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Get authentic recipes and stories from around the globe.

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    Postcard: A French Creole Island Feast in Martinique-photo
    by Betsy Andrews
    I enjoyed the most amazing French Creole island feast at Mango Bay restaurant in the harbor in Fort-de-France, Martinique, a stop for the cruising yacht Wind Surf: stuffed crab, spicy salt cod and salt cod fritters, soft and savory boudin noir, spiny lobster tail in a tangy sour orange sauce with peas and fava beans, and an incomparable bowl of moules a la creme, with steak fries and aioli. Good stuff. The only hitch: I left 20 gorgeous, aromatic vanilla beans, purchased at the town market, in the bathroom at the restaurant, went back for them, and they were gone. I am mourning them now, my dreams of making the world's most fragrant creme brûlée dashed. -Betsy Andrews

    Le Mango Bay
    Boulevard Allègre Port de Plaisance
Le Marin, Martinique 97290
tel: +596/746-089

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    Behind the Scenes: Photographing Rancho San Juliandaacute;n for Issue #152-photo
    by Penny De Los Santos
    As soon as the assignment came in to shoot this story, I knew it was going to be beautiful. The location of the ranch, at that time of year, with such perfect weather-any part of California is gorgeous, but the Central Valley in summertime is exquisite. And the subject is a photographer's dream: any time I get the chance to photograph a ranch or a working farm, or anything that harkens back to the land, to people who live close to the root, it's going to be visually powerful. It always is.

    Georgia Freedman, the author of the story, and I went out to the ranch and stayed together the whole time-her writing and me shooting the story at the same time. I try to get into the daily lives of my subjects, to be with them whatever they're doing, and Georgia's the same way, so we just let the family do their jobs on the ranch, and I shadowed Elizabeth Poett and her husband Austin as much as they'd let me.

    A lot of times while on assignment, a photographer will have a great idea well ahead of time about what the strong photographs from their shoot will be. And more often than not, that great idea isn't so great in reality: the images can be stagnant, stereotypical, or static, or they happen organically but it's the worst time of day for shooting-high noon, for example. So I always try to fit in flexibility on my shoots, to allow for times when I don't have any preconceived ideas of what I'll be photographing at all. I'm just with my subjects as they live their life, two steps in front of them or beside them, watching, listening, pulling details. If Elizabeth's husband said in passing, "I've got to get up at 5 a.m. tomorrow to brand some cows," I'd latch onto that and make sure I was there with him. I try to let people live their lives, and I make sure I'm there to capture it. That's the way I work.

    See Penny's photographs and read her descriptions of how they were captured in the gallery »

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    Postcard: Surprising Swordfish at Parallel Post-photo
    by Kellie Evans
    There are very few things I don't find pleasure in eating, but somewhere near the top of that list is swordfish. Invariably, it is a dry, bland, hunk of pan-seared disaster, so I usually opt for salmon or scallops instead; some might say, safe choices. However, at a chance dining experience at Parallel Post restaurant in Trumball, Connecticut, located in a Marriott hotel of all places, I was served the only swordfish I have ever truly loved. Chef Dean James Max, herewith in my eyes the "fish whisperer," plated a thick grilled steak brushed with Calabrese chile oil over roasted beets and crispy, almost candied, brussels sprouts with local honey. It was juicy and robust and all my future swordfish endeavors will be measured against it. -Kellie Evans

    Parallel Post
    180 Hawley Lane
    Trumbull, Connecticut 06611
    Tel: 203/380-6380

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  • 12/31/12--07:40: A Haitian New Year's Soup
  • A Haitian New Year's Soup-photo
    by Tequila Minsky
    As a reporter for a New York City newspaper that covers the Caribbean community at home and abroad, I have traveled, and eaten, throughout Haiti. I've savored the island's distinctive cuisine, with its African, French, and native Taino elements and its iconic dishes, from lambi, sautéed conch and red snapper in a spicy tomato-based creole sauce, to riz djondjon, a rice made almost black with dried mushrooms. But I've never experienced a Haitian dish quite as beloved as soup joumou, a savory pumpkin soup.

