Savoir Faire: julio 2010

jueves, 29 de julio de 2010

Mango & Basil Mojito to celebrate my Venezuelan (and Spanish) roots


This mojito means a lot to me. It’s my baby. After growing my mint and spearmint, mixing mojitos since the beginning of this summer and even writing an article about how to muddle the perfect mojito, I decided to create my ‘own’ mango and basil mojito.

The idea came to me the day I went to visit a Vietnamese friend. At her Buddha altar, she had the most amazing basket of mangoes. They seemed to be of the briteño variety that grows in Margarita Island, Venezuela. She must have realized that I wanted one of those mangoes: although they were an offering, she immediately gave me one.

miércoles, 28 de julio de 2010

Penne alla Vodka (with no vodka)


It all started when I moved to Southern California. One day we went for lunch at Dattilo’s, a very respectable Italian restaurant in town. This is a family business run by Joseph Dattilo himself, Maria his wife (who makes homemade pasta,) and their daughter Monalisa (the one who told me that I could grow my own basil and she proved to be right.)

Then, somebody ordered Penne alla Cardinale. I taste it and, like everything at Dattilo’s, was extremely good. However, the first thing that came to my mind was Penne alla Vodka!

martes, 27 de julio de 2010

Giant Lima Bean Salad

I love lima beans and I adore the giant ones. During the cold season I cook all kinds of bean soup: lentils, black, chickpea, green, red kidney, pinto… But in the summer, when I crave for beans, salads and bean spreads (like the Middle East Hummus) are the best option: a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, energy and more important, so flavorful!

This salad is inspired by the lima beans served in Lebanese and Italian kitchens. It can be refrigerated up to 10 days and the more days in the cold, the better the flavor!

lunes, 26 de julio de 2010

Bohémienne: Another way to look at the Ratatouille


The bohémienne, French for ‘bohemian’, is a Provençal eggplant and tomato gratin, which like its cousin the ratatouille is made out of summer ripe eggplants and tomatoes.

Even if the ratatouille is the one that has become internationally famous, in Southern France the bohémienne is more commonly preferred and you will see why.

sábado, 24 de julio de 2010

jueves, 22 de julio de 2010

Strawberry & Basil Mojito for a Thirsty Thursday!

This is, by far, the best mojito I ever had. Not only does this cocktail combine three ingredients that I definitely love: Ron de Venezuela ―rum from my home country―, strawberries, one of my favorite non tropical fruits, and basil, an herb that I could not live without. But it’s how the ingredients work together: fresh strawberries give this mojito its kind of guava bright pink color, while the hints of basil flavor surprise the palate, making it the perfect gourmet drink for spring and summer.

miércoles, 21 de julio de 2010

Crispy Zucchini Carpaccio


Carpaccio is an Italian appetizer, made out of raw meat, very thinly sliced (literally shaved), and dressed with a mustard sauce, olive oil, black pepper and shaved or grated parmesan cheese. It is said that its name is related to the colorful pieces of art of Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio: the red raw meat combined with the creamy mustard dressing resemble the colors of the art work of this Renaissance artist, known for his Legend of Saint Ursula.

The zucchini carpaccio is not related to the Italian meat one, but for the fact that it’s delicious and the vegetable is shaved and served flat in the dish. This recipe came to me more than 15 years ago. I’m not sure if this was my sister Andreína own creation, but when she became a vegan, she used to have it sometimes more than once a week.

martes, 20 de julio de 2010

The simpler, the better: Silky Italian Panna Cotta

Panna cotta, which in Italian means ‘cooked cream’ is a perfect example to illustrate why the simpler, the better. This is a classic Italian dessert so smooth and creamy that is makes the ideal ending for any meal.

domingo, 18 de julio de 2010

Blueberry & Lavender Mojito

I found the recipe for this so refreshing, perfect for the summer, Blueberry & Lavender Mojito, in the book ‘Market Fresh Mixology – Cocktails for Every Season’, by Bridget Albert and Mary Barranco. In fact, I bought the book for the recipe.

The book came into my hands after spending a wonderful spring weekend in New York City, where I visited some of the best bars I have ever been to. There, I realized some mixologists are working with their own home made syrups.

Since I’m a newcomer to this cocktail world, thanks to this book and also following the suggestions of Paul Clarke (The Cocktail Chronicles) and rum connaisseur Matt Robold (RumDood) I began to experiment with my own syrups and in this particular case with my own lavender one.
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