X

Sara’s Weeknight Meals: Season 2

Episode 219: Latin All Stars Maricel Presilla

latin_all_stars-280x186Years ago, when I needed to source Latin ingredients for a project I was working on for Gourmet Magazine, I reached out to Maricel via a friend and she took me on an extensive tour of all her favorite stores in her neighborhood in New Jersey. It was an extremely successful trip (I still remember the corn nut snack that we ate at a little Cuban restaurant she took us to) and I was blown away by Maricel’s exhaustive knowledge of all things in the Latin culinary department. I knew she was a terrific cook too because all of her restaurants in New Jersey keep getting rave reviews. The only problem I had with her as a guest on the show was narrowing down all the zillions of topics she was able to discuss. She is a fascinating woman!

Where does the show air in your neck of the woods?
Click here to find out!

TV Listing

About Maricel Precilla

Maricel Presilla is a culinary historian specializing in the foods of Latin America and Spain. She holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University and has received formal training in cultural anthropology.

Dr. Presilla has done considerable research on Latin American agriculture – with special emphasis on tropical crops, cacao and vanilla agriculture, and chocolate production. She is the president of Gran Cacao Company, a Latin American food research and marketing company that specializes in the sale of premium cacao beans from Latin America. Her latest book is The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Chocolate with Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2001). She has completed a comprehensive Latin American cookbook for W.W. Norton and has contributed articles for Saveur, Food & Wine, Food Arts, and Gourmet.

She writes a weekly food column for the Miami Herald and is as comfortable sailing down the Orinoco to collect recipes in the field as she is cooking at Zafra and Cucharamama, her pan-Latin restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey. Last year she opened Ultramarinos, a Latin American store and cooking atelier, also in Hoboken, NJ, where she sells Latin ingredients, prepared foods, premium chocolates and Blue Cacao, her own line of truffles with Latin flavors.

CIAProChef.com
The Culinary Institute of America
Years ago, when I needed to source Latin ingredients for a project I was working on fo Gourmet Magazine, I reached out to Maricel via a friend and she took me on an extensive tour of all her favorite stores in her neighborhood in New Jersey. It was an extremely successful trip (I still remember the corn nut snack that we ate at a little Cuban restaurant she took us to) and I was blown away by Maricel’s exhaustive knowledge of all things in the Latin culinary department. I knew she was a terrific cook too because all of her restaurants in New Jersey keep getting rave reviews. The only problem I had with her as a guest on the show was narrowing down all the zillions of topics she was able to discuss. She is a fascinating woman!

Recipes

Zucchini in Cuban Style Cherry Tomato Sofrito

Cuban Okra and Chicken Stew with Green Plantain Dumplings

About Maricel
Maricel Presilla is a culinary historian specializing in the foods of Latin America and Spain. She holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University and has received formal training in cultural anthropology.

Dr. Presilla has done considerable research on Latin American agriculture – with special emphasis on tropical crops, cacao and vanilla agriculture, and chocolate production. She is the president of Gran Cacao Company, a Latin American food research and marketing company that specializes in the sale of premium cacao beans from Latin America. Her latest book is The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Chocolate with Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2001). She has completed a comprehensive Latin American cookbook for W.W. Norton and has contributed articles for Saveur, Food & Wine, Food Arts, and Gourmet.

She writes a weekly food column for the Miami Herald and is as comfortable sailing down the Orinoco to collect recipes in the field as she is cooking at Zafra and Cucharamama, her pan-Latin restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey. Last year she opened Ultramarinos, a Latin American store and cooking atelier, also in Hoboken, NJ, where she sells Latin ingredients, prepared foods, premium chocolates and Blue Cacao, her own line of truffles with Latin flavors.

CIAProChef.com
The Culinary Institute of America
A Doctor in the Kitchen
“People go to the gym. I used to go to the kitchen,” says Maricel Presilla, author, historian, chef-restaurateur and general ambassador of all cuisines and cultures Latin. She couldn’t stay away from food and cooking while she was Dr. Presilla, teaching medieval history at New York and Rutgers universities.

She initially went for the physical workout that a restaurant kitchen could give her; eventually the kitchen magnet tugged at her wholly. Soon, she gave up academics and opened Zafra, a pan-Latin restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Her inquiring academic mind and methods didn’t stop however, so Maricel looked into the culinary history of Latin America and Spain. She began to research and write in the area of food. The scholarturned-chef began to do what she thought she had left behind. “Little did I think I would be writing again,” she said.

The muscle-work she sought in kitchens has morphed into the muscle to research food sources, especially the cacao bean and vanilla. She also heads Gran Cacao, a Latin American food marketing company specializing in chocolate research and marketing, and heirloom cocoa bean trade.

Among her books:

  • The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2001)
  • Three illustrated books that explore the indigenous cultures and cuisines of Latin America: 1) Feliz Nochebuena, Feliz Navidad: Christmas Feasts of the Hispanic Caribbean, 2) Life Around the Lake and 3) Mola: Cuna Life, Stories, And Art (Holt, 1995, 1996 and 1996, respectively).

Sponsors

At Subaru we build vehicles like the versatile Outback, with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive standard and plenty of cargo room, letting you fit more into your week and get the most out of every day. Because some of the most adventurous days fall in between the weekends.

Acacia is a small winery, open by appointment only, located in the heart of the Carneros district of Napa. Founded in 1979, Acacia was one of the first wineries in the area to establish a reputation for vineyard-designated Pinot Noir. The winemaking staff is dedicated to its singular focus on Burgundian-style varietals. Acacia has taken advantage of its years of experience in determining the best vineyard stock suited to its unique soil conditions and exposure both to the sun and winds from nearby San Pablo Bay. Winemaker Matthew Glynn’s Pinot Noir style combines traditional and modern techniques to achieve ideal balance, complexity and flavor. The hand crafted artisan wine style of Acacia produces food friendly wines perfect for today’s farm-to-table food trend.

King Arthur Flour, founded in 1790, is the oldest flour company in the United States. Since its beginning, all-natural King Arthur Flour has been a staple in the kitchens of home and professional bakers across America, known for its purity and consistent performance in all kinds of baked goods. The 100% employee-owned company is the nation’s premier baking resource– with the finest flours still at the core of its business; and the best recipes, mixes, tools, and educational programs to help people make the most of their baking. The kingarthurflour.com website has over 2,000 tested recipes.

SodaStream turns water into soda in seconds! Imagine no more lugging heavy cases of bottles and cans from the store, or finding a place to store them in your kitchen or pantry. SodaStream is earth-friendly, too. The typical American family can save over 2000 bottles and cans each year by switching to SodaStream. Create your own delicious carbonated concoctions, or use SodaStream’s concentrated sodamix flavors. With over 50 great-tasting flavors to choose from — including regular, diet, cocktail mixers, energy drink and all-natural options (all made without high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame) there truly is a flavor for everyone.

Instagram Feed

Subscribe

Stay tuned for exclusive recipes, tips and announcements.

Connect

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn G+