Friday, October 9, 2015

Somos Fuertes with Milk #HerenciaLeche

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with MilkPEP and Dime Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

All of us have memories we turn to when we need a little extra comfort or are feeling a bit ñoños. These memories may include a place, some people, a scent or a special taste. For me, nothing takes me back to my childhood and those days when I needed my mother's extra attention and TLC, than a nice, hot bowl of Crema De Malanga.

A Crema de Malanga in our Cuban household meant different things. It could mean our tummy wasn't feeling well, or that we were in the mood for a homey meal that brought out those feel good vibes. A day that hadn't turned out to be the best could be made much brighter with a creamy bowl of the creamy dish, while a family evening at home watching T.V. was taken to the next level with some picadillo and a Cremita de Malanga.

Now, my mom had her own way of preparing her signature dish. She added a special ingredient that wasn't always included in the usual recipe. To her, what made the whole experience come together was the milk.  While many recipes for Crema de Malanga didn't include milk, my mom was (and continues to be) a firm believer that we had to start our day with milk, and end it the same way. So of course, we had cafe con leche y pan con mantequilla in the mornings before dashing off to school, and a piping hot Crema de Malanga with dinner.

Well you know how traditions continue for generations, and the same holds true for my family. My teenager daughter, whom my mother babysat for me since she was three months old, grew up eating Crema de Malanga. "La niña needs proteina to grow strong, asi que tiene que tomar bastante leche", my mom always said. Thus, she made sure my daughter had a bowl of cereal and milk every morning, and always added a touch of healthy, creamy deliciousness to her purés by pouring in a dash of milk.

Milk Life has kicked off a campaign for Hispanic Heritage Month to spread the word about the well known health benefits of milk.  From reminding us that an 8oz glass of milk contains nine essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high quality protein, B vitamin for energy, protein for lean muscle, and bone-building nutrients, to sharing decades of research showing the many benefits drinking milk has on health and development, MilkPEP wants to ensure Latinos understand the importance of incorporating milk into their diet. It not only adds high quality protein to our meals, but it packs them with flavor.

And here's something that makes it even sweeter. Giorgio Rapicavoli, Miami's beloved chef, and owner of popular Coral Gables restaurant Eating House has joined forces with the Siempre Leche campaign as their ambassador, and is sharing his original recipes on their site. In them, he shows fans how he incorporates milk into his dishes to give them a tasty twist that is actually good for us. Rapicavoli is well known for his fusion cuisine and for the natural talent he has at combining unlikely ingredients to create something outstanding. A quick look at Rapicavoli's win during The Food Network's television show Chopped, back in 2012 leaves no doubt that he is a star in the kitchen. Check him out in this video, where he shows us how he prepares an Arroz Con Cafe Con Leche Con Crema Montada de Chocolate, that blends historical Latin staples into one unforgettable dessert. I want one right now...

In celebration of this important time for Hispanics, I also wanted to share a little bit of my childhood with you, and give you my mother's recipe for Creme de Malanga.  I hope it will bring your family the same traditions and comforting memories it has brought to mine. But you don't have to stop there. There are so many ways to include milk in our meals, that we can enjoy it everyday without even thinking about it. I bet you have your own amazing recipes that incorporate the goodness of milk. You can share some pictures of your favorite Latino milk dishes and have the opportunity to win great prizes at the same time. Just join DiMe Media and milk life for the "Somos Fuertes" #HerenciaLeche Photo Challenge. Get the details at DiMe Media.

For more information on the benefits of drinking milk, and to find a wealth of information on easy, tasty recipes you can try at home, visit their website at


2 large malanga, peeled and cut crosswise into 1 inch-thick slices
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tbsp butter
1 cup of milk
salt to taste


Add a pinch of salt to a pot of water and place the malanga inside. In high heat, bring the water to a boil. Once it begins to boil, add the garlic and bring the temperature setting down to medium.  Continue to cook the malanga until it is soft. Drain the water out and place the malanga in a blender. Heat the milk and add to the malanga inside the blender, along with the butter and the olive oil. Puree it until the consistency is creamy. The more milk you add the creamier it will be, so feel free to adjust the amount to your preference. Serve and enjoy your Crema de Malanga…

And just because we love Twitter Parties...
Join @SiempreLeche and @DiMeMedia for #HerenciaLeche Twitter Party on Tuesday, October 13 to share favorite Latino milk recipes and win a year’s supply of milk! Que rico! RSVP here.

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