Category Archives: My Musings

Eat this for a Beautiful New Year!


We’re entering a new decade WHAT?!?!?! I swear that it wasn’t so long ago that everyone was freaking out about Y2K and the disaster that was to ensue from computers not used to having so many zeros to deal with… which of course obviously didn’t happen.  It seems that the older I get the faster time goes … anyone else noticing this phenomenon?  This NYE imma take a chill pill and surround myself with some amazing friends and food … apparently the older I get the more mellow I get … kinda like a fine wine :P .  Chit – chatting about New Years traditions with my friends I found out that everything from grapes to greens and black eyed peas bring luck and prosperity for the New Year.  Below you will find recipes that have black eyed peas, greens, lentils all good luck foods!  This year we come into a new decade on a full moon … a truly auspicious ocassion!  Wishing you all a beautiful New Years Eve and a prosperous New Year!

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It seems like with most things many of these New Years Day traditions are focused on (cue the O’Jays) money money money money money … money! In the south (of America) black eyed peas and greens are a staple.  The black eyed peas symbolize prosperity and the greens … well we all know green is for them dolla bills yo. :P This combination seems to have a long history together.  In the Talmud, which dates back to 500 CE (1500 years ago), it is said that black eyed peas should be eaten with beets or spinach, dates and gourd on New Years day.  Black Eyed Peas are thought to bring prosperity because they swell so much while cooking.  The American association with these lil peas and good luck dates back to the Civil War when a town in Virgina lay under siege and was lucky enough to find the black eyed beauties for food. On the Comida Page you can find recipes for Bharazi (Black Eyed Peas and Coconut Curry), Acaraje (Brazilian Black Eyed Pea Fritters) and cause we all know you want that money there is a Wilted Spinach Salad for you to chow down on!

Across the Atlantic the Japanese take a different approach to New Years cuisine.  For them long life and good luck are the things to hope for in the New Year.  Soba noodles are the traditional food eaten on this day and if you eat a whole noodle without breaking it you are supposed to be blessed with a long and fruitful year. Check out this page for an authentic and delish Soba noodle soup.

Because I’m a food nerd I talk about it with all my friends.  I heard about the black eyed peas from Jay, the greens from Talib and my friend Moe told me about grapes.  Apparently in Spain at the stroke of midnight folks eat 12 grapes, one for each month.  If you get a sour grape watch out … that month is sure to be trying.  And since Spain colonized much of the Americas this tradition is found prevalent in those countries as well.

Brazil however likes to be independent.  In the land of fun and sun lentils are an auspicious New Years food.  The lentils resemble coins and money so check out the recipe for Arroz con Coco y Lentajes on the Comida page to call forth a money filled new year.  And in Israel Pomegranates are said to bring forth lots of abundance because of their many seeds.  For a great salad recipe with pomegranates in it head on over to Mama Nes’s blog!

BEWARE there are some foods to stay away from on New Years day! Chicken is supposed to bring bad luck because they scratch at food backwards … symbolizing movement in the wrong directions … so for all those el Pollo Loco Fans out there … take a day off.  And no fancy Lobster dinners either … or Sizzler for that matter … Lobsters swim backwards and also represent movement in the wrong direction … Save your schnazzy lobster date for valentines folks :P

Weather it be money, prosperity, abundance or a long life you are looking for have a beautiful New Year and eat up!

<——- For More Information ——->

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods

http://www.rd.com/advice-and-know-how/7-lucky-new-years-foods/article115154-6.html#slide

http://www.foodtimeline.org/newyear.html

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The Truth Behind Thanksgiving

So I was born on thanksgiving day … my mom always tells me of crisp cool air and cloudless sky’s that ushered in my birth.   My cousin was born a week before me and another family friend the day before me which meant that Thanksgiving meals in my family were always about celebrating us …   The whole pilgrims and Indians story …  not so much … thanksgiving was always about me me me!!  This year I decided to take some time and learn about the real story of thanksgiving … and it made me wanna puke!! I was born on this day, the day that honors the killing of hundreds of Native American peoples … really?!?!?  In order to restore balance to this day I wanted to shed light on the real thanksgiving … below you will find some facts about the real history of thanksgiving … or “thankstaking” as some of my friends say.  You will also find some veggie and vegan holiday recipes to soothe the soul. Give thanks family, for the beauty that surrounds us, those that have fought for us in the past and the future that we are creating.

