#SmoothieNumbers 33: Minty Wtrmln Wtr and Blueberry

Dad always had a knack for influencing my senses. Once a babysitter’s sister smoked cigarettes while we were in a car. I loved the smell. Until I told Dad. Back then, no one knew about the dangers of second-hand smoke, but Dad (a former smoker, in which Mom beat the habit out from him) knew the smell was terrible, which led to his speech about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. It was the ultimate ‘do not smoke’ conversation. The following day, we rode in the back seat of the babysitter’s car. The sitter’s sister pulls out a cigarette to start puffing away. And, all of the sudden, my nose didn’t enjoy her smoke anymore. I rolled down the window. The sitter yelled at me to roll the window up, “…because the air conditioner is on!” In an attempt to filter the smoke from my nose, I used my hand to cover my nose, my head away from her and I buried my face into the car seat. The babysitter’s sister made jokes about my dislike for the smell of cigarettes as she continued to casually puff away. Thankfully, she didn’t light another one.

Read more

Parade Magazine: Watermelon and Shrimp Salad with Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

Watermelon and Shrimp Salad with Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

As we’re at the height of Summer’s juicy bounty, we’re also a few weeks away from the start of a crisp autumn. Continue to savor the taste of summer in a leafy salad tossed with juicy cubes of watermelon, sweet shrimp, and creamy feta cheese with a few crunchy pistachios and celery pieces. While you’re at it, drizzle a lovely Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette to bring out summer’s juicy flavors, because autumn is still weeks away.  Read more

Adriana’s Tamale Party with Watermelon and Queso Fresco Cheese Salad

Adriana’s Tamale Party with Watermelon and Queso Fresco Cheese Salad

My cravings for Mexican food come from Mom’s Southern California background. The flavors and spices of the dishes bring comfort to my heart. Some people might say my love for Mexican food isn’t authentic, because it’s actually “Tex-Mex.” It could be true. After all, I didn’t grow up in predominantly Mexican community, nor is the culture and language part of my ancestral background.

Some time ago, Nicole Taylor of Hot Grease, organized a private dinner honoring Dr. Jessica B. Harris and cookbook author, Bryant Terry. Among the invitees were Adriana Valez, a writer for The Stir and CreoleMag.com. Naturally, the conversation centered around food. Somehow Adriana and I talked about Mexican cuisine and how her family held tamale parties. I eagerly asked her to organize one in Brooklyn, New York. She happily agreed to my request. Read more