Ivonne's Food Blog

Welcome to my Food Blog. I am the Editor-in-Chief of El Boricua, 100% Puerto Rican, born in Río Piedras and raised between there and Cayey.

I'm a very busy person. I have a 'real'  9 to 5 job. I have to drive at least one hour to and from work daily. I have a family, dogs and a house to run. I love writing and container gardening. And I'm pretty sure I like cooking, for sure I love writing about it.

Most of my writing and editing ideas come to me in the morning when I am getting ready for work somewhere around 6:30 am (thus this photo).

So as not to loose miscellaneous articles about food I will post them on this page for safekeeping. Read my posts below.



Garbanzos guisados con patitas

Aug2017 - Papi loved it when mami prepared this dish. Garbanzos con patitas is chick peas with pig feet. It is a savory stew-like dish surprisinly easy to make. I cook the pigs feet in a crock-pot along with ham for about 4 hours until the meat is tender and let this cool. Then I separate the feet into sections. The rest is 'un guame'. It is a matter of cooking ingredients in a medium sized caldero along with the meat and stewing this until done. Sounds like a lot of work but it is really not. You can boil the meat one day while you are cooking and refrigerate it to prepare it the next day. Really simple.

See the full recipe in the September issue of EL BORICUA, a monthly publication of Puerto Ricans. The publication includes 'un poquito de todo' (a little bit of everything), starting with lots of recipes with photos, old fashioned recipes of tortitas, and recipes with green and ripe plantains, beverage, places to visit on your next trip, history, food blogs, music, strange foods islanders eat (strange to us, not to them, ha, ha), Taínos, monthly calendar of historical events we should all know, how to create tropical gardens anywhere you live, conservation, bits about how to speak Puerto Rican and our refranes, and a lot more about Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico. Only $15.00/per year. http://www.elboricua.com/SubscribeNow.html

Rellenos de papa

These mashed potato balls are stuffed with picadillo, a savory meat mixture, then fried to a golden brown. They are crispy on the outside and meaty inside. It’s like having Shepard’s Pie to go. What a concept, comfort food in a 'to go package' and very popular in Puerto Rico. We have deviced an easy method that will help make even sized potatoes and easier to fill and close. We have even included a step-by-step tutorial. Don't miss it. click here

Coconut Bread Pudding

Large tray for party
  • 2 loaves sliced bread or French bread. Old bread is best.
  • 1 can of cream of coconut (15 oz )
  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz each)
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (13.5 oz each)
  • 1 can of evaporated milk (12 oz each)
  • ½ cup granulated white Sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Tear bread into half-dollar sized pieces into the largest bowl you have. Do not squish the bread at this point to prevent hard clumps in your pudín.

Step 3: Pour the remaining ingredients into the bowl. Using your hands, squish and mix the bread and liquid until well combined. Pour into a very large greased pan.

Step 6: Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. When done they should be slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Step 7: Eat and Enjoy!

Note: don't use Asian milks since they add other ingredients to their milk.

Criollo Salad Dressing

It was Papi's job to make the salad dressing, per Mami's recipe. It was simple, just some minced ingredients, Olive oil and vinegar and it was delicious. So delicious that is was the 'cover-dish' requested for my Dad to bring at parties. He would stand at the end of the serving table ready to pour olive oil on everyone's salad. And of course he loved all the compliments. The full recipe will be in the August issue of El Boricua. But you can try it before then. Just has lots of minced garlic, peppers, and onions, salt and pepper.

See the full recipe in the July issue of EL BORICUA, a monthly publication of Puerto Ricans. The publication includes 'un poquito de todo' (a little bit of everything), starting with lots of recipes with photos, old fashioned recipes of tortitas, and recipes with green and ripe plantains, beverage, places to visit on your next trip, history, food blogs, music, trivia, facts, strange foods islanders eat (strange to us, not to them, ha, ha), Taínos, monthly calendar of historical events we should all know, how to create tropical gardens anywhere you live, conservation, bits about how to speak Puerto Rican and our refranes, and a lot more about Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico. Only $15.00/per year. http://www.elboricua.com/SubscribeNow.html

Papaya Coconut Smoothie

  • 1½ cups ripe papaya, cubed and frozen
  • 1 small ripe banana, cubed and frozen
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, or to taste

The papaya and banana should be frozen before preparing the smoothie since no ice will be added. This is a very simple recipe, just perfect for summer. Blend ingredients until creamy and smooth, add more coconut milk if too thick. Serve immediately. Any leftovers can be frozen into popsicles.

Ensalada de Carrucho or Conch Salad

June2017 - The most difficult part of this repice is preparing the conch meat. Once that is done the meat is marinaded in lemon and pepper and salad ingredients are added and is ready to serve after 30 minutes. The key ingredient in conch salad- the conch- is a true treasure of the sea. It’s raw, white meat comes from the regal looking pink-lipped and spiral-shelled Queen Conch (pronounced “konk”, not “konch”). Technically speaking, the Queen Conch is native to the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Brazil to as far north as Bermuda. Unfortunately, due to rapid depletion in the Caribbean and the Americas, the species is slowly dying out (and said to be commercially extinct).

Indigenous to the region, conch has been consumed in the Caribbean since the days of the first inhabitants. Not only was the Queen Conch used for food, but its spiral shells were also carved into various tools, musical horns, and ceremonial objects. As a food source, conch has outstanding nutritional value as a high source of protein.

As a shellfish, the large, edible sea snail has a mildly sweet, clam-like flavour and a chewy texture somewhat comparable to calamari (although not quite the same). Characteristically, the meat from this ocean mollusk is quite tough and need processing. This dish is sometimes served raw in the Caribbean. This recipe is for cooked conch.

Salad ingredients are: 8 oz tenderized conch, 10 tbsp fresh lime juice, 5 tbsp fresh orange juice, 1 ripe diced tomato, ¼ cup diced onion, 1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced, ½ cup diced bell peppers, 3 minced hot peppers, sliced olives, capers, 2 Tbsp olive oil, minced recao or cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Before serving add avocado and stir.

Cut snail in half and rinse well to remove sand and other particles. Boil in salted water for about 3 hours and 15 minutes in a non stick pot. You might need to add more water several times until the time is up. The snail needs to be covered with water at all times. The water might get foamy and might spill over, just lower the temperature and remove foam. Make sure to turn the meat over now and then.

Clean the conch again, remove slime, and scrape meat with a knife to remove anything gummy, remove tail end, of course. Rinse again and dry with paper towels. Cut into small cubes or strips. Place in mixing bowl with salad ingredients. Cover and let the the salad marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Add diced avocado, salted, mix and serve.

Croquetas de Jamón

This amazing appetizer or 'tapas' is so delicious. Golden brown nuggets of pure, hammy heaven and easy to prepare. Once you prepare these, they will become your personal weakness. Hey, who says appetizers are only for parties? Do you have a special movie you plan to watch all by yourself? Prepare these to enhance your movie enjoyment. Have them ready to fry in the fridge, and at any given moment of weakness just throw them in the oil until done. And no, you don't have to share this salty, smokey treat. And you don't have to be Puerto Rican or even Latina to enjoy either. Serve them with Salsa Rosa or any other dipping sauce you prefer.

See the full recipe in the July issue of EL BORICUA, a monthly publication of Puerto Ricans. The publication includes 'un poquito de todo' (a little bit of everything), starting with lots of recipes with photos, old fashioned recipes of tortitas, and recipes with green and ripe plantains, beverage, places to visit on your next trip, history, food blogs, music, strange foods islanders eat (strange to us, not to them, ha, ha), Taínos, monthly calendar of historical events we should all know, how to create tropical gardens anywhere you live, conservation, bits about how to speak Puerto Rican and our refranes, and a lot more about Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico. Only $15.00/per year. http://www.elboricua.com/SubscribeNow.html



Salsa Rosa

June2017 - This is a simple dipping sauce made with just a few ingredients, stir and serve, no cooking involved. We use it on tostones and practically on anything fried, in sandwiches, and sometimes even on meat.

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
¼ teaspoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
dash of Adobo
¼ teaspoon pique (hot sauce)



June2017 - I grew up eating guayabas. Everywhere we lived, everywhere we went there were guayaba trees and lots of them. Delicious in every way. No peeling, no spitting out the pits. It was a delicious snack you could just go to the backyard and pick from the trees. Besides its unique flavor and fragrance, guayabas has been hailed as one of the super fruits due to the numerous health benefits it offers. It indeed is a powerhouse of nutrients. “This humble fruit is extraordinarily rich in vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants that are beneficial for skin.



Beans and Sausage Soup

Even though Puerto Rico is tropical, islanders serve soup often. It it an easy and delicious dish to serve and can serve plenty. Mami made soup no less than twice a week, and so did her mother. Soup is served with a slice of toasted buttered French bread.

There’s nothing like a good soup when you’re tired of eating fast food and at random restaurants. While cooking at home is always easy on the wallet, soups are often packed with a myriad of beans, which means you’re getting even more bang for your buck (and a full tummy too!).

Soups are also a great way to have something pre-prepared for those long work days when you get home and want a meal that’s easy to warm up. Cook soup and freeze in single serving containers or a large plastic bowl so you always have a healthy, accessible meal ready to go.

My favorite soups always have beans and some kind of meat. I love sausage so you know this is one of my favorite recipes. It is traditional island cooking with sofrito, beans, sausage, veggies, and this one has spinach, which I love. My mother used cabbage in some of her soups, but I like spinach better for the wonderful flavor.


See the full recipe in the July issue of EL BORICUA, a monthly publication of Puerto Ricans. The publication includes 'un poquito de todo' (a little bit of everything), starting with lots of recipes with photos, old fashioned recipes of tortitas, and recipes with green and ripe plantains, beverage, places to visit on your next trip, history, food blogs, music, strange foods islanders eat (strange to us, not to them, ha, ha), Taínos, monthly calendar of historical events we should all know, how to create tropical gardens anywhere you live, conservation, bits about how to speak Puerto Rican and our refranes, and a lot more about Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico. Only $15.00/per year. http://www.elboricua.com/SubscribeNow.html


Mofongo de plátano maduro

May 2017 - - - Abuela made a great tasting mofongo using ripe plantains and adding onions, garlic, and bacon. It is delicious and I grew up eating this often.This is the way Cubans make mofongo and they call it Fufú (not to be confused with what Boricuas call fufú, a spell, ha! ha!). It is simple to make.

Peel and cut ripe plantains into 2" chunks, boil in salted water for about 10 minutes after boiling begins and are fork tender, drain.

Meanwhile cook 1 slice of bacon per plantain, (save the grease) and chop. Mince 1 garlic clove per plantain and chop a bit of onion, about 1 tbsp per plantain.

Mash the plantains using a potato masher while plantains are still warm (don't over mash, should be sort of lumpy, add the bacon, chopped onion and garlic. Now sort of slightly mash this together, use a bit of the bacon grease to tie it all together. Use salt and pepper to taste, and that's all there is to this amazing dish. This is how my Puerto Rican grandmother made it. I've seen some recipes out there that include mayo, and that's a big NO NO, if you want authentic food.



Filetes de Chillo in Sauce

May2017 - This is a stove top dish that is a breeze to make and delicious in every way. Chillo is a fish common in Puerto Rican waters, not sure the name in English, but you can use any fish.

6 fish fillets
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon lime juice 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced

1 tbsp sliced olives & capers
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry white wine

Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion, garlic, oregano and bell pepper. Sauté until onion is tender, about 4 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients to pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Move vegetables aside in the skillet and add the fish, seasoned with Adobo.
Spoon the veggies and sauce over the fish.
Cook this on medium-low for about 5 minutes on each side until done spooning sauce over fish, now and then, until done.



Coconut Sheet Cake

May2017 - This flavorful and deliciously moist cake is perfect for parties. I choose this coconut cake because we are islanders after all. It reminds me of my island childhood, my grandparents had a few coconut trees in their property. Coconut trees are perfect for those hammocks we all love. The ratio of frosting to cake is greater on a sheet cake, so enjoy!

I use a short cut with a yellow cake mix box, and add ingredients according to box, however, I susbstitute melted butter for all water, add half cup sour cream, and 2 tsp. coconut extract. Bake according to directions on a sheet pan with a side lip, of course, like a large cookie sheet (15 x 10 x 1) or something similar. Bake per box instructions, usually between 20 to 30 minutes at 350°. Remove from oven and poke the cake with a fork.

Take a large container of buttermilk frosting, add 1½ tsps. coconut extract and stir until smooth. If not smooth enough put in microwave and use 'soften' setting at 10 seconds at a time until soft. Cover the cake with this while cake is still pretty warm. Then top with toasted sweetened shredded coconut. (You just need a bit of toasted coconut, use a non stick skillet, add coconut and toast over high heat, done in just a few minutes).




Nothing is as delicious as Picadillo over white rice. It' comfort food for us!

Start with olive oil in a heavy skillet, add sofrito and cook that for a couple of minutes, add chopped onions, bell peppers, and fresh minced/mashed garlic, and cook another minute or so. Add ground beef at room temperature. Break up the meat unto the sofrito and cook for a few minutes until almost done. Add half cup of tomato sauce, half a can of water, a packet of Sazón, stir and cook another few minutes until it starts to thicken. At the end add sliced olives with pimentos and capers, fresh chopped cilantro, and peas! Some put a handfull of raisins in and if your guests don't like green olives, use black olives. And you're done! Serve left overs a few days later with a fried egg on top! Yum!



Bistec Guisao

If I had to describe Latin cuisine in one word it would be flavor. For me, preparing dishes Mami used to cook is heaven; they are my comfort food. Can't tell you how often neighbors ask me if I'm a chef. 'Wow, where did you learn how to cook? The entire neighborhood smells like a restaurant!'

Sprinkle very thin steak with meat tenderizer and season with fresh minced/mashed garlic, salt and pepper, and Sazonador Total. Set aside. Slice 1 large onion into thin rings and 1 large tomato into thin rings, set aside.

First we brown the meat. Heat a large frying pan (I use an iron skillet) until VERY HOT. Add 2 tsp of oil then half of the steak and cook less than a minute on each side. Set steak aside, add another teaspoon of oil and cook remaining steak. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, add another teaspoon of oil and add the onions. Season with salt, pepper and Sazonador Total and reduce heat to medium-low, cook for 2 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and cumin and reduce heat to medium-low. Add about 1/4 cup of water, 1 pkt Sazón Goya, and simmer a few minutes to create a sauce, add more water if needed, taste adjust seasoning as needed.  Return the steak to the pan along with the drippings, combine well and cook a few more minutes to heat up the meat. Remove from heat. Serve over white rice with a salad.

This is pretty much a simple and quick recipe. First start cooking the rice and the meat will be done way before the rice is ready.



Bolitias de Monfongo

April2017 - These are fairly simple to make. Just prepare tostones as you would regularly, fry until golden, but not crispy (yes, fry twice). Prepare mofongo as you would ordinarily, That is, mash the tostones while they are still warm, add fresh minced/mashed garlic, bacon pieces, maybe a bit of bacon grease if too dry, salt and pepper (add pique at this point, if you like). Once the mofongo is ready, should be warm and moist, shape into small balls about the 1½" in diameter (bite sized). Make sure to squeese the little balls so they are tight and don't fall apart. Set them aside until you are done with all the monfongo. Next fry the bolitas in plenty of oil just to get them a bit crunchy, not toasty, and drain on paper towels. Serve with Salsa Rosa.

These could be partially prepared ahead, once bolitas are shapped, refrigerate until ready to fry and serve, just bring to room temperature first. You can also add a bit of minced chorizo. Yum!



Deviled Eggs Criollo

A simple appetizer is made even more delicious criollo style. Simply add Sazonador Total, and sprinkle with Smoked Paprika. That's it. You know how to boil eggs already.

Boil 2 additional eggs of which will only use the yolks and discard their whites to make sure eggs have more yolk than normal. When making a dozen eggs, boil 14 eggs, discard whites of 2 eggs and go from there.

Once the eggs are cooked, drain hot water and let tap water run over the hot eggs and a minute or so. Drain that water and toss eggs around a bit so the shells crack considerably. Add more tap water, add some ice and let the eggs cool down for another 15 minutes or so. Cracking the shells and letting the eggs sit in water makes peeling the eggs a cinch. Drain the water and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Peel.

Proceed to slice and season yolks with at about ½ cup mayo, a squeeze of mustard, add salt and pepper and Sazonador Total by Goya. Finish by sprinkling with Smoked Paprika. Delish!


