Tag Archives: Friends

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…

Buen Diente Features Adriana’s Kitchen

Salmon Rillettes - Picture courtesy of BuenDiente.com

Salmon Rillettes – Picture courtesy of BuenDiente.com

Back in September 2013, I had the chance to Dorie Greenspan.  Between conversations, she signed my copy of Around My French Table with the following inscription:


Her hope is alive and kicking.  A few weeks ago we hosted at home our friends Nelson Torres and Ismael Martinez from Buen Diente along with fellow food blogger Myriam Ocasio from Puerto Rico Eats, and food entrepreneurs Paulina Salach and Gustavo Antonetti from Spoon Food Tours and Puerto Rico Restaurant Week.  The overall theme of the dinner was my cooking journey and influences, especially those recipes featured in the blog.

We started the evening with Gougeres de Queso del Pais, followed by my take on New Orleans barbecue shrimp.  The main dish was one of my favorite recipes from Around My French Table, the Short Ribs in Braised in Red Wine and Port. To cap our meal, my sister made my paternal grandmother’s signature dessert, bienmesabe.  I can best describe a bienmesabe as a coconut cream layered dessert – sort of a Caribbean tiramisu. Our evening was beautifully recapped by Nelson here.

Photo Courtesy of Buendiente.com

Thanks again to our friends at Buen Diente for this wonderful feature and here’s to future gatherings!

Thank you. And THE cookie recipe.


Some people leave their workplace quietly, without making much fuss.  Others are not granted the luxury to say goodbye to dear friends and colleagues when separated from their employment.  And many write a note, wishing everyone the best for their personal and professional lives.  Piecing together a letter in my head was easy.  I have nine years of lessons and friendships – sisterhood – under my belt and respect for the people I interacted with in a professional capacity. Read More…

Food Blogger Cookbook Swap – Sugarbaby

Sugarbaby by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Sometimes your blogging friends have the coolest ideas… Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Crab, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe Crab, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad was the perfect weekend lunch or rather, oversized snack.  Crab and avocado is definitely a combination I am familiar with.  The addition of red grapefruit added great acidity to offset the richness and sweetness of the two main salad components. I omitted the cucumbers and peppers, and added cilantro, a very small amount of mayo, and a squirt of sriracha. 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…

French Fridays with Dorie – Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar

I am a lucky girl.  Today I am featuring a guest post by one of my favorite people, my college friend Adam of Balls and Pie.  A while back we were IM-ing about self-imposed meat hiatuses and his brand new stovetop smoker, and I mentioned that one of my future FFwD assignments would involve cured salmon.  I showed him Michael Ruhlman’s blog post on Dorie Greenspan’s Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar recipe, one thing led to another…  and twelve days ago I received an e-mail with a picture of  jars of salmon and potatoes.  The rest is history.  Thank you, Adam! Read More…

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).

Read More…

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…

Cardamom Macarons with Guava Filling


Recipe courtesy of Helen Dujardin, via Desserts Magazine

One of my biggest regrets related to my trip to France was that I did not bring back with me a box of macarons, the pretty almond meringue sandwich cookies that come in as many colors and flavors as you could think of.  Over the holidays, while my best friend was here in Puerto Rico, I bonded with Binbin, her SIL, over our love for baking and how we should tackle this elusive treat.  Unlike Binbin, though, I am not one of those people with the talent for making dainty, pretty things. I mix, drop, bake, and eat.  I was still curious as to whether I could pull off the macarons, and combed through the Internet for every tip and hint I could. Luckily, I found what seems to be the definite source for macarons as to recipe and methodology.  Tartelette’s Helen Dujardin walks through the process with such detail in her article Demystifying Macarons that I knew I could do it. I had the hardware (mixer, food processor, food scale)!

The basic French meringue macaron consists of:

The Meringue – beaten to a point where the whites are glossy and you can turn the mixer bowl over and everything stays in place
  • 100 grams of day-old egg whites. Letting them rest in the fridge for at least a day helps break down the proteins.
  • 50 grams of granulated sugar
The Almond Meal – ground almonds or almond flour mixed with confectioners’ sugar.
  • 110 grams of ground almonds
  • 200 grams powdered sugar

To the almond meal, I added a 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom for flavor.  I really like the warmth it imparts, which creates a nice contrast with the tart guava jam I was going to use for filling. 

The two components are then mixed by hand in about fifty quick strokes, until the mixture is well incorporated.  With a pastry bag, using a plain tip, pipe in circles of 1.5 inches in diameter on a parchment or silplat lined cookie sheet.  This part of the process was where I struggled – the pastry bag I have is a cheap one and it didn’t come with any plain tips.  I also overfilled the bag and the mixture was being squeezed out of the bottom and top part.  Don’t overfill your bags!    At the end I was so exasperated by the pastry bag and took out my small cookie drop!  The recipe made enough macarons for two cookie sheets.  I baked the first sheet for 11 minutes, and the second one for 12.  

After the macs cooled down, I spread some guava jam I had purchased at the farmers’ market and voila!  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought, but then again, I had some casualties in both batches in the form of cracked tops and undercooked meringue.  I’ll definitely try these again – but not before I buy a decent pastry bag!




Holiday Entertaining Roundup

We are a a few days away from the end of the holiday season, but I have already hung my apron. For our January 6th family lunch, my sister and I decided to buy lechón, the famous Puerto Rican style roast pork and morcillas (blood and rice sausage) from a nearby stand. I am slacking off in the kitchen and bringing a salad with a homemade vinaigrette.

