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Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Hola Mexico!

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm

From CityGirlCountry

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, she discovered the City of Good Neighbors and 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 the Folklore and Traditions of Mexican Cuisines. Over 300 pages are chock-full of ancient recipes, beautiful full-color photographs, and stories that make it more than just a collection of dishes to serve at the dinner table; it really is a love story to family, tradition and culture.

“I found it was hard to write about the past, especially family traditions but when I started to write, I realized these stories needed to be told to my four children,” Anhalt said. “Food is apart of those tales.”

Starting with four different, canvas-bound journals, one for each of her children, Anhalt began Mexican Flavors with handwritten notes. From a free-spirited daughter, to a son that is proud of his heritage, and a youngest child that is a traveler like her, Anhalt picked recipes she knew they would have a strong connection to.

“One of my daughters is like a flower, gentle. I have a son that has a strong connection to the motherland, he tends to find Mexico in everyone; and he likes chiles, tacos and salsa, so of course they can be found in the book,” Anhalt said. “My youngest likes and finds excitement in new culture and food.”

Black Mole Poblano with Chicken or Turkey is a dish for All Saints Day; Rice with Vanilla, Fried Mashed Bananas, Raisins, and Rum for a side dish; Red Salsa made in a Molcajete; Avocado Stuffed with Pork Rind Salad, and also find a recipe for a Mexican Wedding Cake under Sweet Delicacies and Desserts.

Foodies, cooks and those that love Mexican food and culture aren’t the only ones picking up Mexican Flavors. After a family friend, who is the former Secretary of Tourism in Mexico, got a hold of the hardcover book, she showed it to former colleagues. From one hand to another, a copy of the book will soon be found in every Mexican embassy in the world.

“Some of these recipes are 2,000 years old; you flip the tortillas the very same way today,” Anhalt said. “Combined with modern day customs, Mexican Flavors is about faith and humanity, and now it has the potential to touch lives.

“It’s not bound by just food or tradition, but family stories that travel . . . I am so happy.”

Mexican Flavors: A Journey Inspired by the Folklore and Traditions of Mexican Cuisines is available wherever fine books are sold.

Author Laura Anhalt is also co-owner of A Taste of the World, a gourmet sauce manufacturing business dedicated to bringing the flavors from around the world to the tables of Western New York. She is also a contributor to edible Buffalo magazine and resides in Buffalo, New York.

Festa dei Sette Pesci–Translated

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

From City Girl Country

On Christmas Eve a fish head reared its ugly head, until I became of age to make a dish to pass at the family party. Historically, in a traditional Italian family, young women do not receive heirlooms until they marry and recipes are handed to them gradually.

Being an independent signorina, I’ve never felt comfortable with the former and because of my profession and constant entertaining; family recipes have gradually been turned over to me throughout the years.

Besides the traditional sauce recipe that did not need to be touched, the Feast of the Seven Fishes required some tweaking. Below is the Americanized, third generation version of my family’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner (or at least one piece of it).

 Fish Stew

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

2 tsp salt

4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

¾ teaspoon dried Indian crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup tomato paste

1 (28-z) can diced tomatoes in juice

1-½ cups dry white wine

32 oz fish stock

1 bay leaf

1 lb Little Neck clams, scrubbed

1 lb mussels, scrubbed, debearded

1 lb uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1-½ lbs assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets of halibut and salmon, cut into 2 -inch chunks

Old Bay seasoning

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ¾ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. 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 and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to 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 the shrimp 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 clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any of the shell fish that did no open). Season the soup, to taste, with salt.

At a recent meeting of the Cooka Nostra of Western New York (a well known cookbook club) member Julia Lavarnway brought her Southern Baked Corn, a dish that’s a favorite at her family’s table (and now her Buffalo, NY friends).

Southern Baked Corn

8.5 oz Jiffy corn muffin mix

17 oz can of cream corn

17 oz can of whole corn (undrained)

2 eggs beaten

8 oz sour cream (fat free)

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 until golden brown on top.