Momma's In The Kitchen

Daisy Martinez was born in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York to mainland Puerto Rican parents, and quickly learned that the kitchen is the heart of the home, filled with love, a diverse family, delicious, soul satisfying dishes and an appreciation for the rich, diverse flavors of the Spanish speaking world.

Since then, Daisy: attended the French Culinary Institute; was a prep- kitcd The Passionate Palate; starred in PBS’hen chef for her long time mentor, chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich; worked as a private chef in New York City; owned a small, boutique catering business called Daisy Cooks! and FoodTV’s Viva Daisy!; wrote three global-best-selling cookbooks; and recently received her certification as a sommelier.

Tapas #instagood #instafood #spicybrickroad #daisyfood #tapas #LES (at Bar Veloce)

Tapas #instagood #instafood #spicybrickroad #daisyfood #tapas #LES (at Bar Veloce)

S1 E2 : Rub It All Over Yourself 

When I was i culinary school, one of my favorite chef instructors and mentor, Chef Sixto Alonzo, once said to me, “Anyone can make lobster or truffles taste good..it takes a real chef to make something delicious out of the most common ingredients!” That lesson has always stayed with me, and nothing makes the point better than the lowly onion. In this season where the polar vortex has settled into the northeast like an unwelcome houseguest, I turn to this most common ingredient to find a bit of love and peace in the kitchen, and chase away those lingering winter blues without breaking the bank!

The onion, shown a little love, will repay your attention ten times over. Cooked in rendered bacon fat and some water to leach out the sugars, a low, slow turn at the stove will transform the provincial onion into a member of the royal court. Once you have melted the onions into a golden, sweet, sticky, mass, sanger them with a bit of flour, add some aromatics, and pour some rich beef stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Once you have plated your soup into your crocks, top with a crouton, a tablespoon of grated Parmesan Reggiano, and a liberal amount of grated Gruyere cheese. Slip under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling, and serve. 

I can guarantee you that whether you are cooking for yourself, or for friends and family, this soup will be an elegant first course or the perfect lunch dish to chase the winter chill away! In fact, I’m so sure of this, I’ve made a video to take you through the steps, one by one. Stay tuned this Saturday, February 8 for its release! Buen provecho!

S1 E3 : Bacalao Three Way 

We’re wrapping up the Lenten season on the Christian calendar, and that means that I am playing my Jesus Christ Super Star album, non-stop, and pulling out my bacalao (salt cod) recipes for Semana Santa (Holy Week). When I was a little girl my abuela and mami would make all kinds of things with bacalao: bacalaitos (codfish fritters), asopao de bacalao (thick bacalao-rice soup), aarroz con bacalao (yellow rice with bacalao), and on and on during the Lenten season, and so I thought I would share a few of my fave recipes with you.

I like to think of Bacalao con Berengena (Salt Cod with Eggplant), as Caponata with salt cod. Mami would serve it alongside mounds of fluffy white rice, but I even love it room temperature in slices of grilled garlic bread as an appetizer, or you can try the version I make for you in this week’s video, stacking the stews bacalao on grilled eggplant slices! Either way, it is bound to make a believer out of you!

Another favorite is the simple Serenata de Bacalao, a fresh salad of bacalao, sliced onions, hard boiled egg, and olive oil (add some chopped cilantro or parsley) served with some boiled yuca, cooked green bananas or some other boiled root vegetables. I love this so much I have enjoyed it for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! I don’t care when you eat it, just make sure that you do!

Watch the video, try the recipes, and share your own pics of your bacalao dishes with me on my Facebook page, along of your food memories about bacalao. Who would have thought that such a humble ingredient would inspire me to wax poetic?

