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Everything posted by Tropicalfox

  1. I see what you mean, and agree - especially about the "conquistadores" and their common influence, but I'm mostly referring to heat. Yes, in PR there is some heat used, but mostly added after cooking as an enhancer, such as in "asopao" and the peppers used are what they call "diablo rojo" combined in rum bottles with vinegar, herbs, sometimes pineapple peel, peppercorn, a little olive oil, etc... then set out in the sun with a loose cap for a few days until it "cures"... a few drops go a long way and is deliciously hot... But that's in PR... I realize that stateside, lots of the typical food (comida tipica) has suffered from the initial culture shock of not having specific ingredients available, and people had to make do. Even now, when I moved from the island to MD & PA in 1998, it was a struggle to get them, but I had a network of friends and family who sent me some Rican CARE packages until I planted my own ajicitos, recao, and oregano brujo... and the internet is a wonderful place to find other sources of those items needed to render a Boricua dish... Thanks for the history of our commonality... Tainos were spoken of as "those of the friendly face"... so saludos from this Taina...
  2. Katie, Did you add the jalapenos or is it in her recipe? The chili pepper used in sofrito is called "aji dulce or ajicitos dulces" (capsicum chinense) and it's a sweet chili with a fruitier taste and no heat. Jalapenos aren't popular in PR cuisine at all. Many people think PR food is just the same as Mexican food but it isn't... far from it! Both are unique, with rare common ground... especially with regard to heat. Sandra
  3. Hi Katie, All of the posters have given you good info on achiote. This is an essential ingredient in Puerto Rican cuisine and prepared right it will last quite some time, infusing color and an earthy flavor to rice, pasteles, etc... Please keep trying to find it in the ethnic aisle in supermarkets too, even Food Lion & Walmart carry it and usually pretty fresh... One tip to help you choose it is that if it's very dark, it's old... La Flor and Goya sell a variety of sizes but please don't buy the already prepared blend that's called "achiotina"... not good at all... And oil infused with regular achiote seeds has no comparison with powdered or paste... essentially, they are used very differently... I prepare about a quart at a time using corn or vegetable oil heated on medium high, and I add about a cup of the seeds to it when it's hot... stir it (it will be sizzling a bit) and turn off the burner... don't put a lid on it, just leave it alone and let it cool off... strain it into a glass jar, or plastic container, whichever is your preference... you can keep it under your sink, in the pantry, or in the fridge... you will love the beautiful color it has and how it turns your food into delicious, pleasing to the eyes, concoctions... the darker you make it, the less you need to use so experiment with the proportions... I like it dark because that's how I was raised, and because it imparts its flavor more easily like that... One thing about Daisy's cooking is that the first episodes showed recipes that were very Puerto Rican... not so with her latter shows... I think she sold out when she switched kitchens... I saw an episode today that had nothing PR in it, and the Spanish omelet she made was unlike anything we've eaten in my 34 years on the island... plus if you ask any Rican in PR what jicama is they would look at you like you've lost your mind!!! LOL!!! Sandra
  4. "Daisy Cooks" is not about Mexican food. It's really a NeoRican approach to Puerto Rican cooking. Some of the recipes are ok, others make me cringe, but at least it's better than Tyler Florence's Arroz con Gandules using jalapeno peppers!!!
  5. If I'm going back to save something in the kitchen, I'd grab my knives, put them in the pots and run... I use BIG pots so they'd fit without banging against each other... I don't believe I would be able to replace my "calderos" and rice wouldn't cook right in anything else...
  6. Cod fish and conch fritters seem to be a common food in all the islands. One very good rendition of cod fish fritters are the "accras" of Martinique. Similar to the Puertorrican "bacalaitos" but with chiles to make them spicy and very jummy I wonder if jueyes are unique to PR. The jueyes place Bux referred to in his last post is called Richards and is in Carolina. As a young girl my family used to make the trek from our house (near the airport) by the beach dirt road (sometimes getting stuck in the soft sand and having to push the car out of the ditches) and across the river on a very rustic raft ( one guy pulled a rope and another guy pushed with a pole ). Then we arrived in Carolina and at Richards. We feasted on jueyes done in different ways, simply boiled, with rice, in "alcapurrias" or salmorejo (the meat stewed and placed back in the shell for presentation). It was a whole day occassion and a memorable one. Now, you can take the "expreso" and or go by the beach and cross a bridge, into Carolina. Richards is still there. ← I lived most of my life in PR, and Richard's - also called Richards Place - was in Loiza (used to be called Loiza Aldea). The rustic raft was called "El Ancón" and was eliminated around 15 years ago when they built a huge bridge over the river (Río Grande de Loiza) connecting Piñones with Loiza. That entire route is still where the best food is sold in the "kioskos" and small family restaurants that dot the area.
  7. This is one of 2 ways I make pernil, under recipes, then Puerto Rican Roast... http://www.the-merrimans.net and this is the end result... hope someone tries and enjoys it...
  8. Tropicalfox

