I collect cookbooks the way some people collect baseball cards or Hummel figurines. There’s no way I will be able to cook my way through every single recipe in these books in 10 lifetimes, let alone my singular one, but collect these books I continue to do.
Many years ago, a neighbor of my in-laws passed away. His late wife, who had passed before him, had also shared my compulsion for cookbooks, acquiring a mass collection that I was fortunate to go through and claim a few golden gems for myself. Among them were several authored or edited books by legendary New York Times food critic, Craig Claiborne. Many of the Claiborne-penned books in the collection were from the mid-seventies, and reflect a more decadent and Eurocentric aesthetic.
Over the years, I have drawn from these and other cookbooks in my collection to challenge my taste buds and cooking techniques. I recently pulled Craig Claiborne′s The New York Times Cookbook (Claiborne′s influence was such that his name could appear above that of The New York Times) down from my bookcase and found a recipe for bourekakia — Greek-styled cheese puffs. Having made these in the past, I knew how challenging and delicious these little savory treats can be. Then it dawned on me — what if I put my own Latina-spin on this recipe, substituting queso fresco (a Mexican cheese that translates into ‘fresh cheese’) for the Feta and adding a little guava paste in the filling to make it a little sweet.
How would this adaptation work?