Good morning! #asparagusomelette #tgif #instafood #instagood #daisyfood #chefdaisymartinez #spicybrickroad

Good morning! #asparagusomelette #tgif #instafood #instagood #daisyfood #chefdaisymartinez #spicybrickroad

Season 1, Episode 1 : No Tears In The Kitchen

This time, it’s spice-scented, country-style pork ribs with polenta and, let me tell you, it’s to die for. The fragrant aromatics in this dish will tempt your senses before you even take the first bite and, once you do, you’ll be rewarded with sweet and savory pork ribs that literally fall off the bone, over top of perfectly rich and creamy polenta. Local Brooklyn butcher, Paisanos, prepared the ribs for me on-the-spot and they’re beautiful. I try to shop locally as often as possible and Paisanos never disappoints.


While showing you step-by-step how to re-create this amazing dish in your home, I continue to share my own journey through divorce and how cooking helped me navigate some really painful changes and successfully reemerge, happier and stronger than ever before.

Our introductory season provided a glimpse into my life and kitchen, and in this episode and those that follow, I’ll continue to invite you to join me in my home and out in the community as I shop, meet with friends and cook together with some of my favorite personalities. I also look forward to providing some of you, my viewers, with the opportunity to join me and share in my passion for cooking. 

I hope you enjoy the show and, if you try making this dish yourself, please share your results with me! I’m always happy to see others enjoying my recipes and sharing them with the ones they love. 

Until next time! ¡Buen provecho!

xoxo
Daisy

In this episode, Maria and June, two of the attendees from my first cooking class at Whitehead Light Station in Maine, join me in my kitchen for an afternoon of food, laughs and reconnecting.  

Together we reminisce about our kids, bullying, empty nest syndrome and more as we prepare some of the delicious Latin comfort foods that remind us of our own childhoods - Pollo Guisado, accompanied by hearty rice and beans.

Episode 4 : The Turkey Tamale Follies

In this episode, my students and I take a trip to Mexico, a country whose cuisine combines both straightforward recipes and easily accessible ingredients with complex and rich flavors that will make you want to slap your momma, they’re so good.  The mix of Mesoamerican and Spanish traditions makes Mexican food unique and, at Whitehead Light Station I led my class through some of my favorite dishes inspired by these influences - Roasted turkey with Mancha Manteles and Chicken Tinga Tamales.  It was like Thanksgiving in August!

The secret to a perfect turkey is all in the preparation, and to make sure ours was as near to perfection as possible, we began our work the evening before, rubbing a marinade under the skin of the turkey to infuse the meat with flavor.  Rather than the American standard gravy, we prepared Mancha Manteles, which literally means “tablecloth stainer” due to it’s rich brown color created by the herbs, spices and fruits that it comprises.  And, let me tell you, this sauce will change the way you think of turkey and Thanksgiving forever - forget cranberry sauce.

As a side dish, we prepared Chicken Tinga Tamales, combining a beautiful masa with lightly spicy-sweet chicken inside of a banana leaf wrapper that proved to be addictive - you can’t eat just one!

As you’ll see, we had way too much fun preparing this meal and, I promise, an even better time eating it.  Later in the evening, we sat around a campfire by the water, relaxing, laughing and enjoying fresh hot buttered rum.  What could be bad?

The Secret’s in the Satin

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I am a big fan of pasta! THERE! I said it! Although the starch of choice in Latin America is rice, I am very fond of pasta, whether  it is in Italian cuisine, Asian cuisine, or Latin cuisine. I love linguine, ravioli, tagliatelle, rigatoni, macarrones, and every shape inbetween. I love lasagna, and cavatelli, angel hair and orrechiette…but my heart actually skips a beat when a plate of light, delicious gnocchi, or ñoquis, as they are known in Argentina, is placed before me, napped with a savory sauce. 

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I have eaten ñoquis all over Latin America…I have eaten Yuca ñoquis in the Dominican Republic, Aji Amarillo ñoquis in Peru, and the traditional potato ñoquis in Buenos Aires, but it wasn’t until I was served a plate of this ñoqui recipe made by my good friend and collegue, Chef Alejandro Cantagallo, at his now defunct restaurant, Floresta in Sunnyside, Queens, that I knew my search for the Holy Grail of noqui recipes was over. I begged Alejandro for the recipe, throwing pride to the wind, and he graciously complied. The magic is in the texture of the dough for the ñoqui, which is satiny and smooth, and holds up to the boiling of the perfect little potato dough pillows, without rendering them a heavy gluey, gloppy, gummy mess. Like matzoh balls, the beauty of a ñoqui is in the lightness of the dumpling…nobody wants to eat a ñoqui that hits your stomach like a B54!

