Mo Rocca Cooking with Grandmothers

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mo Rocca in the WNYC Studios

Mo Rocca, comedian and "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent, talks about the second season of his Cooking Channel show “My Grandmother's Ravioli” and what he's learning in and out of kitchens from grandmothers and grandfathers.


Mo Rocca

Comments [2]

My grandmother, Lina Maria Astacio, is dead, buried in Queens, St. Michael's
Cemetary, along with my mother Gloria Maria Astacio.

Making pasteles, around Xmas time and New Years, was a big production.

My grandmother would have me remove the skins from the green bananas.

She would tell me stories,
she made up about El Ratoncito de San Juan,
and all of his misdeeds and triumphs.

My grandmother made something called sofrito.
Using a bunch of recao=cilantro
An entire bulb of garlic.
About 20 ajies - small peppers
1 onion
About 5 Green Peppers, she never used the colored peppers.

She would blend that together.
With a mortar and pestle, which she called a pilon,
the entire bulb of garlic was grounded, to that she
added oregano.

She would use white and yellow yautia.
Bunches of green bananas, they always had to be the darkest green.
She along with my mother, aunts, would use a grater to
grate all that into a mass.

My grandmother would buy a pork shoulder=pernil.

Cut that up into tiny bits.

After she was done, she would add the sofrito to that meat,
along with olives, capers.

She would cook the meat and then use a leaf of a sheet of white
pasteles paper, spread out the mass and add a dollop of the meat
in the middle, fold the whole thing up and boil them.

There would be about 500 pasteles made at a time.

It was a lot of work.

But my grandmother loved me very much, she was my most fiercest defender.

I still miss her and all those cooking times with her.

Sep. 27 2013 03:10 PM
Lois Fenton

During today's show with Mo Rocca, it was mentioned that someone was trying to find a recipe for Honey Cake. My grandmother was famous for her honey cake,and my mother wanted to learn to make it. Of course, my grandmother baked by feel and instinct and did not have an exact recipe. But my father was a math teacher and he devised a sure-fire method to get the exact recipe. He asked my grandmother to tell him WHICH ingredients she used, not how MUCH of each. Then, he measured out rather large quantities of each ingredient and allowed my grandmother to bake the cake just as she always did. When she was through, they measured how much was left of all the ingredients, subtracted those amounts from the starting amounts and came up with an exact recipe that works every time.

Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Honey Cake (Grandma Sarah Sugerman’s)

4 eggs }
2 cups sugar } Beat, then add to
1 orange (juice and grated rind)
1 cup coffee (cold)
1 cup honey
1 Tbsp.cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 hand full raisins
½ cup chopped nuts
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp.melted Spry (or Crisco)
1 tsp. vanilla
??? flour Use about 3 ½ to 4 ½ cups of flour. After adding 3 ½ cups, if you can take a spatula and, when you stir the side of the bowl, see if you can just see the bowl. If not add more flour.
Grease 9” x 13” pan and bake in a 350 degree oven about 30 to 45 minutes (just until a tester toothpick comes out dry).

My guess is that 1 Tablespoon of canola or other cooking oil could be substituted for the Spry that she used.)

Sep. 27 2013 02:37 PM

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