A Puerto Rican Tortilla is a tortilla Española. Many Latin American countries make a delicious Spanish omelet such as this. These are versitele, good for not only breakfast, but lunch, dinner or after movie late meal. Tortillas are so easy to make and can be made with a large variety and combination of ingredients, from meats to veggies.

Bacon Mushroom Spinach Tortilla

5 large eggs
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons Sazonador Total by Goya
Dash of hot sauce
2 dashes smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups baby spinach
1 Roma tomato, diced
Shredded cheese topping is optional

    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Sazonador, and hot sauce; season with paprika, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
    • Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
    • Add garlic and mushrooms to the skillet, and cook in bacon grease, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    • Stir in spinach and tomato until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in egg mixture and bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons, until well combined. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Top with remaining bacon.
    • Place into oven and bake until top is set and golden brown, about 14-15 minutes.
      If adding cheese on top this is the next step. Bake another few minutes to melt the cheese.
    • Serve immediately.


    For breakfast serve with toasted French bread and café con leche.
    For other meals include a salad and wine.



Arroz con dulce
Candied Coconut Rice or Coconut Rice Pudding

1½ cups uncooked rice 4¼ cups coconut milk
1½ teaspoons salt
3 cinnamon sticks
2 ounces ginger
6 whole cloves
Pinch of nutmeg-optional
1½ cups sugar
½ cup raisins 

3/4 cup coconut milk (reserve to use at the end)

Rinse 1½ cups uncooked rice and soak in lots of fresh water to cover for about 2 hours. The rice will soak up the water so use plenty of water or add more if needed.

  1. About twenty minutes before rice is finished soaking combine the 4½ cups of coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in a medium size caldero.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to moderate, cover and boil for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain rice thoroughly and add to caldero. Mix and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and cook unitl rice is completely dry, without stirring.
  4. Add the sugar and raisins, stir, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes, without stirring.
  5. Add reserved 3/4 cup coconut milk and stir. Turn heat to moderate and boil for about 30 minutes, or until rice dries again. In this cooking period, turn rice over occasionally and scrape bottom of caldero.
  6. Remove spices. Spoon rice into a flat serving platter. Allow to cool at room temperature.
  7. This is served cold


Papas Bravas (March2017)

Simply delicious way to serve potatoes.

4 strips bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil for sautéing 
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced thin
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley or recao
2 teaspoons paprika

Sauté the bacon on low-medium heat in a large covered sauté pan, until the fat is rendered. Add olive oil, onions and bell pepper and continue sautéing until the onions get limp. Add the minced garlic and potatoes and toss to coat well. Lightly salt & pepper -- you'll need to adjust the seasoning after the potatoes get tender and you can taste them.

Sprinkle on the paprika, cover and cook at medium heat for five minutes. Reduce heat to low and let simmer. The dish is done when the potatoes are fork tender, approximately 25-35 minutes. (Much depends on the thickness of your slices and the temperature of the stove top. The nice thing is, you can let this cook on a back burner while you prepare your entree.)

Sprinkle with chopped parsley or recao and serve hot as a side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This also makes a hearty appetizer.


Guanimes con Bacalao guisao

First desalt the bacalao by rinsing excess salt in warm water and boiling it in fresh water, changing the water at least twice. Save the first water to boil guanimes. Once bacalao is desalted and cooled, break up into pieces or lightly shred using your hands.

For the bacalao guisado, heat olive oil in a medium caldero, add sofrito, diced peppers, onions, fresh minced/mashed garlic, 1 pkt Sazón, one this cooks a few minutes, add tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, salt, pepper, sliced olives with pimentos, and capers. Bring this to a boil and add the bacalao. Cook another 5 minutes or so.


1¼ cup of all purpose flour
2 cup of cornmeal
4 cups of water to boil (use bacalao water)
1 teaspoon of salt
sprinkle Adobo for more flavor
1 teaspoon of olive oil

In a medium sauce heat the four cups of water (use bacalao water). Once water is warm, if using bacalao water, skip the salt, if not add salt and two tbsp olive oil. 

To make the guanimes, mix the flours and Adobo together and slowly add warm water until you start creating the dough that has a consistency to make dough balls in your hands. The balls should be moist and soft and not hard and dry. Add more water if too dry, or a bit more flour if too moist.

Start by making a ball about the size of a lime, and then start rolling it in your hands to start giving them that cigar shape (note some will curl during cooking and that's fine). Drop guanimes in the boling water. Cook the guanimes 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness. Drain so they don't stick together. Note the water in the pan will become slurry from the guanimes, so drain the guanimes.

Once the guanimes are cooked, plate 5 guanimes, spread the bacalao over it and serve with sliced avocado.



Arepas de Yuca

March2017 - Arepas is fried bread, this one is not shapped, just dropped into oil and gently tapped with the back of a spoon until flattened. This recipe makes very tasty and seasoned arepas.

2 cups yuca flour (not Arepa flour)
1 egg
green onion, cilantro, sofrito
minced red peppers
pique, optional
2 tsps water
a bit of milk if too dry
Shredded cheese, optional

Mix all ingredients except flour, then add yuca flour and mix well. The mixture should be moist and will be kind of sticky, may need to add more water or milk if not moist enough. Now you are ready to simply fry them by tablespoons over medium high heat. Flatten a bit with the back of the spoon. Drain on paper towels. Great appetizer with Salsa Rosa or as a side dish.



Marinated Chops Riqueño

These chuletas are flavorful, tender and moist.

Feb2017 - The chuletas should be about 1" thick and will be marinated overnight, then seared in Olive oil, and baked in a 400° oven. Islanders don't use the oven much since it gets the kitchen hot in an already warm environment, but we've had requests for Rican baked chuletas, so here it is.

The marinade needs Sazón, Sazonador Total by Goya, fresh garlic, vinegar, Italian dressing and Olive oil. Mix this together, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator (also known as nevera in our part of the world), overnight, or at least 2 hours.

Remove the chops from la nevera and from marinade bowl, and towel dry them. Let them sit on the counter to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before processing.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a heavy skillet to medium heat and once heated add olive oil. Place chuletas in frying pan and sear for about 2-3 minutes per side. Do not move them while they're searing.

Place pork chops on baking sheet and bake to complete cooking (about 7 minutes). Remove from oven and cover them for about 5 minutes before serving. Don't forget the tostones! Thanks to Julie, in test kitchen, for the photo.

Basic Arroz Amarillo

Feb2017 - Bring water to boil. Rinse rice in tap water and drain in mesh strainer. Add ¼ cup olive oil to a caldero and heat. Add 1 Tbsp sofrito, per cup of rice, and 1 envelope Sazón, and cook this another minute or so. Add the rice. Stir a few times.

Add enough boiling water to cover rice about 1½ inches above rice line. The ratio of water to rice should be about 2 to 1. Add salt and pepper and stir. Let it boil on medium high, uncovered, until water evaporates. Stir once or twice, cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes, then stir once or twice only. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or so. Fluff, sprinkle with peas (optional),and serve.

Hints . . .

Water to rice ratio is about 2 cups liquid to 1 cup uncooked rice.
Islanders prefer short grain rice.
Use ¼ cup oil per cup of rice.
You may substitute water with chicken, beef, or vegetable broth.
1 cup uncooked rice needs 1 Tablespoon sofrito and 1 envelope Sazón for color.
One cup of uncooked white rice makes approximately 3 cups of cooked rice.
Any rice stuck to the bottom of the pot is called 'pegao' and is delicious.




February2017 - This recipe is for Piononos (rellenos de plátanos maduro, as mami called them, or a simpler form of pastelón de maduros). The traditional pionono is made using amarillos that have been sliced lengthwise. Each slice forms a cup that is pinned together with toothpicks, a piece of another slice is cut and put on the bottom and sort of mashed to the sides, stuffed, brushed with egg and fried egg side down.. I like to use this simpler method using sliced amarillos (sliced like tostones). Just drop them in the cups and stuff them, no toothpicks, or worries about them coming apart in the frying pan.

Prepare carne molida or picadillo as usual with sofrito, olives, capers, recao etc., and use very little totato sauce. The picadillo should not be runny but should be very moist. Meanwhile prepare the amarillos. Use very ripe plantains that have spots on them. Peel, slice and fry. I can't find them when I need them so I always have frozen Goya amarillos. They are sliced and fried. Just heat them in the microwave and remove any excess oil. I like to use shredded Cheddar cheese on my pastelon for two reasons; the taste, and the melted cheese prevents the pionono from falling apart; so have the cheese ready on the counter. You will also need one egg well beaten, salted. Once the meat and the amarillos are ready and very warm, you are ready to assemble them. I use a muffin or cup cake pan. Set the oven or toaster oven to 350°.

Prepare the pan with a little spray oil. Then insert sliced amarillos, a bit of cheese (the cheese will melt and keep everything together so spread around the corners, some meat on top, and more cheese. When all the cups are all filled brush some egg on top. The egg will cook and form a thin crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400° until egg is cooked. Run a knife around the egde of cups, use the knife to lift up the cup. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Escabeche de guineitos verdes con bacalao
Pickled Green Bananas with bacalao


Feb2017 - This is a jíbaro dish if there ever was one. It's okay to drool just thinking about it. ¡Divino!
The recipe will be in the March issue of our monthly publication.

Pastelillos de Guayaba
Delicious and simple to make

January2017 - All you need is one sheet of puff pastry, thinly sliced guava paste, one beaten egg, and powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the dough into 2×2-inch or 3×3-inch squares, and place them on the lined baking sheet. Place a slice of guava paste in the center of each piece of dough. Next, fold the dough over to form a triangle, and seal the edges with your fingers. Brush the dough with beaten egg.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool and dust with powdered sugar.


January 2017 - A Pincho is the island version of Shish-kebob! And our version is deliriously delicious and finger licking good! Puerto Ricans know how to do them right….

This is a simple and versatile dish and are commonly made with pork or chicken and a special marinade. They are usually topped with a small piece of garlic-butter brushed toast or a tostón (a slice of fried plantain). Pinchos are considered a fast food and are popular both for lunch and dinner and basically just about anytime hunger strikes, but be aware, hunger strikes anytime you see or get a wiff of this stuff. By taking some common ingredients and adding some Puerto Rican spices, you can turn a normal kabob into a Puerto Rican pincho.

You will need the following; cubed pork or chicken; fresh minced/mashed garlic, Adobo Seasoning, 1½ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 3 tsp. ground oregano, 3 tsp. achiote-flavored olive oil, 3 tsp. vinegar, Olive oil, bamboo skewers, and hot sauce.

It is a simple recipe. Soak the skewers in water overnight. Mince/mash six peeled garlic cloves and 2 tsp. of adobo in a mortar and pestle. Add 1½ tsps. pepper, 1 tsp salt or to taste and 3 tsp. ground oregano to the garlic and adobo. Stir in 3 tsp. of olive oil and 3 tsp. of vinegar. Set aside the marinade.

Cut 1 lb. of pork or chicken into 1-inch cubes and place in a 1-gallon freezer bag. Pour the marinade on the meat, mix, and seal the freezer bag and marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes, but overnight is best. Place the meat on the skewers and grill for 10 minutes. Be sure to turn the meat occasionally to cook evenly. Before serving, top the kebobs with either a Tostón or toasted French bread brushed with a garlic butter sauce. Provide hot sauce on the side! 

* notes. Puerto Rican food is not traditionally seasoned with hot sauce, very spicy, but no hot sauce, which is called 'pique' by Ricans everywhere.
Must use French bread, islanders use French bread almost exclusively.
This also serves as appetizers and can also be served over rice.



Carne Mechada – Puerto Rican Stuffed Pot Roast

January 2017 - My mother used to make this. She would poke holes all over and stuff each one with sofrito mixed with minced ham, olives, capers, and more. When you sliced the roast it had olives all through it. It is one of the most delicious food I have ever eaten. All the flavors meld together for a savory sauce. Delicious in every way. The recipe will be published in the February issue of EL BORICUA, a monthly online publication for Puerto Ricans.
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Pretty simple and simply great!

Jan2017 - Quesitos are a favorite island treat. It is a fairly new recipe that our readers often ask for. These just melt in your mouth and you can't just eat one. This simple, rustic pastry is the Puerto Rican version of danish and its name means quite literally “little cheeses”. It’s puff pastry dough stuffed with sweetened cream cheese, topped with sugar and it’s usually served alongside a strong cup Puerto Rican café con leche. It’s a very popular breakfast and lunch time pick me up throughout the island and you can find them prominently displayed at every single pastry shop. You can also make them at home. Forget the fancy folding and simply just roll them and seal the edges.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp sugar
1¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 400° F

Add sugar and vanilla extract to cream cheese in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix on low until cream cheese has a soft, whipped texture.

Cut pastry sheet into 9 4×4 squares.Add about 1 tsp of cream cheese mixture to middle of each square. Roll each square and pinch ends to seal. Place quesitos on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly brush each quesito with egg white, then sprinkle with sugar on top. Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.



Puerto Rico's traditional holiday dish

Dec 2016 - All it needs is lots of garlic, black papper, oregano, and salt. Sprinkle the meat and bake. How easy is that?
Cut very deep slits into the meat to season well. Then score the top cuero in order to get thin strips of crispy cueritos instead of big chunks. Season and refrigerate over night.

If you surf the internet looking for Puerto Rican recipes, you might get a bit confused when finding big disparates, such as lechón asado using a wild orange marinade, and our 'favorite' dish being 'moros y cristianos.'    These are traditional recipes from Cuba, not Puerto Rico. And yes, they are different than our recipes, and yes, our PRIMOS make delicous food (we're related, what do you expect?), but they are not Puerto Rican. Emeril claims we use a sour cream sauce with our pernil, what does he know?   EL BORICUA is the only source you can trust to give you authentic Puerto Rican recipes.  

Pernil recipe, how to, tips and hints . . . . http://www.elboricua.com/pernil.html




Dec2016 - Islanders love to take Sunday drives along the coasts of Puerto Rico; it's a culinary event of its own! Along the roads there are hundreds of kiosks selling typical dishes, such as the delicious 'salmorejo de jueyes' or stewed crab over an arepa, bacalaítos–salted cod fritters, and of course the classic alcapurrias filled with beef, stewed crab or salted cod. These are a favorite year round, but traditional food is especially popular during the holidays.

Alcapurrias can also be made using left over pasteles dough or masa, and even stuffed with the pasteles meat! The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated until needed. Cold masa is easier to handle. Fry over medium high heat for about 7 minutes on each side. Drain. recipe




Dec2016 - Tembleque was my favorite dessert growing up and still is. Tembleque is a Puerto Rican recipe for a jiggly coconut milk pudding similar in texture to jello. It is a traditional Christmas dessert, but really a perfect dessert all year round, especially in summer.

I actually think that there has never been a more perfectly named dessert than tembleque, which in Spanish roughly translates to "wobbly" or "trembling," and is what this pudding does when you give it a tiny shake.

It's sweet and creamy and rich with coconut flavor, though it's actually completely vegan and dairy-free, made from coconut milk and cornstarch, rather than gelatin. It's perfect for entertaining since there are few who can't enjoy it.

If you're looking for a crowd-pleasing dessert this year, I recommend giving this one a try. It's ridiculously easy to make (seriously about as complicated as making a box of jello), and so very satisfying. recipe

Puerto Rican Eggnog

Dec2016 - This is that time of the year when coquito reins at parties throughout our island. Coquito is delicious, has no eggs and must have rum - otherwise it's just milk punch. If you are Puerto Rican you have this at Christmas, if you are a third generation descendant this is for you. Buy Goya brand products. So easy to make!

2 cans (12 oz. each) Evaporated Milk; 1 can (15 oz.) Cream of Coconut; 1 can (13.5 oz.) Coconut Milk;½ cup Sweetened Condensed Milk;  ½ cup Puerto Rican rum (gold or white); 1 tsp. vanilla extract; ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish, if desired; Cinnamon sticks.

In blender, add evaporated milk, cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Blend on high until mixture is well combined, 1-2 minutes.

Strain mixture into glass bottles; cover. Transfer to refrigerator. Chill until cold.

To serve, stir or shake bottle well to combine. Pour coquito into small serving glasses. Garnish with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, if desired.



