Fidate di me – Trust me!

Chicken Marsala, an Italian – American dish originating from the largest island in the south of the Italian boot – Sicilia!

Pollo scalopinna (scaloppini) ~ where the symphony of flavors are magical between the earthy mushrooms and the sweetness of the wine.

As an urban paradox and excellent restaurants, the chicken Marsala is an icon to enjoy. There is no other Italian city quite like it.

The capital of the island is Palermo, houses royal 12th century tombs while the “Teatro Massimo” at Piazza Verdi, is known for opera performances.

“Not only as a façade, Palermo Opera is an anti-mafia Symbol” Cosa Nostra, was brought to his knees as Sicilia, becomes a free modern organized city.

With a glass of sweet Marsala wine D.O.C* we enjoy as Madam Butterfly imagines the return of his love Pinkerton. “Un Bel di vedremo” aria “One fine day we’ll see” Giacomo Puccini.

Via Belmonte, Marsala is in the USA.

*D.O.C. Denominazione di Origine Controllata “controlled designation of origin”

Chicken Marsala

Welcome Summertime!

Ice tea with raspberries and mint

Lemonade with Thyme and lemon

An outdoor gathering is a wonderful way to entertain, it is a cause for rejoicing! Even if it is outside a kitchen, a terrace, deck or a hibachi, nothing is as inviting a party with an array of drinks and an atmosphere.

This season, my dream to travel to the Middle East had to be a created imaginary set in our yard. There is something colorful and delightful with the smell of the citrus and leaves in a warm summer day.

A 2020 summer time to be remembered as an education in itself. Learning about cultural values of Garcia Lorca’s poetry it is as easy as enjoying Beethoven 7th symphony or try painting which is the heart of a daily life.

Enlightenment, known and referred as the Age of Reason, a period when European philosophers emphasized the use of reason as the best method for learning the truth.

Voltaire, exploring law and politics is called for today.

Thank you George Gershwin for your title song “Summertime”

International escabeche

An inspiration to a “summer day” in spring time invites us to a pollock – escabeche ceviche salad. Talk about love at first bite!

Pollock originates from the waters of North America and the United Kingdom. My creation is by adding spices with “escabeche,” as a favorite of mine.

The origin of escabeche is Persian, it was brought to Spain by the Muslims during the conquest of Hispania in the 756 BC. In Mexico, either on the beach on a paper plate or in china – served restaurants, the magic of escabeche is an appetite opener.

Located off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico and reachable by boat, the beautiful Isla de La Roqueta is an experience to enjoy. It is a lover’s beach, (not to be confused on the beautiful Baja Lover’s Beach). Enjoying the view, savoring the delicious pickled vegetables many distractions exists; amongst some, a donkey drinking a bottle of beer is a show on itself.

As you reach or leave the island by glass-bottom boat or scuba, a “Queen of the Sea” statue has been submerged few feet deep for more than a century.

Due to the devotion of the Mexican people, the statue has been called a “Virgin of Guadalupe of the sea.”

“Moments lasts all of a second, but the memories live on forever”

Escabecio in Italy, savoro in Greece or escabeche in Latin America is always a spicy “Bravo!” ~ A sunny gastronomic ceremony.

Sweetness finding America

The Assyrian origin of strudel, is from Asia to Turkey. The use of this thin puff pastry stuffed with a sweet filling brings us back to the Asiatic regions where the consumption of these type of cakes has its roots in the ancient times of the Mesopotamians.

 Everyone, at least once in the life, has eaten strudel, the fragrant dessert stuffed with apples, usually connected with the lodges in the mountains of Trentino Alto Adige, Austria or the middle European regions. This dessert, the classic Viennese recipe of the Apple strudel foresees a filling of apples, raisin and pine nuts, however in other American versions, we invented them as an apple muffin strudel.

Adding some gelato, far away from Tuscany and the Rhine country side, with pure simplicity reminds me of “The Land of a Hundred Castles” its rocky mountainous landscape and wooden valleys.

Moving back to another continent, a neighborhood where I grew up, there was a bakery where I walked every day ~ the smell of the strudel is still very vivid. As sometimes we make eating a ceremony, so sacred that could become a religious one – yes, an utterly gastronomic ceremony.

Every day has something sweet to say for itself, and every season its own particular treats.

Apple strudel muffins

Thank you Priscilla and Aaron for your spices from Africa. Cinnamon made the difference.

Thank you Kathy for the beautiful serving platter.

When Life gives you Lemons

When Life gives you Lemons

We may never know the real origin of Limoncello! What we do know, is Italia as the birthplace of this delicious liquor.

A story tells about a local lady in a small inn on the island of Capri who had a luxurious garden of lemons. What we do know, is that it was created in the 20thcentury.

Thanks to the California weather, in our garden, I was able to grow thick skin lemons that are rich in oils, fragrant and strong aroma, making it possible to echo the Sorrento masterpiece.

