Miami Book Fair: Norman Van Aken Book Giveaway

I’m excited to announce Chef Norman Van Aken and his son, Chef Justin’sMy Key West Kitchen Recipes and Stories for a Book Giveaway sponsored by the Miami Book Fair International.  The Fair runs this weekend with tons of author events, cooking demonstrations etc. and all this week with evening author events.

Hope to see you at these readings with co-author and son Justin Van Aken: Sat., Nov 17, 2pm Room 6100 and if you can’t attend that, Norman will be on a panel, Sun. Nov.18, 2pm with chefs Seamus Mullen and Hiroko Shimbo.  Details here.  

There’s only a few days to do this Book Giveaway, so do it quickly, see below for the details…

I picked Norman’s book because I knew Norman way back when I lived in Key West. So I was delighted he’s featuring Key West, it’s off the wall characters and cuisine which is a mashup of Cuban, Central and South America. I also love Kyle Publishing’s presentation of this cookbook down to the artsy font, graphic layout and of course beautiful food shots by award winning photographer, Penny De Los Santos. The whole package is gorgeous, not the straight forward cookbook!

My phone interview with Norman was fascinating, I got so many ‘behind the scenes’ details I wouldn’t have found in the book like hearing he’d like to travel to his next book tour in a Winnebago with the whole family, neat idea, that could be another book!  Another is the history behind Louie’s Backyard, where he helmed the kitchen and where I’d send all visitors for the best ocean views, ambience and of course the good food.

I love Norman’s writing style, he paints the picture in very few words, something I have to learn, check out his blog here!  I was amused by the cute titles like “Woman Gone Crazy” Bloody Mary or Sunshine’s Key Lime Pies for the dishes and chapters like Duval and Downtown Crawlin’ or Conch Lingo.  Norman kindly provided a few recipes, I’ve picked Havana Pork because you just can’t go wrong with piggy anything and this one sounds so doable.

I’ll leave you with Mario Batali’s perfect description of Norman Van Aken’s book…

Norman Van Aken, My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories Long before Jimmy Buffett wrote “Margaritaville” about Key West, James Beard award-winning chef Norman Van Aken had already pledged allegiance to the magical little scrap of land at the end of the rainbow.  He and his son follow up that pledge with My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories (Kyle Books, $29.95).   Part cookbook, part travelogue, part memoir, the two stroll through the streets of Key West, reminiscing and recreating dishes from “little joints,” established restaurants, and from the kitchens of friends and family past and present. “. . .a brilliant tour of one of the most special places in America.”—Mario Batali.


Ready for Book Giveaway?  Keeping it simple, here you go:

1a.  Subscribe to my free newsletter in right sidebar so you’ll never miss special offers from premium sponsors only available to subscribers, meal ideas, tips and techniques, restaurant reviews and beyond.

1b.  If you’re already a subscriber, leave a comment below why you want Norman’s cookbook? Then email me wokstar at eleanorhoh dot com so I have your email if you win.

2.  Eligibility:  Only for United States residents. Closing date:  Sunday, November 18, 10pm ET. Check back here for winner.

3.  A random winner will be picked and contacted via email. Respond ASAP, otherwise I will pick the next winner.

4.  Your book will be sent directly through the publisher.

Norman Van Aken’s Book Giveaway is generously sponsored by Miami Book Fair International, good luck. 

Pork Havana, Key West Style

We made this the first Christmas I worked at the Pier House. I felt quite far away from my midwestern home, celebrating a holiday usually marked with steady snowfall, glowing fireplaces and a great, fragrant roasted prime rib of beef on a long table at my grandmother’s house. But in our tropical kitchen at the end of Duval Street we also felt we were uniting with different cultures—and the spirit of Christmas should accomplish that every year. Waiter Tom Goetz brought in a bottle of rum and we made punch. By the end of service, we were singing Christmas carols as we cleaned up the kitchen. Home was near again. I like to serve this with Cayo Hueso Cornbread (page 20), Yellow Rice (page 175) and Black Beans (page 163).

