Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

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:

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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…

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…

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.

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…

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week is Back!

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week 2015

From May 27 until June 3rd, Puerto Rico will celebrate the fourth Puerto Rico Restaurant Week.  This highly anticipated event will take place from Wednesday, May 27th through Wednesday June 3rd.  As in previous years, restaurants throughout the Island will offer pre-fixe dinner menus for $28 or $38, with options for the appetizer, entrée and dessert. Several restaurants will also offer pre-fixe lunch menus for $20. Participants include more than twenty-five of the best eateries in San Juan, Santurce, Condado, Miramar, Ocean Park, Isla Verde, Hato Rey, Guaynabo and Humacao. Read More…

Saborea Puerto Rico 2015

Photo Credit: Joe Colon for Saborea Puerto Rico. All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: Joe Colon for Saborea Puerto Rico. All rights reserved.

Earlier this week we talked about my five lessons for best enjoying Saborea Puerto Rico.  I’ll show you today why you shouldn’t miss the most important culinary showcase in the Caribbean.

New restaurants for culinary adventures

My friends and I are already planning road trips to visit delicious “new for us” places like Asadura in Luquillo, and Asador San Miguel in Naranjito.

Straight from the smoker, ribs and smoked chicken marinated in pineapple from Asadura in Luquillo.

Glazed smoked pork with shoestring potatoes from Asador San Miguel

Winery Experience in Puerto Rico

We love to do wine tastings and visiting wine countries in general.  The Ambrosia Fine Wines area in the middle of the Tasting Pavillion brings the tasting room experience to Saborea Puerto Rico.  The delicious wines and knowledgeable pouring staff will guide you through the wines and suggest pairings from the featured Saborea restaurants and food artisans.

White wine flight, featuring European and Californian wines

New Products Showcased

Our favorite discoveries in the new product front were the versatile recipes from La Hacienda Foods, the micro-greens from Tropical Fresh, and the delicious Empanadillas Geometricas available to purchase by the dozen.  Those will come in especially handy next time we’re having a party.  The chicken curry and carnitas ones blew our minds.

Salmon bites with cilantro cream cheese and micro cilantro from Tropical Fresh.

Chef Talent for Sunday

I cannot stress this enough.  All the chefs we talked to yesterday are incredibly approachable.  We bumped into a few in the Tasting Pavillion and didn’t hesitate to ask questions about recipes and their restaurants.  Whatever your kitchen conondrum, take it to the experts.  And chances are you will learn a trick or five by sitting in the GE Monogram Demo Kitchen Theatre.

 

This is today’s GE Monogram Demo Kitchen Theatre schedule:

11:30 AM
Chef Alex Perichi-Instituto de Banca & Juan Nieves

12:00 AM
José Santos: presented by Dominican Republic Department of Tourism & Pedro Alvarez

12:30 PM
Denisse Oller & Maria Germania Diaz

1:00 PM
Chef Chango & Luis Piñeiro

1:30 PM
Jeremie Cruz & Chef Marilyn & Angel Santiago

2:00 PM
Chef Lorraine & Ana Parga

2:30 PM
Mayra Alejandra & Lorelei Carrión; presented by Splenda

3:00 PM
Juan José Cuevas & Luis Castillo & Rafael Barrera

3:30 PM
Ben Vaughn & Giovanna Huyke

4:00 PM
Puerto Rico National Culinary Team 2015
Johnattan Hernandez, Gerardo Lugo, Suzette Diaz Alberto Febo- Jorge Olivera, Elvin  Rosado: presented by Subway

4:30 PM
Victor Rosado & Kunal Chakrabarti

5:00 PM
Ventura Vivoni & Joel Rodriguez

5:30 PM
Josue Diaz & Hector Gonzalez

Need more reasons?

Browse through Twitter and Instagram using the #SaboreaPR hashtag to see all the great food and moments enjoyed by many.  And head out to El Escambrón to enjoy it for yourself!

Five Lessons: Saborea Puerto Rico

Saborea Puerto Rico

The Saborea season is finally here!  Saborea Puerto Rico kicks off this next Thursday, April 9th, celebrating the best of Puerto Rican gastronomy and hospitality.  For the eighth consecutive year, this culinary extravaganza takes over San Juan, showcasing local chefs, restaurants, produce and artisanal products.

We’d like to think we are Saborea veteranos after three years of enjoying this festival, so we will be sharing our top five tips to enjoy the Saborea experience.  Got any of your own?  Make sure to share them in the comments section below.

Read More…

Chunky Mojo Isleño

Salinas Puerto Rico

Photo Credit – Angel Figueroa. All rights reserved.

On Sundays, people pile up their families in their cars and take off to explore the island and every corner’s signature flavors.  On today’s Domingo Criollo feature, we ‘visit’ the Southern Puerto Rico town of Salinas through this recipe for chunky mojo isleño.

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How to Make Mofongo

how to make mofongo

Mofongo is of Puerto Rico’s signature dishes.  It can be found in every corner of the island, from the humblest cafeteria to white tablecloth establishments.  This mash is traditionally prepared with green plantains, garlic, pork cracklings, and olive oil.  Although versions that feature ripe plantain, yuca, breadfruit or some combination of these are becoming more popular, the classic version will always be green plantain.  Plantains were brought over from Africa during the 16th century and were a staple of the slaves’ diet.  The mofongo we know today evolved from fufú, a root vegetable mash also from African origin.

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GF360˚ Top 5 Posts of 2014

top five posts 2014

Un año que viene y otro que se va…

I love putting together the now traditional GF360˚ top 5 new posts of each year.  For starters, it reinforces the kind of writing and experiences I want to continue having and sharing with all of you.  There is a lesson learned for each of these posts.

Drumroll please!  GF360˚ Top 5 posts of 2014 are… Read More…

Puerto Rican Christmas Recipe Roundup

Puerto Rico

I think I have quizzed you on this important fact.  What country celebrates the longest holiday season?

If you answered anything other than a rousing “Puerto Rico!”, click here for my original tutorial on Puerto Rican Christmas.  One sentence summary?  Puerto Rican Christmas stretches from the day after Thanksgiving to mid January.  That gives you plenty of time to enjoy the delicacies of the season, cleanse your palate from the overdose of lechón, arroz con gandules, and coconut sweets, and then do it all over again before it is time for la Calle San Sebastián.

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Puerto Rican Roast Chicken

Puerto Rican Style Roast Chicken

Last week, after a late night at the office, I found myself scrambling to get to the supermarket on time to grab a rotisserie chicken.  At one of the grocery stores I shop at, if you get there after 8pm chances are you’ll find the chickens no one wanted – if you are lucky.  Burnt wings, torn skin, just sad looking chickens that have been sitting around for a while.  Although everyone needs a good standby place to go grab one, many publications and renowned chefs agree that learning to roast a chicken is an essential kitchen skill. Read More…

Mofongo Mashing

Necessity is the mother of invention.  Or at least of managing your kitchen with what you have.

While mortars and pestles – pilones as they are known in Spanish – are essential kitchen equipment, sometimes even your best meaning friends do not have one in their house when those cravings for mofongo hit.  Mofongo – one of Puerto Rico’s signature dishes – consists of fried plantain chunks that are smashed with fresh garlic, olive oil, a little bit of chicken stock, and crackly pork rinds or bacon. Read More…

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