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Zafa! Turkey Empanadas Served with Mango Tomato Salsa over Brown Rice and Black Beans

(post, Sanura Weathers)


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Black, rounded, sans-serif characters spell out the title, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. A medium image of a single, red splattered drip in the shape of a bird’s wing protruding out of a young boy’s profile is easy to recognize because of the book’s popularity. A few years ago, every reader on the subway train was engulfed in this Pulitzer Prize book by Junot Diaz. The novel is about a Dominican family’s immigration experience via generations. An intriguing story, it has the adult cartoons, bad boyfriends, childhood memories, teenage love stories, lecherous dictators, college drama, the Dominican Republic’s 20th century history and a nerd boy descended from a curse many times evil because of the sincere actions of his grandfather. A friend, Danny Rodriguez, wrote a serious book review on his blog, The Cultural Critic Who Carries a Kampilan….

Except for Hija, who owns a bakery, and her granddaughter, Belicia Cabral, who decides to quit school to work in an Asian restaurant, there is seldom a food reference in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The novel has left an affectionate impression to create a Dominican dish. When creating a menu, Empanadas and Moro de Habichuelas (rice and beans) are the initial recipes that come to mind. Then a favorite grocery store had Champagne Mangoes on sale for one dollar each that would taste good in a salsa. The rice and bean recipe would use brown rice instead of the traditional white rice. A Chilean Carmenère wine, recommended by Anu Karwa, of SwirlSavvy, would complement dinner well. After dinner, while drinking another glass of wine, the book would reopen to the last page read about the happiness and woes of another character in Oscar’s life. Zafa.

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