Archive | December, 2011

Hola Mexico!

20 Dec
Laura Anhalt’s New Cookbook is Drawing Travelers to Homeland
Laura Anhalt moved to Buffalo,NY from Mexico City 11 years ago. En route to Canada with her husband and children, shediscovered the City of Good Neighborsand decided to stay, raise her family and develop her English writing skills.
Last year she published her first cookbook Mexican Flavors: A Journey Inspired by theFolklore and Traditions of Mexican Cuisines. Over 300 pages are chock-fullof ancient recipes, beautiful full-color photographs, and stories that make itmore than just a collection of dishes to serve at the dinner table; it reallyis a love story to family, tradition and culture.
“I found it was hard to write about the past, especially familytraditions but when I started to write, I realized these stories needed to betold to my four children,” Anhalt said. “Food is apart of those tales.”
Starting with four different, canvas-bound journals, one foreach of her children, Anhalt began MexicanFlavors with handwritten notes. From a free-spirited daughter, to a sonthat is proud of his heritage, and a youngest child that is a traveler likeher, Anhalt picked recipes she knew they would have a strong connection to.
“One of my daughters is like a flower, gentle. I have a sonthat has a strong connection to the motherland, he tends to find Mexico ineveryone; and he likes chiles, tacos and salsa, so of course they can be foundin the book,” Anhalt said. “My youngest likes and finds excitement in newculture and food.”
Black Mole Poblano with Chicken or Turkey is adish for All Saints Day; Rice with Vanilla, Fried Mashed Bananas, Raisins, andRum for a side dish; Red Salsa made in a Molcajete; Avocado Stuffed with PorkRind Salad, and also find a recipe for a Mexican Wedding Cake under SweetDelicacies and Desserts.
Foodies, cooks and those that love Mexican food and culturearen’t the only ones picking up MexicanFlavors. After a family friend, who is the former Secretary of Tourism in Mexico, got ahold of the hardcover book, she showed it to former colleagues. From one handto another, a copy of the book will soon be found in every Mexican embassy inthe world.
“Some of these recipes are 2,000 years old; you flip thetortillas the very same way today,” Anhalt said. “Combined with modern daycustoms, Mexican Flavors is aboutfaith and humanity, and now it has the potential to touch lives.
“It’s not bound by just food or tradition, but familystories that travel . . . I am so happy.”
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Festa dei Sette Pesci–Translated

6 Dec

On Christmas Eve afish head reared its ugly head, until I became of age to make a dish to pass atthe family party. Historically, in a traditional Italian family, young women donot receive heirlooms until they marry and recipes are handed to themgradually.
Being an independentsignorina, I’ve never felt comfortable with the former and because of myprofession and constant entertaining; family recipes have gradually been turnedover to me throughout the years.
Besides thetraditional sauce recipe that did not need to be touched, the Feast of theSeven Fishes required some tweaking. Below is the Americanized, thirdgeneration version of my family’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner (or at leastone piece of it).
Fish Stew
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large fennel bulb,thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp salt
4 large garliccloves, finely chopped
¾ teaspoon driedIndian crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup tomato paste
1 (28-z) can dicedtomatoes in juice
1-½ cups dry whitewine
32 oz fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 lb Little Neckclams, scrubbed
1 lb mussels,scrubbed, debearded
1 lb uncooked largeshrimp, peeled and deveined
1-½ lbs assortedfirm-fleshed fish fillets of halibut and salmon, cut into 2 -inch chunks
Old Bay seasoning
Heat the oil in alarge pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and sautéuntil the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ¾ teaspoonof red pepper flakes, and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Addtomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to asimmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend,about 30 minutes.

It may smell a little too alcoholic but the wine will burn off.




Add the clams andmussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels beginto open, about 5 minutes. De veining shrimp can be a bit of a process. With one foot on the garbage bin and the other maneuvering a paring knife (debatable, but works for me) over the sink as you remove the veins.  Season theshrimp with the Old Bay and remove the skin from the fish. Add the seafood.Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clamsare completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any ofthe shell fish that did no open). Season the soup, to taste, with salt.
At a recent meetingof the Cooka Nostra of Western New York (a well known cookbook club) memberJulia Lavarnway brought her Southern Baked Corn, a dish that’s a favorite ather family’s table (and now her Buffalo, NY friends).
SouthernBaked Corn

8.5 oz Jiffy corn muffinmix
17 oz can of cream corn
17 oz can of whole corn(undrained)
2 eggs beaten
8 oz sour cream (fatfree)
1 cup of melted butter

Mix everything in a 9×13(a 10×10 also works) lightly greased pan. Bake on 350 for 1 hr 15 min. or untilgolden brown on top.

Delish!