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That happy image of pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a table to share a lovely meal on Thanksgiving … its a FAKE!  The Thanksgiving we celebrate on the last Thursday of November was actually just a random date chosen by Abe Lincoln in 1863.  So where did this idea of Thanksgiving come from?!?! The first “Thanksgiving”  meal in 1621 was no fairy tale story, in actuality the Pilgrims who had a miserable crop that year invited an Indian named Massaosit to their meal.  Massaosit followed the Indian tradition of equal sharing and invited many tribe members.  Much of the food brought to that meal was provided by the Indians as they had much more of a bountiful harvest that year.  This first meal was in essence the beginning of the end.  In 1637 members of the Pequot tribe gathered to celebrate the Green Corn Festival.  700 men women and children came together to celebrate and as they were sleeping in the hours just before the sun rose the English Pilgrims surrounded and massacred all of them, shooting and beating those that confronted them and burning the rest.  The next day the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony declared a day of “Thanksgiving” and celebrated the killing of the Pequot Indians.  Pilgrims fed of the momentum of their victory and continued to slaughter Indian men, women and children.  A second “Thanksgiving Feast” was had after another massacre of the Pequot Indians in Stamford, Connecticut.   As history has it there were more and more Indian killings and more and more “Thanksgiving” festivals eventually culminating in the Nationwide “Thanksgiving Day” that we still celebrate.  Looks can be deceiving and words even more so, while “Thanksgiving Day” is currently a day in which we gather as families to consume massive amounts of food and watch football it was originally a day in which English colonizers celebrated the killing and eradication of Indigenous Peoples.  Take a moment to remember the real reason behind this day, remember those that were here before.  Honor the loved ones we are surrounded by and fight for a better tomorrow. 

<——- For More Information ——->

http://www.danielnpaul.com/TheRealThanksgiving.html

http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

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Turmoil in Taco Land Time line

Shoreline_CC_taco_truck. . . so in researching this whole taco situation i got madly confused, there apparently have been numerous attempts to outlaw our beloved tacos.  In order to make sense of things the logical teacher in me decided to make a time line!!!!! So for all those visually oriented peeps out there here you go . . . i present to you in green the Los Angeles County’s attempt to wipe away taco trucks from our land . . . and in red Los Angeles City’s same attempt.  Below both these pleasing to the eye time lines are a few links for the super sleuths out there! Enjoy!

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The County Cries Foul!

—->May 15, 2008 – a county law was revised by the LA County Supervisors (namely Gloria Molina) that made it a misdemeanor for taco trucks to park in any one spot for longer than an hour.  The penalty for doing so would be a $1,000.00 fine or 6 months in jail.  This was a drastic change from a previous law that only fined loncheros $60 for parking more than an hour.

—-> Circa May 24, 2008 – the first of the loncheros was cited for not moving his truck.  La Flor de Sahuayo, from in front of his own restaurant.  Mr. Valdovino has been charged with a misdemeanor and is facing a maximum $1,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.

—-> August 27, 2008 – Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Aichroth determined that the law passed by the county was an “arbitrary law not based on any rational intrinsic or natural basis” and overturned it.

—-> September 19, 2008 – the LA county supervisors and Gloria Molina appealed Judge Aichroths ruling.  They were again denied and decided not to pursue any further action.  Viva Los Loncheros!!!!!!!!!

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Los Angeles lives for tacos!!!

—-> 2006 – Los Angeles City Council passed Municipal Code Section 80.73(b)(2)(F), stating that taco trucks otherwise known as lunch trucks or loncheros had move every 30 or 60 minutes to a distant location and not vend for 30 to 60 minutes.  The fine for breaking this law was $150.00 ticket.

—-> Beginning January 2008 – the above municipal code was aggressively enforced on our city’s taco trucks.

—-> June 5, 2009 – Students of the UCLA Law Clinic helped overturn this law that according to Lauri Gavel “the ordinance itself is invalid under the California preemption doctrine, which holds that local ordinances that conflict with the state law are void.” Viva Los Loncheros!!!!!!!!!

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<——————–For the Super Sleuths ———————–>

UCLA School of Law Clinical Program

Carne Asada is Not a Crime!

La Taco

LA Times Article

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While there is much debate on weather or not taco trucks are a boon or a benefit to our community I for one think there are much more important things out there to worry about! My tummy would also like to thank all those who worked hard to save our taco trucks!!! (I also secretly believe that the recent new trend for multi-ethnic taco trucks or fancy pants taco trucks could be helping the lonchero movement . . . . shhhhhh!) However and whyever it happened, I am glad they are here to stay! While i haven’t made a final verdict on weather or not to support this new mixed race taco trend, i have in the past given much thought to open up a veggie taco truck . . . which i guess would push me to the yea side of the spectrum when it comes to these new street food ventures.  The recipes below may one day appear on a corner near u in a taco truck owned by urs truly! Enjoy (preferably with a michelada in hand!!)

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Chocolate and Chili . . . Oh My!