Rum Cake

November2016 - So simple, yet so delicious! This recipe uses a cake mix to which you add or substitute some ingredients. It comes out perfect each and every time. recipe



Flan 101

Nov2016 - Flan is a traditional Puerto Rican dessert. We've all eaten it and love it. Most of us are a bit weary of the task of making it. But, we are here to tell you it is easy. Visit our Flan 101 site for instructions and different flavored flans. Flan 101 recipe



Besitos de Coco

November 2016 - You can find Puerto Rican Coconut kisses with more ingredient but I’m going to say that no matter how you create Besitos de Coco the end result will be the same. They will taste delicious. With this simple recipe I add a dash or so of Almond extract to add more flavor. Islanders use coconut in many recipes.

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
14 ounces shredded Coconut Flakes (5 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
1 dash of Almond extract (Optional)

Heat the oven to 325° F
Line baking sheets with parchment paper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend well
Drop by teaspoonfuls to the baking sheets
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges
Remove to rack to cool

Coquito Cupcakes
for that grown up party . . .

It't like a Tres-Leches-Cake but with coquito instead. Bake the cakes, prick with toothpicks, drip about 2 onces of coquito into each cupcake and decorate as usual, I like buttercream frosting. Refrigerate. The method is simple and can be used even when baking using a cake box mix. Easy and simple, but delicious!




Amarillos con queso

Oct2016 - These fried ripe plantains with melted cheese are great for breakfast or brunch, but I also love to make them occasionally for dinner. Also, if I’m feeling really hungry I like to add a fried egg on top – a bite of egg + ripe plantain + cheese + a little bit of aji or hot sauce is heaven in a bite! Plantains get sweeter and softer as they get riper and completely ripe means that they are black all over. The level of ripeness that you look for in a plantain varies based on how you are going to prepare them. For this recipe of ripe fried plantains with melted cheese, they should be ripe but still firm, usually this means very yellow with hints of black. You can also prepare this recipe by baking the ripe plantain slices instead of frying them, but it does take longer and they tend to be a little bit drier. Also, about the same amount of oil or butter is used regardless of if they are baked or fried (at least in this recipe).

You know how to make these, really simple. Peel ripe plantains, cut them lengthwise, fry in oil mixed with butter, drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper. Add shredded mozzarella cheese. Put in broiler until melted or simply put back in a covered skillet, heat until cheese is melted. I plantain per adult and about half a cup or mozzarella per plantain.



Fricase de Pollo


Oct 2016 - Chicken, slowly stewed with tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, garlic, sofrito and spices. As the colder weather slowly approaches in the coming months, this dish will warm your kitchen and hopefully give you the same comfort it gives me.

My favorite way to eat this is served over rice with a slice of avocado and as most often with crispy warm and salty tostones. I make so many variations of this dish depending on what I have on hand; sometimes I add tons of onions, or yuca. recipe



Carne Guisada

September 2016 - Carne Guisada is a Puerto Rican Beef Stew that is savory, delicious and a perfect dish for colder weather. Even though Puerto Rico is located in the tropics, islanders love their soups and stews and eat them often even in the middle of summer. Carne Guisada is a meal in a pot, a traditional dish, delicious comfort food, and easy to prepare. Carne Guisada is often served ussually along white rice with fried plantains on the side and avocado slices. Yum! recipe


Habichuelas Guisadas

Rosita beans, West Indian Pumpkin, Sofrito, ham, recao

September 2016 - Puerto Rican habichuelas or beans is about the most delicious beans to cook up. It’s a hearty stew of red beans, ham, simmered in tomatoes, sofrito, onions, garlic, bell pepper, olives and capers, spices, West Indian pumpkin or chunks of potatoes until all the flavors fuse together beautifully. Habichuelas guisadas are the quintessential Puerto Rican side dish. This complex, earthy dish goes great with rice, or even as a standalone. This is a pot of the island's traditional beans called Pink Beans or habichuelas Rosita. The can also be made without meat for those non meat eaters, and it is delicious both with or without meat. West Indian pumpkin is not easy to find, so substitute with potatoes. The recipe includes olives and capers. Puerto Ricans don't cook spicy hot foods, but just a bit of pique or hot sauce or peppers is just fine. recipe

If you cook beans often and dread the thought of boiling beans during weekday, then go ahead and boil enough during the weekends and save up for weekdays. I freeze in batches and defrost overnight. You will be glad you did. Or forget about the hassle and just go with canned beans, which turn out just as delicious. You can freeze portions for later use.

I have taken Habichuelas Guisadas (stewed Puerto Rican beans) as a cover dish and my plate is the first to go. Now, when I make these for a party I save some for me at home. Take them in a crock pot to keep hot.



with Mayoketchup Sauce or Mojo de Ajo Sauce

August 2016 - Crispy, twice-fried Puerto Rican Tostones (fried plantains) can be served with any Puerto Rican meal as a side dish, as a snack on their own, or even as appetizers. Serve with mayoketchup or mojo de ajo (garlic oil sauce) for dipping!

To make tostones, the plantains must be completely green. If they’re not green, you’re moving into the sweet territory and you’re not making Puerto Rican tostones (that’s a different recipe). recipe

There are two Puerto Rican sauces for your dipping pleasure (as well as plain old ketchup). The first sauce is my favorite. It’s called mayoketchup and it’s exactly that – mayonnaise and ketchup mixed together with a little garlic powder and maybe a hint of piqué (hot sauce). Super gourmet, I know! Use 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons ketchup, ¼ teaspoon garlic and mix together, that's it!

The second sauce is a garlic oil known as mojo de ajo, and uses ¼ cup olive oil and 3 cloves raw garlic. Some simply combine minced and mashed raw garlic and olive oil together, but I prefer to take the edge off by gently simmering them together or also super, roasted garlic minced and mashed mixed into olive oil. To simmer the garlic sauce simply heat the oil and minced, mashed garlic in a small saucepan over low heat for about 10 minutes. Oil should bubble slightly, but not be hot enough to brown the garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This maybe prepared ahead and brought to room temperature for serving.


Short Ribs
Costillas de res

8 whole beef short ribs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 pieces bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup sofrito
2 pkts Sazón Goya

3 carrots, diced
2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
2 cups red wine
¼ cup vinegar
2 cups beef broth, enough to almost cover meat
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary

March 2016 - In a large-medium caldero, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside and save the grease. Meanwhile chop, peel and dice ingredients.

Add olive oil to pan with the grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.

In the same caldero add sofrito, onions, carrots, and shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of caldero to release all the flavorful bits. Add Sazón and stir. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. 

Add broth, vinegar, 1 tsp salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid. 

Put on the lid and cook for about 2½ hours over low heat. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Turn off the stove and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving.



Super delicious Guava Jelly and Cream Cheese Grilled Sandwich. It is so easy to make.

Start with slightly toasted bread, put bread in toaster oven and toast both sides, butter both sides of the toasted bread. Smear guava jelly on one side and add slices of cream cheese on the other. Close the sandwich and put back in hot toaster oven, turning only once, until they toast well. They have to be baked so that the cheese has a chance to melt before the bread burns. You will want gooey. These Rican sandwiches are perfect for breakfast, lunch, snack, or anytime! So good and so easy!


Puerto Rican coconut eggnog minus eggs

This is that time of the year when coquito reins at parties throughout our island. Coquito is delicious, has no eggs and must have rum - otherwise it's just milk punch. If you are Puerto Rican you have this at Christmas, if you are a third generation descendant this is for you. Buy Goya brand products. So easy to make!

2 cans (12 oz. each) Evaporated Milk; 1 can (15 oz.) Cream of Coconut; 1 can (13.5 oz.) Coconut Milk;½ cup Sweetened Condensed Milk;  ½ cup Puerto Rican rum (gold or white); 1 tsp. vanilla extract; ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish, if desired; Cinnamon sticks.

1. In blender, add evaporated milk, cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Blend on high until mixture is well combined, 1-2 minutes. Strain this.
2. Pour coconut mixture into glass bottles; cover. Transfer to refrigerator. Chill until cold. Better after a few days in fridge.
3. To serve, stir or shake bottle well to combine. Pour coquito into small serving glasses. Garnish with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, if desired.






Lechón Asado - a Puerto Rican Christmas tradition
If you are planning to roast a pig you need to plan ahead. Visit our step by step instructions at http://www.elboricua.com/lechon.html

My father was a country boy, direct from las montañas de Puerto Rico. He could kill, dress, and roast a pig with his eyes closed. We on the other hand don't have it as easy. My son once found a place that would sell him a cleaned pig and rent him a roaster he could pull with his truck. That was pretty good. We have also bought a caja China for roasting our pigs - they turned out great. Remember to cook your pig slowly and turn it often so the juices stay in the pig and that it takes many many hours to be done.



Papas Aioli

In honor of France, this week we are presenting a traditional French recipe that is popular in Puerto Rico, and came to the island via our French ancestors. It is simple! The Spanish also brought in their version of aioli sauce and is popular for many uses especially as an appetizer sauce.

In many small towns in the south of France you will find a yearly festival known as la fête du grand aïoli. Here the aioli is much more than a garlic mayonnaise, it is a party for the whole town and usually huge platters of boiledseasonal vegetables, fish, and hard-boiled eggs are served along with gallons of aioli. All the people gather to dance, play games and enjoy some delicious French Provencal cooking.

This basic aioli recipe is for a lemon and garlic mayonnaise that goes well with crab, shrimp, poached fish and all sorts of vegetables. I even like it with French fries!

Place 3 lbs new small potatoes in a stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, season the water with salt, and cook until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, and when cool enough to handle, cut each potato in half.

Preheat the grill to medium. Add 1½ cups mayonnaise, 6 garlic cloves coarsely chopped, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and zest to a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Brush the potatoes with oil on all sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, cut side down, until golden brown and just cooked through (or pan fry until done). Remove the potatoes to a platter. Drizzle the aioli over the potatoes and toss, sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro.



A pretty rare purple food . . . . Majado de Yautía or mashed yautía, perfect Thanksgiving Boricua side dish. Peel, rinse, chop and boil the yautía until done, about 20 minutes with fork test. Drain and mash with olive oil, freshly minced and mashed garlic, some chopped cooked and drained bacon, and salt. Serve as is or cook onions and top with that. Anyway you serve this is always delicious!



Rellenos de Papa, baked not fried!

You’ve asked for a healthier baked version of and here it is. Rellenos de Papa or Stuffed Potatoes (actually mashed) is another Puerto Rican delight.  Slightly crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and stuffed with deliciously seasoned meat. The recipe is exactly the same, the assembly is different.  We use instant mashed potatoes but left over mashed potatoes will do as well as long as they are not too runny, if too soft just add a bit of instant mashed potatoes while the potatoes are hot.

Use a muffin pan to cook the rellenos. First spray oil in each cup. Fill half way with potato spreading slightly up on the sides. Next add some picadillo, then top with more potatoes pushing down slightly, then making it nice and round on top. Don’t worry if it is not smooth.  Since all the ingredients are cooked and warm all that needs to be done is to bake the rellenos at 400° until the tips begin to brown, about 20 – 30 minutes.  Let them cool a bit and flip over carefully on a serving plate.

These rellenos are easy, you know how to do it. Follow our easy recipe.



Palitos del Mar

Homemade Rican Fish Sticks

There is no doubt islanders love fish and Caribeños love anything fried, so this traditional recipe is a plus! It is simple and delicious. I use 2 lbs sea bass, trout or any other fillet that tends to hold together well. Cut the fillets to width of about 1" and about 2" long. Season heavily with Adobo or Sazonador Total. Heat up about 3 cups olive oil. While the oil is heating up, beat one eggs until frothy, then dip the sticks carefully and gently in the egg letting excess egg drip off. Dredge them in seasoned bread crumbs and then in flour seasoned with Adobo. In small batches fry sticks in hot oil until golden. Serve with Salsa Rosa. That's it!



These Skinny Amarillos are made with less oil and are so very tasty! Simply peel your ripe plantain and slice diagonally into ½" slices, must be sliced diagonally since that's our way of slicing plantains, otherwise you are slicing the Cuban way or something else. (not that we don't like Cuban, we love Cuban, with all our hearts!) So now you have your diagonally sliced pieces ready to cook. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil (must be olive oil), in your non stick sauté pan over medium heat. Place a layer of amarillo slices and cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden like the photo. Now carefully add ¼ cup water to the pan and cook until the water evaporates. Your Skinny Amarillos will be tender and juicy. This recipe is for one plantain, so all the slices should fit in your pan.



October 2015 - What is better than a freshly made warm cheesy Sorullito?

The flavor of the sorrullito is hard to describe… Let me just say it is kind of like Polenta, but better - or a hush puppy, but again, better. The outside is beautifully crispy, while the inside is soft, cheesy and moist.

The dough comes together on the stovetop and then is rolled into little cylinders and fried. While it may take a few minutes to roll each one, they are actually very easy to make. Tip: Let the dough cool before rolling it in your hands.

Sorullitos are a versatile dish, as a quick breakfast along a cup of Puerto Rican café con leche (my personal favorite), as an appetizer or a snack, or to go with soup.

Traditionally, sorullitos are prepared without sugar, but sugar sure makes them a whole of a lot better. Also traditionally, the cheese is not shredded, but thinly sliced and rolled into the sorullito - which is complicated, so use shredded. And traditionally they are not served with a dipping sauce. And if serving with soup, skip the sauces.

Only recently are sorullitos served with sauces. The most common sauce is Puerto Rican Pink Sauce (1 cup Mayo, ½ cup ketchup, 1 tbp olive oil, 6 cloves roasted mashed garlic, salt and pepper to taste and a bit of hot sauce.)You can also dip them in French dressing, Thousand Island dressing, Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing, or any homemade sauce you like, even Soy sauce based. Sorullitos are delicious with or without sauce.

It’s breakfast time. I feel like something portable and filling with my coffee. Ahh… sorullitos de maíz is the answer. Easy to prepare, fried and sweet. These little morsels of cornmeal have been savored in the Island of Puerto Rico for generations. see recipe



Yuca Fries are the best and so delicious with Salsa Rosa. Now you can buy them at the market peeled and sliced, ready to fry. Just prepare a quick Salsa Rosa or sauce to go with it. If using fresh yuca, peel cut and slice, then let them boil in salted water for 10 minutes, drain, and dry with paper towels. If baking, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper, and bake at 450° for 15 minutes, then turn them and bake another 15 minutes until crispy. If frying just pop in oil until they are golden on both sides. If using frozen Yuca Fries, follow package directions.

Salsa Rosa is made using freshly roasted garlic (8 - 10 cloves) mashed, a good helping of Mayo (2 cups), 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ cup Ketchup, salt and pepper, and maybe a bit of pique to hike up that flavor.

This is a great side dish and a delicious appetizer or snack.



What's in your caldero? That delicious mouth-watering aroma is sofrito. We're getting ready tomake arroz con salchichas or could it be pasta with sausages?

First prep your food, slice the sausage, chop any extra veggies such as onions and peppers, rinse the rice (or cook the pasta), and boil water or broth. Either way, start with a good base of olive oil and cook the sausages until they just begin to brown around the edges. Cooking the sausages first adds a layer of flavor that isn't there if the sausages are added at the end. To the same pan with sausages add sofrito and the chopped veggies. If you have recao, now is the time to add it. Cook this for a few minutes. Now add a can of diced Italian style tomatoes and cook another few minutes so the flavors blend in the pot. At this point you will either make rice or pasta.

If you are making rice, now is the time to add the rice, cook for a couple of minutes and add a can of tomato sauce, stir, add a packet of Sazón. Now it is time to add enough boiling water or broth to cover the rice 1" above the rice line, add salt and stir once only. Let this boil and once the liquid has evaporated, lower heat to the lowest temperature, stir once, and shape the top of the rice into a mound or volvano style (pointy in the middle), and cover. It is done in 25 minutes or so. For pegao cook a bit higher in temperature and cook a bit longer.

For pasta, now add spaghetti sauce which you have doctored up with more sofrito for better flavor, salt and stir in cooked pasta. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes, and done!



Habichuelas Blancas

From 'Jaime in the Kitchen Food Blog,' EL BORICUA - monthly cultural publication for descendants of Puerto Ricans and Puerto Ricans ausentes.

Kids say the funniest things and mine were no different. Once long ago, when we lived up north and my children were still young, they were really surprised one day when I served white beans instead of the usual.  Papi, have you been watching cooking shows again,?they asked.

Read more of Jaime's blog in our September publication, by subscription only.

