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Posts from the ‘Puerto Rico’ Category

A Comer Pasteles

IMG_9042For years, I’ve heard about the Puerto Rican families gathering in the kitchen during their endless Christmas season to make pasteles and felt a little jealous.  Researching and writing about them for Devour felt like a lonely way to go about making what should be a communal recipe.  To fill the kitchen, I consulted my cousins and aunt for the traditions surrounding Puerto Rican Christmas, my friend Carmen Rivera whose husband insisted raisins should only be optional, and my market friend Arelys Ocasio who suggested I throw in plantains to the usual blend of guineos and yautia.  Jump to Devour to read more. Read more

Tembleque

While I may take it back in November, Easter is my favorite eating holiday.  With no menu set in stone, the variety of colors and texture from the markets jump on the plate and like Dorothy landing in Oz, someone, somewhere turns on the technicolor. While spring officially started weeks ago, the end of lent and celebration of Easter marks the time we’re officially allowed to enjoy it – unless that’s just my guilt talking. Read more

Habichuelas Blancas Guisadas

When I was little and knew I was going on a trip, the first thing I did was pack my bags.  It could be days, weeks or even months away, but getting ready made me feel like I was already on the plane.  Sadly, I’ve completely lost my pro-active packing impulses.  Almost from the moment the itinerary hits my inbox, I start running through the list of things I need to do here before I’m allowed to go there.  This weekend, after booking my Easter trip to Puerto Rico and facing dementor-like winter temperatures outside – the kind that make you feel like you’ll never be cheerful again – I felt a little of the old packing impulse when I decided to make this stew of habichuelas blancas. Read more

Mousse de Turrón

I’m not devoutly superstitious so I have no problem picking and choosing which New Year’s traditions to follow.  While 12 grapes at midnight are non-negotiable anywhere Spanish is spoken, for the rest of Latin America it’s pretty much an open field.  I’ve written wishes for the coming months (Venezuela) then throw them in the fire so no one could steal them.  Unfortunately, I forgot what I’d written before the paper had turned to ash, leaving me with unstarted resolutions.  If I lived in Honduras, I’d make an “Año Viejo” doll stuffed with fireworks to set off at midnight if I didn’t find effigies and fireworks equally frightening.  I’ve never thrown a bucket of water out of my window to rid myself of evil spirits (Puerto Rico), but a water pipe bursting a few years ago started off one of my favorite New Year’s nights and great year.  A Peruvian friend suggested I wander around the block with a suitcase if I wanted to travel in 2011, but I’ve had enough of packing bags and getting nowhere in the last few days.  Fortunately, everyone seems to be in agreement on an underwear color scheme for the occassion (red=love, green=money, yellow=luck, white=health).  I don’t know if it works, but at the very least it forces you to get your priorities straight before midnight. Read more

Asopao de Pollo

A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a list of Puerto Rican classics to try that included asopao de pollo.  As she described it, it’s a Puerto Rican risotto that’s not quite soup and not quite stew.  My soups often go to gumbo by mistake so I was curious to know what would happen if I made it that way by design.  At Jennifer’s suggestion, I checked my Puerto Rican Cookery book first.  I realized after additional searches that there were thousands of recipes for asopao, a one-pot, comfort food solution for family dinners and leftovers.  After reading them over, I finally circled back to Carmen Aboy Valldejuli. Read more

Butifarrón Sabroso

I hadn’t thought of meatloaf as Latin food until recently.  Butifarron, carne fria, albondigas, it was all there I just didn’t make the connection to the heavy cafeteria slices we’d get at school or the bacon wrapped loafs served at a friend’s house.  When I found this recipe for butifarrón sabroso in Puerto Rican Cookery, I couldn’t wait to make it.  Last week I gathered all of the ingredients and put it together quickly.  I ended up with a smooth loaf floured and ready to…fry? Read more

Figure Eights

There’s always a point when I finish a post and choose a country category that feels a little dishonest.  Well not so much dishonest but not the whole elephant either.  When I decided to write about Latin food, I knew that it would be a fuzzy focus and difficult to define.  Buñuelos, fritters popular throughout Spain and Latin America, are a good example.  Originally from the Iberian penninsula, they’re either Arabic or Sephardic, or maybe both.  Typically made from a wheat-based dough that’s flavored with anise, they’re rolled into balls or discs and deep fried then topped with a syrup or honey. Read more

Holiday Nesting

Its bothered me for awhile that I haven’t included more Puerto Rican recipes.  There are so many similarities with Cuban food, that I dip towards the more familiar Cuban side when in doubt, like a bird flying with one wing.  Recently, I found a copy of Carmen Aboy Valldejuli’s classic, Puerto Rican Cookery, which I hope will restore the balance.  There are many reasons to love this book.  To name a few, words like carefully and thoroughly are in bold making the recipes more emotional while delicioso and sabroso are translated to”Caribbean” when no other word will do; Rafael Tufiño contributed illustrations; and there’s a sweet black and white picture of her husband, Luis Valldjuli serving her a rum drink from the chapter he contributed on the back cover. Read more

Plantain Comfort

Plantains are my comfort food.  After my second failed attempt at making Cuban bread this afternoon (so near, yet so far), I wanted something sure.  When my new Food Coop friend Jennifer described the Puerto Rican style plantain pie she makes when her daughter’s home from school, I had to try it.  I’d seen different versions of the pie that used fried plantains and cheese.  Jennifer bypasses both to make this healthier version with mashed, boiled plantains that bring out the sweet and savory flavors really well. Read more

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