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Posts from the ‘Puerto Rico’ Category

Catching Up in Winter

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It has been a long time since I’ve written one of these catch up posts. It’s probably only because we’re deep into the snow-globe months that I’m able to now.  Seeing the links I’ve flagged over the last few weeks, it’s clear that each one has been an escape from black and white (or blue) days:

Since virtual travel is my only option these days, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting lost in Roads & Kingdoms. There’s an amazing scale to the photographs and balance in the stories that’s really lovely.  This Colombia’ Bloom Boom story is just one example.

I also loved reading this story about Puerto Rican chefs, purveyors and activists reinventing farm to table in the tropics (via the New York Times).  I had no plans to visit but this has me plotting a return.  In the meantime, there’s this Saveur round up of recipes from the island.

I’ve never had a problem with French waiters. I personally enjoy their polished but short-fused manners. But if you do, this article in their defense provides some context for the haughtiness.

Trying to go beyond understanding to actually making myself understood, I’ve been flipping through the Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas. It’s my latest attempt to build on the spotty movie French I’ll likely never use with some solid food French that I absolutely will.

I stop to read anything by or about Patti Smith but this brief interview in Medium ended with a surprisingly powerful description of her mother and her famous potato salad.

I rarely want to go out when it’s this ugly-cold which means I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about changing up anything and everything in my apartment – #cabinfevermakeover.  For inspiration, I’ve been looking here, also here, and sometimes here. When it’s time to actually time to do something about it, I’ll want to go here but will most likely end up here.

I’m also obsessing over DIY/start from scratch projects. I keep pricing pasta makers then remind myself in Carroll Gardens you’re always a block and a half away from freshly made pasta by people who know what they’re doing.  Low tech tortellinis,  however, are still on my list.  Tasting Table has been putting out great videos lately but this tutorial featuring Giovanni Rana has become a favorite.

Everyone was talking about the dress last week but it seemed like minor news compared to the discovery of tetrachromats among us, capable of seeing 100 million colors at once. I can’t imagine what that must be like but the incredible exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic gave me some idea of what it could look like.

Finally, it’s Lent but I haven’t decided what I should give up (though apparently I’m in good company).  My sister Carmen is doing a #somethingbeautiful series on instagram this year. I’m always amazed at the quiet moments she captures – especially when she hits Brooklyn. You can follow here.

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

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