Tag Archives: Cooking at Home

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week Returns!

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week 2016

Diners rejoice!  Puerto Rico Restaurant Week returns for the fifth year in a row.  Starting tomorrow, the best chefs in Puerto Rico will offer exclusive menus at a fixed price.  While some restaurants will tote out some of their best known dishes, others will take this chance to showcase specials filled with whimsy and local ingredients.  Lunch menus include two or three courses for $20.00 and dinner experiences consist of at least three courses for $28 or $38 per person.

The participating restaurants this year include:

Read More…

Carne Guisada – Puerto Rican Beef Stew

Carne Guisada

When I was a kid, I did not show much love for my mother’s beef stew, carne guisada.  I was told once by a family friend that my mother made the best beef stew and I shrugged it off.  Teenagers are stupid.  I didn’t really get the alchemy behind sofrito, tomato, potatoes, carrots, bay and beef.  My siblings and I would get home back from school and basically ignore the large pot where the beef stew, stuffed pot roast and carne a la catalana would simmer for hours before dinnertime. It was just… there.  It took going away for college and coming back home to appreciate the comforting magic of these slow cooked dishes.   Read More…

2016 New Orleans Trip Report – Part 2

New Orleans Trip Report

Decatur Street from the Washington Artillery Park & Moonwalk

I have a secret weapon when it comes to recommendations for great New Orleans eats.  A high school classmate went to LSU, fell in love with the city, and decided to stay in the greater NOLA area.  He keeps a Facebook page chronicling his lunch outings: the New Orleans Lunch Journal.  When I asked Beto for lunch suggestions, the first place on his list was Cochon Butcher.  It was the first place we visited the minute we dropped our bags in our downtown hotel.

Mid-Day Eats

Coming straight from Puerto Rico and being greeted by a traditional vejigante mask in this renowned butchery, deli and sandwich shop? Priceless! Read More…

We’re Cooking the Book! #MyParisKitchen

We are engaging in a new cookbook project!
(Insert fist-pumping and Carlton dances.)

Cook the Book

Gear ready for Cook the Book Fridays!

The Dorista alumni and dozens other bloggers have jumped in the band wagon to cook their way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen through Cook the Book Fridays.  My Paris Kitchen is filled with Americain en París stories, ingredient intelligence, and most importantly, delicious and totally do-able recipes to bring French Flavors (back) home.  My Paris Kitchen for Kindle and Kindle reading apps is currently available at Amazon.com for a mere $1.99 for a limited time only.  How could I resist?   And hey, if you don’t already have a copy… how could you?

cook the book fridays

Artichoke tapenade on five-grain sourdough bread from Levain Artisan Breads (straight out of Aguadilla, PR via the Old San Juan Saturday Farmer’s Market)

Cook the Book… on Social Platforms

At this time, my posts for Cook the Book Fridays will be available through the Great Food 360˚ Instagram and Facebook pages.  I’m definitely not writing off blog posts!  When some of the recipes pose a challenge and require culinary creativity/ingenuity/chutzpah, I’ll share those workarounds with more detail.

While we have a bit of catching up to do – nothing insurmountable – we started with last week’s recipe for the Artichoke Tapenade.

 

These are the recipes we need to complete in order to be fully caught up with the Cook The Book Fridays crowd:

  • Belgian Beef Stew with Beer and Spice Bread
  • Dukkah Roasted Cauliflower
  • Steak with Mustard Butter and Fries
  • Winter Salad

Next up in the roster is fried ham and cheese sandwiches… le croque monsieur!  Bon appetit, and remember to check your Instagram or Facebook feeds every other Friday.

Cook the Book Fridays is an online group of home cooks working their way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  We respect M. Lebovitz’s wishes and don’t post the recipes – that said, if the recipe is available elsewhere, we’ll link it up.  Here is the recipe for the Artichoke Tapenade, as published in the Washington Post.

GreatFood360˚ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  We would be earning a small percentage of Amazon.com store credit for each good purchased through the provided links.