    Dinner! 2008

    <sigh> I ate a very ripe "parcha" quite a few years ago in my back yard and tossed the remains among the banana plants as fertilizer but instead, 2 passionfruit vines grew in that corner. I let one grow straight up and I nudged the other one so it would climb up the fence on the other side... a few months later I had a huge canopy that I could sit under to shield me from the sun while I ate more parchas that hung down all along the vines in various stages of ripeness.... made for delightful juices and "limbers" (frozen pops). As for the quenepas, I've been able to buy them in the Mexican grocery stores in MD, but haven't had any luck with parchas. I depend on CARE packages from my mom who still lives in PR. I think if I go to Lancaster or Philly I might have better luck. When I used to imbibe, I would place very ripe quenepas in a large bottle and pour white rum over it. Then I'd place it in a dark cabinet for a couple of months to cure. The end result was the most delicious concoction I've ever tasted. <sigh>
  9. Tropicalfox

    Dinner! 2008

    Hi Dr. J... Are those quenepas I see on the right in both pics??? The chillos (snappers) are fantastic. They remind me of the ones we used to catch when I lived in PR. Sandra
  10. Cooked as in a stewy soup with garbanzos is the only way I've ever eaten them. The gelatin creates a very thick sauce that is unctuous going down your throat. It's a flavor you'll never forget. I place them in a ziploc bag with lots of salt, leave them in the fridge for a few days, and rinse them off. Boiled until soft but not falling apart, add the garbanzos that were left soaking the night before & cooked in a separate pot (you never know how long dried garbanzos will take to cook). Olive oil, diced smoked ham, sofrito, extra garlic, cilantro, recao, oregano, tomato sauce, s&p, quartered potatoes. You can also add a few chunks of calabaza. Cook until potatoes are done and the sauce is thick. Mash a couple of potatoes if necessary. Serve with a side bowl of white rice which you add as needed, and a few slices of avocado. Absolutely delicious.
  11. My husband has always used gas and I've always used natural lump charcoal, but have tasted several cuts of beef & pork, plus some whole chickens, made on a gas grill. So what did we just purchase? A Charbroil Red - the big one - all infrared cooking with the feature that I like best, the self cleaning button. We'll be using it this 4th of July weekend so I'll report on how it all comes out by Monday. Sandra
  12. The only way I've ever had/made this is Puerto Rican style and it's called Carne Mechada. The meat is cut in half crosswise, then a slit is cut into the center of the eye lengthwise from end to end, about an inch wide. This "tunnel" is then stuffed with a mix of chopped onions, cubanelle peppers, sliced olives stuffed with pimento, diced smoked picnic ham and salted pork fatback, salt & pepper, oregano and a dash of vinegar. It's stuffed until you can't fit any more into it and you can feel how solid the center has become. Season the meat with adobo seasoning (I prefer Bohio but Goya will do just fine). Then you brown the meat on all sides in olive oil in a large pot or caldero. To this you add enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the meat and you let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until you feel that the meat is cooked through to the stuffing. Remove the meat to a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes. Slice the meat into about 1 inch slices and place back into the pot adding more water if needed to just about cover the slices of meat. Season the water at this point with some freshly mashed garlic, S&P, a couple of bay leaves. Simmer for about an hour or until almost tender. While this is cooking, prepare some sofrito in some olive oil - onions, cubanelle peppers, sweet chili peppers (aji dulce), garlic, then add a can of tomato sauce ad when the oil starts to make little bubbles on the surface you add cilantro, culantro (recao), oregano, and a Knorr beef bouillion cube. This mix is then added to the pot with some large potatoes, peeled and cut in half. Drizzle some achiote oil over everything (corn or olive oil heated up then some achiote seeds added to extract the coloring & subtle flavor). Add some alcaparrado (Goya stuffed olives with capers). Cook until the potatoes are done. Mash a couple if needed to thicken the broth. Adjust the seasonings. Serve with rice (of course!). Enjoy! Sandra
  13. Hummingbirdkiss, When I lived in Puerto Rico, I had a guanabana tree. I let the fruit ripen on the branch and waited for it to either drop or split open for optimum flavor/sweetness. I used the pulp for popsicles, juice, smoothees, etc. The flavor is so unique that it's hard to come up with a crust for your cheesecake, but may I suggest one made out of simple crushed vanilla wafers with some lime squeezed into the mix? Guanabana and lime go very well together. As for the topping, thinly sliced mango dipped in lime goes well together in my mind. If you spread the slices in a way that leaves space in the center, 3 strawberries sliced and fanned out, propped up against each other with the leaves still on, would look amazing... and taste good too! Somehow, chocolate - although among my favorites things to eat - doesn't quite mesh with the flavor of guanabana... to me, at least. Now, if you decide to make a parcha cheesecake (passionfruit), that would be a great candidate to combine with chocolate. Sandra
  14. You're welcome!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. My daughter is always asking for a big pot of it so I usually make it for a Sunday dinner and have everyone over. She's very figure concious but eats 3 bowls of it, covered with scoops of white rice, with no qualms. I guess you'll be making it again! Sandra
  15. Hi dockhl, How about using a "caldero"? It's used in Latin cuisine and it makes great "pegao". It's never enough to please everyone, but we happily share the rice crust every time. Many times the entire bottom of the caldero is gone before the rest of the rice is. I've searched online to see what a Persian rice cooker looks like but every page I tried was either a dead link or didn't have a pic, so I don't know if it's similar to a caldero. Sandra
  16. delicious recao... something I couldn't do without in my kitchen, even if I had to grow it indoors like I did when I first moved up to MD from Puerto Rico in 1998. I also had to grow my own ajicitos dulces (sweet chili peppers) after a small grocery store sold me hot ones that looked just like them. http://www.worldcrops.org/crops/Aji-dulce.cfm
  17. Tropicalfox


