O, how I do miss Merida English Library! (It’s “open” for curbside borrowing during pandemic.) I’m so grateful to the staff and volunteers for all they’re doing to keep the lights on. And the book, seen above, is one of these projects. This mini review will not be about the recipes — but rather, mostly just a shout-out for you to buy your copy : $500 pesos. (I bought mine at Slow Food : Saturdays @ Reforma near Colon, 9am – 1pm). But I can’t resist offering a few observations on the book’s production, as I have a degree in graphic design, and have published two books.
First, some matters of practicality: slick, clay-based papers are expensive and don’t do well in kitchens, due to greasy fingers, etc. (Mostly, such papers are chosen for better reproduction of photos, of which there are none inside the book.) Second, grey type – especially in a light font –is ok for ads, but not well suited for busy activities such as cooking : Readability! — especially for older eyes. Third, as there are 200 recipes, it would have been good to provide page numbers in the index next to the names of the cooking-contributors. (I looked and looked for my recipe, a hearty soup or stew, which we always serve as a main dish; I finally found it under Side Dishes.)
But these are all minor details. The main thing is to keep MEL’s doors open, which the cookbook group has surely aided. But now its up to us to do our part by promoting and buying the book. It’s you’re move, dear Reader.
Below I’ve included the recipe which I contributed (p.133) — for Beans and Greens aka “Pasta Fazool” from Buffalo’s west side — with a few minor corrections (eg: in the book, for ingredients I listed six large cloves of garlic, whereas in the recipe, itself, I call for 6 teeth, which is correct. Plus a few other details, such as using only one liter of stock, for a thicker dish.)
1 large tub of baby spinach (or other mixed greens such as kale, escarole, arugala, etc)
Garlic — at least six large teeth.
Olive oil, to cover bottom of wok or kettle generously.
200g of tiny pasta elbows (here sized as #2)
Some spicy salsa (Costeña taquera, habanero, etc) or your favorite fried chili peppers, to taste
Large white onion, or leek, or other such allium.
Some dry sherry or brandy, if available.
In wok or large kettle, add enough olive oil to cover bottom.
When well wilted, add the pasta elbows and hot stock to the wok.
Add salsa to wok, to taste, but don’t over do it.
Add optional splash of brandy or dry sherry.
Provide additional oil & vinegars and salsa, at table.
(Makes about six generous servings.)