Yes, Riqueños are masters of habichuelas guisadas. These are as delicious as they look. What best to accompany these beans than white rice and a side of tostones? Yum!



Grilled Grouper a lo Criollo

Mouthwatering isn't it? Puerto Rico has a long history of grilling. The word BBQ comes from the Taínos who would often grill their food on a spit. This recipe calls for the fish to be seasoned and then refrigerated for at least four hours to flavor the fish.

First make a rub of your Rican spices, that means lots of fresh mashed garlic, pepper, oregano, onion powder, Sazó Goya, and I like to add smoked paprika. Season your fish fillets carefull not to tear apart and covering all surfaces with a light to medium covering of the rub, really any fish will do - including salmon. Refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight. Remove from the fridge at least 20 minutes before grilling so the fish comes to room temperature before grilling.

Get your grill going and achieve a medium hot grill. Place the grouper fillets in a grill basket or on a grill screen with smaller holes to keep the fillet from falling apart and crumbling through the grill as it gets closer to done. Cook for approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. You only need to flip it once on the grill. You can also stove-top grill it as well.

Serve over rice or with a salad and tostones! This is an easy recipe for busy people and super delicious as well.



Riqueños love all things with 'bacalao' and it can be said that bacalao reings in our palates. Never mind that this dried up and salty product has to be processed before using, and never mind the house really stinks when processing it, we still love it, love it, love it! The stench soon transforms into a decilous aroma when we are making the already processed fish into a dish. What smells better than bacalao, onions, and garlic? Your family comes to the kitchen, Mami - what are you making? it smells soooo gooood!

Revoltillo de Bacalao is a traditional Rican recipe that is super easy to make and delicious in every way possible. It is a versitile dish that can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner.



So, how to make the revoltillo? First process the dried cod fish or bacalao. Rinse the excess salt off the fish, put it in a pot of water and boil for at least 30 minutes, dump the water and add more fresh water to the pot, bring to a boil for another 30 minutes or so. Dump this 2nd water as well and add fresh water, bring to a boil and cook another 20 minutes or so, drain. Now you have reconstituted dried cod fish that is soft and pliable. Pick out the bones, but please just buy fillet instead.

For this dish you need to let the fish cool down, then shred with your fingers (never use anything but your fingers to shred or you might end up with a matty mess you will have to toss).

The ingredients are: 3 tablespoons olive oil; 1 medium yellow onion, sliced; ½ red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips; ½ green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips; 5 ajíes dulces, seeded and chopped (if you can find them); 10 small tiny tomatoes (or 1 small tomato), seeded and chopped small; 1½ pounds bacalao, desalted and shredded; 6 eggs, lightly beaten; and 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute onion, bell peppers, and ajíes dulces (these are rare where I live, so I usually skip) over medium heat until the onion just browns. Add tomato and cook another 2 minutes or so.  Add the codfish and eggs and cook until the eggs are set. Season with black pepper. Serve with toasted and buttered French bread.



Carne Molida, Picadillo

People are usually surprised that even the simplest food is so flavorful. Simple carne molida or picadillo is one of those foods. The moment the sofrito goes into the pan all is right again in our little world. It’s a little difficult to explain to outsiders who follow the scent to my door, that no, I'm not a chef, but that I am Puerto Rican and that's how our food smells. The explanation becomes more complex when I start raving about how it's made with sofrito, lots of garlic, peppers, onions, olives with pimentos and capers, etc, not to mention how tasty left overs are for breakfast the next day with a fried egg. recipe




Puff Pastry Puerto Rican dessert

This mouth-watering cheese danish style pastry is very popular in Puerto Rico, for breakfast, with coffee and as a snack and dessert. It is pretty simple to make, just needs a few ingredients, puff pastry, cream cheese, egg, sugar and powdered sugar, and honey. This is one of those recipes our readers ask for the most.

Combine 8 oz pkg softened cream cheese and 3 tbps powdered sugar in a small bowl.  Mix until the sugar is well incorporated into the cream cheese.  Place into the fridge until ready for use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out thawed puff pastry on a floured surface until it is a 12 x 12 square.  Divide the puff pastry into 12 equal squares.  Prick each piece with several fork marks. Take the cream cheese mixture out of the fridge.  Spread 1 tablespoon measure along one edge of one square, leaving about a quarter inch of space on both sides. Fold over edges, and then roll the puff pastry until the cream cheese mixture is completely enclosed.  Press edges to seal.  Repeat with remaining 11 squares.

Place pastries, seal side down, onto the baking sheet. Brush each pastry with the egg white.  Sprinkle the top of each pastry with granulated sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Immediately move the pastries to a wire rack and brush with warmed honey to make the pastries glisten.

Remember, practice makes perfect. If at first you don't success, try and try again.




Salchichas Calintes or HotDoggo
This dish includes pineapples, which are native to Puerto Rico

Most people think of pineapples and immediatedly think of Hawaii. But pineapples are native to our little bitty island and all the Caribbean as well. This is simply a hipped up version of a hot dog, Latino Style. We can do it all and make it even better! The recipe begins with crushed, canned pineapples that are heated and drained. Layer on the bread, a boiled or grilled sausage, at this point add pique or hot sauce on top of the sausage (optional), 1 tbsp pineapples, coleslaw, Pink Sauce or MayoKetchup (equal parts Mayo and Ketchup and fresh minced, mashed garlic), mustard, extra ketchup, and top with crushed potato chips. Serve and Enjoy!




Arroz Amarillo

Papi loved arroz amarillo with everything, and he also loved all other kinds of rice, after all he was Puerto Rican! When mami was cooking fish, he insisted on yellow rice only. Mami would make plenty of it and we would have left overs later on during the week. Arroz Amarillo is simple to make. In Puerto Rico she made hers with achiote, but here in the states nobody at the grocery stores ever heard of it so she made it using just a bit of tomato sauce. Now we can sometimes find achiote seeds in the stores, if not I use Sazón Goya with Annato. recipe




Tostones with Roasted Garlic Mayo

June 2015 - Tostones is one of our favorite foods, you know the drill, very green plantains, twice fried, etc. recipe.
These tostones were made with not so green plantains because, as you know, green plantains are not easy to find in the states (away from New York and Florida) - so we use what we can find, still delicious.
Growing up we only put Ketchup on our tostones, but now there is a variety of sauces for our delicious tostones, which really don't need a sauce at all. Aside from Salsa Rosa there is Garlic Mayo. Garlic Mayo is really simple to make. I used one large head of mashed roasted garlic and mixed it with ½ cup real mayo, and half a tsp of salt, and that is it!

To roast the garlic preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the top off your head of garlic. Place each head of garlic on a small piece of foil and drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the top. Wrap loosely in the foil. Place on a tray to make removing it from the oven simple. Roast until the head of garlic is soft and golden brown, from 45-60 minutes. When cooked squeeze the roasted garlic out of the clove. You can also use the tines of a fork to pull the cloves out separately. The roasted garlic should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.




Canoas or Stuffed Amarillos

June2015 - These delicious canoas are oven baked ripe plantains stuffed with a savory Puerto Rican picadillo filling and topped with cheese – pretty hard to resist! These are easy to make and make a great presentation for a cover dish party. Read our easy step by step pictorial in the July issue of EL BORICUA, a cultural publication for Puerto Ricans. (by subscripion only)



June 2015 - This is a Tortilla. In Puerto Rico, as well as Spain, the Caribbean and other Latin countries, a tortilla is an egg omelett with common ingredients of eggs and olive oil. Different ingredients can be added so suit your taste. This tortilla is made with eggs and thinly sliced ham, sliced peppers, chopped onions, fresh garlic, and thinly sliced potatoes. For this large skillet I use 8 eggs and about 12 ounces of ham, about 1 lb of potatoes, 1 minced and mashed garlic clove, about half of a large pepper, sometimes I add tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper. It is a simple dish that can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or appetizer. It makes a great cover dish also.

First cook the potatoes in oil for about 15 minutes or until done and turning now and then. No need to crisp them. Add onions and garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and ham. Salt and pepper everything and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes stirring now and then. Wisk the eggs, add salt and pepper and pour over the potato mixture.  Lower the heat to medium and shake the pan often to prevent sticking. Use a thin spatula to run along the sides of the skillet so that some of the egg can run under and cook more evenly. This takes around 6 to 8 minutes.

When the mixture begins to brown and just before you flip the tortilla, loosen it by sliding a thin spatula between the egg and the side of the skillet walls. Flip the omelet 2 or 3 more times (this helps to give a good shape), cooking briefly on each side.

Plate the tortilla, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and queso fresco. Yum!





These simply delicious, versatile handheld pinchos are made with pork or chicken. Nothing beats a pincho hot off the grill and now you can have them at home. They are great for party appetizers or for dinner. I usually make 2lbs of meat, diced into 1" cubes (when using chicken I prefer to use thighs because they are so moist and tender, a chicken breast is too dry). The marinade is simple, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp Goya Sazón Total or Abodo, 1 packet Goya Sazón with achiote, about 1/3 cup BBQ sauce and 1 tsp garlic power. Mix all ingredients together in a plastic zip lock bag, add the meat, seal and refrigrate for 24 hours - over night - or at least 3 hours. When ready to cook thread the meat thru skrewers, make sure they are tight but not too tight. Pre heat the grill to medium at least 15 minutes before starting to grill. These should take about 15 minutes or so, turning over once. When done brush with BBQ sauce. I prefer a smoky sauce. These are delish to say the least. Serve over rice, or on the stick for parties. Puerto Rican food for the soul!




I am often asked by our readers, second and third generation Puerto Ricans, what do islanders eat for breakfast? They often describe hot cereals that they don't recall the name of or how to prepare it.

Islanders eat a variety of breakfast foods. Traditionally the most common breakfast food item is French bread and often it is just buttered and they eat this while sipping steaming hot Puerto Rican coffee that is made using steamed milk. That is the old fashioned way. We also eat fried eggs alongside fried amarillos, those are so yummy. Warm cereals include Farina, Avena, Arroz con Leche, Funche, and Maizena, among others. We are also known to beat Batatas (yams) asadas with butter, baked plantains and amarillos. Fruits, like oranges, and grapefruit, mangos and guavas are also included with the meal.

Some like to prepare fancier food. This recipe is a Stuffed Breakfast French Loaf where some of middle has been removed and filled with 4 wisked eggs, ¼ lb chorizo, ½ small chopped onion and 2 tbsp chopped peppers mixture, then it is put in the oven until the egg is cooked. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes then add shredded mozzarella and back in the oven until the cheese melts. It is delicious and it is Puerto Rican!





Pescado en Escabeche or Pickled Fish. Back to basics.

Puerto Rico is a small island surrounded by the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans, we eat a lot of fish in a bunch of different ways. Pescado en Escabeche is simply delicious and easy to prepare.

March 2015 - All my life I have loved Puerto Rican food and especially anything in escabeche sauce. Escabeche sauce is almost like a pickling sauce and has a great sweet/vinegary taste to it.  It is more on the oily side than the vinegar side, and is finger licking good.  This is the same sauce used for marinating seafood or yucca and green bananas. They all turn out equally delicious.  I love, love, love escabeche.

First prepare the escabeche portion of this dish because it needs to cook and then cool down before the next step.   Cut up a few onions, about half a large onion per serving. Half of a red pimento per serving. Then add a half cup of olive oil and a half cup of vinegar to the onions (to make about 4 servings). Next throw in the olives (1 tbsp per serving) and a few fresh bay leaves (1 per serving) and about ¼ tsp salt and some peppe corns. Combine all the ingredients for escabeche sauce in a large pot and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool completely.

Once the sauce is cooked and is almost cooled down rinse the fish - any fish will do, (I always rinse meats and fish then dry them with paper towels before cooking begins) next, make sure that the fish pieces aren't too wet. Cover them top to bottom with hand towels and let them sit in the towels until ready to use.

Once the sauce is cooled completely prepare the fish that is now pretty much rid of excess moisture by rubbing it with mashed/minced fresh garlic on both sides. Now sprinkle some Adobo on both sides of the fish.

Have a skillet heated with oil, ready for frying over medium heat and one by one put the fish in.  Be careful not to over fry them...the fish should still be soft but starting to get crispy and golden brown.

Next pour half the sauce (don't remove anything) unto a glass container (must be glass). Place the fish carefully over the sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce over the fish. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Remove from fridge and allow to come to almost room temperature, serve with rice or boiled roots like yucca, salted and drizzled with olive oil .





Yuca con Mojo de Ajo
- back to basics

Yuca or cassava, not to be confused with cactus-like yucca, is a starchy root vegetable that grows in Central and South America and the Caribbean.The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm, homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1 mm thick, rough and brown on the outside. The root has a woody fibrious center that is not edible and needs to be removed. It should be noted that fresh raw yuca is poisonous, so make sure all instruments used in processing it are washed - including the chopping board. Yuca was a staple food for pre-Colombian peoples in the Americas and is often portrayed in indigenous art. Taínos processed it and made bread with it and also boiled it, like in this recipe. Fresh yuca is not so easy to peel, but should be cut it into large sections before slicing off the peel with a sharp knife. I prefer to use frozen yuca, it's already peeled, is freshly frozen and easy to use. Yuca con Mojo is a simple dish to prepare and is usually served as a side dish, but I've seen it served as an appetizer as well. It is a simple recipe that uses a few ingredients, yuca, olive oil, garlic, onions, salt and vinegar. It is delicious! see recipe.





February 2015 - Sancocho is the one of the most delicious Puerto Rican stews that is just perfect for wintry weather. This traditional dish includes some of our favorite ingredients such as plantains (green and ripe), yautía, chayote, potatoes, corn on the cob, yuca and meat. Usually this dish is made with beef, but it is also delicious with chicken. The recipe has a long list of ingredients but don't let that discourage you, it is easy to make and more of a 'dump' style dish. All these ingredients are added to a simmering pot along with seasonings and spices that give it that criollo flavor we love. It is slow cooked in a large caldero with the lid on and simmered until the meat and vegies are tender. This recipe freezes well. The scents of this dish, like all Puerto Rican dishes, waft from the kitchen, drift and hover over the neighborhood, and your neighbors might ask you, are you a chef? It's happened to me.

Since this soup contains meat and vegetables, it is hearty already. Serve alongside freshly baked french bread and use the bread to soak up some of this delicious juices. Sancocho recipe.





Back to basics . . . Monfogo!

This is one of Puerto Rico's favorite foods. It's made from tostones (twice fried green plantains), remashed in a pilón with fresh garlic, bacon pieces, and just a bit of bacon grease to keep it all moist. And so sorry, but you must use an old fashioned pilón for this (find it online). If you try a food processor the consistency won't be the same and your family will not want to make eye contact. OMG, just typing this makes my mouth water.

First prepare tostones using very green plantains. Don't worry about the 'mancha de plátano' when peeling green bananas, that's what makes us Puerto Ricans - rub your hands with olive oil and salt after peeling the plantains to get rid of the sap. Make the tostones as usual, peel, slice, fry over medium heat until just golden and fork tender, drain, mash using a tostonera or mash by inserting tostón between two pieces of brown paper bag and pressing down using a small dish, then dip in very salty warm water and into the frying pan again. Be careful here with the splatter, it can get dangerous. I have a lid on my other hand to cover the splatter. When slightly toasted remove and drain on paper towels.

The next step is the fun part, mash, mash, plop, plop. Mash one chopped garlic clove in the pilon with some salt, then add tostones, one at a time until mashed, now and then add just a bit of bacon grease and some cooked chopped bacon pieces and mix it all together. How many tostones? That depends on the size of your pilón. Some of the tostones with be very mashed, and some not so much. Now you have Mofongo!




Creamy Yuca Soup

Yuca, a tropical root vegetable that boasts a milky-white color, a creamy consistency, and a mild taste, is a staple in the Puerto Rican and Latino kitchen where it is often served drizzled with olive oil and garlic. Here, it is gently simmered until completely tender before it’s pureed into a silky-smooth, totally delicious soup. The best part? Yuca is available frozen, already peeled and cut into pieces, makes it easier than ever. Look where Goya products are sold.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add ½ onion, thinly sliced and 1 tbsp garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions completely soften, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup recaito; cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble.

Add 1 bag frozen yuca (24 oz or so), and 5 cups water mixed with 2 packets of chicken bouillon to pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until yuca is tender, about 25 minutes.