    Soup joumou (pronounced "joo-moo") is the soup of Independence, the soup of remembrance, and the soup that celebrates the new year. The soul-warming dish commemorates January 1, 1804, the date of Haiti's liberation from France. It is said that the soup was once a delicacy reserved for white masters but forbidden to the slaves who cooked it. After Independence, Haitians took to eating it to celebrate the world's first and only successful slave revolution resulting in an independent nation.

    Today, soup joumou is such a new year's tradition that before any good wishes, you're likely to be asked: "Did you have your soup?" "Where are you having your soup?" or "Do you want to come over for soup?" And asking someone of Haitian ancestry about pumpkin soup opens the floodgates of their memory, both personal and collective. "New Year's eve was the only time we could stay up late," Elle Philippe, a New York-based chef told me of her childhood in Port-au-Prince. "I remember when I was five years old, my mother would start making soup joumou in the evening, and around midnight we could begin to taste it."

    Asking someone of Haitian ancestry about pumpkin soup opens the floodgates of their memory, both personal and collective.
    Philippe's mother, like many other home cooks, started her soup with a rustic beef stock. ("You must have a beef leg bone," one friend told me, who insisted that the opportunity to suck the marrow is part of the pleasure of the soup.) Into the broth generally go marinated, seasoned beef; loads of garlic, onions, and other aromatics; and malanga, taro, yams, or other starches. After some time, cabbage, pasta or rice, and the cooked and puréed joumou, or squash, is added. The variety of choice is kabocha, a green mottled, squat pumpkin whose nutty, bright orange flesh flavors, colors, and thickens the soup.

    Though in Port-au-Prince and other cities, people generally prepare meals using indoor gas stoves, in rural areas, I've also watched home cooks prepare soup joumou on the traditional recho, a three-legged circular or square iron basket filled with charcoal where the pot sits directly on the coals. In the most remote parts of the countryside, the soup pot might simply be propped over a wood fire atop a rustic tripod fashioned from three stones. But wherever it's cooked, soup joumou is left to simmer in a deep aluminum pot in amounts enough to satisfy all the family and friends who drop by to usher in the new year, and to celebrate Haiti and its hard-won independence.

    See the recipe for Soup Joumou »

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  • 12/22/12--07:08: Angelo Brocato's Cannoli
  • Angelo Brocato's Cannoli-photo
    by Keith Pandolfi
    A trip to New Orleans can restore your faith in many things: jazz, Creole cooking, the human spirit-and, not least in my book, the cannoli. A single visit to Angelo Brocato's, a century-old sweets parlor in MidCity, will redeem a hundred soggy, overstuffed versions of this Sicilian treat. Each crisp-fried shell is filled to order with fresh, sweetened ricotta, candied citrus rind, and semisweet chocolate chips. The ends of the pastry are dipped in bright green chopped pistachios, and the cannoli is served on a doily-covered plate. Every time I taste one I take comfort in the fact that some things in this world remain as wonderful as they've always been.

    Angelo Brocato's
    214 North Carrollton Avenue

    New Orleans, Louisiana

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  • 12/22/12--07:08: La Mangeoire's Roast Chicken
  • La Mangeoire's Roast Chicken-photo One of the juiciest roast chickens we've ever eaten is served at La Mangeoire, a low-key French bistro on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The chef behind that chicken is none other than Christian Delouvrier, a fine-dining veteran who, since his start in the late 1960s in France, has helmed some of the world's most famed kitchens. He's always roasted his chicken in the same way, with thyme and garlic on the inside and soy sauce and butter outside. The trick, Delouvrier taught us, is to tie the legs close to the body to protect the breast from the heat while it cooks. The technique is so easy, and the chicken stays incomparably moist.

    See the recipe for Christian Delouvrier's Roast Chicken with Herbed French Fries »

    La Mangeoire
    1008 Second Avenue

    New York, New York

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  • 12/22/12--07:09: Istanbul's Best Coffee Shop
  • Istanbul's Best Coffee Shop-photoKurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, the phenomenal 141-year-old Turkish coffee purveyor, is located in a weather-beaten deco building just outside of Istanbul's Spice Market. Through its street-front window, thousands of brown wax-paper packets of freshly ground coffee are sold each day. The beans are roasted on the premises and then ground as finely as cake flour in belt-driven mills that chug away from morning to night. Taken home and brewed the traditional Turkish way-brought to a boil with water and sugar in a long-handled pot called a cezve-Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi coffee is the boldest, ballsiest you'll ever taste.

    Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi
    Tahmis Sokak 66 Eminönü,

    Istanbul, Turkey

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  • 12/22/12--07:09: The French Press
  • Cajun Eggs Bennedict at The French Press, Lafayette LA-photo At Lafayette, Louisiana's most vibrant restaurant, The French Press, homegrown chef Justin Girouard makes his own boudin, the Acadian sausage of pork, rice, and cayenne. (Delicious.) Then he fries it and serves it on toasted French bread topped with two poached eggs and chicken and andouille gumbo. (Even better.) His crispy softshell crab is served with a refreshing citrus slaw, and his smoked duck breast is paired with pillow-soft sweet potato spatzle. Using locally produced food, Girouard honors Cajun cooking, all the while making it uniquely his own.

    The French Press
    214 East Vermilion Street
    Lafayette, Louisiana

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  • 12/22/12--07:10: Playing with Fire and Water
  • Playing with Fire and Water-photo In 2008 Linda Anctil, a private chef and caterer in Connecticut, asked herself this question: "What if I could cook whatever I wanted?" Over the past five years she has documented the answers to that question on her food blog, Playing With Fire and Water, for which she cooks, photographs, and provides recipes for gorgeous avant-garde dishes: ravioli encased in wrappers of salmon, a rainbow of parchment-thin vegetable wafers, "figs" made of cheese, "cheese" made of blueberries. Anctil's posts sometimes provide lessons in the chemistry of flavor; sometimes they are spare and lyrical. But always they are driven by a curiosity that makes even the most radical culinary techniques feel like the natural provenance of home cooking.

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  • 12/22/12--07:10: Lenny Russo
  • Lenny Russo-photo
    by Kara Buckner
    At Heartland Restaurant andamp; Farm Direct Market in St. Paul, Minnesota, chef-owner Lenny Russo showcases the bounty of the upper Midwest: in the fall, sugar pumpkin tartlets and fried goose wing with cranberry compote; in spring, wild leek vichyssoise and grilled Duroc pork chops with fiddlehead ferns. The market, adjacent to the restaurant, overflows with housemade heritage-breed charcuterie; wild turkeys and ducks; Lake Superior whitefish and trout; fresh berries in summer, preserved ones in fall; mustard ground from local seeds. So much abundance! For Russo, an Italian-American east Coast transplant, the traditional flavors and ingredients of Minnesota and its surrounding states provide an invigorating palette.

    Heartland Restaurant andamp; Farm Direct Market
    289 East 5th Street

    St. Paul, Minnesota

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  • 12/22/12--07:10: La Vega Central Market
  • La Vega Central Market, Santiago Chile-photo A sprawling landscape of stalls and carts in the center of Santiago, Chile, La Vega Central Market vibrates with the brilliance of the country's agricultural bounty: fat yellow onions stuffed in mesh sacks, comically gigantic ears of corn, squash in every shape and hue; persimmons, custard apples, and other fragrant fruits; wild potatoes from Chile's Chiloé Island ranging in color from pale yellow to saturated scarlet and a purple that verges on black. At lunchtime the place fills with office workers and laborers and indigenous people in colorful garb eating steaming bowls of cazuela, chicken stew; sopaipillas, quick breads made with pumpkin; and tamale-like humitas. It is the best place in the country to get to know the universe of Chilean food-and to fall in love with it.

    La Vega Central Market
    700 Calle Davila Baeza,

    Recoleta, Santiago, Chile

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  • 12/22/12--07:11: Sindhi Biryani
  • Sindhi Biryani-photo
    by Felicia Campbell
    In Pakistan, when my boyfriend's mother, Najma Awan, served me Sindhi biryani, a specialty of the country's southeastern Sindh province, I fell in love. Like all great versions of this dish, hers strikes a balance between the tastes and textures of rice, goat, and curry masala, which is fragrant with herbs, hot chiles, ginger, and other spices. She cooks the curried goat and rice separately, then steams them in layers, so that the sauce and juices drip into, but don't saturate, the fluffy grain. The result is a beautifully striated centerpiece that offers rice, spice, and meat in waves of astounding flavor.

