Author of books including Daisy:
Morning, Noon, and Night
Host of TV series Daisy Cooks! on PBS and Viva Daisy! on the Food Network
Featured on The Today Show, The Early Show, The Washington Post, Reader's Digest, and AARP VIVA
Worked as a prep-kitchen chef for Lidia's Italian-American
Graduated from the French Culinary Institute
Married with four children
Holiday Cooking with Daisy Martinez
The 700 Club
Appeared on December 14, 2010
TV chef Daisy Martinez says, “The holidays are truly the most wonderful time of year to share with friends and family.” She believes that the holidays are about creating memories with the people you love. Over the years, she’s learned how to make the holidays unforgettable and with not a lot of fuss, so she could enjoy them.
Daisy developed her Latin recipes and effortless entertaining by cooking with her Puerto Rican mother and grandmother. They cooked for their large family gatherings. At a young age Daisy began learning the art of making tasty Latin food and creating lasting holiday memories for family and friends.
When her children were younger, she mastered the art of preparing menus with “do-ahead” dishes and was able to have large parties at her home. Daisy loves “entertaining en masse” during the holidays and she has become quite skillful at it. She is usually cooking for a minimum of 50 people and makes extra. Daisy loves to cook traditional and modern Puerto Rican, Mexican, Spanish, Peruvian, Chilean, Venezuelan, Caribbean, Mediterranean and she has a lot of great tips to share.
She believes in saving time and minimal stress. “Whether you’re cooking for 6 or 600, the secret to a successful party is organization, organization, organization,” Daisy says. Plan ahead and do what you can ahead of time. Daisy usually plans a month ahead and makes a to-do calendar for herself. She learned this from her grandmother who would start Christmas preparations after Thanksgiving was over.
With some freezer-safe containers and plastic bags, you can minimize your last-minute kitchen duties so you can actively participate in the holidays with your family and friends. Daisy says you should double up on your recipes that freeze well. Freeze half so you will be ready at a moment’s notice for a spontaneous winter meal with family and friends.
Daisy says it is good to prep foods as far ahead as you can without sacrificing quality. Foods like soups and stews can be better if they are made ahead of time. Many components of soup, stew, and salad, like vegetables, can be cut, etc. in advance. After these components are cut, you can store them in the freezer until they are ready for use. With salad, you just put the components in plastic bags in the refrigerator and just dump, dress, toss, and serve.
Some other tips: Make chores seem like fun and involve your whole family. To decorate her house for Christmas, Daisy would always involve her children and each would have a role. She would make it fun by playing Christmas music and make hot chocolate and churros (Latin fried-dough pastry-based snacks). Not only do the chores get done, but it is an opportunity to create nice holiday memories with your family.
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Bread Pudding
To differentiate holiday entertaining from other occasions throughout the year, Daisy likes to give her guests special gifts to remember the holidays. Also, it’s a “thank you” to your guests for coming to your event and helping make memories. If you don’t have time to make gifts, you can be on the lookout for non-perishable gifts all year round, like flavored olive oils or vinegars and seasonal things. Daisy has given her guests Mayan lemons and party bags with ingredients pre-combined and a recipe. One year, she gave her guests individual ornaments. Another year she made coquito (a Latin version of eggnog), which she put in a nice corked bottle for everyone to take home. Last year, with some leftover coquito, she made coquito pancakes. They were a big hit and are now a Christmas morning staple at her house.
Daisy never set out to be a chef. One year her husband gave her a gift: tuition for the French Culinary Institute. Two weeks after she graduated, she got a job as a prep-kitchen chef on the popular PBS show Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen. One week into the job one of the show’s producers came and asked Daisy what kind of food she made and offered her a TV show of her own. To that Daisy says, “God puts you where He needs to put you.”
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