Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Arroz con Maiz – Puerto Rican Style Rice with Corn

Arroz con maíz puerto rican style

On the blog’s homepage mini slide show, you may have noticed a new tag floating with the pictures of the recent posts.  Domingo Criollo is a new section I am developing to share some of my favorite Puerto Rican or Puerto Rico influenced recipes.  These recipes are easy and a great introduction to the flavors of the island.  Truth be told, you can add sofrito to many of your own favorites soups and stews and they will instantly warm up with that touch of onion, garlic, peppers, cilantro and recap that’s so distinctive to the island’s cooking.  Puerto Rican food is not spicy, but rather savory and bursting with the taste of all those delicious aromatics. Read More…

Plantain Spiders – Arañitas de Platano

plantain spiders arañitas de platano

Food is a feast for the senses.  The first point of attraction is the way a dish looks and how it is presented.  Smell wafts through the nose.  Fingers and mouth take on texture and temperature.  Before the taste buds can have their way, it all explodes with a deafening CRUNCH.

I love plantain spiders – aka. arañitas de platano.  They are bites that truly engage all five senses.  Eating them is a loud experience.  That crunch, the hit of salt, the unmistakable smell of fried plantain. Read More…

Green Pigeon Pea Escabeche (Gandules en Escabeche)

green pigeon pea escabeche

A Holiday Tradition

Gandules – also known in the rest of the Caribbean as guandules or just peas – are the traditional Puerto Rican legume of the holiday season.  I dare you to go to a Christmas party in Puerto Rico without arroz con gandules.  These days, I might even extend that dare to Thanksgiving meals in the island.  The minute you taste the sofrito laced rice and peas, you know it’s Christmas or you are reminded of the season.

Green pigeon peas can be found either canned or frozen, with fresh peas being a little harder to come by.  I was extremely lucky a few years ago.  I had a co-worker that grew them on her backyard.  When the holiday season was around the corner, she would start taking orders for her cosecha, the harvest.  Although there are few things better dishes than arroz con gandules made with fresh peas,  the convenience of canned gandules cannot be denied, especially for recipes like this one. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted Chayote with Garlic

 

Jerusalem Artichokes Redmond Farmers Market

Last year E and I spent a week frolicking in the Pacific US Northwest/Canadian Southwest after IFBC wrapped up.  On our last day and a half before returning to Puerto Rico, we hung out around Redmond, a Seattle suburb famous for its proximity to the Woodinville wine tasting rooms, the Microsoft campus, and The Herbfarm.  After spending about an hour in the Redmond farmers’ market that Saturday, I decided the next time I visited that area I would rent an apartment with a good kitchen.  We were wowed by the wonderful produce we saw at the market, stand after stand.  I took an especially good look at the Jerusalem artichokes, aka sunchokes, knowing that I’d likely wouldn’t be seeing them again in the (near) future. Read More…

Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Lamb and Eggplant Picadillo

Picture courtesy of Lala López – a fashion and art blogger that should be in your radar!

I have a confession to make.

I live in Puerto Rico and I visited José Enrique’s flagship restaurant at la Placita de Santurce for the first time a month ago.  The restaurant has been operating non stop since 2007.  The lines have not thinned out since then.  It took friends visiting from Boston and the ‘it’s Tuesday, how bad can the wait be’ reasoning to get me to Calle Duffaut. Read More…

Five Lessons: Oliva Dieta Mediterranea

For many home cooks like me, a meal is an opportunity to be inspired. Ingredients we thought we were familiar with take on new shapes, or are paired in combinations that did not seem possible. Recently, I visited Oliva Dieta Mediterranea, the restaurant lodged in the Olive Boutique Hotel in Condado, Puerto Rico. Oliva – as it is often referred to – was acquired by its head chef, Argentine expat Nicolás Gómez. Chef Nico renewed its concept, opting to work directly with farmers and local food producers to bring a menu that’s as much fun for him to prepare as it is for the diner to enjoy.  Additionally, he lowered the prices in many items, making the restaurant more accessible to both locals and tourists. Read More…

Summer Sips at Gallo Negro Santurce

Gallo Negro Santurce - (Pirates) Booty Punch

(Pirates) Booty in Santurce

I’m not one to make a lot of cocktails at home.  Although lately I have been experimenting with simple syrups and homemade sodas, I haven’t developed that knack for mixing sweet, sour, bitter and savory in a glass.  Enjoying cocktails is one of the highlights of many a dinner out these days, especially with the continued mixology boom.  One of the best places to enjoy cocktails with specialty spirits and mixers is Gallo Negro in Santurce, a San Juan neighborhood.  The brainchild of siblings John Mercedes and chef Maria T. Mercedes-Grubb, Gallo Negro opened in 2013 and since then has offered modern takes on American and Caribbean cuisine.  Chef Maria first made waves in the Puerto Rico gastro-scene  in 2011 with the UDC – Underground Dining Club, one for the island’s first pop up restaurants.

