Long before Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published, people were reading and relishing books on culinary skills and the history of food. After all, food is a universal subject and, while we all have different tastes, we cal all agree that the acts of cooking and eating are something all humans have in common.
The 30th anniversary of the Miami Book Fair International highlighted culinary authors this year, with a stellar lineup of talks and demonstrations. Though there was no shortage of men like Norman Van Aken and former White House chef John Moeller, women dominated the discussions and demonstrations, which were held at the Miami Culinary Institute in downtown Miami.
Mandy Baca, author of The Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine; Deeny Kaplan Lorber, author of Waiting at Joe's; and Ellen Kanner, author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith, and What to Eat for Dinner, hosted a panel that discussed the rich history of food in Miami. Kaplan Lorber shared stories of the wait staff at Joe's Stone Crab (a few are even buried on the premises), and Baca stayed after the talk to provide restaurant tips to fans.
Celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffmann made an easy and healthy version of a classic paella at her cooking demonstration. The chef and author of Latin D' Lite: Delicious Latin Recipes With a Healthy Twist, also shared a few time saving tips for home chefs. Our favorite? Store extra sauces and stocks in ice cube trays in your freezer, then pop them into pots and pans for a punch of flavor (seven cubes equals one cup).
Here's Hoffmann's easy paella recipe, which she likes to serve with a white sangria:
Ingrid Hoffman's Catalan Noodle Paella
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces wholewheat angel hair pasta, broken into quarters
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 2/3 cups storebought seafood broth
1/3 cup dry sherry or dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
1 teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Spanish
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1∕8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded, if necessary
1 pound fresh or frozen thawed calamari, cleaned and cut into half inch rings
1 cup thawed frozen peas
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
Directions: Heat the oil in a large paella pan or skillet with a 12 to 14 inch diameter over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook, turning often with kitchen tongs, until it starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
Push the pasta to one side of the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the
cleared side of the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about
five minutes. Combine the pasta with the vegetables. Stir in the tomatoes
with their juices, broth, sherry, paprika, saffron, and cinnamon and bring to
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a simmer. Add the mussels, calamari, peas, and parsley. Reduce the heat
to medium low and cover.