Syracuse, NY, US
Feast of the fishes is a tradition that I first tried when visiting my husband's Italian-American Aunt on Christmas Eve. It wasn't the fancy seven fish kind, but the hugely warm and comforting calamari in red sauce kind, a fish I had never even tried until I met my husband. Sometimes there would be other kinds of fish, but mostly there was lots and lots of homemade pasta.
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November is Brussels sprouts season in New York. I especially love the ones sold on the stalk. For this recipe’s illustration, I sketched the entire stalk on paper. Using watercolors, lights and darks were painted first, then middle tones, finishing with shadows and highlights. The piece didn’t look right. It seemed too small for the paper. On a second attempt I zoomed into one section. The leaves and buds began to intrigue me. They looked like faces, crescent moons and layers of abstract shapes. When the painting was finished, it felt as if I had captured the sprouts' spirit.
This recipe was developed in a nunnery in Puebla, Mexico, to celebrate the country's independence from Spain. It has the colors of the National Flag, green from the chiles, white from the walnut sauce, and red from pomegranate seeds sprinkled as garnish over the chile. The recipe has 35 ingredients but it is not very time consuming, once all the peeling and cleaning is done. It is served in the month of September, the month of independence celebrations, when Poblano chiles are at their best.
This is the typical fruit punch served throughout Mexico in wintertime. It has lots of vitamin C from hibiscus, guava, orange peel, and tamarind. Other fruits, such as pear, apple and "tejocote" (Mexican hawthorn) add to the flavor. The sweet taste in the punch comes from raw sugar ("piloncillo"). It is served hot and laced with brandy. Salud !!
By far my favorite Hot Chocolate yet! My favorite part of Christmas as a child was waiting for everyone to go to bed so I could steal a cookie for myself. My cookies are now gluten free with a mug of hot chocolate. Yum!