By Patricia Alvarado Nuñez | Thursday, December 6, 2012
Christina's Spices (Patricia Alvarado Nuñez/WGBH)
From Dubai’s souks and Mexican mercados, to La Boquería in Barcelona and floating markets in Thailand, if you really want to learn about a place and its culture, local markets are the place to roam.
But closer to home international food markets are abundant and offer an opportunity to discover new flavors and cultures. Seeing shelves and freezers stocked with imported, unique food items and labels written in unfamiliar languages can give any visitor walking through the doors a sense of entering a far away land.
One of the most fascinating and adventurous parts of producing Neighborhood Kitchens is scouting neighborhoods before we film them. In addition to meeting interesting locals and getting a taste of their fare, we always pay a visit to ethnic food markets, which range in size from tiny mom and pop storefronts to 25,000 square foot supermarkets. Their goods have travelled the map, coming from Mexico and the Caribbean, or Europe, Africa, Asia and other far reaches of the globe. These markets continue to blossom in Massachusetts neighborhoods, thanks in part to an increasing interest in ethnic cookery, and in large measure to the growth of immigrant populations. Read More
By Patricia Alvarado Nuñez | Monday, November 19, 2012
(Patricia Alvarado Nuñez/WGBH)
In the last decade, the buttery and rich avocado has rocketed to superstardom. That’s no surprise, since research has demonstrated its attributes as a nutrient-dense food,offering arich mix of proteins, minerals and healthy fats.
In Latin America, avocados have always been well regarded. This subtropical fruit has been cultivated for thousands of years in Mexico and Central America. Mexicans, who seldom eat a meal without them, are the main consumers of avocados worldwide, eating an average of 20 pounds per person per year.
More and more we hear about the gluten-free diet, which eliminates a protein naturally found in wheat, rye and barley. For people suffering from Celiac disease, an autoimmune intolerance to gluten, this diet is a must. Others choose to observe a gluten-free diet to improve their overall health.
A few years ago, finding gluten-free products in a store was nearly impossible. These days it is easier to find
gluten-free pasta, bread, pizza and yes, even chocolate chip cookies! Fortunately, more restaurants, cafes and bakeries are also expanding their gluten-free offerings. Even airlines are changing their in-flight menus to offer gluten-free alternatives.
As Neighborhood Kitchens has explored New England and met several great cooks, we have learned that cuisines from all over the world – Mexican, Thai, Indian, Japanese – offer great gluten-free options. Several of the chefs we feature in season 1 of our show have recipes that rely on cornmeal, quinoa, plantains, lentils, tapioca, potatoes, and rice—all gluten-free alternatives—to create delicious dishes. Here are some of our favorites:
For Oleana chef and owner, Ana Sortun, serving up great flavors begins with excellent food. She's a firm believer in the "farm-to-table" practice, growing organic ingredients for Oleana at Siena Farms with her husband, Chris Kurth. Sortun calls the growing interest her customers have in where their food comes from, "an amazing change for good."
Saganaki refers to a number of different Greek dishes prepared in a sagani, a small frying pan. This one is an octopus-based entrée. Read More
About Neighborhood Kitchens
Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.
Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44
About the Author
Patricia Alvarado Nuñez Patricia Alvarado Nuñez is an award-winning producer creating Latino and multicultural programming for WGBH and La Plaza. (She cooks, too!)
On the Go
In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!