When traveling through Sorrento, I cherish every one of my senses to create a mental snapshot of this delicious liquor. To enjoy it, It surely takes time and… lots of patience…

“A sip of Limoncello feels like a kiss from the sun.” ~Take a sip, smell the aroma, close your eyes and, you will be transported to Italia. Saluti!

As I drink it, I find myself dreaming on my next journey to my beloved Italia.

“Stay strong Italia” We will see you soon! Ci vediamo presto.

Mexican Deli meets heat

When winter or spring winds blow, there is something wonderful about dipping into a steaming bowl of Tortilla soup. The broth is only the beginning. Each spoonful revels tender morsels of chicken, guajillo chilies, avocado and lively cilantro.

In the America of yesteryear, Tortilla soup was relished primarily by Mexican Americans who inherited family recipes which were passed down from one generation to another.

Slowly Tortilla soup has found a place in the pantheon of American soups, and nowadays there are recipes for it, both classic and adventurous, from Latinos and non- Latinos.

This soup is hearty enough to be the centerpiece of a casual supper. As the feast of unleavened bread approaches, celebrating freedom we enjoyed it with a chipotle – stuffed matzah ball.

From Warsaw to The United States, “Tell me a story” Isaac Bashevis Singer. (1903-1991).  Nobel Prize in Literature 1978

For the love of chilis

To most of us, lovers of Mexican food, chiles rellenos conjure up images of crisp, battered – fried poblanos. Today, mine are stuffed with picadillo, a blend of minced meat and spices, having a result of the best savory chile rellenos.

The basic recipe is a family heirloom; it was handed down from my grandmother, Ernestine- a Russian immigrant to beautiful Mexico which she loved.

Wherever we traveled, I took up this game of culinary pursuit. Exploring ethnic cuisines in each destination, myself, with roots in Spanish – speaking ancestry I embrace myself as a Latin.

Chilies originated in the Americas. They were brought to Spain in 1490’s by a physician who sailed with Columbus. Because chilies are native from America, India and Thailand did not have the spiciness in their cuisine.

As it boosts a metabolic rate burning 50 more calories a day, Chili day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in February – most needed in a cold month.

Today, I have written this blog to keep all the culinary traditions under “Cooking around the world.”

Welcome to my blog wherever you are Christopher Columbus and Dr. Diego Chancla

Calcutta meets Antigua

The West Bengal state, home of the Bengal tiger – meets southern Guatemala, home of the “Volcan de Fuego.”  Beauty within two different countries.

Malabar Parotha ~ an Indian delicious bread stuffed with a mix of chickpeas, lentils and root vegetables. Yes… “Show me the curry!”

Chiltepe – a fascinating mix of heat and spices from Antigua, Guatemala. Yes… “Show me the bread!”

Marco Polo, (1254- 1324)~ was only in his teens when he left Venice, Italy following a route to the East. Most of Marco Polo’s tales are accepted as true and accurate by modern scholars. What we do know, is that he spent most of his life in the East including India.

Guatemala, country known for its volcanic landscapes, Mayan culture and Antigua ~ a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chiltepe a Mayan, Xinca and Garifuna roots, was developed by indigenous for the love of heat and spices.

Parotha and chiltepe, a magnificent combination of taste and flavors.

Buen provecho amigos!

Micuilxochitl and the Mayas

 Mesoamerica, during the Pre-Hispanic times flourished for nearly 4000 years.

After four days of fasting, chile Colorado  was the meal given as a gift during festivities to Micuilxochitl.

Micuilxochitl was the Mayan God of the flowers, dance, games and love. Men and women with an improbable appetite had an active part on this celebration.  

The Mayan Empire were agricultural people who originated about 1000 B.C.  Cooking with these peppers, the magic continues in 2020. 

Chile Colorado makes my heart skip a beat! Made of tender pieces of beef simmered in a rich and flavorful combination of dry, red hot peppers sauce. 

 We can hear the country speak and learn its secrets through its stories and its recipes. 

As we say in Mexico “Buen Provecho.” 

Tamales for La Candelaria

 A traditional desert for the Eve of Epiphany – Fiesta of the three kings when a “Rosca” ~a fruit bread is cut.”   

During  “Dia de la Candelaria”, the tamales are served to everyone on this second day of February. 

 Everyone? you may ask, Yes… There is a baby doll in the Rosca and whoever finds it at his/her share is responsible for this magnificent tamale party.  

Children are dressed for the Candelaria ~ Fiesta at the Market celebrating the birth of the new testament. 

With a romantic story behind, many celebrations happen during this “Candelaria Day.” A historical one, is at a chapel in Coyoacan, in the south of Mexico City where Hernan Cortez and the Malinche had performed mass in 1526.

As the advisor to the Spanish Conquistador, The Malinche played a role during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire.

With a magnificent experience of spices, vegetables and hot peppers at beautiful Baja Peninsula, filled this masterpiece.  

Thank you to Kathy Shapiro for creating this masterpiece of flavors in 2020.