Do you have any secret tools in the kitchen, anything
that you could never live with out? Aside from my two
“must have” knives, an 8-inch chef’s knife, and a paring
knife, I cannot live without my kitchen tongs and my
peppercorn grinders (I have one for black peppercorns, and
one for white peppercorns). Give me those few essentials and
I am good to go!
If you could change anything about your kitchen, what
would it be? I would have more storage space and more
counter space. It seems that I can never get enough of either
one of those things.
What do you always have stocked in your kitchen? Any
specific products you always want to have on hand? You
will always find an assortment of olive oils, vinegar, and salts
in my kitchen. I always keep a large bowl of citrus (lemons,
limes, oranges, and grapefruit) on my counter which can
instantly transform a dish from good to great, and if you
peek into my cabinets, you will always find jarred, marinated
vegetables like artichoke hearts, fire-roasted peppers, and a
variety of olives. It’s starting to sound like a party already!
What’s your go-to dish to make at home? I love soup as
a comfort food, but it really depends on the mood, I guess.
Steamy broth soups are wonderful, but I have to admit, I love
a perfectly roasted, highly seasoned Puerto Rican–style
roasted chicken. In a word, amazing.
What was your most nightmarish kitchen situation? I
catered a wedding once and had to make 100 pounds of peril
(Puerto Rican roast pork) at home. I left to get a rental truck
to move all of the food and supplies to the location, and while
standing on line, I received a phone call from my daughter,
telling me the oven was on fire! I can tell you that I had to
dance pretty fast that day to meet my obligation of feeding
120 hungry guests by 5:00 p.m!
The way that I define
“home cooking” is
that it is food that
nourishes not just the
body, but the soul
Any major catastrophes? Other than the story I’ve just
related, I’ve been pretty lucky, so far… did I just jinx myself?
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life,
what would it be? Oh boy, I cringe everytime I get asked this
question. I am so moody when it comes to what I want to eat.
I think my knee-jerk answer would be soup, chicken soup in
particular, but I know within a couple of days, I would be dying
for some crunch, so I’m going to say a perfectly executed
bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on thick sour dough
toast, slathered with a lime mayonnaise. That would satisfy
me on several different levels, I am sure.
Are there any foods you can’t stand? I cannot stand
processed, packaged food that have colors in it that don’t
normally occur in nature, and has ingredients listed that have
27 letters and 3 numbers. I love ethnic foods from all over the
world, but it has to be real.
What does home-cooking mean to you? The way that I
define “home cooking” is that it is food that nourishes not
just the body, but the soul as well. It is cooking that evokes
wonderful memories, or in fact, creates those memories; it is
food that is made and shared with love, with those you love.
I consider it one of the most intimate things you can do for
people you love.