I’m half crazy, all for the love of you

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Do you know Daisy Martinez? Do you love her as much as I do? I discovered her public television show Daisy Cooks! shortly after I moved to Ringwood and began scheduling my Sunday treadmill sessions around it; her PASSION for Latin cooking and sharing her knowledge not only made the time pass likethat, but she piqued my curiosity about this area of cooking that has gotten short shrift compared to, say, Italian and French.

And so how happy was I to open my Christmas gift from our friend Tom and discover her cookbook in the box?! Tom sent Gil a hilarious Jimmy Olsen comic collection in the same shipment, so we sat on the couch talking over each other for an evening:

“Oh, look! Six-armed Jimmy Olsen!”

“Hey, sofrito!”

“Ooh, I remember this one! Jimmy got zapped with a ray and turned giant sea-turtle man!”

“PERNIL!”

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So the presents were well received, I’d say. But back to Daisy. I bought the ingredients to make sofrito, which turned out to be a lot like the Cajun trinity, only even MORE flavorful and garlicky — heaven. I also got a big pot of chicken stock going on the stove in my new 12-quart stock pot and began dreaming of garlic soup with chorizo and chicken with soupy yellow rice and alcaparrado. (Incidentally, how great is that word? Very sexy, I think.) It involved a full weekend of cooking, but ultimately, everything was so far beyond delicious, I couldn’t even get up the nerve to post. Just incredible. Buy. This. Book.

Yesterday, we had her 20-minute shellfish sauté and even though I screwed things up in a major way, it still “made my mouth sing.” I couldn’t find littleneck clams and don’t care for them much, anyway, so we did without. Not a huge deal, but I was evidently lobotomized before doing my grocery shopping in the morning and came home with a bunch of cilantro instead of the parsley the dish called for. No worries! I added chopped chorizo to the dish to balance the more assertive cilantro. Other than that, this meal called for just a few ingredients, anyway — scallops, shrimp, white wine, a slurry of milk and cornstarch, and tons of garlic. I added some bittersweet pimentòn just before serving and it disappeared faster than anything I’ve made in a long time. So now we’re three-for-three with this cookbook. Dare I try a fourth today?

Did I mention how much I love Daisy? Cuz I do. I really do.

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