Blend soup in batches. Pass soup through fine-hole mesh strainer into medium pot, pressing on any solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Bring soup to simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in ¼ tsp Adobo and about ¼ tsp sugar, stirring until combined. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.




Sopón de Fideo con Salchichón

Here’s another Puerto Rican soup that my grandmother used to make in Cayey, especially in January and February when the weather was just a bit cooler and there was fog every where. This soup is delicious and comforting on cold or rainy days. First of all make sure to use salchichón Goya, Iberian sausage, not salami, it's not the same thing but yes, similar to hard salami. The fideo is also known as Fidelini noodles, make sure to use the right pasta. Also note that left overs freeze well. So you can save some for later.

You will need about half of a Salchichón, ½ cup diced cooking ham, 5 oz of fideos, 3 medium peeled and chopped potatoes, 10 sliced baby carrots, 4 cups of water, 1 packet Sazón con achiote, 1 Tbsp sofrito, 1 tbsp tomatoe paste, 2 tbsps tomato sauce, 1 tbsp vegetable oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove casing from salchichón, slice into about 1 in. slices and cut into eighths. Add salchichón and ham to large pot with oil and saute a few minutes until the sausage begins to crisp. Then add sazón, sofrito, tomato paste, tomato sauce, oil, and salt. and cook that for another few minutes then add water. Cook on medium-high heat and bring to boil. Add carrots and potatoes. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking until carrots and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add noodles and raise heat to medium-high heat. Cook about 10 minutes until noodles are cooked and broth thickens a bit. Keep an eye on the pot – if the broth thickens enough, but noodles aren’t cooked, lower heat again to medium and simmer longer. You may even need to lower heat to low-medium if the broth is thickening too much or may need to add more water, depending on your taste and how much broth you like.




Back to basics for the new year with Tostones!

January 2015 - First and most important, tostones are made with super green plantains without a hint of yellow. But, if you can't find super green plantians then you have to use green plantains that have begun to ripen, often you don't have a choice, really. I understand, because where I live we rarely find green plantains. So, ok to make them with the greenest plantains you can find. Tostones made with plantains that have begun to ripen will be a bit sweet and easier to peel for sure.

If you're Boricua you know the drill for these twice fried delights. Peel, slice, and fry in oil for a couple of minutes on each side until soft, remove from the oil and drain. Mash with a tostonera or sandwich in between two pieces of a brown paper sack or even wax paper, mash down using a small plate. Then into the oil for a final fry until golden and crispy. Salt them right away, I like garlic salt. Yum, yum, yum!

Serve with ketchup or Salsa Rosa or Mojo de ajo. These recipes have been published in our monthly magazine several times. For the recipe click here. Learn how to peel plantains here click.





January 2015 - Pan fried chuletas de cerdo, pork chops Puerto Rican style. Simply season ahead of time with Adobo, refrigerate and sit on the counter 20 minutes before frying them. What to serve with it? Arroz y habichuelas with tostones, of course.

This was one of my father's favorite dishes. He loved the pork chop crunchiness. He always said Mami was the best cook he knew and he was right. Mami cooked the chuletas over medium high heat to get the crispy edges and tender meat. They were always delicious.

Choose chops that are not terribly thick. Cook about 3 minutes per side and you're done. Fast, easy and delisioso!




Tilapia Caribeño

January 2014 - This easy to prepare dish has a simply beautiful presentation to wow your dinner guests with lo nuestro. The scents in the kitchen will be a pleasant welcome for your dinner guests for sure.

The recipe is simple (makes 4 servings), takes ¼ cup Goya Bitter Orange marinade, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp minced garlic (6 cloves), 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro, ¼ tsp Goya Sazonador Total, 1 medium bell pepper (I like red or yellow, or both), 1 medium red onion thinly sliced, 1 banana leaf, and 4 (4-oz) tilapia fillets.

Heat oven to 400°F. In small bowl, mix together bitter orange marinade, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro and garlic; set aside.

Unfold banana leaf. Cut off tough rib that runs along bottom edge of leaf with kitchen shears. Carefully cut leaf into 4 (8-inch) pieces.

Place tilapia fillet in center of banana leaf; season with Sazonador. Stir bitter orange mixture and spoon 2 tbsp over each fish. Top fish with ¼ cup each peppers and onions. Fold two ends over fish to enclose; fold in two edges to form packet. Using kitchen twine, tie packet to secure; transfer to baking sheet.

Bake until fish is cooked through (knife inserted into center of fish packet comesout warm), 20 minutes; transfer to plates. Cut ties and discard. Open packets (banana leaves are not edible). Serve immediately.




Fricase de Pollo

December 2014 - This one of those rare but traditional Puerto Rican dishes not served often enough. My grandmother in Cayey made this often because she lived out in the country and she raised chickens - so the main ingredient was handy at all times. We often had to run after a particular hen to catch. Don't want to tell you what happened next, but you can imagine, the main ingredient did not come already chopped up from the grocery store.

This dish is a one-pot stew that is simple to make, is finger licking good, and is the best thing for a cover dish party. Ingredients are cooked together and it tastes better the day after so for a cover dish party, so can be made ahead. Serve with warm French bread as islanders do, but . . .start by playing Tito Puente on the stereo. recipe




Guineitos en Escabeche

December 2014 - Pickled green bananas is easy to prepare but it is not so easy to find green bananas outside of the east coast. They are available mostly where there is a large Caribbean population. You can usually find green bananas at markets that cater to Latinos in general and often you can go the produce vendor and ask them so hold some for you that have not been 'gassed' (gassing is to ripen them faster). Sometimes green bananas can also be found in Asian markets. The recipe is simple, boil the bananas until done. Meanwhile cook the onions and the few other ingredients. After the bananas and the sauce are room temperature mix together. Delicioso! see recipe





December 2014

This traditional Puerto Rican stew includes some of our favorites ingredients such as green bananas, plantains, and yautias. Mami made the best sancocho ever. First there was the mash, mash, mash, and plop from the pilón. Then the sizzle of the onions and garlic dancing in the oil. Later, the mouth watering aroma that lingered in the kitchen and wafted thru the house as well and all the way to el patio de atras. The neighborhood knew Mami was cooking up something good. But, this was Puerto Rico, the streets were full of deliciously spicy scents. I prefer to make this hot delicious stew in the winter months just to keep the kitchen warm and keep everyone on their toes. Yes, it's terribly cold outside, but I'm cooking something good! recipe





December 2014 - Pasteles! It's that time of the year. First put on some aguinaldo music, availabe online. Next find your food processor. Peel the yautías and guineitos verdes and a few potatoes. Chop and toss in food processor. Drink some coquito now and then. Make sure to wash the banana leaves before using. It's so much fun! But even more once they are ready to eat. Check out our step-by-step recipe online. http://www.elboricua.com/pasteles.html





Lechón Asado - a Puerto Rican Christmas tradition
If you are planning to roast a pig you need to plan ahead. Visit our step by step instructions at http://www.elboricua.com/lechon.html

My father was a country boy, direct from las montañas de Puerto Rico. He could kill, dress, and roast a pig with his eyes closed. We on the other hand don't have it as easy. My son once found a place that would sell him a cleaned pig and rent him a roaster he could pull with his truck. That was pretty good. We have also bought a caja China for roasting our pigs - they turned out great. Remember to cook your pig slowly and turn it often so the juices stay in the pig and that it takes many many hours to be done.




Thanksgiving 2014

Puerto Rican 'pernil' flavored roasted turkey

As Puerto Ricans, the first thing we will do before starting the turkey is turn on Los Plenenos de la 21 or play some Titi Puente music to get us in the mood. What better way to get 'in the mood' than with great music?

Mami would thaw her turkeys in the kitchen sink with cold water the night before and would roast it the next day. We survived. Now we are told to put in in the fridge for a few days before to thaw.

The Rican Chef offers us her special seasonings for Pavochón, a pernil flavored turkey, delicious. Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. recipe




November 2014


Tis almost the season for delicious Puerto Rican holiday dishes. Tembleque is so simple to make. It is a coconut flavored creamy pudding with a 'wiggly' consistency. Make it in a pan and cut into squares that stand on their own.

This mouth watering, rich, cool coconut-flavored dessert comes together in minutes! Simply cook the pudding, chill in the refrigerator until firm, and unmold for an elegant, sweet ending to any meal. recipe.




November 2014

Shrimp Caribeño - so easy and delish!

Take 1 lb raw jumbo shrimp cleaned, marinade in olive oil mixed with; Sazón Total, 1 pkt Sazón with achiote, smoked paprika, fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper and if you like, a sprinkle of cayanne pepper. Let it sit in marinade for at least 2 hours, then grill 4 to 4 minutes per side until done.





November 2014

Sangria Criolla -  feels fancy and instantly festive, but sangria is also one of the easiest big-batch cocktails you can make. As the party host, it's a no-brainer.

The primary qualification for the wine going into your sangria? That it be cheap! Any red wine that you enjoy drinking is a good candidate, and it shouldn't be expensive. 

Most sangria recipes call for the wine to rest overnight, or at the very least, for a few hours in the refrigerator. This lets the fruit infuse the wine, letting its juices get in the mix and sweeten up the drink. After a night in the fridge, it will taste mellow and juicy. Sangria really gets better and better as it sits.

First wash and slice the fruit, no need to peel. Drop fruit in the pitcher, next add about ½ cup granulated sugar, 1½ cups passion fruit pulp, 2 cups orange juice, and 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 Lemon-lime soda, stir well for at least a minute until sugar dissolves, add the wine, stir and refrigerate.

Hint, you might need two batches.





October 2014 - What to do with all that pumpkin after Halloween? You can make delicious Puerto Rican 'Barriguitas de Vieja'. These are delicous fruituras made with mashed pumpkin and spices, then fried. These delicious fritters are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Almost like a soft donut with crispy edges. Barrigas de Vieja means “the belly of an old lady”, because they are flabby, soft and without a consistent shape. It's a funny name, but these sweet pumpkin fritters are truly delicious. It's an easy recipe, just dump the ingredients together, mix and fry. You can make the batter the day before and refrigerate until ready to use. Finger licking good. See our recipe now.





What could be more delicious than a Puerto Rican Rum Cake, with a rum-glaze? Baking cakes, especially bundt cakes is so easy!

I use a yellow cake mix and just add additional ingredients. See our recipe online. Hint, always use Bacardi Rum.

Prepare the glaze once the cake is out of the oven. Poke, poke, poke holes using an ice pick or anything similar. Once the glaze is ready slowly begin pouring the glaze over the cake and around the inside rim. Once the cake cools down, refrigerate it until 30 minutes before serving.

If you are making this for a cover dish, don't remove it from the pan until you get to the distination. Then turn over the cake onto a plate and let it sit upside down for a few minutes until the cake drops.








Caramel sauce for your flan recipe.

The most daunting part of preparing a flan was the caramel. I was always afraid of burning myself or burning the caramel. Preparing the caramel in the microwave is so easy, un guame!

Pour 1 cup sugar and about ¼ cup water in a microwave safe cup. I use a 2 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup. Just stir the sugar and water a bit and microwave on high for about 5 minutes until it reaches the right color. You are looking to get the perfect color, not too light and not too dark. You might have to open the microwave door just before time is over, or you might have to add a few seconds at a time.

When it reaches the right color, open the oven and pour into the flan pan. Always let the caramel set before pouring in the custard. How easy is that?



I love cooking Puerto Rican . . . l love the ingredients, the smell, the taste, and the fact that my family loves it. Since I live away from a Puerto Rican community and there is no large local market for Puerto Rican or Caribbean foods, I have to plan ahead and shop for our ingredients in a store that carries specialty foods. Now not all Latin markets carry our stuff. In Texas Latin means Mexican, few stores carry our ingredients. Last year I was not able to find canned corned beef hash anywhere for months. Puerto Rican Corn Beef Hash is a comfort food, it is called Carne Bif, and it is usually served with white rice and fried plantains. Our version of corn beef hash is Riqueño style - that means made to fit our taste. We use sofrito, tomato sauce, olives and capers, and potatoes. I grew up eating Carne Bif regulary. It is really a simple dish to prepare. Follow the recipe on our site at: http://www.elboricua.com/carnebif.html




Bistec Encebollao . . . .
Onion-Steak Riqueño Style!

So easy and sinfully good! This is a great make-ahead recipe. Buy thinly sliced steak, or buy a large roast and slice it yourself (like Mami used to do). Drop in a plastic bag with tons of sliced onions, olive oil, fresh minced garlic, oregano leaves, salt, and pepper, water,and distilled white vinegar.

Mix it together in the bag and refrigerate over night, or freeze for future use.

To cook just drop the contents of the bag in a medium size caldero (everything tastes better when cooked in a caldero - you know it), bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and cook until done. Serve over white rice with tostones on the side. How easy is that?





Pastelillos de Queso . . . 'volaos'

Anyone can make these easy and sinfully delicious pastelillos. Now you can buy the dough ready make at most Kroeger Stores or even Walmart. Buy Goya discs in packs of 10. They must be at room temperature and you can choose to use them 'as is' or use a rolling pin to stretch them a bit. What you need are the discs, the stuffing, and oil for frying (they must be fried to taste the same). Islanders use Queso de Bola Holandes, but any cheese that melts good will do. These were stuffed with Mozzarella. They can also be stuffed with traditional Guaya paste or Guava Paste and cheese, or picadillo meat (or crab meat). Stuff them, fry them, serve warm. If you can't find Goya discs then make the dough, it's easy. The recipe for the dough and step by step how to directions are found on our website. http://www.elboricua.com/Pastelillos_Volaos.html




Frituras de Yautía

So delicious, yet so simple! Peel, and dice 1 green banana and 2 medium yautías.
Put in food processor with about 3 tbsp sofrito, 2 large garlic cloves (diced), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1tsp olive oil, some paprika for color, and a sprinkling of cayanne pepper. Puree all this then fry in hot oil by heaping tablespoons until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.



Grosellas, Phyllanthus acidus, Otaheite gooseberry

Often confused with acerola, this small greenish colored fruit with a crunchy, juicy, acidic flavored pulp never turns red when ripe.  They ripen in midsummer turning yellowish. However when cooked with sugar, for jellies, preserves and pastries, the fruit turns brightly red as does the syrup. Grosellas not as common as the acerola, but is eaten in Puerto Rico, especially in the country or isla adentro.  The grosella grows on a large shrub that can resemble a small tree (20’) and grows in loose clusters, which hang from the tree trunk and main branches. Individual fruits are up to 0.75 inch in diameter.  There are no commercial plantings; but trees are in home gardens, and fruit is harvested from naturalized trees. The shrub needs moist soil and can grow in southern Florida.  This shrub and seeds can be ordered online.  Ages ago this deliciously tart fruit could be found everywhere on the island.





Arroz Con Gandules
It's easy - give it a try
(see recipe here) for more hints on cooking rice click here.

This is our traditional Holiday rice dish. Gandules are also known as Pigeon Peas and can be found in markets that cater to Latinos.

Stirring the rice after it has begun cooking may cause it go get sticky or "amogollao." The same goes if you add too much liquid.

Any rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot is called "pegao" and is crispy and tasty and a favorite of all true Puerto Ricans. However, not everyone is skilled is making pegao - it is an art. To make great pegao make sure to use plenty of oil. Cook for about 10 minutes longer so the pegao gets crispy and keep your eye on it. Each time you cook rice - check to see how long it takes to make pegao just the way your family likes it. Finally - if you want a lot of pegao - use a bigger caldero which, of course, will have a larger bottom surface.

And most important of all . . . it is not Puerto Rican rice unless you cook it in a caldero.




May 2014 - This is my very own caldero. It was the very first one I owned. Mami traveled to Puerto Rico, ages ago, right after I was married and I asked her to bring me a caldero. She brought me my grandmother's caldero and I was so delighted! Before it was Mami Ana's caldero it had belonged first to her own mother and then was passed down to her tia and later when Mami Ana married, it was given to her, and now it's mine!

Mami Ana cooked the most delicious arroz con pollo on Sundays in this caldero in Cayey. In it she would also render fat back (cook down until the gummy white fat melts into grease) to use for the rice. (Sometimes she would fry saltines in the grease and give to us for snack. Really bad and yet so delicious I still remember so many years later.) Then she would add the sofrito and the rest of the ingredients. You know how to make rice in your caldero, don't you? If not check our recipe section.

My caldero is very old indeed, and comes with a family history. It is my treasure. All Puerto Rican households should have at least one. My caldero is thick and heavy, they don't make them like that anymore. And the new calderos are going to get worse as far as the materials that are being used to make them. Get your caldero before it is too late. Calderos.