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This year, I taught my students at the Cooking With Daisy class in Whitehead Lighthouse Station in Maine, Alejandro’s super secret-deluxe-delight-no-fail-perfect everytime ñoqui recipe, and the results were, as predicted, ethereal. We made the ñoqui recipe using a scale instead of measuring cups to ensure consistency in the results, and were rewarded with perfection that we dressed with three different sauces, a traditional Bolognese, a creamy, fragrant basil pesto, and a Buerre Noisette with sage grown in the lighthouse herb garden. I can tell you that the students could not pick which one of the sauces they liked better, but all agreed that the ñoquis were the absolute lightest, most delicious they have ever tasted.  I will leave it to you to make your own decision. 

Ñoqui

3.3 pounds Russet potatoes

14 ounces flour, plus more for dusting

1 large egg, beaten

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

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1.   Bake the potatoes, with their skins on until easily pierced by a knife. When done, remove from the oven, and as soon as you can handle the potato (use a towel to hold it), remove the skin with a paring knife, and pass the potato through a food mill. This is really important to achieve the necessary texture for the ñoqui. Place the milled potatoes in a large mixing bowl adding the flour, and mixing with your hand until well mixed. Add the egg, the salt, and the nutmeg to the dough and incorporate well.

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2.   Dust your workspace and your hands well with flour, grab a hand full of dough and roll out into a rope about the thickness of your thumb. Using a sharp chef knife or a bench knife, cut the rope into 1 inch sections, and roll each section against the back of a fork to form ridges. Place the ñoqui on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, and when the sheet is full, place in the freezer. When fully frozen remove to gallon sized freezer bags until ready to cook.

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3.  When ready to cook, bring a large saucepan full of salt water to a boil and add the ñoqui, giving the contents a brisk stir to avoid sticking. When the ñoqui floats to the top of the water it is ready. Remove with a wire spider and add to the skillet with your choice of sauce.

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Pesto? PLEASE!

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   My garden is usually overrun with basil and mint this time of year and so there is never a shortage of pesto and mojitos at any given time at Casa Daisy. In fact, I love to blend a batch of pesto in my processor or blender, and either freeze little cubes of it in ice trays in the freezer (make sure you wrap well in plastic wrap!) or give pretty Mason jars full of it to friends and family for their own use.

     Any pesto recipe is subject to one’s own tastes, so I make mine with plenty of garlic, pignoli nuts (pine nuts), and really good olive oil and Parmesano Reggiano cheese, It is good enough to dab behind your ears! I like to add enough olive oil to give me an almost creamy consistency, as I have experienced gloppy, tight pesto that is an actual affront to the very delicacy of my nature (Random reference to “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar”, a fave movie!)

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     Basil pesto this time of year is not only delicious, but glorious…in fact, it comes close to a religious experience. Fragrant, tangy, and spicy, my version gets an extra pop from a bit of lemon zest that is the perfect foil to the verdant basil, garlic, and cheese mixture. Check your seasoning for salt and pepper and you are bound to be everyone’s new best friend when you serve this at your next get together.

      Delicious with any type of long or tube pasta, I particulary love pesto with homemade gnocchi. I place the pesto in a skillet, add heavy cream (you can substitute half and half or skimmed evaporated milk for a healthier version), and scoop the perfectly poached gnocchi right out of the boiling water into the skillet, stirring and tossing to coat. It loks so beautiful, you can serve it exactly like this, right in the skillet onto the table. I like to provide extra shredded Parmesan cheese for the table, and then just sit back to enjoy the “ooohs and aaahs” you friends and family will reward you with!

Buen provecho!

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