2016 New Orleans Trip Report – Part 1

New Orleans Trip Report

Latrobe Park on Decatur and Ursulines

I didn’t realize how much I missed New Orleans until I footed my way through St. Charles Avenue for the first time in almost eight years.  Literally footed – I ran my first marathon two weeks ago.  From Lee Circle up to Calhoun Street and back downtown, my eyes were peeled for old landmarks from my college years in the late nineties. My ears open for the sounds of the bands and DJs, and for those spectators that dotted the first half of the race course.   My mind raced to all those times I took the streetcar from Audubon down through Carondelet and back. To all the nooks and crannies I didn’t take the chance to know back then.  That longing to get reacquainted with the city grew stronger as we made our way into the French Quarter through Decatur Street.  The tree lined Esplanade miles through the Marigny and City Park up to Mid City were dotted with regret for not exploring as much as I should have.  And the Lakefront portion made me grateful for a sunny, mild day that could have not gone any better, throbbing right knee notwithstanding.

New Orleans Trip Report

St. Charles Avenue streetcar at ‘my’ stop

The race recap portion of this show is over. On to the first part of this New Orleans trip report, the love letter to my college town and to the great food that enjoyed over five beautiful days.  I knew the city would be packed between the race (over 25,000 runners) and other conventions and events.  The minute we booked our airfare in December I made most of our meal reservations.  If traveling to New Orleans for an event, it’s always better to reserve and then modify reservations than try to walk in to the more popular restaurants. Read More…

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ever had the strongest urge to eat something sweet and chocolatey, and absolutely nothing in the pantry or refrigerator fit the bill?

It would have been a LOT worse had there not been a bag of chocolate chips leftover from the holidays.  And a vacuum sealed bag of cocoa powder that hasn’t seen the light of day in over a year.

That also speaks of the cobwebs and dust piling up around here…

It’s not like the days magically grew an extra hour or two to accommodate the growing demands of the day job, running practice, the house and all the other curveballs life throws.

But you know, those cravings… they cover all the things we love and want to do, not just eat.  Sometimes you just have to plug in the stand mixer and start measuring. And sit down in front of the laptop, and let it flow out. Whatever it is.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Cookies – a Dorie Greenspan classic – is a dark chocolate shortbread cookie laced with semisweet chocolate chips and sea salt.  As a group, we baked a version included in Around My French Table – the cocoa sablés.  After quickly flipping through my friend Liz’s blog – which hosts many incredible chocolate recipes – I realized this was not time to try a full new recipe.  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe got a quick makeover with cocoa powder and a smidge extra salt. Voilá: World Peace chocolate chip cookies!

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

The original cookie recipe uses 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour.  I swapped 1/4 cup for the cocoa powder and added an extra tablespoon of flour to the dry ingredients. On a whim, a teaspoon of powdered peanut butter made its way to the dough. It probably brought out the saltier notes in the cookie.  If you don’t have any powdered peanut butter, it’s not a big deal.  The cookies turn out crunchy after resting for an hour on a cooling rack.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

Farmers Market Finds – March 6, 2016

For the last few months, I had been going through the farmers market motions without giving it much thought.

Mixed greens?  Check.
More mixed greens? Check.
The occasional zucchini or eggplant?  Check.

Grab and go… grab and go…

An Instagram picture from Spoon Food ToursCaroline jolted me yesterday.  One of the vendors, La Cosecha, was offering a vegetable seldom seen in my regular market rounds. What got me out of the house at 8am ready to brave the feisty regulars?

Broccoli!

Farmers Market Broccoli

Broccoli from La Cosecha/Productos Sana

We just flew back from a quick trip to New Orleans (more on that later) and my fridge drawers were bare, other than for a few carrots and heads of garlic.  After the trip to the farmers market, we are stocked with the following greens and vegetables in addition to the elusive broccoli.

Farmers Market Mixed Kale

Mixed Kale

 

Farmers Market celery and parsley

Celery and flat leaf parsley

 

Black Beauty eggplant and cucumber

More Farmers Market Finds

I also picked up a large bottle of honey from Apiarios El Pancho, a sack of compost, and the adorable little bouquet adorning these pictures.  We’re ready to start gardening again.  It’s been a couple of years since our balcony planters have yielded anything other than recao and oregano.  Those herbs are hardy for the brownest, dried out green thumbs.

Farmers Market Compost

Compost from Desde Mi Cosecha

Sunday Fun Day at Old San Juan

After the farmers market, I had about two hours to kill before heading to my next grocery stop.  Old San Juan was hosting two events during the day: Circo Fest, circus performances in all major squares of the walled city, and the El Morro Pet Fest.  I had never seen so many adorable pooches in the same place.