So i have been trying to brighten up the nastiness that is LA’s june gloom by baking . . . but i don’t bake . . . but i’m trying to bake! The gray weather has me craving all things sweet and spicy and naturally i thought hey why not kill two birds with one stone (never do that in real life kiddies!) and make sweet and spicy cookies . . . . mmmmm chocolate and chili! u can’t go wrong . . .right?!?! after countless hours slaving away in a hot kitchen i finally got the recipe right! I was so excited about the deliciousness that came out of my oven that i facebook statused it . . . will someone come up with a verb for that soon . . . please?!?!

lovers & haters

lovers & haters

To my surprise not everyone was knocking down my door to get at these cookies, in fact i had some reactions that were quite the opposite . . . what?!?! The thing that struck me as odd tho was that the ewwww responses were from my chicano friends . . . ummm mole anyone??? The chocolate and chili combination goes back ages . . . so long story short the below u will find a history of this oh-so delicious flavor combination along with with a recipe for the yummiest of yummy double chocolate chip and chili cookies.

Chocolate hearts Chili

Ecuadorian Cocoa Farmer

Ecuadorian Cocoa Farmer

The amazingness that is known as chocolate comes from the Cocoa Plant . . . native to South and Central America the earliest traceable history of this oh so delicious creation is found in  Puerto Escondido, Honduras.  Bottles with traces of cocao residue can be dated back to around 1100 BC at this site.  Cocao residue was also found in jars from Belize that date to approximately 600-400 BC.  While there are many theories on the history of the word chocolate one major thought is that it is a mashup of words used by the Maya and the Aztec.  Some trace the word back to the Yucatec Maya word “chokol” meaning hot, and the Nahuatl “atl” meaning water, as originally chocolate was consumed in the form of an alcoholic drink as well as a hot drink with spices added to it.

Chili in Mesoamerica (central america and its surroundings) was grown as a foodPicture 6 crop as early as about 4000 BC2, although the wild varieties of chili in Mexico were gathered much earlier, dating to at least 7200 BC3.  Mesoamericans used chili in everything . . . It appears that nothing was eaten without chili. . . inother words it was the player player of all spices. Chilies were used fresh, dried, smoked or roasted and were added to food whole, chopped or ground—much as they are used today. Chocolate and chili were a favorite flavor combination among the Mesoamericans.

The chocolate chili connection is an Aztec concoction.  Aztecs associated chocolate with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Chocolate was consumed in a bitter, spicy drink called xocolātl, often seasoned with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote (aka annatto). Xocolātl was believed to fight fatigue, a belief that is probably attributable to the theobromine (a chemical similar to caffeine) content.  Who said chocolate wasn’t good for you??? And chocolate with a kick . . . insta party!

While this combination may make u smile from ear to ear the production of chocolate has a long and sordid history. Chocolate is now produced in Central and South America as well as many areas of Africa.  wftd_postcards_chocolate_hi_res_largeIssues surrounding chocolate range from slave labor, child labor and environmental destruction. Much of what is produced on a cocoa farm goes straight to big business . . . leaving the hard working local farmers with little to show for their work.  Fair trade and locally owned and produced chocolate is becoming more available and is a great way to make ur mouth happy while supporting local farmers.  Check out the Kallari Cooperative, based in Ecuador this group of families now farms, harvests, produces and distributes their own chocolate! Check out this list of fair trade chocolate before you get that next chocolate craving!

So there kiddies . . . ur history lesson for the day courtesy of wikepedia.  If ur are now in dire need of trying this most amazing flavor combination check out the comida page for the Double Chocolate Chip and Chili cookie recipe!

Double Chocolate Chip and Chili Cookies . . . Oh-so-good . . . yet so   dangerous! doubl choc chili cookiesGottsta give a shout out to my lil sis for being my inspiration on these . . . she sent me a vegan recipe, which i promptly made un-vegan & sooooo much better (heee heee sorry sis!).  This recipe makes about 16 cookies, for a lotta kick follow the recipe, for the meek of heart cut the ammount of chili and cinnamon in half (for the math phobic that makes it 1/4 tsp each).  Monster em! PS . . . this was my first ever attempt at food photography, be nice! suggestions alwayz welcome!doubl choc and chilli cookies

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Dreams do come true!

This is an experiment almost 8 years in the making. . . once upon a time when i was a young lass of 21 my non culinarily experienced little sis asked me to write down some recipes for her.  Years later i have created a vegetarian dinning for two cookbook with almost 50 (and counting) recipes in it.  Around the time of  birth of this cookbook i had the idea to use my friends as lab rats in the testing of the recipes . . . i would mail them the recipe and they would have to bring it to a pot-luck style party . . . with comments and suggestions in hand.  Only recently and thanks to my recent liberation from employment has this evolved into every other monthly themed events that bring both comida y cultura together.  The outcomes of these events (recipes, music, surveys, pics and videos) will be posted on this blog in an attempt to share my love of cooking and culture as well as improve upon my cookbook.  Mil gracias to all my friends and fam for their eternal love and support. Besos. Me.

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