TLK editor Marie Elena Martinez and Latina Content Director Dan Koday (right) caught up with red hot chef Ingrid Hoffmann at A Red Hot Night: Presented by Target at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami. For the event, South Beach tapped into its Cuban roots for a 1950s Havana-inspired theme party. Hoffmann was on hand to serve up some of her favorite dishes, talk about her Simply Delicioso line of cookware at Target, and chat about her upcoming new book, Latin D'Lite. Here's the skinny:
TLK: Talk to us a little bit about your affiliation with Target. It’s not just the cookware, right?
IH: No! To me, the fun with Target that it’s a one-stop shop. You shop for all your food, and then you can get dressed and look like this (motions to her outfit)! What’s better than that? There’s just something about Target. They know how to do things better, they really do. They’re a great company to work with, so it’s really exciting.
TLK: Tell us a little bit about your new cookbook.
IH: Latin D'Lite is a book about eating healthy. Not dieting -- but making things healthier. So the basic concept is that you eat from the ground, and that means no processed foods. I don’t believe in diets because every diet I’ve ever tried, I’ve broken. So, it’s all about a change of lifestyle. Cooking from scratch does not have to be a complicated thing. You need a pressure cooker, and you can whip up anything in minutes.
TLK: Pressure cookers seem to be making a huge comeback. You have a line with T-Fal that includes a pressure cooker, right?
IH: Yes! My pressure cooker is the most beautiful pressure cooker, she's got red handles, and she’s hot. I call her Betty. Using a pressure cooker is a way of eating clean and quick, and it’s a way of saving money.
TLK: You live here in Miami. Tell us about a few hidden gems in Miami that you love. Where do you go on a night off?
IH: I like going for lunch at a small spot that nobody knows about it. It’s called Thea. It’s in historic Overtown, great food. I like going to Salmon Salmon. I love Michael’s Genuine; Sunday brunch at Michael’s is like being home. And I like going to the Everglades for picnics. I like doing Miami in a way that tourists don’t do it.
TLK: Tonight is a "red hot" night. What’s your red hot ingredient for 2013?
IH: Always avocado, always cilantro, aji amarillo, and quinoa.
TLK: 2013 is the Year of the Quinoa. Do you use it a lot in your cooking?
IH: I’ve been using it my entire lifetime because my grandfather is from Bolivia. As kids we would be given a quinoa breakfast drink every day, so I’ve grown up with quinoa and I love using it.
TLK: What are your five favorite pantry ingredients that every home cook should keep in house?
IH: If you have quinoa, beans, chipotle, olives, sardines, and anchovies, you can whip up a meal in seconds. I like using anchovies as a flavor. People always say “Oh, I hate anchovies!” but they add a layer of flavor that you can’t taste.
TLK: If you could have a restaurant in any city in the world besides Miami, where would it be?
IH: On a farm somewhere. It would only have five tables, and it would only serve on the days that I woke up and felt like serving!
TLK: Our kind of girl....