Circo Fest Performer

Circo Fest Performer at the Plaza de Armas

I had to take off before the performances started to wrap up shopping for the week and begin planning the week’s meals.  Here’s what our dinners will look like for the next few days:

  • Gochujang pork chops, garlicky roasted broccoli
  • Eggplant, chunky marinara with charred tomatoes, aglio e oglio edamame noodles
  • Mahi mahi, green onion chimichurri, cauliflower and white bean mash
  • Cobb salad with market greens (arugula, tatsoi, red leaf lettuce)
  • Salmon, Gruyere creamed kale

Want to share ideas on what else to do with our market purchases? What do you think about this week’s planned meals?  Leave us a comment here or in our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Virgin Coconut Mojito Popsicles

virgin coconut mojito popsicles

There’s a reason why mojitos are the perfect summer drink. Multiple reasons, actually.

Plenty of ice.
Tingly, fizzy soda bubbles.
The smell of freshly muddled spearmint
The zing of lime

The only way to make a mojito even more refreshing? Turn it into a popsicle. Read More…

Keeping Cool with Summer Strawberries

puerto rico summer

We are right in the middle of the dog days of summer.  It’s HOT in Puerto Rico right now. The 2015 incarnation of El Niño, the warming of the Pacific Ocean, has brought upon the Caribbean an uncharacteristically dry summer.  It has been twenty one years since the last time we had a drought this severe, aggravating the summer heat.  On the upside, there’s nothing but sunny days for those looking to have fun outdoors.  It’s also the perfect time to increase our intake of fruit and refreshing healthy treats. Sweet summer strawberries to the rescue! Read More…

Curried Grass-Fed Beef Shanks #CaboRojoSteaks

curried grass-fed beef shanks

It’s hard avoiding all the negative – and sadly true – news coming out of Puerto Rico this summer.  Countless articles explain how the government borrowed beyond its means during the last four decades and the reasoning behind many families leaving the island in record numbers since the 1950s.  Not as many articles have been written about the creative ways some Puerto Ricans are trying to solve some of our more pressing issues, like economic growth and sustainability.  And there are many people who are leading the way down that road through entrepreneurship and collaboration.  We – as a society – need to get through our thick skulls (and sluggish butts) that supporting these local products (and the businesses that consume them) is crucial for our economic recovery.

Let’s go to the mall Plaza del Mercado today

We found out about Cabo Rojo Steaks, a local grass-fed cattle ranch operation, through a friend.  Their Providencia Ranch is located in Cabo Rojo, a town in the Southwestern corner of the island, but they have a retail operation at the Santurce Plaza del Mercado.  Their cattle is fully grass-fed, free range, and humanely raised for eighteen months.  The Cabo Rojo Steaks product line includes everything – from the traditional steaks cuts, beef stew chunks, and churrascos to bones for stock, heart, tongue, liver… it’s all available at the Placita or by special order.  All of their cuts are portioned and vacuum sealed for easy selection and storage.

Cabo Rojo Steaks Ribeye Steaks

Cabo Rojo Steaks Grass Fed Ribeye Steak

Prior to cooking these steaks, I did not have experience working with grass-fed beef.  Beef from grass-fed, free range cattle is leaner than the varieties more commonly available in retail.  There is much less marbling, as you can see on the picture of the ribeye steak above.  To ensure the meat remains tender, it is best to cook it to medium temperature at most.  We coated these steaks in oil, salt and pepper just before tossing them over the hot coals.

Curry can’t be hurried

Grass-fed beef has a gamier flavor than corn fed varieties.  If you like lamb or goat, you would definitely enjoy the taste of grass-fed beef.  When we were looking at the different cuts at their counter at la Placita, I knew I wanted to marry the flavor of the beef with curry.  Curried goat stews are very popular all through the Caribbean.  Somewhere along curry’s journey from India (through Britain) to the West Indies its flavor mellowed out, it met a tomato or two, and obtained its own culinary identity.

curried grass-fed beef shanks

Browned beef shanks ready for braising in the coconut, curry and tomato sauce.

local organic cayenne peppers

Local organic cayenne peppers from Desde Mi Huerto. For a milder taste, scrape out the seeds and membranes. For full on heat add the whole chopped pepper to the pot while sweating the onions.

