In 1924, four years after those pesky prohibition laws were passed in the States and four years before the opening of the infamous Agua Caliente pleasure palace, Caesar Cardini invented the Caesar Salad in Tijuana, Mexico.
Surprised? Let’s continue. Though there are many claims to the origin of the ‘classic’ Italian salad, all stemming from Mexico or the United States, naturally, none is stronger or more documented than that of Mr. Cardini, an Italian immigrant living in San Diego, California.
This popular and simple romaine salad was not invented on the shores of Italy, as you might think, but in a small but buzzing hotel in Tijuana, Mexico during the 1920s by an Italian American immigrant named Caesar Cardini. It became an instant classic and thanks to Mexican restaurant group Grupo Plascencia, it’s still served in it’s original home in Tijuana.
Last February, when I was about to start my first Cuaresma (Lenten) season in La Antigua, Guatemala, I started noticing a very odd behavior among the staff in the restaurant where I worked. Every Saturday, a waitress named Doña Chochi, whose real name was Rosa Maria but since there were three other Rosa Marias employed there at the time, we differentiated, would quietly pass off yellow-tinted thin plastic bags to waitresses, cooks and managers alike.
Empanadas de Leche are among the most popular street foods in Guatemala, especially around the time of Semana Santa. These are made with a buttery, achiote red-tinted dough that is filled with creamy milk custard and baked to flakey perfection.
A few mornings ago, I felt my first chill of the season. Actually, it’s probably the first chill I've felt since I packed my bags in July of 2012 and bought a one-way ticket to Guatemala. Fast forward to my new address in Portland, Maine. I woke up to find the windows, which I'd left open hoping to create a cross-breeze, were allowing a frigid gust invade my space. Only the beginning of September and I need an extra blanket on my bed and flannel pajamas.
As the days get shorter and the nights turn cooler, this quick one-pot chicken and rice soup keeps you warm and toasty. Add a little or a lot of the chipotle chiles, depending on your spice preference.
Sometimes I make irresponsible choices when it comes to summer tomatoes. Since the really good ones are only available for such a short amount of time every year, I want to consume them as often as possible. That means that many times I find myself walking home from the farmers’ market having nibbled through not one but two pints of cherry tomatoes that were meant for a summer salad or a quick tomato sauce. Not only do I eat so many tomatoes that my mouth becomes irritated from the acid, but I have to trudge back to the market to buy more.
This spicy tomato condiment, easily made from two pantry staples: chipotle chiles in adobo and canned stewed tomatoes, is a quick way to add flavor to eggs, fish, chicken, beef or just about anything else!
Like the other star vegetables of summer, zucchini, yellow crookneck, patty pan and other soft-skinnedsquash varieties are at their peak in the warm months of July, August, and September. Luckily, my local farmers market offers about eight different types of squash, all different from each other in color, texture and shape.
This is a killer way to start your morning and makes an impressive yet simple brunch dish. The key to highlighting tender sweet summersquash and tomatoes is a bright herb packed green sauce. For an even lighter meal, try poaching the eggs instead of frying them.
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