Food, Family and Community

By Chef Michelle Bernstein

IMUSA-12_12_13 38671I’m so happy to be part of the IMUSA Celebrity Chef Team for 2014. I feel a really strong connection to IMUSA, as a chef and a mom.

In its mission statement, IMUSA talks about making products that “help bring Abuelas’ (grandmas’) recipes to life.” That really describes how my love of cooking began.

Growing up, my mom took great pride in showing me how to make all of the delicious comfort foods that she learned in Argentina as a child. It created a passion in me I never really knew existed. At my mom’s urging, I was off to culinary school for formal training.

That connection to the Latin comfort food of my youth has been a driving force in the development of my style of cooking. The ability of food to convey love is pretty incredible stuff. Watching people leave our restaurant, Michy’s, or our bakery/cafe, Crumb on Parchment, happy and full, is extremely gratifying.

Nothing is better, however, than cooking for our 2-year-old son, Zach. Seeing how he reacts to tasting many of those delicious dishes that my mom made for me, really brings home what cooking is all about. These dishes are handed down through each family and collectively make up the living cuisine of a culture. IMUSA understands that important connection and the diversity of culture and cuisine.

The real meaning of Thanksgiving… or not

By Chef George Duran

Where did October go? Heck! Where did Summer go? And why do I keep asking this to myself year after year? And why does everyone keep asking me what the meaning of Thanksgiving is when we all know what we’re all looking forward to: food.

PumpkinPieTamales_019I could expand here a bit about the history of Thanksgiving. The pilgrims. The natives. That there was lobster but no turkey on the first Thanksgiving…bla bla bla.  Feel free to click here if you need to get a refresher on your history because I’m here to talk about on thing only: food.

Yes, you probably look forward to the classic turkey-stuffing-yam-cranberry-potato gorging…but people, it’s 2013 and I think we need a refreshing recipe on this year’s table. I’m not talking about just adding chorizo to the stuffing…I’m talking about a whole new look for the center piece. Something I’ve been concocting for a few years and have perfected so that it’s fool proof. It’s called pumpkin pie tamales and I’m gonna teach you how to make it! (I know your brain just went “ooooooooooooh”)

I decided that your average tamales tend to be on the bland side and decided to introduce pumpkin puree to the mix. It’s paired with bold pumpkin spices and yeah, butter (it’s Thanksgiving man…get over it!). But to make it more than just a side-dish I wanted to stuff it with shredded turkey (or chicken). Just imagine sitting on your classic Thanksgiving table and seeing the stuffed corn husks in a massive platter! Finally, nuts and raisins bring it all together for the perfect twisted Mexican treat.

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End of Summer BBQ

By Chef George Duran

It’s almost the end of the summer and that means you have a few more days for one last BBQ! Chef George Duran teaches us how to make Grilled Shrimp and Chorizo with Lime Chimichurri, Buffalo Style Grilled Corn and a Stovetop Apple Crisp with Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Drizzle!

Grilled Shrimp and Chorizo with Lime Chimichurri

  • 12 large shrimp
  • 2 Spanish chorizo sausages
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
  • Lime Chimichurri:
  • 2 cups fresh parsley and/or cilantro, firmly packed
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
  • Kosher salt and red pepper flakes to taste

We’re All Hispanic

By Chef George Duran

I was at a deli in NYC a few weeks ago with a friend and we were ordering some sandwiches for lunch when something hispanic heritageinteresting happened. The guy behind the counter was Latino, so as usual I put in my order in Spanish. I often prefer to speak to my “compadres” in my native language to make sure the message gets across properly, and to make sure that my sandwich is made exactly how I want it (BLT on whole wheat with sliced avocado). What happened instead was the gentleman behind the counter answered me in broken English.  My friend immediately turns to me and asks “why did he refuse to speak Spanish with you if he’s Latino?” The answer was complicated, but made sense to me.

You see, being Hispanic doesn’t put you in a category. It’s just a feeling of pride that can be shared from one Latino to a non-Latino easily.  In fact, since I moved from Venezuela to the United States, I’ve always felt that I had a connection to South America right here in the USA…even amongst my American friends. The Hispanic culture is so engrained in our society that quite often we can’t (and shouldn’t) differentiate between the two. Americans have embraced the culture through music, arts, language and of course, food. Speaking Spanish is not a prerequisite to being Hispanic.  I believe this is true of many cultures in the US, but Latinos most (thanks to the physical proximity).

Reality Bites

By Celebrity Chef Team

PrintBacon wrapped baked maduros

  • 3 very ripe plantains
  • 8 to 10 slices of center cut bacon
  • ½ a teaspoon of salt
  • Toothpicks

Preheat oven to  400 degrees F. Peel the plantains and cut into 1-inch rounds. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large IMUSA caldero filled 2/3 of the way. Place the plantains carefully in the boiling water and allow to blanche for 1 minute. Drain well and allow them to cool enough to handle. Cut each slice of bacon in half.  Wrap each plantain round with the half slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place the bacon-wrapped plantain on a foil lined cookie sheet seam side down. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the plantains are tender and caramelized and the bacon golden and crispy.

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