    Tri2Cook, I'd love to try your recipe. It sounds like it would be really tasty.
  18. a small bowl of rice with cuttlefish... comes out really dark and is great reheated in the microwave. I know it's late but what the heck... it called out to me!
  19. I'm certain the contestants sign a waiver specifying that they will refrain from punching GR out, no matter what... and it also most likely stipulates that they cannot sue him for embarrassing them by verbally stomping them into the ground at every opportunity, thereby causing them mental/emotional anguish. This year most of those signature dishes really looked nasty and I agree that this year's crop of masochists, errrrr, chefs, seems to be the worst ever but as others have mentioned, I can't stop watching!!! Sandra
  20. Tropicalfox


    Lisa, I didn't search first but I've seen many recipes posted in other threads. I'm a newbie to eGullet so I'll learn as time goes by. I look forward to your recipe. Sandra
  21. Tropicalfox


    Looking for a tried and true recipe for Tapioca Pudding using medium to large pearls, not flour or crushed pearls. I want to surprise my husband with some for the weekend if possible. Thanks in advance Sandra
  22. Thanks for the info! I forgot to mention that with the last one I made, i used a different mold and had some mix left over so I poured the rest into a large ramekin - without caramel - and set it in the same bain marie. It was done before the other one and it was a PITA to get it out without disturbing the other flan. I won't do that again! It was good, but tasted more like a creme brulee without the sugar glaze on top... but it was gone before I had a chance to savor a second spoonful.
  23. forever_young_ca - Thanks for the tip. I'll try it tomorrow. Lonnie - I vary between using a bit of water and just plain sugar, but most of the time I don't add water. I like the caramel pretty dark too. Just before the point where it could turn bitter/burnt, just like you do. I can't even imagine making flan with a pale caramel. Many times I can't even get to flip it over because everyone is hovering over it and want some immediately. They wait for it to cool off though because the last time one of them cut a piece out while it was warm I flipped out on them. A few hours in the fridge is best, but even better overnight - if I can keep them away from it. alanamoana - I sometimes think that it's because the bottom of the mold touches the bottom of the pan in the oven. Maybe if I place something between them it won't happen as much. My mom brought me a pana (breadfruit) last week and I reserved some to boil & mash it up to equal a cupful. I used this to make flan for Easter dinner and it was delicious. I made one with cream cheese the next day especially for my youngest son who stands by my side just to lick whatever I use to stir the mix. He's 24 mind you... I'll be making another one later on this week and will post a pic of it. Thanks to all for your kind suggestions and opinions. Sandra
  24. Greetings to all. I've made flan for most of my life and I never know when the caramel used to coat the mold will leave a crust on the bottom like brittle candy. It never happens on the sides, just the bottom. Does anyone know why it does this? Sandra
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