From the well-documented Thanksgiving turkey to the various gatherings of friends in our home, I’ve had a great time entertaining during the 2010-2011 holidays.  Here is a brief recap of those dishes that DH and I have especially loved this time around, in addition to the sweets featured all through December:
  • Mama’s Spinach Dip
This appetizer recipe was one of my mother’s contributions to our school’s fundraising cookbook back in the day.  For the fifth edition of the Medtrullo, one of the unofficial office holiday parties, I put together this quick dip of equal parts of room temperature cream cheese and mayonnaise, 2 cloves of garlic, crumbled bacon, wilted spinach, and freshly ground black pepper.  We served it with pita chips but would make an excellent crudité dip as well.  It’s very easy to make and a great alternative to the commercially available spinach dips.

  • Betty Crocker’s Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
I made these to rave reviews to the compadres dinner, after photocopying the recipe off of my Mom’s decades old cookbook.  Although the recipe shares a name with the boxed variety found at supermarkets, we’re talking about the real deal here: Yukon golds sliced on a mandolin layered with a half-and-half based béchamel sauce (taking it a step up in the richness scale) and finely chopped onions, baked for about an hour fifteen minutes.  We served them with beef tenderloin with a cremini mushroom steak sauce, and a simple salad.

  • Rustic Italian Bread

One of my FoodBuzz fellow foodies, Tony T, posted this recipe for an Italian loaf.  I decided to bake my own bread to a later dinner party.  The simple recipe, paired with these guidelines, resulted in a loaf with a chewy crust and soft middle.  There will be a lot more bread baking in 2011!

  • Pork Tenderloin en Croute

For the dinner with our Parisian friends, we really wanted to pull out all the stops because they went out of their way to help us enjoy our brief stay in the city during September.  We had also stuck to classics for our previous hosted dinner in, so we broke out of the mold by making an alternative to the Beef Wellington – Pork Tenderloin en Croute.  This recipe takes from the traditional Beef Wellington the puff pastry crust and a ‘paté’ made out of white button and rehydrated wild dried mushrooms, parmesan cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. The pork is also generously slathered with whole grain mustard.  My creole mustard supply is running dangerously low now! We served the tenderloin with a wild mushroom risotto, a green salad with homemade vinaigrette, and Tony T’s bread.

  • Warm Chocolate Mousse
I’ll get you my pretty… sometime in 2011!
This one’s the dishonorable mention, the one that didn’t work out, the one that made me forget I had made caramel sauce to draw squiggly garnish lines earlier in the morning. What were meant to be cute little flour-less chocolate cakes, thanks to the resourcefulness of my friend Olivier, became delicious warm chocolate mousses. I should have let them in the oven for a little longer than what the recipe called for, but hey – now I know better. We served them with a small scoop of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream and laughed the kitchen faux pas off.

I’m really happy when I cook and I have especially loved seeing my family and friends enjoy some of these meals. I am already working on the list of places to visit and dishes to cook during 2011, so stick around!

Adam’s Latkes

On Saturday, I had to moderate comments on my post on the marbled thumbprint cookies, courtesy of my friend Adam (aka Pie).  Since I could not come up with a snappy reply immediately, I’ll let this post speak for itself.  Latkes are potato pancakes made out of shredded potatoes, onions, and other seasonings.  They are typical Hannukah fare, as the oil where they are fried symbolizes the miracle of the cruse of oil in The Temple which lasted for eight days instead of one.  Traditionally, they are served with sour cream and applesauce, but I didn’t have any on hand.  Did that stop me?  Saturday’s dinner was an excellent ice cream cone from Maggie Moo’s (key lime ice cream with crushed Teddy Grahams), so I was craving real food when I woke up on Sunday.  Those three lone Yukon golds I had in the produce bin were begging to be grated.

I made the recipe by the directions, using two cloves of garlic and generous amounts of salt and pepper. In retrospective should have tried squeezing out even more moisture out of the potatoes before adding the eggs and flour.  I should have also been a little bit more liberal with the use of oil to crisp up the potatoes, especially now that I know that part of the lore!  They were super tasty!  I served them with poached eggs, and a new brunch recipe was born.  The next step will be to come up with a sauce to make them fully into Latke’s Benedict (not that they really needed it).


Tradition?  Maybe not.  Delicious?  Oh yes!

So yes, Adam, I’ll be mailing you out some cookies this week.  Just let me figure out how to pack them to make sure they arrive fresh.

En Culebra… Magazine

My brother’s new venture, “En Culebra…” was featured today in local newspaper El Vocero



Download this file

Balls and Pie


I realize that food blogs are a dime a dozen these days.  Our needs for food and communication, coupled with the occasional desire to brag and the improvement in information sharing technologies have led to countless websites… just desserts, vegetarian, travel, pizza, sites that consolidate food blogs, food from every corner of the world, booze, food made with booze, people who cook their ways around cookbooks after that first person did it.  This list isn’t even the frost on the tip of the iceberg.


My friend, however, has found a niche that to date has not been covered in this cornucopia of culinary information – at least not in this joint form.  Today I present you Balls and Pie.  This is a website related to all kinds of food topics, especially if they are in ball or pie form.  If there’s anything that will set it apart from other food blogs, it is the wit that he, along with his brother Balls and his charming wife, will bring to the subject. I also can attest to his impeccable taste and joi de vivre when it comes to food.  We have to plan a very overdue visit to Cleveland soon.

(This so takes me back to the days of Geocities/Studentweb!  I had to say it…)