This curry recipe would work well with short ribs, beef stew chunks, boneless skinless chicken thighs, and of course the shanks (osso buco).   The smells that will come out of the oven while the beef braises… YUM!  Plan to make this recipe with plenty of time.  Prepping for the recipe and searing the beef takes approximately twenty minutes, and it the braising process requires two and a half hours.  It will be worth the time: the meat from the shanks will fall of the bone, and explode with flavor.  There will be plenty of sauce to soak up with white long grain rice, apio root puree, or mashed cauliflower.

curried grass fed beef shanks

Cabo Rojo Steaks has a retail outpost at the Placita de Santurce, operating at regular market hours from Monday through Saturdays.  All of the products featured in this article were purchased with our own funds.  We did not receive any compensation for writing this article or developing the curried grass-fed beef shanks recipe.

Flash Fried Green Cherry Tomatoes

Fried Green Cherry Tomatoes

I purchased a basket of assorted cherry tomatoes on a trip to the warehouse club last week.  It included every color under the sun, from striped brownish red, red, orange and yellow, to green.  I made a point of using every tomato during the week – except the green ones.  At the time I wasn’t sure to which dish I would be adding them to, but their destiny was clear.  I was going to flash fry those green cherries.   The last time I got my fried green tomato fix was back in November in DC. Seven months is a long time! Read More…

FFwD Epilogue: Around My Franco Rican Table

Four years and three months ago – I was blogging using Posterous, a platform that doesn’t exist anymore.  Foodbuzz was the place for sharing pictures of food and loading up blog posts.  And every Friday, French Fridays with Dorie posts took over their feed.  My curiosity got the best of me and in a matter of a few clicks I secured a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  My Dorista journey began with pancetta green beans on February of 2011.  While it doesn’t wrap up today for me (too many recipes to make up for), today we bid farewell to this weekly ritual. 

Cooking through Around My French Table has taken me many places.  I’ve been to all corners of France through Dorie’s recipe collection: from Paris to Alsace, Lyon, Nice, and the Basque country.  Other recipes were transportable to the flavors of Puerto Rico.  A tostón will always be at home next to a pot of mussels or that crab and grapefruit salad.  Guava sauce will be ready to top off crepes and rice pudding.  And without modification, some of those dishes surprised me for how much they just tasted like home.  That speaks volumes of the influence of French cookery in the Western world – and of the blessing of growing up around my Mother’s table. Read More…

Roast Pumpkin Salad with Romesco Vinaigrette #BarGitano

romesco vinaigrette

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to taste Bar Gitano’s rejuvenated menu.  Chef Carlos Vázquez has added delicious small plates to the tasca’s already popular dishes – and inspired a salad recipe that would be right at home with them.

Some of Bar Gitano’s new menu items developed by Chef Vázquez include:

  • Veal and pork meatballs braised in sherry with tomatoes, shallots and migas
  • Arugula salad w roasted beets, fried goat cheese nuggets and pistachio and fig jam vinaigrette
  • Brandada de Bacalao: Codfish croquettes with lime aioli
  • Goat cheese pizzeta with romesco, fig jam, truffle oil & arugula
  • Lamb skewers with mint salsa verde and fennel salad
  • Mussels with chorizo in a rich pimenton-wine broth & toasted bread
  • Medjool dates stuffed with Valdeón cheese wrapped in bacon
  • Coconut Cake Gitano with guava mousse and topped with  toasted meringue

Read More…

The Never-Doubt-Dorie Moment: Mme. Maman’s Chopped Liver

Mme Maman's Chopped LIver

The French Fridays with Dorie Celebrations continue!  This week we go over those Never-Doubt-Dorie moments.  FFwD cooks will reminisce about those recipe that made us raise our eyebrows while we went along for the ride.  I looked for the scariest ingredient I hadn’t worked with yet – chicken livers.  Here’s the account of my experience whipping up Mme. Maman’s Chopped Liver.   

(Law & Order style ‘Dun Dun!’)

Thursday June 4, 2015
8:00am

Green spots?

Veins?

It’s not the same to face the deep-sea creatures of the food world when they are breaded, fried or smothered in delicious sauces. And plated and prepared by professionals that bring out the best of these ingredients.   Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Curried Chicken with Lemongrass, AHA Moments and my Top 5

curried chicken with lemongrass and vegetables

The fearless Doristas have met their goal.  Last Friday, Mardi of Eat Live Travel Write and Cher The Dabbler cooked and blogged all 300+ recipes of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  Most members of the group are a handful of recipes away from reaching this milestone.  While my participation in the group was inconsistent (to put it mildly), I rejoice and join the rest of them and toast to this accomplishment.  The following four weeks will allow us to reminisce and recap some of the lessons learned in these four years of cooking and friendship. Read More…

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