Monday, September 05, 2005

Poetic Cookery: Dos Gardenias

Dos Gardenias, a song about passion, about love, and a premonition for betrayal all in one. This is a Cuban bolero song, which is a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is frequently arranged with Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually implemented with Conga or Bongos. written by Isolina Carrilo in 1930 and since then an essential part of every bolero singer's repertoire. It was sung by the late Ibrahim Ferrer in the famous tear-catching stage scene with Omara Portuondo as part of the Buena Vista Social Club recording.

Dos Gardenias para tí
Con ellas quiero decir:
Te quiero, te adoro, mi vida
Ponle toda tu atención
Porque son tu corazón y el mío.

Dos gardenias para tí
Que tendrán todo el calor de un beso
De esos besos que te dí
Y que jamás encontrarás
En el calor de otro querer.
A tu lado vivirán y se hablarán

Como cuando estás conmigo
Y hasta creerás que te dirán:
Te quiero.
Pero si un atardecer
Las gardenias de mi amor se mueren
Es porque han adivinado
Que tu amor me ha traicionado
Porque existe otro querer.

English Translation
Two Gardenias for you
With these I mean to say:
I love you, I adore you, my life
Look after them because
They are your heart and mine.

Two Gardenias for you
With all the warmth of a kiss
Like those I gave to you
Kisses that you will never know
In the embrace of another.

They will live beside you
And talk to you as I do
And you will even believe that you hear them say:
I love you.
But if one late evening
The Gardenias should die
It´s because they know
That you have betrayed me
And that you love another.

It is such a powerful poem sung by a powerful singer with a powerful voice and powerful music. It is the essence of bolero. It has been sung since the 30's, but Ibrahim Ferrer gave true depth and meaning to it. I think that creating a meal for such music is a bit challenging. Should it be Cuban ? or should it be a deconstruction of the Cuban cuisine and then reconstructed to match the emotional output of the song. Cuban cuisine interestingly, has been influenced by Spanish, French, African, Arabic, Chinese, and Portuguese cultures. However, it is a cuisine that is developed by peasants, so most of the food is slow cooked over a low flame with very simple ingredients. It is this purity that reflects the Cuban culture. For me to reconstruct the cuisine, I must be careful not to destroy such purity, but rather show the cuisine in its other face. Imust use the same cookig method and ingredients, but reconstruct it into many different dishes. So here is what I came up with.

Starter: Pastelitos (small flaky turnovers) filled with black beans, yuca, cumin and cheese served with a dip of Guava-Mojo ( which includes hot olive oil, lemon juice, sliced raw onions, garlic, cumin)

Main: Fritas (Cuban style burger) made with ground beef patty mixed with garlic and black beans, topped with lettuce, tomato, matchstick potato fries and sofrito (consists of onion, green pepper, garlic, oregano, and ground pepper quick-fried in olive oil.) served witha side of fried plantain chips with garlic sauce.

Dessert: Cafe con Leche Flan (Coffee with milk creme caramel)


Blogger ray said...

how do u make the matchstick potatoes ? don't they like stick together during frying ?

9/06/2005 02:36:00 AM  
Blogger ray said...

i forgot to mention some thing :P

after reading your "pasta" post i went streight to the kitchen and cooked some for myself :)

and i took some pictures too, it was a hit :)

9/06/2005 02:40:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Ray: I am glad that my recipe turned out well, because I was worried that I didn't write it well. I wrote it a day after I cooked it.

As for the matchstick potatoes, you need to soak it in cold water first, to release the excess starch. Then fry it in small batches, it should cook quickly, so you can move a large amount to the table in a snap.

9/06/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Mama Fusla said...

You're missing Mojito!

3 fresh mint sprigs
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 oz light rum
club soda

In a tall thin glass, crush part of the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir thoroughly. Top with ice. Add rum and mix. Top off with *chilled* club soda (or seltzer). Add a lemon slice and the remaining mint, and serve.

wv: blaqsm

9/06/2005 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Mama LOL!! How come everyone is skipping the whole post and head straight to the recipes? hehe should I just be writing recipes and skip all the bull?

9/06/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Ammie said...

What's yuca?


9/06/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Rimyoleta said...

How do u know all this!?..and ur not Fat!!!..;)..again (i love ur BLOG:D)...

