Eduardo Ruiz says cooking came naturally to him. “Everybody in my family is a cook, even the men in the family all have their own dishes that they take pride in making at certain times. My grandfather was the person in the family who made the food for almost everybody’s wedding.
"About half of my family is Mexican and the other half is Salvadoran, so the Salvadoran is a very traditional, lots of cassava, yucca, lots of pickled vegetables, a roasted turkey which we call chompipe. Then on my mom's side of the family was Mexican, so we'd do traditional Mexican tamales, capirotada, those are all things that were stewing up in the kitchen during the holiday season."
He went Central American with his Thanksgiving dish, something that is a standard on the Corazon y Miel menu. It starts with brining a turkey leg for 24 hours and roasting it. The turkey is served on a house-baked bolillo roll, with a jus made with caper brine, pureed tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. On top, he piles a dressed-up curtido made from pickled cabbage, pickled carrots, pickled radishes, pickled onions and pickled cauliflower, then he garnishes it with fried capers.
"That's my inspiration for the holidays, making the best meal we can, bringing families together and just having that moment of silence where everybody is thinking the same thing -- like this food is amazing and this is a great time of year."
Corazon y Miel, 6626 Atlantic Ave., Bell, (323) 560-1776, www.corazonymiel.com
We asked Niki Nakayama from N/Naka, Eduardo Ruiz from Miel y Corazon, Kris Yenbamroong from Night + Market, Miles Thompson from Allumette and Josiah Citrin from Melisse to let their imaginations go with the holiday flavors that meant the most to them. There are no recipes, just creative cooks thinking about food in a different way and then telling us about what's important to them, but on the plate and in their homes.