April 2014 - Quenepas are a small edible fruit with green leathery skin and sweet juicy translucent pulp. They come from a tropical American tree (Melicocca bijuga, or Melicocca bijugatus). Quenepas have a tight and thin but rigid layer of skin, traditionally cracked by the teeth. Below that is the tart, tangy yellow pulp of the fruit. Each quenepa fruit has a large seed inside of about the same size of the outer skin, the same ovoid shape as the fruit itself.  To eat them, wash the fruit, crack the skin with the teeth and suck on the pulp. Spit out the pit. Quenepa trees bloom in hurricane season, summer time in Puerto Rico. Wrap in a moist cloth towel or brown paper and refrigerate in lower drawer where you keep your vegetables in your refrigerator. Other Caribeños called these mamoncillo, also known as limoncillo.




March 2014 - Winter is the best time to make this delicious Puerto Rican Ham and Potato Soup.  I freeze my Christmas ham bone and bits and scraps of ham just so I can make this soup on a cold day.

I put my ham bone in the crockpot in the morning with plenty of water (about 10 cups) and let this cook all day – at least 8 hours, then it’s ready for soup. 

Next I pour this into a large caldero or soup pot, add 1 cup chopped onions and about 5 cups diced potatoes (sometimes I peel them and other times I don’t).  I bring this to a boil and cook until the potatoes are done about 20 minutes or so.  Then I add 4 cups milk, ½ cup sofrito,  some fresh minced recao, and about ¼ cup Goya Sazonador Total (this is like Adobo, but with larger pieces and is found next to Adobo at the store, has a green label). At the end I add salt and black pepper to taste.

Finally when done I add some peas and a few capers.  Usually Puerto Ricans don’t add cheese to this soup, but I do add about half a cup of shredded cheese.  If you like the soup to be thicker, add about ¼ cup flour to the milk and stir well before adding to the pot.  Serve with warm and crunchy garlic buttered French bread as they do in Puerto Rico.




March 2014 - Growing up in Puerto Rico meant eating a lot of pan Frances. French bread was part of our daily diet. We had it for breakfast and mid afternoon snack. It is so delicious - warmed and buttered. Now I have not been able to find the exact bread in the states, but that doesn't let me stop trying. This is an easy recipe for great tasting French bread with a crusty delicious crust. And to top it all off, it is easy to prepare - no fail!

2 1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbsp yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp white vinegar
Mix the above ingredients together and let sit until bubbly (about 3-5 minutes).

Then add:
1 Tbsp salt
1/3 cup oil (I use Canola)
6-7 cups flour

Knead for 2-5 minutes in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook 

Heat the oven to its lowest setting (170°), then turn it off. Put the dough in the oven with a small pot of boiling water. (The water will keep the dough moist and help it rise faster). Watch the dough and punch it down when it gets to the top of the mixing bowl. Do this 2-5 times [if you have the time to! I did it just once, and my bread turned out perfectly!]

Put the dough on a greased countertop, rolled into a nice ball, and cut in half (for two large loaves). 

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the sheet. Shape the dough halves into rectangle/long French bread shapes. Slash tops of bread diagonally 3-5 times and brush the tops with a beaten egg.

Heat the oven to 170°, (but don’t turn it off this time), place the pan in the oven and wait until the loaves are the size you want to cook them at. Once they are the right size, turn the temp to 375° (without opening the door) and let them bake for about 15 minutes, or until done.




Baked Tostones . . .

Yes really, people have asked me for this recipe. They taste pretty good, not as good as fried but close enough. Two plantains will yield between 15 and 20 tostones (the plantains must be very green and you can also use regular bananas that are not ripe, still very green).

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil spray.

In a large bowl, toss the plantains in the oil to coat well. Sprinkle with salt. Place the plantain slices on the baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 10 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove from oven.

Using a tostonera, mash each slice. If you don’t have a tostonera, place the individual slices between two folded sheets of parchment or brown paper and press down using the back of a large spoon or the bottom of a jar.

Wipe the baking sheet of any extra oil and re-spray. Place the plantains, brown side up, on the baking sheet and return to oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until they are golden brown and crispy.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with a little more salt if desired and serve immediately. Makes 15 to 20 tostones.



February 2014 - Arroz con salchichas . . . a Puerto Rican favorite! Cooking rice is so simple. You must have a caldero and hopefully you will end up with a bit of pegao at the bottom. You know how it's done. Heat up the cadero, then add a bit of oil at the bottom, add a packet of Sazón with achiote and stir, add sofrito ( I like to add chopped onions and peppers because it looks pretty and adds more flavor). Cook this for a couple of minutes or so, stiring now and then. Meanwhile heat up some water or broth. Chop the sausages (we use Vienna Sausages), add to the mixture, then add rinsed uncooked rice and add enough liquid (hot water or broth) to cover the rice 1" above the rice line. Season with salt and stir. Then continue cooking until the liquid evaporates, cover and cook another 25 minutes or so over low heat. (Simple, simple, simple . . . add oil, cook the seasoning, add the meat, add the rice, add the liquid and cook).



Crockpot Pernil - not authentic, but delicious as long as you season it Boricua style. Six pound roast seasoned with plenty of garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. At least 10 hours on low. Come home to this one weeknight. (no cueritos of course)








Day after Thanksgiving 2013 - At my house I cook turkey only at Thanksgiving but we use every bit of the turkey. I make delicious ‘day after’ Thanksgiving Turkey Soup with criollo flavor. The ingredients will be left over turkey (diced bits and pieces – of course you may use large pieces, but I like to save those for sandwiches or salads, maybe turkey enchiladas or tacos). I save the turkey carcass in the fridge touse that in the soup and remove it before serving. My left over turkey criollo soup has no measurements but ALWAYS comes out delicous.

For the base of the soup I like to use a whole medium onion, sliced, and ½ an onion minced, which I sauté in olive oil in a medium caldero. When the onion is almost done I add fresh garlic mashed in a pilón, sofrito and cook that for another couple of minutes. Then I begin adding other left over ingredients starting with plenty of water (broth is good too), turkey carcass (which will be
removed when soup is done) and small bits of turkey (no skin), and any left over carrots and celery. This is brought to a boil, then simmered for about one hour. If you have any turkey drippings you can add a bit of that too. Towards the end of the hour add left over veggies such as corn, beans, even any whole potatoes (sliced), and peppers and tomatoes, etc. I also sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper to an extra kick. Then I remove the carcass and serve with Sorullitos de maiz.






Thanksgiving 2013 - It's no secret that our food is heavenly seasoned. Cooking is not difficult, you just have to follow the steps and your turkey will turn out sabroso.

I season my turkey the night before with freshly made Pavochón seasoning, which is similar to the seasoning for a lechón. It is a simple recipe and will make your turkey sabrosisimo.

Pavochón overnight seasoning is 1 head of garlic, separated and peeled; 1 tsp salt; 1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns; 3 tsp dried oregano (crushed with fingers); 3 Tbsp olive oil; 2 Tbsp white vinegar; and 1 Goya Sazón packet with achiote and culantro. All you have to do then is mash the garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in the pilón. Then mix in the Sazón and the liquids slowly to form a paste. The night before spread the paste all over the turkey and refrigerate until baking time.

Now before baking, clean a second head of garlic by removing as much of the loose paper skin as possibe without separating the cloves, slice it in half. Then clean a large onion of the outer skin and cut it in half. Stuff the turkey with the garlic and onion halves.

Roast turkey according to package instructions.





Guineitos Verdes cocidos

These can be cooked two ways. First I need to remind you that the bananas must be competely green without a hint of yellow. If you don't live in an area where people buy green bananas you must ask the clerk to get you some green bananas from the back. If they have begun to ripen they won't taste right.

The easiest way to cook them is to give them a quick rinse to remove dirt, then cut off both tips and drop in boiling water. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes until they can pass a 'fork' test. When done, the peel just slides right off without any effort. Some peope don't like this method because they say they can taste the peel.

The alternative and 'mainstream' method is to peel them like you would peel a green plantain. Cut off both tips, Slice just thru the skin, lengthwise and pry the peel from the banana using the tip of a knife. Drop in boiling salted water for about 15 - 20 minutes unti they pass the 'fork' test.




Puerto Rican Sofrito

1 large yellow onion
1 pimiento (Cubanelle) or substitute with green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper or 1sm jar roasted red peppers
1 medium head of garlic (2 tbsp. minced garlic)
12 ajíes dulces (hard to find and may skip)
10 leaves of recao - (Eryngium) (hard to find may substitute with cilantro)
¼ cup Spanish olives, pitted
1 tbsp capers
2 tsps salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp crushed orégano
½ cup olive oil

Wash, peel, seed and coarsley chop everything. Put in a blender and pureé. Store in a glass jar covered in the refrigerator for later use. Freeze it in ice-cube trays and dump the frozen cubes in a freezer bag. This will be fried in achiote oil or tocino as the first step in recipes. This recipe makes about 2 large ice-cube trays. Use about 3 cubes for rice or soup that will serve a family.

Once you've made this easy recipe you will never go back to store bough sofrito. The aroma is simply intoxicating. . . .

Cubanelle peppers are the typical pepper used in the island - it is a sweet Italian pepper and not easily found everywhere.

The word sofrito comes from Italian immigrants to Puerto Rico - it means the same thing except their sofrito uses a few different ingredients and they don't use it as often as we do.



Long sliced Platanutres

April 2013 - I love these long-sliced platanutres, they taste the same as the ones we are used to but they seem so much more fun, don't they? I've seen these in restaurants as appetizers, but they are so easy to make at home too.

I use a Mondoline slicer to slice into perfectly equal trips. Make sure to use very green plantains (or use very green bananas, guineitos verdes). Peel as usual. Slice in the Mandoline slicer. Drop in warm salted water. Heat the oil, drain a few slices at a time and fry until crispy. Have a splatter screen ready because you will need it. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with garlic salt right away, while still moist with oil. Serve with Puerto Rican Salsa Rosa, which is simply one part ketchup and three parts mayo with a sprinkle of garlic power and a tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper, mix it well and serve for dipping



April2013 - Carne Mechada . . . . only in Puerto Rico. This is the most tender roast beef you can prepare. It is a stuffed roast. Que divino!

Looks dificult but is not - it is just several steps. Buy the least expensive roast, eye round. I always wash meats before preparing them. Rinse and dry with paper towels. Using a long sharp knife, cut long deep slits on the meat. Be careful here with the sharp knife (speaking from experience).

Seasoning mixture:
4 tb olive oil 
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar 
1 tablespoon Adobo Goya
1 pkt Sazón con Culantro y Achiote
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano 
3 to 3-1/2 pounds eye of round 

Stuffing: (reserve 1 heaping tb for the braising mixture)
1/3 cup dried currants or raisins, soaked in 1/3 cup dry sherry, reserve the sherry
1/2 cup manzanilla or red pimento stuffed olives, chopped 
1/4 pound smoked ham, diced 
1 Spanish chorizo (not Mexican, they are different), chopped 

Braising mixture: 
1/2 cup tomato sauce
reserved sherry
1 cup beef broth
1/3 cup Basic Recaito (Sofrito) 
reserved stuffing 
6 red potatoes, cut into medium pieces 
3 carrots, sliced

First combine all the stuffing ingredients and stuff the meat.

Combine the seasoning ingredients and spead all over the meat. Let it rest for about 30 minutes or so, covered, in the fridge (en la nevera). Meanwhile preheat the crockpot to high.

Next sear the meat on all sides in a large caldero over medium-high heat. Transfer the meat to the crockpot.

Combine the braising ingredients and pour into crockpot over the meat. Place the potatoes and carrots over the meat and cover; continue cooking using the high temperature of the crockpot for about 4 hours. 

Slice the meat; return it to the sauce at the crockpot & cook it for additional 10 minutes so that the meat soaks up the sauce.

Serve over perfect white rice with sauce over the meat, with plantains and a green salad. Your house will smell like a restaurant, I've had several neighbors ask me if I am a chef. You might have to watch the crockpot as family members will be tempeted to open that lid!

Buen Provecho!



March2013 - The other day I decided to try to make what my mother called Tortitas de Bacalao - which are sometimes called Croquetas de Bacalao. These are bacalao fritters made with potatoes and eggs and herbs and are absolutely delicious - as is all Puerto Rican food.

The first step is to desalt the bacalao, which is easy to do - just time consuming. The house will have that boiled bacalo scent which is unpleasant for most people - especially kids - but it is gone in no time. Rinse the bacalao in warm water to remove excess salt and then boil it in plain water for about 20 minutes, drain the water, add fresh water and bring to a boil again, then simmer for about 30 minutes. Now your bacalao is desalted and ready to use. Take any skin off the bacalao (assuming you purchased boneless fillets, if not take the bones out) then chop the flesh into small pieces.

16 ounces salt cod (desalted)
vegetable oil
1 tbp recaito (green sofrito)
1 cup diced Spanish onion (golden skin or yellow onion)
¼ cup minced green pepper or yellow, orange, or red peppers, or combination
1 cup cubed potatoes, cooked
¼ cup minced parsley
1 tbp Goya 'Sazonador Total'
½ tp sea salt
½ tp cayenne pepper
1½ cups all-purpose flour
6 eggs
1½ cups milk

Saute the sofrito, onions and peppers in a bit of oil until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped bacalao and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes. Add potatoes and parsley, stir well. Drain any excess liquid. Let the mixture cook down and add the rest of the ingredients, except for milk, mixing well. Add milk slowly as needed to hold the shape of a ball. You might not need all this milk. Shape into balls and flatten. Fry in hot oil over medium-high heat until golden, turning only once.

These are delicious for lunch with a green salad and they also make great appetizers. The mixture can be prepared ahead and fried later just before serving.




Tostones de Pana.

Tostones are one of the favorite foods in Puerto Rico and are made with green plantains. But did you know you can also make tostones de pana or Breadfruit? Not the same taste but also delicious.

At abuela's house in Cayey there were a couple of Pana trees in the yard. These tall trees produced a lot of fruit and my grandmother would share the fruit with friends and neighbors. The round solid fruit often fell from the trees on its own. Pana or Breadfruit can be found on the east coast in areas heavily populated by Caribeños. Or you can have a relative ship you one of two from the island.

Use a sharp knife to cut into wedges, then slice off the rim and slice off the middle section with the pits. Slice up each wedge into 2-inch pieces and process as if you were making tostones.

Fry the first time to get them cooked inside over medium high heat. Fry about 3 minutes or so on each side, turning only once. Drain on paper towels. Mash down between two pieces of a brown paper sack and use a saucer to press down to flatten or using a tostonera. Drop these in salty warm water. Drain just a bit and fry a second time until they begin to turn golden (be careful with oil splatters). Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with garlic salt. Tostones are served as a side dish, appetizer, or snack. If you want a dipping sauce, use Puerto Rico's MayoKetchup sauce or plain Mojo de Ajo or even ketchup. It's sinfully delicious!



Sopón de Salchichón con fideos
Salami and noodle soup

This is a super delicious Puerto Rican soup. The main ingredient is salchichón or hard Salami. Puerto Rican soups are hardy and help you stay warm. I like making soups because they are easy to make and I can usually leave it in the crock pot for after work or make it earlier to serve later. Yes, islanders, even with their tropical weather, eat lots of soup - and not just in the cooler months of our winter here.

Start with a medium large caldero and fry or saute 3 cups sliced and chopped salchichón in about 1 tbp olive oil. This brings out the flavors in meat. Then add 1 medium onion - sliced, 2 fresh garlic cloves - diced and mashed in a pilón, 3 tbps sofrito and saute another 3 minutes or so (garlic burns fast, keep you eye on it). Next add tomato sauce and 1 can beef broth then cook this for a couple of minutes. Add 2 packets Sazón, 2 tbp sliced olives with peppers, 4 recao leaves - minced, 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Once the liquid comes to a boil add 3 chopped potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add the noodles and cook for another 10 minutes until noodles are done. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste ( I like to add a bit of pique - just a bit). And you're done!

Once you turn on the stove, don't turn it off again until the soup is done. Just keep adding ingredients and then cook until done. Sounds like there a lot to be done here, but really it is just plain prep work. What I do is gather up all the ingredients on the counter, chop, slice, dice, peel, clean etc. I measure what I need and put everything away except what I need for the dish. That way when I'm done I've already got an almost clean kitchen. Once this is done, then I find the right sized caldero and start adding ingredients. Then it's soup time!

