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Margarita Névarez

During her childhood, Chan would watch her grandmother cook. It was a time that the whole family got together and would sit down to share a meal. Unfortunately, when her grandmother died that all ended. Chan hopes to continue to rebuild those memories and traditions and is always creating new ideas.

Food is what brings us together.

Margarita Névarez uses food to stay close with her children because it brings out the best family experiences. “You’re laughing, you’re sharing…and your belly is full,” she said. Listen here to learn more about what her mother taught her.

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Névarez is a Los Angeles native. At 61 years old, she’s lived in the city with her family her entire life–first with her mother, then with her first child when she was sixteen, and then with her husband, children, and finally her grandchildren.


As she puts it, her family has always been her focus in life. 

“I am most proud of the fact that we’re always together. We are always [together]. And this is something that you don’t see.”

Nevarez also says that cooking and food are the glue that holds them together.

“Food is what brings us together,” she said. “It’s just something that we enjoy everybody chips in and everybody does what they have to do. We’re all working. We’re all cooking.”

Here, Névarez highlights one dish, Lampreada, that she’ll often make for her non-meat-eating family members.

Growing up, Névarez memorized recipes by watching carefully how dishes were made and studying their aromas. “If it smells good, it’s good,” Névarez said. Listen here to learn more about the fried cauliflower and tomato dish, coliflor lampreada, and how she recalls the “explosion of flavors.”

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Photos by Jessica Magaña Sandoval, Redheartmedia

Utensils Needed:

  • deep frying pan

  • hand mixer

  • large mixing bowl

  • slotted spoon

  • regular table spoon

  • cookie cooling rack

  • baking Pan

  • large pot to cook

  • lots of napkins to absorb oil

Ingredients for cauliflower:

  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower

  • 8-10  eggs

  • 2-3 cups oil

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 4 tomatoes

  • 1/2 small white onion

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 3/4 cups bread crumbs

  • chicken stock (enough to cover cooked cauliflower) or water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon

  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt


  1. Cut cauliflower into medium bite-sized pieces. Wash and drain.

  2. Place a large frying pan with 2 cups of oil over medium heat.

  3. In a mixing bowl add 8 egg whites (save yolks for later). Mix the egg whites with a hand mixer until stiff and you can turn the mixing bowl upside down without spilling contents. Add the yolks and incorporate well into the mix. 

  4. Check oil and see if this is ready to begin the process.

  5. Start dumping larger sizes of cauliflower in egg mixture first, then repeat with the smaller ones.

  6. Cover the bottom of the pan leaving some breathing room between the cauliflower. Sprinkle the cauliflower with salt.

  7. With the help of a tablespoon, cover the cauliflower with oil to brown and after 3-4 minutes begin to flip around to cook all the egg on the cauliflower. 

  8. Remove from pan onto a cooling rack to drip excess oil and continue the process until done with cauliflower. Set aside.

Procedure for sauce:

  1. In a large deep pan pour 3 tablespoons of oil from the frying pan used. Turn heat to low-medium.

  2. Blend tomatoes, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, seasonings and 1 cup of water until smooth.

  3. Pour into the pan with oil. Add liquid of your choice and bring to a boil. (I like either vegetable or chicken stock). Check for seasoning and add as needed.

  4. Add cooked cauliflower and add more liquid as needed to cover everything. If you add more liquid, you will need to recheck for seasoning.

  5. Cover with lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat. 

Note: Cauliflower was not cooked or blanched. The actual cooking is done in the final steps of the process during the simmering.

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