Latin cuisine is so diverse that sometimes there are dishes even she doesn’t know. On her previous visit an ICE student made her Dulce de Yuca, a baked pudding made with yuca and coconut milk. She had never heard of it before but loved it so much that she included the student’s recipe in her new book, Daisy: Morning, Noon & Night.
“I love collecting and sharing recipes and food,” she said, “That’s why I love teaching and giving demos— the opportunity to cook and taste together with a group of people.” Martinez said, “My grandmother always said, ‘If all you give your guests is conversation, they are going to talk about you when they leave.’” Martinez was born in Brooklyn to Puerto Rican parents, so her knowledge and love of Latin food began in her childhood.
For the book, her inspiration came from the family vacations she took with her husband and four children around Latin America. While traveling, she ate as many different dishes as she could and wanted to share recipes for all the foods she tried. During the demo she made Causa Limena, a traditional Peruvian dish made of a spicy tuna salad rolled in mashed potatoes flavored with aji amarillo. She included her technique for making aji amarillo, a unique Southern American chile paste but joked that, “On the internet you can find a husband, so I’m sure you can get aji amarillo.”
She also made a shrimp ceviche so spicy that it makes your nose run. She calls it Ceviche Xni Pec, which translates from the Mayan to mean dog’s nose. “It instantly takes me back to the restaurant in Mexico that was so close to the ocean that you could just walk out the back onto the beach,” she said. For the audience tasting it in the demo kitchen, it was so fresh and delicious that you could almost smell the salty sea air.