Red Hot Chile Peppers and guava pastries
Eye On Real Estate: A brief shopping guide for the Landmarks Preservation Commission's Sunset Park visit
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Unless you’re prepping peppers for soup.
This notion came into our head the other day, after we decided it was time to start cooking like a grownup (a belated New Year’s resolution) and began fixating on Mexican cuisine.
We picked a Mexican recipe off a blog by PBS show host Pati Jinich for creamy Poblano soup, which seemed really appealing. But Dios mío, the things cooks have to do to make Poblano chiles soup-worthy.
As one of the prep steps, they must “sweat” in plastic bags — the chiles, not the cooks. The process is muy complicado for someone with our lack of expertise.
The entertaining part of the whole endeavor was buying soup ingredients — and other goodies — in Sunset Park.
Mexican grocer Guadalupita II at 3901 Fifth Ave. had all the fresh Poblano chiles we could ever need, plus there was an entire wall devoted to packaged dried chiles of myriad sizes.
There were also nifty spices like chile powder laced with lime, fistfuls of cinnamon sticks and oregano with the stems still on it. Cooks who actually know their way around the kitchen must go nuts in there.
We also found a popular brand of hot chocolate tablets, Abuelita (that means “little grandmother” if your Spanish is rusty) and a solid selection of hot sauces.
The city Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to visit Sunset Park later this month. See related story.
When it’s time for the commissioners to take a break from surveying historic homes, food shopping would be a fun diversion.
Commissioners take note: If you stop by Panadería Mi Mexico Pequeño at 4513 Fifth Ave. before 1 p.m., the air will be steamy-warm from the baking being done in the back kitchen.
And the trays upon trays of baked goods are irresistible. A crunchy-crusted, guava-filled pastry we bought there the other day was especially delicioso.
On our shopping trip, we also picked up half a rotisserie chicken to take home from La Brasa Peruana at 4618 Fifth Ave. — in case this whole cooking thing doesn’t go well.
P.S.: If the commissioners decide to sit down for lunch, we can vouch for Tacos Matamoros II at 5717 Fifth Ave., where the chilaquiles rojos are tasty.
Or they might want to try the seco de gallina (chicken stew) at Ecuadoran restaurant Mi Castillo at 4316 Fourth Ave.
Buen provecho, commissioners.
P.P.S.: So. About the soup. We now realize why good chefs are paid well. When Mom told us years ago that if you can read, you can cook, she was being overly optimistic about us.
Let’s just say we won’t be winning any James Beard Foundation Awards in the foreseeable future.
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