Serves 4

2 sour oranges, cut in half
2 oranges, cut in half
4 limes, cut in half
1/2 cup pure olive oil, plus more for searing
8 whole black peppercorns, bruised
2 bay leaves, broken
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 3 cloves, peeled
and cut into studs
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
One 4-bone rack of pork (about 31/2 to 4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 to 6 bacon strips


1 tablespoon pure olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, cut in half
1 tablespoon freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds
11/2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange marmalade

Squeeze the juice of the orange and lime halves into a large bowl, then toss in the rinds as well. Add the oil, peppercorns, bay leaves, sliced garlic and red onion and stir to combine. Place the pork in the marinade, turn the rack a few times to coat evenly, and marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours, but at least 8 hours, turning it a few times. Remove the pork from the marinade and gently scrape off any oil and other bits. Pat dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, puncture the pork all over and push the garlic studs into the holes. (The hole can be a bit bigger than the studs, so the marmalade mixture to come can seep into the pork as it cooks.) Slash the pork with a crosshatch pattern and season all over with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Make the glaze: Heat a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and butter and swirl to melt. Add the garlic and onion, lower the heat to medium and cook slowly and steadily until caramelized, seasoning with salt and pepper and adding the cumin about halfway through. Chop one of the orange halves into small pieces. Squeeze the juice of the other orange half through a fine-mesh strainer (to catch the seeds) into the saucepan. Toss in the chopped orange, rind and all. Add the vinegar and reduce by a third. Stir in the orange marmalade and heat until melted. Transfer the glaze to a small bowl and let cool slightly. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sear the pork on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Spoon the glaze onto the pork, letting it seep into the punctures. Lay the bacon strips on top, overlapping slightly. Wrap the top of the pork roast securely with aluminum foil to keep the bacon from falling off. Roast the pork in the oven for 45 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and roast for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F on a meat thermometer. Transfer to a cutting board and let the roast rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Ingredient Notes:

A four-bone rack of pork is like four pork chops but still attached. Ask for one at your butcher’s shop. If you can’t find sour oranges, use regular ones but
add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar when squeezing the juice into the marinade bowl.


A special joint dinner at Tuyo will be prepared by Norman Van Aken and restauranteur, chef, and author of Seamus Mullen, author, Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better on Sat., Nov. 17, $130 pp.  Details here. 

A bit about Seamus Mullen:  a NYC chef known for modern Spanish cuisine. His restaurant, Terulia, received a 2 star review from the NY Times. He is also a featured judge on the Food Network series, “Chopped”. 

12 Responses to Miami Book Fair: Norman Van Aken Book Giveaway
  1. lisa
    November 18, 2012 | 11:48 pm

    Chef Norman is one of my heroes and I need this book!

  2. Linda Blaustein
    November 18, 2012 | 8:43 pm

    I need some additional inspiration to get into the kitchen more. Norman has been an icon ever since I’ve been in Miami, so his Key West inspired receipes sound like just the thing! I may have to have a dinner party.

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 18, 2012 | 11:01 pm

      Linda, I better be invited to this party!

  3. Lee
    November 18, 2012 | 6:25 pm

    Would like to try his recipes

  4. Henri
    November 17, 2012 | 1:09 pm

    The Conch State is one of the most unique enclaves of our country. A rich woven kitchen fabric that one uses to mix and strain into a new culinary experience…… I want to learn from that …… I want to lean from Chef Norman Van Aken and I want continue to mix and strain through the Tricks learned from the the Wok Star herself Eleanor Hoh …… Now thats Conch Cooking!

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 17, 2012 | 6:17 pm

      Henri, you’d really enjoy his book. Stay tuned for winner.

  5. Carl
    November 17, 2012 | 2:11 am

    That recipe sounds absolutely delicious. I was wondering about the sour oranges, thanks for the clarification.

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 17, 2012 | 6:16 pm

      Hm, if I see Norman again tomorrow I can ask about the sour oranges, what did you want to know? If you can’t find them?

    • Eleanor Hoh
      November 18, 2012 | 11:48 pm

      Carl, you’re the WINNER!

  6. Gio
    November 16, 2012 | 12:46 pm

    If I win the book, I’ll attempt the Pork Havana dish and you’re invited for dinner 🙂

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