Friday, July 6, 2012

An Interesting Juxtaposition

"Every Step You Take" by Jock Soto wih Leslie Marshall   Harper Collins   271 pages   $24.99

Soto is a retired (at 40, no less) principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.  He joined the NYC Ballet in 1981, was promoted to soloist in 1984 (he got fat; there aren't that many solos in ballet) and then to principal dancer in 1985.  He retired in 2005.

He is the son of a Puerto Rican father and Native American mother.  He began dancing at age 3 - a Navajo hoop dance, performed with his mother.  By age 14, he was ready for an audition and subsequent scholarship to the School of American Ballet to work with George Ballanchine.

During his career he got interested in cooking.  This book includes recipes for Spicy Guacamole - use 5 to 10 serrano or jalapeno peppers!  I like "hot" but this has got to be torrential!  To make a Bagel and Caviar Treat, toast a sesame bagel, cover it with cream cheese, layer on lox and red onion slices and then top all of this with as much caviar as is possible. 

The typical ballet dancer is terrified of gaining an ounce, so to find a dancer that loves to cook and eat is rare.  His cuisine draws on America, Puerto Rican and Navajo tradition.  Fried chicken next to beef enchiladas with a side of Navajo Fry Bread!

4 cups all-purpose flur
1/2 teas. salt
1 T baking powder
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
4 cups cooking oil

Take a large bowl and combine the dry ingredients.  Add the water slowly, kneading it until it's soft, but not sticky.  Divide the dough into about a dozen 3 in. thick balls, and then flatten the balls into 1/2 in. thick circles.  Get the frying fat shimmering but not smoking and slide the discs into it.  When they're nice and golden, put them on paper towels.

For use as a dessert, sprinkle them with powdered sugar and serve them with honey.  As "regular" bread,  simply give them a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.  

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