Serve with French bread.



You know you're Puerto Rican and so does your family because as a Puerto Rican 'ausente' you never let anyone forget. Your family and all your friends and neighbors know it. They've tasted our food at your house and loved it. Now it's time for your family and friends to taste Pavochón, our version of Thanksgiving turkey.

Pavochón is a pernil flavored bird and it is finger licking good. All you have to do is season it right and into the oven. No big deal. El sabor lo dice todo. Add to this delicious turkey some mofongo stuffing and Ay, Díos Mio! Season it with garlic, salt, black pepper, and oregano (3 parts garlic, 1 part each salt, pepper, and oregano). Stick a cleaned head of garlic inside along with an onion and your house will smell like a restaurant.

Our side dishes include root vegetables like llame, yautia, cassava or a rice dish like arroz con gandules or arroz junto. Salads are often served along with a Puerto Rican Thanksgiving meal, Ensalada de pulpo or ensalada de macarones con mariscos. Our desserts will include casuela ,arroz con dulce, flan or rum cake.





For plantain lovers, like us, a toston sandwich, also known as a jíbaro or jibarito sandwich, may be the best thing since sliced bread.

In fact, a tostón sandwich dispenses with bread entirely. In its place is green plantain that’s been sliced lengthwise, fried, pressed flat and fried again. Still warm, the golden crispy discs can embrace anything from shredded beef, roast pork, chorizo, chicken or even simply cheese.

But why dispense with the bread? Well, we are plantain lovers - that's why. We can eat plantains for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even dessert! Perfect with a glass of wine or even a cold beer.



Growing up I never gave Mami's delicious potato salad a second thought. Then I got married and prepared it for my husband. He asked what is all this stuff you added to this salad? So, I went on to tell him all the ingredients and he said, wait . . . . did you say a red apple? Yes, I said, I added a red apple. And he smiled and said it was delicious - ate everything on his plate and came back for seconds and thirds on the salad.

Years later I figured out that what I was making was Puerto Rican potato salad. Not only does it include a red apple, but also olive oil. I did not realize that the rest of the world did not use apples in their salad.

So what exactly do I put in my Puerto Rican potato salad? Cooked potatoes, mayo, sliced olives with pimentos, more roasted pimentos, a bit of celery, bell peppers, peas, diced red apples (sometimes I peel them, but often don't), yellow onions, a bit of olive oil, a little squirt of mustard, chopped hard boiled eggs, diced pickles, chives, salt and peppers.

First I dice and chop, then I mix everything together except the potatoes, and add the potatoes last. Then back in the fridge for at least 4 hours for the flavors to blend. Lately I've also been adding a bit of Adobo, it enhances the flavors.

So now you know. Puerto Rican potato salad includes a red apple.





Short Ribs, Puerto Rican style

This is a recipe that I adapted for crock-pot cooking. It is delicious and just plain finger licking good. Not only that, it is almost effortless. The ribs cook in the crock-pot it cooks while you're at work and then you get to come home to this fantastic dish. You could make side dishes ahead and even be brave enough to have company over!

1½ lbs beef short ribs, ¼ cup orange juice, ¼ cup olive oil, juice of 1 lime, 3 tbsp minced garlic, 1 pkt Sazón, ¼ cup sofrito, ½ cup red wine, 1 tp capers, 1 tb sliced salad olives with peppers, 1 cap full apple cider vinegar, 4 small chopped potatoes, salt and pepper. Dump everything in the crockpot the night before. In the morning put pot on the base and cook on low all day long.

Stir fry some veggies together, onions, red and green peppers, mushrooms, a bit of cilantro and serve on the side. I sliced and dice the night before and refrigerate in a baggie.

In Puerto Rico this would be served with white rice and a green salad and perhaps boiled green plantains. Note the meat will fall off the bone.



Sorullitos de Maíz, crispy, creamy, cheesy sticks of goodness! Check out this recipe to learn more about how to bring these delicious appetizers to your table. Surullitos are fried Cheese Corn Sticks, sort of a Puerto Rican fried polenta, but better. The flavors of these little fried darlings is hard to describe. The outside is beautifully crispy, while the inside stays soft and moist. They are ready to eat in un dos por tres!

2 cups of water, ½ teaspoon salt, 3 tbps sugar, 1½ cup cornmeal, 6 oz shredded Edam or Cheddar cheese, 2 cups vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in salt, sugar and cornmeal. Return to heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the dough does not stick to the pot. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Let sit for 5 minutes -or until you are able to handle the heat- and roll 1 tablespoon balls of dough into cigar shapes. In a large deep skillet, heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Cook Surullitos 4-6 at a time, making sure not to crowd the pan, until lightly golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve immediately.

The sauce is equally simple. Mix together 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon mayo, 1 minced garlic clove, and maybe a bit of Cayenne pepper (optional)



Pastelón de Apio y Jueyes
Celery Root and Crab Meat Pie

Those raised in the island are used to eating celery root or apio, not to be confused with celery we buy at the store in the US - yes it's in the same family and the shoots and leaves are similar but not really edible.

Celery is a vianda, which is the root of a plant. Wash, peel, diced and then boil it about 15 minutes. It can be served in a dish called vianda, or added to soups or stews, etc.

To make this pastelón, boil 3 pounds of the apio in salted water from 15 to 20 minutes until done, test with fork. Mash then measure out about 5 cups to use in the pie. Add about 3 tbsp butter or margarine, 2 tsps garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, and ¼ cup achiote oil (or oil with Sazón that has achiote). Mix this well and line the bottom of a large and tall greased pie plate with half the apio.

Next layer it with crab meat . The filling is fairly easy to prepare. Dice about 1½ cups crab meat as much as possible. In a small skillet saute chopped onions and bell peppers for a few minutes, add minced garlic and cook that another minute or so, add ½ cup sofrito, and 1 tsp tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes. Add sliced green olives with red peppers (about 1 tb), add 1 tp capers, add about 1½ cups chopped crab meat and cook that until done and that's it.

Add a layer of the crab meat over the first layer of apio. Top with the rest of the apio. Bake at 375° for about 20 minutes, then brush the pie with melted butter and bake another 10 minutes or so until golden. Let the pastelón rest on the counter for about 20 minutes before serving.





I love Dulce de Leche, used to eat it as a child all the time, my mother made it from scratch. This is a simple recipe that I have come up with. Yes, it's very sweet, but you only have to eat a little! So easy, it's absolutely sinful.

Dulce de Leche Bars.

1 large ready to use graham cracker crumb pie crust (can select regular with cinnamon or even chocolate crumb)

For the filling you will need 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature, 1 cup suga,r 2 large eggs, ½ cup ready made Dulce de Leche, and 1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth and creamy, for about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes.

Next, swirl with additional Dulce de Leche liquid, let it cool completely and and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Either cut into wedges or cut into squares. Yum!



What can I say that has not been already said about one of our ultimate favorite foods, Bacalaitos? Let me reassure you, they are easy to make.

The batter is prepared using the broth from the bacalao, otherwise they are almost flavorless. Seasoning for this fritter is simple, only garlic, salt and black pepper. They should be a bit salty (from the water) and crunchy on the edges.

All you have to do is buy the bacalao fillets, soak them in water overnight, then boil them twice, tossing the first water and reserving the second to use as broth for the batter.

Once the bacalao is processed take each piece of bacalao and separate it with the fingers so that you end up with a bunch of little pieces or hand shredded bacalao.

My mother used to just separate the bacalao into larger pieces, make the batter, then she would place one piece of bacalao in each scoop so that each bacalaito had a large chunk of fish. I rather separate it into a bunch of tiny pieces for more flavor. You must remember that it must be hand shredded or you will end up with a matty mess that will have to be discarded.

Processing the bacalao is simple enough, the rest is even easier. Measure out the amounts called for in the recipe, the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, and garlic, add the broth and stir, then add the hand shredded bacalao and stir again. How easy is that? I like to add some pique to my batter - just a little. (see recipe for measurements).

The batter may be refrigerated until ready to fry or even frozen for later use.

The next step is frying. Add enough vegetable oil to a heavy frying pan to fill about ¼". Stir the batter and add about ½ cup and add as many as will allow for easy turning in the pan. I usually can only fry 3 bacalaitos at a time. Fry them at Medium heat and don't turn them until the bottom separates from the pan and is brown. Turn only once. Drain on paper towels.

This photo shows a traditional island bacalaito. It is thin, crunchy around the edges and well seasoned. Bacalaitos should be thin, as in this photo. However, I've had thick bacalaitos that are still delicious. For thin bacalaitos the batter must be thin.

I've had plenty of non traditional bacalaitos and they are all delicious. Some people add a packet of Sazòn, others add sofrito, and some people add pique.



Budín de pan
. This simple dish, a staple in thrifty homes of the last century, has been lost to the current generation of cooks, most of us remember our abuelas serving this. Our grandmothers often made Budín de Pan because it was an inexpensive, easy to prepare dessert that was delicious. In the old days bread pudding was cooked on the stove top - no ovens in Puerto Rico, by using a double broiler.

Mami loved making it because she was raised eating this delicious and simple Puerto Rican dessert. It is inexpensive to prepare, all you need is a few ingredients and day-old bread. Growing up in Puerto Rico I watched Mami prepare this dessert using old and stale French bread. We did not use sandwich bread, only French loaves. She would tear the bread into small pieces and let it soak in the rich cream custard. What she added differed from time to time. She would add a can of fruit cocktail at times but it was usually the traditional recipe with raisins. I loved it when she added pineapples. Mami would bake it in a caramelized pan, like a flan, sometimes. No matter how she prepared it the result was liking good - always.

Today this is known as an old-fashioned dessert. It is still delicious. I like to add a bit of rum and I like to serve mine with a warm butter rum sauce. It's easy to prepare.

You will need 1 lb bread, French bread, sliced bread is ok, Allow the bread to sit on the counter - outside the plastic, so it dries out, at least overnight and use old stale bread. Prepare the custard first by mixing together 4 cups evaporated milk and 4 cups whole milk, ½ lb melted butter, 2½ cups sugar, 6 eggs, ½ tp salt, 1½ tps ground cinnamon, and 1 tb vanilla. Blend that together well using the slow speed on a hand mixer. Then add 1 cup of raisins and ½ cup rum - stir a few times and that's ready. The rum is optional.

Now all you have to do is to take the bread and break it into pieces and drop it in the bowl - no need to remove the crusty rim on the bread. Let the bread soak up all the liquid - it should sit there about 15 minutes, at least. Then sit once more and pour into a greased mold, 9'" x 13" is good. Bake for about 1½ hours in a 375° oven. You will know it's done when it passes the knife test.

Once that is out of the oven you can prepare the rum sauce. It is easy also, just whisk together a 12-oz can evaporated milk, 3/4 cup whole milk, 2/3 cup sugar, and in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Once that is hot add 4 tbs butter and stir until melted. Next place 2 tbs cornstarch in a small bowl and dissolve with 4 tps cold water. Once the milk mixture is hot, add the cornstarch slurry, and then stir slowly and constantly until it reaches a thin, gravy like texture and a few bubbles rise to the surface. Turn off the heat, stir 4 tbs rum, and serve over warm bread pudding.

Not your grandmother's recipe. Enjoy!




My husband and I both love beans and love Puerto Rican and Mexican food. One day I tried to combines Habichuelas Guidasas and Frijoles Charros (Mexican cowboy beans) and came up with a most delicious and interesting bean dish. I make it often now. Hubby eats it with tortillas and I like to eat it over rice.

As you know I always try to make things easy for myself, but always flavorful. In a bit of olive oil I brown 2 Italian sausages that have been skinned, then I slice them and set aside. In the same pan and drippings I add 4 slices of bacon and cook them until done - not too crispy, chop those and set aside - saving the drippings. Again in the drippings I saute 1 small diced onion, ½ diced bell pepper, and 1 diced tomato. When the veggies are almost done I throw in about 3 tsps minced garlic, cook that for a couple of minutes and then I add about ¼ cup recaito and cook that for a couple of minutes. Then I add back in the chopped bacon and sliced sausages, salt and pepper. At the end I add 3 cans pinto beans and 2 cans beef broth, 1 packet Sazón, salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper for kick. This I simmer for about 20 minutes and it's ready. When serving, sprinkle with some chopped cilantro. A perfect blend of two kinds of bean dishes. Yum!

These beans can be stored in the fridge for about 5 days. They are tastier the next day. They are perfect for cover dish parties, easy to carry in a crock-pot and keep warm, and can be frozen. The perfect dish on a cold wintry day - the perfect party dish, serves a bunch and can be doubled without much effort.



Mofongo, a dish of garlicky mashed plantains, is one of the most popular dishes in Puerto Rico. The first time I tried making monfongo by myself was sometime after I got married. With Mami on the phone, of course, I made my list and wrote the essential notes. Like most Puerto Rican girls of my time, I always helped my mother cook. I was in charge of peeling the plantains, a task that needs to be practiced often in order to master it. It is not easy, the plantain skin never wants to come off - you must pry it off with the tip of a sharp knife, the hands with become black with la mancha de plátano, etc. That was not a problem, I had master peeling by age 15.

I already knew what the steps were, just needed a little reassurance. Peel plantains, slice for tostones, drop them in salted water. Careful frying them because the oil is hot and the plantains are wet (that was before the mesh splatter-cover lids we have today). Fry them a couple of minutes on each side, remove from the oil, drain on paper towels. Now, find a small saucer, place plantain between a piece of folded wax paper or paper grocery sack and mash them down; put them back into the salted water, refry them - remove from heat, drain on paper towels and salt.

By this time I was already tired and more apprehensive as ever, hubby comes along and says 'What's that?' - 'something you will like' I said.

I had mashed the plantain in the pilón often enough, but still not having Mami by my side made me apprehensive. Cooked some diced bacon. Peeled and mashed fresh garlic, one medium size clove for each plantain. I then began the mashing procedure, mash 4 tostones, add some garlic, mash again, add bacon bits and some grease, repeat and repeat until they are all mashed and mofongo is done. Now . . . shape into balls and serve!

'Wow, this stuff is great!, he said. I smiled and ran to the phone to tell my mother.



Reluctant to prepare Rellenos de Papa? Don't be. Follow our Photo-Step-by-Step directions. Click here. Like everything else all you have to do is divide and conquer. Prepared the picadillo ahead of time. Make the bolitas in the morning. Refrigerate them and fry them at night. Not really that hard to do. We have come up with easy instructions.

When frying resist temptation and don't turn them until the bottom is crispy or you will have a mess. So the 'secret' is to let the bottom cook until crispy and turn carefully and repeat until all sides are crispy. Of course, it is better to deep fry them that way you don't have to turn them. I use a very small sauce pan to fry these in. That way I only have to turn once. But since I am using a small sauce pan I can only fry 2 at a time. Also, make sure the mashed potatoes are very firm and solid when you prepare it. Don't make 'regular' mashed potatoes. The potato dough should not be too moist- so use less water to prepare the potatoes. I use instant potatoes.




What is an easy and great late nite snack you can fix up in a jiffy?

How about Arrañitas de Platano verde?

All you need is oil for frying, fresh minced or mashed garlic, salt and about 3 green grated plantains, black pepper and about ¼ cup minced cilantro leaves. Mix all the ingredients together and form 'loosy packed' balls about 1½" in diameter. Fry these and serve immediatedly. An easy, inexpensive and delicious snack.

A traditional Puerto Rican treat..





Making Puerto Rican Garlic Mojito Sauce is so easy. Make plenty and keep in the fridge. All you have to do is sauté a whole head of garlic (peeled and diced) and 1 small yellow onion, diced in about 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil for about 2 minutes or so (garlic burns fast, so just about 2 minutes). Then let this cool down, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the blender with 2 recao chopped leafs (or 4 sprigs chopped cilantro), the juice of 2 limes, 1 tsp salt and a few sprinkles of pique (or a bit of cayenne pepper). Run this thru the blender just a bit. Some people like it smooth, I like mine chunky.

Stir and serve in a small bowl at room temperature with tostones and even pork roast. You might need a bit more salt, depending on your taste - so salt to taste. Refrigerate unused portion in a glass jar with a lid (not in plastic). This is something you will need to stir everytime before serving.  Soooo . . . simple.



