking Cuban food, but when you grow up most of your life in South Florida, Cuban food tastes like home, too.
Cuban food was a big part of my eating growing up. If there was a big family get together, we’d often times be eating at a Cuban restaurant. There were days when I’d get out of school and head to little hole in the wall Cuban joint and I’d sit there with my friends, in our Catholic school uniforms, drinking coke and eating chicken palomilla, maduros and my all-time favorite, rope vieja.
I hardly ever get the opportunity to eat Cuban food now (the few Cuban restaurants in Los Angeles are kinda awful) so when this cookbook, The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez, arrived at my doorstep, I was V V excited. I began thumbing through it, ooing and ahhing.
I landed on this chicken because it has everything I love about Cuban cooking. It’s inexpensive, it uses my favorite parts of the chicken (dark meat 4evr!) and it has mojo. MOJO IS EVERYTHING!
Mojo is a combination of sour oranges, onions, garlic and spices like ground cumin and oregano. Mojo is the heart and soul of this dish and a popular base for a lot of Cuban dishes.
We’re dealing with a bit of a crazy, scary heatwave that unfortunately is super common in Los Angeles during the month of September. Good ol’ September! All I want to do is bathe in a bath full of ice cubes, drink nothing but cold beer and eat ceviche and fish tacos.
That’s classic hot weather-food. It’s also the food I want to eat when I’m craving something filling and awesome, but also leaves me feeling with a bit of pep in my step.
The food looks glorious – and easy! If you like Stephanie’s blog, i am a food blog (it’s a must-read!), then you’ll love the book. The same design element from her blog is sprinkled throughout the book, the photos are modern, sleek, austere (in a good way!) and the food makes me want to run to my kitchen and make spicy chicken wings.
Also, Stephanie’s sweet and familiar personality comes through in the recipe head notes.
The question of today is: why has it taken me so long to make chilaquiles? Seriously, I’m sort of shocked this is the first time I’m posting about them because they might be one of my favorite breakfast dishes EVER.
I’m pretty sure they fall into my ‘favorites’ category because they’re so nimble; they’re great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Since I am so passionate about them, this means I’m also bratty about them.
I like chilaquiles with a bit of beer simmered in. I like them to have a bit of spice. I like there to be cheese, but not too much cheese. And I love the wedges of tortillas to be freshly fried, preferably a tad bit over. This means that when they’re topped with a bunch of sauce, they still have a bit of crunch to them.
This isn’t the right way, it’s just sort of my way.
For this recipe of my beloved Chilaquiles, I teamed up with Mi Rancho tortillas. These tortillas are made with non-gmo corn, yay! And the taco sliders (along with their other products) can be found at stores like Whole Foods or Gelson’s. I really love them.
One of my favorite summahtime memories was in college. I got a job on a film set in Maryland for a few days and instead of flying, which they offered, I took it as an opportunity to go on a solo road-trip through the south.
It wasn’t too far, actually, maybe six or seven hours. And instead of opting for highway only, I went for the route that took me on a lot of one lane roads, running straight through a bunch of small towns in North Carolina and Virginia.
I packed a large sweet tea, made a super long mix-CD and filled up my Jetta.
Nothing crazy happened. I stopped off at a diner, had hoecakes and ate Western North Carolina BBQ. At dusk, fireflies helped light up the roads. I listened to music my parents did. But mostly I remember thinking that everyone seemed so happy and normal and maybe this whole idea of moving to Los Angeles to work in the film industry, which is inherently sort of abnormal, was maybe flawed. Maybe they had it right and I had it all wrong.
I tend to avoid bringing up world events or politics on A Cozy Kitchen. Not because I walk around with rose-tinted glasses on but I honestly figure you get enough of that elsewhere. And plus, this is the place I created to celebrate fun and warmth; devoted to things like cheese, butter and corgis. But this week has been particularly rough and I’m finding it hard to muster up the energy to talk about Aviva throwing her leg across the table.
Robin Williams’ death made me so unexpectedly sad. If you know me, you know that me crying is a very common occurrence, but I was still shocked by how much I cried on Monday. I felt like I lost someone I knew; someone who had been there at so many different times in my life.
Also, the sheer irony in a man who dedicated his life to making so many laugh and yet was dealing with so many personal struggles, is just tragic. It’s a reminder that we really have no idea what’s going in other people’s lives and their own personal struggles are ones we aren’t always privy to. It reinforces my belief in trying to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Oh gosh and #Ferguson. Don’t even get me started. Good gracious. I can’t believe this is happening in 2014…yet I sort of can which is even sadder.
I feel like I’ve told you about my obsession with the Amalfi coast and how all I’ve wanted to do recently is get on a plane, stay in an apartment overlooking the ocean, swim all day and eat all night. The dish that I’m guessing I’d eat copious amounts of is this linguine con le vongole.
Since there’s no trip to Italy in sight, I figured maybe making the dish from the place I’ve been dreaming about might make me feel better. It totally didn’t, but it did make for an amazing lunch so I figured I’d share it with you in case you, too, might be needing a dish to make you want to be in some place other than your desk/current location/grey cubicle, etc.
For this dish, I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet spices because it seems like I can’t really make anything without adding a bit of crushed red pepper flakes. They are staple in my house. A ramekin of them sits right next to the black pepper and salt. I add them to EVERYTHING.
A large part of me (the sweaty part) despises summer, but this year I’m like super into it. I’ve been inspired to make all sorts of stuff. Also, I’ve embraced wavy hairs.
This shrimp ceviche might be my most favorite thing EVER. It’s inspired by the ceviche I always order at one of my favorite LA restaurants, Corazon y Miel. The chef there loooves Peruvian food, you can just tell. I believe he’s from somewhere in Central America and while people like to consider it a Mexican restaurant (and sure there are Mexican influences), it isn’t completely true. It seems like he takes some of his favorite Latin American flavors and sort of does a mishmash of them, creating his own unique takes on traditional dishes.
This week is going alright so far. I FINALLY scored some sour cherries (recipes coming soon!), I’ve been doing a ton of recipe testing for book stuff and last night I watched this woman from Real Housewives of New York throw her fake leg on the table. So all in all, I say it’s going pretty well!
Last week I had the great pleasure of making and eating this Corn and Chorizo Hash (with an egg on top, of course) for a very, very late lunch. There’s super spicy chorizo, fresh summer corn and potatoes cut into a small dice, which cuts down on the cook time, which also helps when you’re so hungry you feel like you might pass out. An egg on top was an absolute must because it’s the only way a hash story should end and because seriously what could be better than a drippy egg? A vacation, that’s what.
For the full recipe so you can recreate a delicious breakfast for lunch or dinner situation, go to PBS Food.
Tomorrow I’ll be back with a recipe that SCREAMS a good vacay moment.
This my “towanda!” sandwich. If you’re unfamiliar with what “towanda” is, I forgive you. It just means I might be older than you and/or you don’t memorize scenes from movies that were made in the 90s. Regardless of what the reasoning is, you should watch this scene from Fried Green Tomatoes.
Kathy Bates is having a rough go and these two cute girls take her spot and instead of saying sorry like normal humans, they make fun of her. Instead of finding another spot, she does what all of us wish we could do: she smashes her car into theirs…over and over again. Right now that’s my dream in life. Since I can’t do that because I’ll likely go to jail? (that’s assault, brotha (another 90s movies reference, I’m sorry), I’m eating awesome sandwiches like these!