Elle Cosimano

Can't Take The Heat?

This is my mother’s kitchen. The woman cooks like nobody’s business, and this is where she creates.

Mom's Kitchen

It’s open. It breathes.

View From Mom's Kitchen

And this is Nana, my mother.

Mom with Croc

She looked at me one day and understood that I needed to breathe, so she made me a room with a writing desk in the jungle. It overlooks the Caribbean Sea. My father swung the hammer and built the walls. And when it was done, my mother took my children and sent me to that room to take my tiger by the tail… or maybe it was a crocodile. All I know is it had sharp teeth, but she made me do it anyway. She didn’t say “You can write a book.” She said “Go write a book,” in that pointed, inarguable way that only a mother can. So I did.

This is where I work when I need to breathe. When I want to create. Where I challenge myself to grapple with things that bite. When I want my children to see the best parts of me.

View From Roof Deck

And this is what I’m making for dinner tonight. It’s really spicy —  it’s got bite. It’s my mother’s creation. It reminds me to breathe.



Escabeche Chicken
An original recipe by Elle’s mom (adapted for ingredients available in the US)

1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs (skin on)
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup peeled carrots, thick sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion (chunky, not fine)
1 seeded fresh jalapeno, sliced thin (optional)
1 small can Escabeche peppers sliced (pickled jalapeno/rajas en escabeche)
1 small jar or can of mushrooms, drained and sliced
1 cup very strong Caldo de Pollo broth (or chicken bouillon, more concentrated than package directions – strong and cloudy!)
1 cup Tamarind Sauce
1 small can pigeon peas, drained (or chick peas — regular canned peas will not work)
4 white potatoes, cut length-wise
1 small head white cabbage, quartered
1 small head red cabbage, quartered

Saute garlic in oil in very large pan. Add chicken thighs to hot oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly brown on each side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add chopped peppers, carrots, onions, and fresh jalapeno to remaining hot oil in pan. Saute until only slightly translucent. Add the drained escabeche slices and simmer together. Do not over-soften.

Boil 1 cup water and add enough chicken bouillon to make a very strong, concentrated cloudy broth (use a bit more than package directions). Mix in 1 cup Tamarind sauce.  Add reserved escabeche liquid, approx 1/4 – 1/2 cup (to taste).

Put chicken, cabbage and potatoes in a VERY large covered baker (I use the deep covered baker from Pampered Chef — about 13 x 9 x 5.5 — and this recipe completely fills it, but any very large covered baker should do.) Pour veggies over top. Sprinkle on peas. Pour broth mix over everything.

Cover and bake for 3 hrs at 350 degrees.  Serve with tissues. You’re gonna need them.




14, 2011 |

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9 Responses to “Can't Take The Heat?”

  1. Brandy says:

    Beautiful post! Obsessed with both the kitchen and writing room, and the recipe looks delicious. Perfect for fall.

  2. Mary says:

    Wow! That sounds delicious.

    But where you go to write…that’s a slice of heaven. Yay for having a place to chase your dreams. And double YAY for your supportive parents.

  3. Carla Marvin says:

    Having support in this crazy business is absolutely mandatory. You are so lucky! I also envy your beautiful work space 🙂

  4. Anji Estrellas says:

    After reading about your mom, I see where her daughter gets her generous heart and fiery spirt. Loved this post. Can’t wait till next year when our crit group has our writer’s retreat there! Adios! xox I have to go try this recipe….

    • Elle says:

      Thanks, Anji. Yeah, I’m pretty fond of her too. Moms are special that way. Good luck with the recipe. And a toast to next year’s retreat.

  5. aunt gen (jenny) says:

    love you and your family for years and so heartwarming to see these pictures! will try this recipe with some warming ingresients deleted 🙂 keep up good work – with the boys too –

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