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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!

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week 2014

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week 2014

Foodies in the island, rejoice!  For the third consecutive year, Puerto Rico Restaurant Week will take over some of the best restaurants in San Juan.  In addition to their regular menu offerings, the participating restaurants will offer pre-fixe dinner menus for $28 or $38 with options for the appetizer, entrée and dessert.  For the first time – and especially exciting for me, now that I’m back working in the metro area – several venues will also offer pre-fixe lunch menus for $14 or $19.  Close your kitchens from Wednesday, May 14th to Tuesday, May 20th!

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Saborea Puerto Rico Liveblog – Sunday April 6th

Saborea Puerto Rico Liveblog

We’re live blogging from Saborea Puerto Rico today!  You will know what we are tasting, who are we watching and talking to as it happens.  For more real-time Saborea updates, follow the Twitter and Instagram hashtags #saboreapr and #saboreando. Read More…

Saborea Puerto Rico 2014 – Saturday April 5th

Saborea Puerto Rico 2014

 Saborea Puerto Rico… it gets better every time!

Today we arrived at the Parque del Escambrón close to noon.  The day was beautiful!  On the Thursday press conference, it POURED and Friday was very rainy but there was nothing but blue skies today.  It was breezy at the Parque del Escambrón – the perfect weather to enjoy this culinary extravaganza. Read More…

The High Food Holiday: Saborea Puerto Rico 2014

Looking for more Saborea 2014 coverage?  Click here for my Saturday recap and here for Sunday’s liveblog.

April and May are my “big” food months.  No offense to the traditional Thanksgiving-Christmas-Reyes trifecta, but when I think of the best months to celebrate Puerto Rican cuisine, spring time takes the cake.

Saborea Puerto Rico

Some of the awesome local chefs featured in Saborea Puerto Rico 2014, with Clarissa Jimenez, president of the PRHTA and the Secretary of Tourismo Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort. (Photo credit: PRHTA)

Next weekend, the island’s premiere gastronomic event, Saborea Puerto Rico, will take place.  This culinary extravaganza is presented by the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) and it celebrates its seventh year.  Saborea Puerto Rico 2014 is a weekend-long feast of food and beverages that showcases the local hospitality industry while raising money for the PRHTA educational programs and scholarship fund.

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Cassava Shepherd’s Pie (Pastelón de Yuca)

pastelon de yuca

Have you ever gotten so hooked on a recipe you’ve made it over and over in a very short period of time?   This holiday season I made not two but three pastelones de yuca.  A Caribbean interpretation of the shepherd’s pie, this pastelón is a layered casserole that combines yuca (cassava) and a savory filling – meat, soy, or veggies.   Pastelones are one of the most versatile pies that can be assembled.  The starches and the fillings are limited only by your imagination.  Any root vegetable or plantain that can be mashed into a soft but substantial puree can be used for pastelón.  Some of my favorites include ripe plantain (the classic!), malanga (taro), and potato.    Read More…

Farmers Market Finds: January 19th, 2014

farmers market finds celery

It has been a while since I last visited the Cooperativa Organica Madre Tierra farmers market at la Placita Roosevelt in Hato Rey.  Today the stands were full of delicious greens, root vegetables, plantains and citrus.

This time around, I shopped most of my goods at a stand from some young farmers from Orocovis, a small mountain town right in the middle of the island.  They had a delicious stock of reasonably priced greens.  From their table, I picked out the impressive celery bunch in the top picture, a salad/stir fry mix that included rainbow chard and tatsoi among other greens, kale and arugula. Read More…

Gougères (de Queso del País)

Gougeres de queso del pais

Feliz día de Reyes!  Happy Epiphany Day!

One of my New Year’s blogging resolutions is to continue incorporating Puerto Rican ingredients into my posts.  While some times these flavors will be shown in their traditional preparations, it’s also fun to integrate them into dishes from other cuisines.  Today’s recipe, gougères, is a traditional French cream puff that can be enjoyed as as sweet treat or as a savory snack or appetizer.  Instead of using Gruyére or Cheddar cheese, I made these with queso del país – Puerto Rican white cheese. Read More…

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