Tag Archives: Eating

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week

I love May.   It feels like a happy month: we celebrate birthdays, mothers, the beginning of school summer vacation and more laid back summer traffic.  Starting last year, I look forward to May for another reason.  Puerto Rico joins the ranks of other major metropolitan hubs and celebrates its gastronomy through Puerto Rico Restaurant Week.  For two weeks starting on May 14th,  over 40 restaurants through the island will offer 3 course prix-fixe dinner menus for $26 or $36 (not including tax, gratuity or beverages). Read More…

Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef: Gulf Coast Nominee – Raul Correa

“¡Qué cool por Puerto Rico!”
– Chef Raul Correa

Popcorn Soup Shot – Zest @ San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel

Puerto Rico chefs and restaurants are having a wonderful run this year in terms of national recognition.  Chef José Enrique and his eponymous restaurant in Santurce and the new José Andrés venture Mi Casa in Dorado have garnered nominations from the James Beard Foundation.  In addition to those, FIVE out of the ten nominees for People’s Best New Chef: Gulf Coast from Food and Wine magazine have Puerto Rican roots or experience.  It is probably the most exciting time in gastronomy on the island. Read More…

2012 US Southeast Road Trip – Fried Green Tomatoes

Green (unripe) tomatoes are considered an end-of-summer or early fall crop in most of the Northern hemisphere.  Late season tomatoes are picked while green because otherwise the changing weather conditions would spoil them.  In the American South, however, they are so popular they are harvested while green all through the summer. Read More…

Puerto Rico Street Food Fest 2012

PR Street Food Fest 2012

The first Puerto Rico Street Food Festival is taking place this weekend on the Hiram Bithorn Stadium grounds.  This event – the first of its kind – gathered around thirty local food trucks and their fans for an afternoon/evening of tastings, music, and fun for the whole family.  I was looking forward to this event for some time now – there were a few trucks I already knew about and enjoyed, but there were others I was really looking forward to trying. Read More…

2011 New York Trip Report (Part 2)

Welcome to the second part of my New York trip report!  This time around, I’m sharing our dinner recommendations and experiences, some other fun things we did around the city, and an account of the lovely evening we shared with Norma of Platanos, Mangoes, and Me and her family.  I’ve spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in New York twice, so it seems fitting to wrap up my summary today.  The city is truly magical during the holidays. Read More…

Frituras 101 – Navigating the Puerto Rican Appetizer Sampler Platter

Fritters are universal.  I have yet to come across a culture that does not embrace cooking some foods in blistering hot fat.  From delicate tempura vegetables, to the universally loved French fry, fried foods entice us with their crisped crusts, their savory or sweet fillings, and a sense of indulgence (or is it temporary guilt?).  The dipping sauces are usually fun, too.

Puerto Rico is a fritter lover’s paradise.   Almost every restaurant, hole in the wall cafetín or beachside shack will have a variety of frituras sitting under the glare of a heating lamp.   Some people even start their day with a pastelillo and a cup of coffee!  Here’s a little tour of the most ubiquitous frituras –  based on an appetizer platter ordered with some friends during a recent day trip to Aibonito, a town nestled in the mountain range that crosses the island.  This list is definitely not all-inclusive.

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Pernil – Roast Pork

Pernil Roast Pork

This picture might look strange – even unappetizing – but do not be afraid.

We lucked out when we moved into our house four years ago.  Most of our neighbors are around our age, and some of them even went to high school and college with my husband or we know them from our professional settings.  Every other month we meet with two other families of the college/accounting group, cook and eat a great meal, and play with their adorable little girls.  On previous gatherings, we made French and Mexican inspired feasts. This time we planned a “Christmas in July” menu around one of PR’s best known culinary traditions: roast pork shoulder (pernil).

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French Fridays with Dorie: Beets

Beets

 

About a month ago, I bought my first bunch of fresh beets. It was my first time consciously eating beets in thirty-plus years. Around My French Table proved to be a great resource – I had no idea what to do with them and Dorie Greenspan provided not one but four methods for cooking this inky root vegetable. The leaves went into stir fry earlier in the week (as kindly suggested over Twitter), and I roasted the roots in my toaster oven. This seemed to be the preferred cooking method from what I read in some blogs. Read More…

Catching Up with @FFwDorie – Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Sauce

Food tragedies come in many forms.  Ingredients can be so elusive they are never found.  The soufflé stays flat and undercooked.  Favorite restaurants close.  Sometimes we need to accept these facts, make the best of what we have or know, and move on.