9/06/2005 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger ray said...

hey equalizer

i didn't do the exact recipe :), but they liked it any ways :P

one more thing, i went to sultan centre yesterday and found liquid marshmallow ?<-- isn't that what u were looking for ?

it's called jet puffed marshmallow creme

they only have like 5 peices left

9/06/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Amie yuca is some kind of starchy root, similar to potato. Are you attempting to do any of that? :p

Rimyoleta: I love food, its a joy of life! and no I'm not fat hehe, but I used to be extremely skinny hehe

Ray: well thats nice. Thanks for the tip :)

9/07/2005 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger kuwaitigirl said...

please don't skip anything...the song is truly beautiful...i'm craving the love and the food at the same time..

9/07/2005 01:34:00 AM  
Blogger Salted-Caramel said...

I want a Gardenia. :/

9/07/2005 01:52:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Kuwaitigirl: Youre back! you got me worried there. I won't skip anything for you :) I'll even cook :p

Salty: I will give you 2 Gardenias made from white chocolate :D Will never die unless you eat it hehe

9/07/2005 02:00:00 AM  
Blogger Jewaira said...

Such a pleaure to read your posts. Indeed the whole experience of passion, music and food should be inseparable. Great job :)

9/07/2005 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Peach said...

hey! drop that cooking pot of urs cooker boy and let's just dance, after all that's what music is for ;) Come on now, don't be shy ;p

9/07/2005 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Jewaira: Music, Art, Food, Design, Writing. What do they share in common? PASSION. The passion is always there, you just need experience to be able to express that passion properly. Without passion not matter how many years of experience, you will not be able to present anything that is meaningful.If you have passion for anything, show it or it will die. I can see that you have beautiful writing too :)

Peaches: I am always ready for dancing baby! ;)

9/07/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ammie said...

That one looked a little difficult for me!!

I'd be interested to know what recipe you would come up for Bohemian Rhapsody :D

9/07/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Amie: Is this a challenge? heheh and was difficult? The items I created? Well you need patience for that hehe.

9/07/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mama Fusla said...

I agree with Jewaira, definetly inseprable!

turn the hear on and bring the feast onnn!
btw, the dinna was fab!

This is what I made!
Starter: Spicy Marinated Calamari Salad and Sauteed capsicums.
-Main Course: Oven Grilled Hamoor in Cream of Tarragon Sauce with a Side of Dill Mashed Potato balls infused with blue cheese.
-Desert: Plump strawberries dipped in melted Swiss Milk Chocolate and dusted with icing sugar.
Note: Port Wine is a must for dessert!

9/07/2005 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger samanthaq8 said...

i loved this post;)

9/07/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Mama hehe you know you should have regular contributions to this post :p
And a sommelier too :p

Sam: I'm glad you loved it :)

9/07/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mia said...

I love this blog! It is so unique!
Dos Gardenias is one of my favorite boleros. Although I prefer the Daniel Santos version but only b/c it's the one I grew up with although Gallego did a beautiful job with it too.

I'm not a big fan of beef so for those who feel the same may I suggest Chicharro De Pollo w/ a twist of lemon... Ay y tambien arroz con dulce as as a 2nd choice in the dessert department.

Amie: Yuca is the Taino (my ancestors) name for Cassava. It's great with a little garlic mojito and onions. Some codfish too!

9/07/2005 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Salted-Caramel said...

So sweet of you! :* So does that mean if I don't eat them you will live forever?

9/08/2005 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger Brava Valentia said...

interesting ,,, if u'd compare him to an arabic poet or arabic poem,, or maybe arabic song ,, which one do u think is as powerful as this ?

i love comparison !

9/08/2005 01:50:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Mia: Wow, thanks for enlightening us with such valuable info :) I am just beggining to explore, and the first exploration never does justice.

Salty: No, but the love does :)

Mother Courage: There are plenty of powerful arabic poems, and I will love to get into that. However making a comparison is dangerous at times. A poem like food has different tastes to different people :)

9/09/2005 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Not_Without_My_Heels said...

Ok, this has nothing to do with this post but it has a lot to do with FOOD!

Well, now that that's out of the way .. where do I sign up ? :)

(The thing is I vowed that I'm going to start eating healthy tomorrow and exercising and you know the works, but if there's something exceptional brewing count me in!)

9/10/2005 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

not without my heels: The fettucine verde post was actually for a food tasting session. I don't have a specific schedule, so everyone involved is on-call LOL. But you are welcome, anytime, you know how to reach me :)

9/10/2005 12:28:00 AM  

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