Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On 9/11, a recipe for making "new" memories

From Daryl aka Avery:

9/11 will never evoke good memories for most of America. It was a time of tragedy for our country. Now, twelve years later, it serves as a day of reflection. 

My heart goes out to those who suffered and those that lost loved ones. To all the heroes. To all those that heroes left behind.

May we continue to move forward and continue to heal.

Here's a link to the National 9/11 memorial site

 I visited the memorial site, soon after the attack. I will never forget all the letters posted to walls around the devastation. I have experienced much loss in my life, but I have never felt anything so massively poignant as seeing this kind of devastation. I visited the site again, with the reflecting pools in place. It is a truly beautiful and awesome tribute.  

FYI: [from the website] The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

However, on a good note for me and my family, 9/11 is also a day of joyous memories. My son, Jack, and his wife, Rebecca, decided to make a "new" memory on a tragic day. They married on 9/11 four years ago at Walt Disney World in Orlando. They didn't want to spend the rest of their lives thinking horrible things on this date. They live in New York.

With Rebecca in our lives, we are learning new lessons about mixing cultures. She is Cuban. The culture of her food is spectacular! 

Whenever Jack and Rebecca come to visit in Los Angeles, we taste new flavors, most of the recipes passed down from her family.

Most recently, we had a roast pork, beans (frijoles), and rice dinner that was delicious. Jack has always been a cook. A month or so ago, I showed you pictures of him making Easter eggs at the age of 3. His love of cooking started then; it never stopped. He is fearless in the kitchen. At one point when he was 14, he considered becoming a chef. We went to a number of restaurant cooking courses. Fun!  Of course, after those experiences, Jack wanted to become an Iron Chef (instant notoriety). Life intervened; possibly a little reality, too. 
He is now pursuing patent law. Rebecca is pursing a career in preserving film.

I hope you’ll enjoy the meal Jack and Rebecca made for us. It was full of flavor and lots of fun to put together. [I was a sous chef.]

Remember, whatever the trauma in your life, make new memories. Do your best to move beyond. Believe in the future. Change is possible.

2 cups long grain rice
4-5 cups water
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the rice, water, garlic, and olive oil into a saucepan.

Bring to a boil and keep on high until craters form and the water looks to be mostly evaporated. (10-15 minutes)

Cover and turn the heat to the lowest setting for 8-10 minutes.

Serve soon.

Note: Frijoles negros is a signature dish of Cuban cuisine. It's black beans cooked to perfection in a thick aromatic stew.
 We served this over the Cuban rice.



2 1/2 cups black beans, dried
9 cups water
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 bay leaf
3 tablepoons vinegar
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil (to drizzle over beans in final step)


Cover dry beans with water and let stand covered overnight. [You may do a quick soak by bringing beans to boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and rainse. Then soak for an hour.]

Drain and discard water.

Place the cleaned black beans in a large 6-quart saucepan. Add 9 cups of water and olive oil. Adding the oil helps prevent the beans from foaming.

Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours.

Do not add salt yet. Salt can make beans tough.

Whichever method you use, do not drain the water from the cooked beans…yet.

Meanwhile, chop onion. Mash the garlic with salt and peppercorns.

Sauté the onions in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add mashed garlic and sauté another minute.

Add the cooked beans, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, vinegar, and wine to the beans. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. And drain the water off the beans.

Now, take about 1-2 cups of the cooked beans and mash them to make a paste. Add the mashed beans back to the pot.

Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the sugar; then drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the beans. Immediately cover the pot, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Serve over white Cuban rice.

* * * * * * * * *

The first book in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is out!!

You can order the book HERE.

It's set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California and features Jenna Hart, a former advertising exec who returns home to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and café.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out, too! 
Click here to order the book.  

Next up: DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT, coming Feb 2013. Click here to preorder. INHERIT THE WORD, coming March 2013. Click here to preorder.

You can learn more about Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! You can also follow and "like" Avery Aames the same way:  Facebook and Twitter


  1. Wonderful post--thanks Daryl! Loved seeing your family wedding picture and son at work...and the recipes look yummy. I'm a big fan of Cuban food--you are lucky to have such a daughter-in-law!

  2. Beautiful post, Daryl. We are watching the 9/11 coverage now in New York. The families are still in so much pain, even a dozen years later, and we will never forget the ones who died twelve years ago today.

    The delicious recipe you're sharing is a Keeper--and the making of new memories as we move forward is a poignant idea to share. Marc and I send our very best wishes to your son and daughter-in-law.

    ~ Cleo

    1. Cleo, thank you. I wish you and yours peace. Time helps heal but never completely.



  3. Can we have the roast pork recipe, too? It all looks and sounds delicious.

    1. Hi, Libby. I'm afraid if I put it in this post, the post will be way too long. Write me at avery at averyaames dot com and I'll send it to you in an email. :)

      Daryl / Avery

    2. Thanks. It looks delicious. Cuban night, here I come.

  4. I'm such a fan of black beans. My parents had friends who immigrated from Cuba and there was always a pot of black beans on their stove. They ate them every day for their health. I'm eager to try this recipe!

    Thank you for your inspiring thoughts about 911. Such a tragedy. I'm so glad they read the names every year. It brings it all back.


    1. Krista, I agree. It's important that we never forget.


      Daryl / Avery