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Despite being a vegetable that grows in all the different US Hardiness Zones, rhubarb is not readily available in the Caribbean.  I’ve never tried it, but wish I had based on what I’ve read about it (and the onslaught of strawberry rhubarb goodies popping all over the food blogosphere).   This week, instead of joining the French Fridays with Dorie crowd in their roasted rhubarb experience, I decided to play catch-up with one of the recipes completed before I joined the group – the spicy Vietnamese chicken noodle soup.  Dorie Greenspan’s award winning Around My French Table is a book that doesn’t shy away from modern influences in French cooking, as you can tell by this and last week’s rib recipes.  Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie – Cola and Jam Spare Ribs

The events depicted in this post are a figment of my imagination, inspired by back to back weekends of cooking and eating spareribs. Let’s imagine this is a bizarre dream induced by falling asleep right after eating, in porky stupor. In a world where a couple buys seven pounds worth of ribs at their local Costco, watches too much Food Network, and the blogging half can’t keep her eyes open past 10:30pm most evenings, this might not be too much of a stretch.

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Dorie Greenspan, are you ready for a throwdown? Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie – Warm Weather Vegetable Pot Au Feu

Memorial Day weekend was crammed with cooking, eating, and struggling with the weather’s unpredictability.  For the last couple of weeks, it has rained almost every day and mostly in the afternoon, driven by the rising temperatures and the lingering humidity in the atmosphere.  Luckily, we squeezed two rounds of grilling towards the end of the weekend.  Knowing that we would overindulge in a slab of large, meaty ribs on Monday evening, I decided that the perfect lunch to feel nutritionally virtuous for a little while was Dorie Greenspan’s warm weather vegetable pot-au-feu. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie – Cardamom Rice Pilaf

There are no quotes floating around the Internet about cardamom, other than trade quotes for its price in the commodity markets.  I hesitated before plunking down over twelve dollars for an ounce of green cardamom pods because I have ground cardamom in my cupboard.  After making this rice pilaf, I decided that the expense was worth it, even if the specialty food store took quite a premium on my purchase.  That’s the laws of supply and demand for you… limited supply, higher prices!  I might be able to recoup my initial investment as soon as I find a good chai recipe.

(I will remove my Finance person hat before you start missing my writer’s block from last week.)

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Harina de Maiz – Breakfast Cornmeal Cereal

Harina de Maiz Breakfast Cereal

Back in the late eighties, before the Internet and Wikipedia, most facts and figures were collected in almanacs or books like the Guiness Book of World Records. Through one of these unforgettable book club flyers, I bought a copy of the Second Kids World Almanac when I was an impressionable nine year-old. I credit (blame?) that book for turning me into a trivia and general knowledge junkie. How did I know that this book was to be trusted as a veritable source for listings of popular haircuts, the true name of pop stars and the origins of unusual animals? In the food chapter, it featured popular breakfast foods around the world. Under Puerto Rico, the listing said something akin to “oatmeal or cooked cornmeal with milk poured over it, coffee”. Clearly these people knew what they were talking about.

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French Fridays with Dorie – Bacon, Egg, and Asparagus Salad

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I stare at the picture of this week’s entry for French Fridays with Dorie wishing it would help me flesh out this post.  For the first time in a couple of weeks I find myself without recipe-twisting produce, decent quotes about the ingredients, or a story to frame the simple exquisiteness of this salad.  I added tiny tomatoes to the mixed greens, marveled at the soft-boiled egg technique, and found the meal very satisfying.  DH liked it too.

I had to play a bit with the dressing because I do not have any nut oils or sherry vinegar in the house at this time.  It turned out okay, which means the ‘real’ version must be incredible.  My attempt at a nutty oil consisted of a tablespoon of grapeseed oil mixed with a couple of drops of dark sesame oil.  For the sherry vinegar, I used equal parts of regular sherry and lemon juice.

My loquacious self will be back soon!  In the meantime, please do check out how the rest of the French Fridays crowd did with this salad.

Black Refried Beans with Chorizo

On Sunday, we met with two other families for a leisurely afternoon of catching up, playing with the kids, and enjoying a couple of margaritas.  These are the friends that we hosted for the FFwD short ribs with everything else made from scratch back in February – and we’re happy that we’ve learned to let our hair down and have more laid back gatherings since then.  Back when we scheduled last weekend’s gathering, we agreed from the get-go that we would make Mexican fare.  My contribution to the party was a big bowl of black refried beans.  I grew up eating pink/red refried beans, and when I first had black refritos it was love at first bite.  Read More…

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