    See the recipe for Sindhi Biryani »

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  • 12/22/12--07:11: Hitachiya
  • Hitachiya-photo
    by S. Irene Virbila
    This small Southern California store is packed with specialty Japanese cookware, many of the same items sold at the original shop in Tokyo's Tsukiji market. Sushi chefs seek out Hitachiya for hand-forged knives and the sturdy bamboo baskets they use to carry ice and fish. Owner Masazumi Hirota has an eye for what cooks covet: oval cast-iron pots with removable handles, tin-lined copper pans for frying tempura, beautiful cedar and cherry wood and horsehair strainers, ivory sharkskin graters for fresh wasabi root, slender twig mats for serving sashimi-even a spike to secure a wriggling eel. A lesson in the beauty of everyday objects.

    2509 West Pacific Coast Highway

    Torrance, California

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  • 12/22/12--07:11: Danish Hot Dogs
  • Danish Hot Dogs-photo Danes are crazy about their hot dogs. On nearly every Copenhagen corner, a pølsevogn, or hot dog wagon, offers more than a dozen varieties. The knockout ristet hot dog, accented with sweet spices, gets tucked in a bun loaded with pickles, raw and crispy fried onions, and a delectable rémoulade; the medister is a sausage spiced with cloves and allspice; and the fransk, or French hot dog, makes ingenious use of a baguette-like roll, the bread hollowed out and used as an edible sleeve for the footlong frank. They always beckon as we stroll through the city, even if we've just eaten one a few blocks before.

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  • 12/22/12--07:12: Swedish Tube Food
  • Swedish Tube Food-photo
    by Rebecca Fisher

    The first time I visited my husband's family in Sweden, I spent hours at the grocery store perusing the array of foods in tubes: soft cheeses, caviars, pâtés, all sorts of condiments. There was something both retro cool and sleekly futuristic about them, with their bold colors and graphics.

    I lugged home a suitcase full-tubes travel well-and threw a party to celebrate my newfound obsession. I provided boiled eggs, rye bread, and crispbread, and for toppings, tiny boiled shrimp, fresh dill, and cucumbers. My friends and I squeezed through my bounty, creating strange and wonderful combinations.

    Buy Swedish tube foods at »

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    Sea Urchin with spaghetti at Il Buco-photo When a craving for pasta hits, no run-of-the-mill red sauce will do-we want bold, flavorful dishes that are both soothing and dynamic, rustic yet inventive. It's a tall order, one that is always filled at Il Buco Alimentari andamp; Vineria in downtown Manhattan.

    The year-old market and restaurant has quickly become one of the city's most desirable tables, thanks in large part to chef Justin Smillie's peerless pastas: swarthy squid-ink strands tossed with rich salt cod confit and crisp fennel; cool, creamy sea urchin paired with al dente spaghetti and hot pepperoncini (at right). Whether it's the rabbit lasagnette with homemade pasta kerchiefs or a textbook Roman cacio e pepe, these pastas comfort and thrill with every bite.

    Il Buco Alimentari andamp; Vineria
    53 Great Jones Street

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  • 12/22/12--07:13: Cecilia Chiang
  • Cecilia Chiang-photo
    by Michael Bauer
    At the age of 93, Cecilia Chiang has the energy of a 30-year-old. We dine together often, and on a recent night out, we finished our dinner and a bottle of wine, but it was still early for Cecilia. So we stopped by the Park Tavern in San Francisco, where we sat at the bar and downed champagne and Country Lawyers, bourbon cocktails. With her eyes twinkling more than the jeweled brooch on her blue Mandarin-style jacket, Cecilia surveyed the room and said, "I love crowded bars. They make me feel so alive."

