Name: Marnely Rodriguez
Blog: Cooking with Books
Location: Edgartown, Massachusetts
What is the first meal you ever cooked?
I don’t recall a first meal exactly, but I do recall my first cake. And who can say that cake isn’t a meal all on its own? It was a simple chocolate cake and I remember my mom making the Italian meringue for me to use to cover the cake, so you can imagine the sticky mess!
If you had to blog about one ingredient every day for a year, what would it be?
It would definitely be rice in all its varieties and with a world of possibilities for add-ins, as well as liquids to cook it in. But I’d never make rice pudding, which brings me to the next question…
I will never eat:
Neither rice pudding nor Okra. Ever.
What’s your favorite restaurant and what do you order there?
Since I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, I’d have to say Adrian’s Tropical. Set on the waterfront, this place has the best mofongo (garlic mashed green plantains with pork rinds) and it’s a tradition to eat sancocho, a rich and hearty seven-meat stew, on New Year’s Day morning after the celebrations have ended.
Is there a food you used to hate, but now love?
Berenjena, which is Spanish for “eggplant.” It was always presented to me steamed, which made it a brown, mucky color and odd, soft texture. Now, I’m in love with it! One of my favorite casseroles is composed of layers of roasted eggplant, fried sweet plantains, cheese, and marinara sauce.
What’s your go-to quick and easy dinner?
Orzo. Its shape is comforting already, and quickly tossed with any leftover meats (grilled chicken, ground beef from burgers, etc.) and vegetables available. Topped with butter, it’s such a quick dinner.
Who would you love to have over for dinner?
Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. I fell in love with Amanda’s writing before entering culinary school through her book, Cooking for Mr. Latte. Not having Merrill at that dinner would be like having food52, without the 52!