Gazpacho with Green Tomatoes
Recipes Gazpacho with Green Tomatoes

As the family legend has it, on the night before I was born, my mother cooked a pizza topped with sliced green tomatoes, and the next morning, pop! There I was. (Though, truth be told, it may actually have taken a bit more effort than I’m leading on…) I won’t go so far as to call green tomatoes some kind of folk remedy for inducing labor, but perhaps they provide a good incentive for anyone taking their sweet time in the womb.

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Summer Ceviche Salad with Fresh Papalo
Recipes Summer Ceviche Salad with Fresh Papalo

The vendor had noticed us ogling her herbs. “It’s papalo! Here, take some with you,” she chirped. “I’ll write the word down for you. It’s from Mexico. Use it like cilantro.” At the next stand over, we scored some gray sole and returned home with arms full of tomatoes, onions, lettuces, cucumbers and this unfamiliar herb. A quick web search revealed that papalo is indeed native to Mexico, and it grows like a weed across the Southwest US as well as Central and South America.

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Day 22: Eggnog Flan

*This post marks Day 22 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. After falling in love with the divine flan at a local taco place, I thought it’d be a good idea to combine a lifelong passion for eggnog with the decadent flan genre. In case you’ve never made flan, it’s kind of a two-step process. The first step involves making a caramel sauce that coats the bottom of the pan. Thereafter, a custard mixture is poured over the caramel and it’s baked, then flipped over to put the caramel at the top, making the process very like a tarte tatin or a pineapple upside-down cake.

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Recipes Day 6: Holiday Party Taquitos

*This post marks Day 6 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar There’s nothing particularly holiday-centric about these little tacos other than the fact that they’re red, green and festive. But color counts for a lot, and these are just so good, I can’t hold back on sharing them. We had them for dinner recently (and definitely will again) but I think they’d be fantastic as party eats, since it’s easy to make fillings in volume ahead of time and let people go crazy making their own bites while you socialize.

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A Sweltering Summer Secret: Mi Chelada Es Su Chelada
Recipes A Sweltering Summer Secret: Mi Chelada Es Su Chelada

Nearly 10 years ago, I visited the Yucatán Peninsula for the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival and discovered a wonderful, refreshing drink they called the michelada. It was a zippy cold cocktail of sour, savory and salty and umami flavors with brisk carbonation… just the thing for an afternoon of snorkeling, sunbathing and snacking on fresh fish tacos beside the sea. I didn’t see another michelada until I moved to NYC and finally rediscovered them at Barrio Chino, where the staff poured micheladas just the way I remembered, not to mention making great Yucatán-style fish tacos.

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Recipes Recession-Proof Recipes: DIY Tamales

I’ve noticed that after you’ve been blogging for a while, you find that your commenters often come up with even better material than you do. Oh, how I love online community! A couple of my favorite blog comments can be found at the bottom of this post, in which commenter M. delves far beyond my sci-fi depth and in this post, in which an anonymous commenter has an astoundingly deep knowledge of butter.

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Recipes Sopa de Gallo: A (Much Tastier) Chicken in Every Pot

Though Herbert Hoover is often (and falsely) credited with a campaign promise to give the nation “a chicken in every pot,” the phrase never sounded terribly enticing to me. Chicken was usually pretty disappointing in the flavor department. Truthfully, when I was growing up, there wasn’t much chicken around the house. After we moved off the farm, Dad thought the grocery store chickens lacked the appropriate oomph, so we ate lots more turkey than chicken.

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Recipes Seis de Mayo: Brownie Tamales

So, Seis de Mayo . You might be thinking: Why not Cinco de Mayo ? It’s a perfectly reasonable question. As it turns out, Cuatro de Mayo was unreasonably busy for my coworkers and I, but we still really wanted an excuse to cook and eat a Mexican-themed potluck. As far as potluck themes go, you really can’t go wrong with Cinco de Mayo. I mean, c’mon… it’s got the tasty built right in.

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Recipes Recession-Proof Recipes: A More Manageable Molé

The skinless, boneless chicken breast may be the monarch of the meat world these days, but thighs hold so much more flavor and are at least half the price of breasts. Plus, legs and thighs are terrific stewed. Cook ‘em long (braising or stewing is as good as roasting for making the most of cheaper cuts) season ‘em well and serve ‘em up over rice or noodles for some super-thrifty bulk.

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The Cookies of the Dead
Recipes The Cookies of the Dead

Much as I love Halloween, I think the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is waaay cooler. A couple of hundred years ago, Halloween held a solid position in the autumn calendar as a religious event. These days, I’d bet a lot of people don’t even realize that the “Eve of All Hallows” is supposed to be followed by All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on the 2nd.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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