    In San Francisco, Cecilia is food royalty. She has sprinted gracefully into old age after a legendary career that revolutionized the way Americans eat Chinese food. It started in 1959, when as a new immigrant from Shanghai by way of Beijing and Tokyo, she opened the restaurant Mandarin in the city's Russian Hill neighborhood. There she introduced a full-flavored Northern Chinese menu, including then-novelties such as hot-and-sour soup and pot stickers, to a public who had known only a bland, Americanized version of Cantonese. Other dishes, such as Peking duck and delicate shredded abalone with bean sprouts, put forth the idea of Chinese food as an upscale cuisine, as did the restaurant's opulent interior.

    When Mandarin moved to Ghirardelli Square in 1968, it became a bona fide hot spot, its 300 seats packed nightly with luminaries such as Wolfgang Puck, Jackie Onassis, and James Beard. Along with her son, Philip Chiang, Cecilia conceived Mandarette, the forerunner of P.F. Chang's China Bistro, founded by Philip and restaurateur Paul Fleming, today a hugely successful international chain.

    Cecilia's story is so rich she's written two memoirs: The Mandarin Way (Little Brown, 1974), detailing her culinary success, and The Seventh Daughter (Ten Speed Press, 2007), chronicling a privileged Beijing childhood and her 1,000-mile trek across China on foot to flee Japanese occupation. Many contend Cecilia Chiang did for Chinese food what Julia Child did for French. I suspect she's not quite finished yet.

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  • 12/22/12--07:13: Parcel-Post Food Gifts
  • Walnut-Specked Mango Bread-photo
    by Victoria Pesce Elliott
    In summer, my husband, Eric, and I harvest hundreds of pounds of mangos from our Miami yard. We've become my parents. When I was a kid, their trees produced so many mangos that they took up the kitchen table, counters, most of the dining room and patio, and three freezers. We made chutneys, pies, salsas, ice cream, and even wine. But the fruit still piled up. Mom started sneaking them out by way of the U.S. mail. During my years in New York, I waited for the boxes of sweet Hadens, Carries, and Valencia Prides packed in wads of the Miami Herald. These days Eric and I send out our own. Along with the fruit, we pack a loaf of walnut-specked mango bread from a recipe Mom created. Last year I received a card in return that reinforced the beauty of our far-flung gifts. It was from Vishwesh Bhatt, a chef friend from India, who now lives in Oxford, Mississippi. "This is the most amazing present I have ever gotten," his note said. "It tastes like home." What a joy it is to special-deliver such pleasure to my pals.

    See the recipe for Mango Bread »

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  • 12/22/12--07:14: Mile End Smoked Meat
  • Smoked Brisket from Mile End, in Brooklyn, NY-photo As an ex-Quebecer living in New York City, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that a Montreal-style delicatessen would be opening here of all places, the North American mecca for corned beef and pastrami. It takes a lot of chutzpah for a Canadian to introduce, and attempt to convert, devotees of the iconic New York deli sandwich to the comparatively obscure "smoked meat," a Montreal Jewish specialty of brisket that's been smoked, cured, and blanketed in a crunchy rub of salt and spice, then steamed, hand-sliced, and shingled onto mustard-moistened rye. It's a cross between corned beef and pastrami, and, at its best, is better than both.

    The restaurant, Mile End Delicatessen, has been open for three years now. During that time, owners Noah Bernamoff and his wife, Rae, have won over New Yorkers with their classical smoked meat steeped in flavors of black pepper, paprika, mustard seed, and more, which Noah spent months perfecting on the rooftop of his Brooklyn apartment. The deli has been so successful that the Bernamoffs have opened Mile End Sandwich in Manhattan and recently published The Mile End Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2012), which teaches home cooks how to make the smoked meat themselves.

    Mile End Delicatessen
    97A Hoyt Street
    Brooklyn, New York

    Mile End Sandwich
    53 Bond Street
    New York, New York

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  • 12/22/12--07:14: Baleadas
  • Women making roadside baleadas-photo In Honduras, baleadas are thick, wonderful, fresh wheat-flour tortillas folded over refried beans, crema, a sprinkling of funky queso duro, and, if you like, scrambled eggs or shredded chicken, chorizo or grilled beef, pickled vegetables or avocado. Baleadas are sold in markets and restaurants, cooked roadside over open fires, and eaten at all times of day. It's the best type of snack: casual, enjoyable, and endlessly adaptive.

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