Carne Bif
aka Corned Beef

Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, in Puerto Rico and later after we moved to the states, one of my favorite dishes was Carne Bif. Mami made it just about every third week and she always served tostones and white rice with it - and we loved it!

Once we moved to the states I learned that 'carne bif' is the Puerto Rican equivalent of Irish Corned Beef. There are many families in the island with Irish roots, including mine - we were Solivan's from way back on my mother's side. In Puerto Rico this is eaten by everyone, everywhere - poor and rich, young and old. It is one of our classic comfort foods.

Of course, once adopted by islanders the dish became Puerto Rican or criollo, prepared with seasonings and ingredients used locally, and sofrito was an integral part of the recipe. If you've never made 'carne bif,' it's about time you try it. 'Carne bif' is extremely easy to prepare and ready in a 'dos por tres' as my mother liked to say. In thirty minutes or less you can have this traditional dish on the table.

Buy canned corned beef at the store. The recipe calls for tomato sauce, onions and peppers, and sofrito, along with a few potatoes. It is even simpler to prepare now that you can have boiled canned potatoes, ready made sofrito, and frozen tostones to go with it. Click here for the recipe.



Puerto Rican Sancocho; A Centuries-Old Stew Still a Classic Today. Easy to prepare, practically a ‘dump and cook recipe’ This satisfying meat stew is thought to have been brought by Canary Islanders who immigrated to the island centuries ago. It is a hearty stew of meat, sometimes fish, and vegetables, largely root vegetables, and plantains, to mention just a few of the main ingredients. Simmered a long time, the fragrant mouthwatering savory soup goes a long way to satisfy a lot of hungry people. Every family has its own version. A perfect ‘crowd’ dish.

2 T olive oil, ¼ lb diced cooking ham, ½ cup chopped yellow onions, 5 garlic cloves, minced ¼ cup chopped sweet green pepper, ¼ cup chopped sweet red pepper, 6 recao leafs, chopped 1 t salt, ¼ t freshly ground black pepper, 2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped, ½ cup sofrito 1 ½ lbs. beef chuck, tips or flanken (cross-cut ribs), cubed into 1-inch pieces,8" longaniza or smoked sausage, sliced- 1 cup each (at least 3 of these); chopped green plantain, calabaza squash, potatoes, carrots, chayote, yuca, yautía, or malanga, 1 ear of corn, cleaned and chopped, 1 can garbanzo beans, 4 quarts beef stock, 8 oz tomato sauce

Heat oil in a large caldero and cook the ham for a few minutes turning often. Add onions and meat and cook until onions are translucent and meat is browned on all sides. Add half the stock, bring to a boil and then simmer until the meat is tender. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and cook at a bare simmer until the vegetables are soft.

Sancocho can also be prepared in a crockpot, just sauté the ham first, add the onions and meat and cook until the onions are translucent and the meat is browned on all sides. Dump it in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients - cover the pot and put in the fridge until morning when you can put it to cook while you are at work.


February 2012 - One of the simplest and most SABROSA soup I prepare is Garbanzo y Chorizo Soup. It is so fast, simple and easy!

You need 2 cans of Garbanzo beans with the liquid, 2 thinly sliced carotts, 1 small diced onion, 1 tsp minced/mashed garlic, 2 tps Spanish Paprika or pimentón, about 5 onces minced Spanish Chorizo, 1 small diced potato, ¼ cup sofrito and 2 cans chicken broth. Dump everything in a medium caldero, bring it to a boil then simmer for about 30 minutes. That's it! Serve this with hot buttered French bread as they do en la isla. I like to chop cilantro and sprinkle it on top once served in bowls. Note that cilantro is something not used that often in Puerto Rico, they use recao. In the states we substitute.

You can actually get all the ingredients in the caldero the night before, cover with foil and refrigerate until you get home from work the next day. First thing when you walk in the door is put it on the stove.




January 2012

Alcapurrias hints. When processing the guineitos and yautias in the food processor, make sure to simply grind them. If they are over processed the masa becomes too soft and moist. Take out any large lumps and put them back in the processor with the next batch.

I grease my left hand, add half a cup of masa and spread that a bit, then add the stuffing, and begin to close my hand to close the alcapurria. Usually I end up having to add just a bit more masa here and there to close completely. Practice makes perfect. The more often you prepare them, the easier and faster it will go.

Peeling the veggies is the hardest part. But hey, you only have to peel 5 green babanas and about 2 medium size yautias for one batch and you're done. Not that hard. Go easy on the salt.



Caldo Gallego      (January 2012)

I love to make soup on the weekends, especially cold weekends. One of my very favorite recipes is Caldo Gallego. It is a rich flavorful hardy soup made with a ham bone, beans and potatoes.

I also like to prepare my meals fast and easy so I take plenty of shortcuts, but my shortcuts never diminish the original flavor of a dish.

Every Christmas, at one time or another, I serve a spiral ham. I save the bone and bits of ham in the freezer for soup later. Put the ham bone in a large crockpot full of water. Add just a bit of salt and garlic and cook over nite. In the morning turn it off and let it sit on the counter until you are ready to prepare the soup, or refrigerate for later.

Pour the broth and bone into a large caldero. Always leave the bone in the soup. Bones give food, rice, soups, etc a richer flavor. Add 4 onces cooked minced ham, 2 - 15oz cans of cannellini beans, 1 can diced potatoes, about half a cup of sofrito, fresh mashed garlic, lots of chopped fresh or frozen recao, 1 pkt Sazón with achiote, olives, capers, chopped green onions, minced chorizo español, and a bit of cayenne pepper to give it a nice kick. . Bring it to a boil then let it simmer for at least one hour and it's done. How easy is that?

I've seen internet recipes that call for chicken or chicken stock. Forget that. This is basically a ham soup. Some recipes call for greens but I skip that. If I were to include greens I would use fresh baby spinach.

Serve with tostones and enjoy!



Pastelón de Pavo

Thanksgiving Week 2011 - What tasty delicous dish can you prepare using left over turkey? Pastelón de pavo y amarillos, of course. It is so easy and simple. Using packaged products will simplify the recipe and make it almost effortless. This recipe fits in a 9" pie plate. Preheat the oven to 400°

You will need a 1-lb box of Goya amarillos (or you can buy fresh amarillos and wait until they are extremely ripe - spotted, then fry them) and 1 lb minced turkey meat (no skin), sofrito, oil, onions, peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives, capers, the usual stuff. You will also need one large egg and shredded cheese.

Putting it together is un guame! First make a guiso with the minced turkey, add sofrito and the usual ingredients, make sure not to add too much tomato sauce. This should be very moist but not watery.

Next grease a 9" pie plate. Then heat up the amarillos in the microwave so they will be easy to mash. Add a little less than half the amarillos to the plate and lightly mash them down and together so you have pretty much covered the bottom of the plate.

Now add half the meat mixture. Then sprinkle some cheese on top. Next add another layer of amarillos. What I do first is lightly mash the amarillos in a dish then add them on top of the cheese. Can't mash them while sitting on top of the cheese. So this next layer might have a few small spaces in between the plantains - here and there but that's ok. Add the remaining meat and another layer of cheese.

Beat a whole egg with 1 tbp water and a bit of salt until frothy. Carefully pour the egg over the cheese, yes, it is enough. But don't worry it you were not able to cover everything with the egg, it spreads around on its own. Now bake this until the egg is cooked. About 15 to 20 minutes. The amarillos and the meat are already cooked, so you are waiting on the cheese to melt and the egg to cook.

Now it's ready to serve. I like serving dish with a green salad. Delish!




Pasta Criolla

I've been cooking this criollo style pasta since I was married, over thirty years now. It is one of my family's favorite dishes and it is simple to make. It does make a huge quantity, but then I had a husband and two sons, as well as two daughters to feed. The boys made sure there were no left overs.

Bring a large caldero of water to boil. Add a bit of oil and salt then dump the pasta (1 lb), cover leaving the lid off to the side so there is about an inch open (to preventing boiling over). In the meantime the beef must be prepared.

Preheat a heavy frying pan for a couple of minutes, on medium/high setting. Adding meat to a cold pan will make the meat stick to the pan and will be harder to work with. So, be patient and preheat the pan. I only cook with iron skillet and canderos - that's it. All my other pans just hang pretty, like new from my pot-rack in the kitchen. I have two large iron skillets, one small iron skillet and several calderos in various sizes.

Add 1 lb ground beef to the preheated skillet and then use a wooden spoon to mash and stir and twist and turn the meat so that it gets broken up as it cooks. Sometimes adding a bit of water help, it will help break it up and then evaporates. This should cook until it is almost all brown. I usually buy lean ground beef, if yours is not lean, just drain the grease carefully.

Like a good Puerto Rican cook, I always use our preferred condiments, so I add diced onions and peppers, add freshly mashed garlic or garlic powder. Let this continue to cook for a bit until all the beef is brown. Add sofrito, stir, and cook another minute or so. Then add sliced olives and capers. I like using Salad Olives, they are nicely sliced and have chopped red peppers in it. The last step is sprinkling it with Sazón and Adobo.

The pasta should be ready just about now. Drain it and add it back to the same caldero or pot used to boil it in. Add the ground beef. Add one large can of spaghetti sauce (26-32 oz/more or less), half a cup of water, and a cup of shredded cheese. Stir and cook over low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Now it's ready to serve.

I like serving my Pasta Criolla with a fresh salad. It is delicioso!



Roasted Potatoes are a favorite Thanksgiving dish and can be seasoned with our spices.

November 2011 - Adjust oven rack to the lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack and heat the oven to 450 degrees. You will be preheating the baking sheet.

Scrub potatos (don't peel) then slice or dice them. The steps of parcooking the potatoes before roasting and tossing the potatoes with oil until they are coated with starch are the keys to developing a crisp exterior and creamy interior. The potatoes should be just undercooked when they are removed from the boiling water. Parboil (partially boil) in salted water with garlic powder - bring to a boil for then cook for 4-5 minutes only. Remove the potatoes fromt the hot water and drop in a bowl with cold water to stop the cooking process. Let them sit in cold water for about 5 minutes or so. Drain well.

Toss them with 2 tbps olive oil, plenty of adobo and dried parsley flakes and toss vigorously using a metal spoon for a 2-3 minutes. The tossing will rough up the potatoes which will help them get crispier. They will look like they are covered with a starchy pasty. Add 2 more tbps oil and toss again, just for a bit.

Bake directly on the metal pan, don't use foil or parchment paper for crispier potatoes. Working quickly, remove the baking sheet from the oven and drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over the surface. Carefully transfer the potatoes to the baking sheet and spread into an even layer, skin side up. Bake until bottoms of potatoes are golden brown and crisp, about 15 – 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. If the underside is crispy enough the potatos will not stick.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using a metal spatula and tongs, loosen the potatoes from the pan, carefully flipping each slice. Continue to roast the potatoes until the second side is golden and crisp, 10 to 20 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed to ensure that the potatoes brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.



October 2011 - One of our most often asked questions is what is a flan pan or flan mold? The answer is easy. Anything that is about 5 inches tall and smooth on the inside (that is not Teflon covered), and about 6 inches in diameter.

What I use is my mother's mold which is simply an old saucepan that lost it's handle. It is about 7 inches tall and smooth on the inside - just a plain old metal pan without handles. It will need to be a diameter that will fit in your serving plate. I use a glass pie plate as my serving dish, so my pan or mold had to fit in the pie dish. My mold is about 6" in diameter.

Once I tried making the caramel directly in the mold, but the caramel burnt because since I didn't have to switch pans it continued to heat up. I learned to make the caramel in a Teflon covered pan because it will slide our beautifully. When the caramel begins to bubble and gets golden, then I pour it into the mold and swirl it around to coat the sides. You can use glass or Pyrex and I have used those in the past, however the last time I used Pyrex the mold cracked when I poured in the hot water for the baño de María, so that was that.

Once my flan is done, I let it get to room temperature on the counter and then I refrigerate it in the mold. I leave it in the mold until time to serve. I also leave it in the mold if I have to take it our of the house, then flip it over unto a pie plate and let it sit there until it drops. It is easy to travel with. Then I still let it sit there another few minutes to make sure all the caramel drops too.

To recap. Find a good metal pan to use as a mold. It could even be a tall round cake pan. Prepare the caramel in a Teflon covered pan so that it slides out easier. Let the flan come to room temperature on the counter. Refrigerate in the mold. When ready to serve flip it over, letting the mold sit for a couple of minutes to make sure all the caramel drops on the flan. That's it!



When I turned 13 Mami decided I needed start learning how to cook. The first thing I learned to make was arroz blanco. The second was aceite con achiote. The third was arroz amarillo using the achiote oil.

I was always nervous to over heat achiote because it would turn bitter. But it was easy. Achiote in an integral ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking. Every island household has achiote in the cupboard. The small achiote seeds that look like little red pebbles are sold in jars and are heated in olive oil to release their red color, flavor and aroma.

Puerto Rican culture comes from Spain but Spaniards use Pimenton or paprika in food preparation. Achiote however, is a Taíno product. Taínos used it in food preparation as well as for body paint and for art.

Achiote oil is made from annatto seeds and olive oil. It's used to flavor and color many dishes such as yellow rice. This recipe is so simple, you'll wonder why you haven't tried it before.

You can keep achiote oil in a jar with a tight lid at room temperature for 4-5 days, and longer in the refrigerator. Use in most of your Puerto Rican recipes instead of plain oil, especially when preparing rices. When using achiote oil it is not necessary to use tomato sauce.

Preparing aceite con achiote will take you 10 minutes max. You will need 1 cup olive oil and 2½ tablespoons achiote seeds. Heat the oil and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the seeds begin a steady bubble. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand for a minute. Strain the oil or simply use a slotted spoon to remove the seeds.

It is important not overheat the oil and seeds. The oil will turn bitter and will be ruined. Extreme overheating will turn the seeds black and the oil green - but it is ruined way before that point. Just heat the oil over medium heat, you will soon see the oil change color as the seeds begin to bubble.

Now you can find achiote powder and achiote paste. If you can't find achiote use tomato sauce. Tomato sauce tends to be a bit sweet and will flavor the dish differently than achiote would.




Chicharrones de Pollo

Start by using bone-in-chicken with skin. The bone and skin ad a lot of flavor. I use a large chopping knife to make sure each piece has a piece of bone and also some skin. There will always be a few pieces without bone, but each must have some skin. You must cut up the chicken so that it cooks faster while it is getting crunchy on the outside. Then pound the pieces to make them a bit more flatter. I prefer using chicken thighs for this.

Next rinse the meat and dry with paper towels. I like to rinse the meat to make sure no foreing matter is on the chicken. Then I oil the chicken with olive oil and heavily sprinkle it with a mixture of Sazón, Adobo, garlic powder, and often Cayanne pepper. It is best to season the meat and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 20 minutes. Fry in plenty of oil over high heat for about three minutes then lower to medium and fry another 3 minutes, then back to high until crispy crispy - turning the chicken now and then. The more chicken in the pan the longer it will take. I like to put as many to fry at once as will fit in the pan, even though it might take a bit more time. I prefer that all the chicken will be done at once. A deep frier is best, of course.



August 2011 - Know what's good on French fries? Adobo seasoning, that's what.

Simply sprinkle seasoning on fries just as soon as they come out of the oil. Now they are coming out with different Adobo - some with this and that.

To make all your dishes taste their very best, make sure you shake on Adobo before cooking. Adobo is a perfect blend of garlic, oregano, onion and spices and is the perfect seasoning for all your meat, poultry and fish dishes. We are finding new uses for this addictive seasoning every day. A simple shake is all it takes to give your food 'our' delicious flavor.





August 2011 - Arroz con Tocino is one of those 'basic' Puerto Rican recipes, a dish found in small cafes and such in Puerto Rico. It is salt-pork rice, and it is easy and delicious. If you can't find salt-pork use bacon.

What to serve with this rice? I like to top it with a fried egg, over medium. Yum! My husband, a non-Puerto Rican, loves this dish with the egg on top too. It is an easy to prepare hassle free dish.

I use about 6-8 ounces of tocino, diced and cooked, and I save the grease to use in the rice. You will need about 3 cups of rice, I use medium grain. Boil enough water, about 6 cups or so (probably won't need it all). You'll need to add enough hot water to cover the rice about one inch above the rice line. Also you will need about 2 tsps salt.

To start, dice the cocino and cook in the caldero you will be using. Cook the tocino until done. This photo shows the tocino almost done, all sides need to be golden. When the tocino is ready, don't drain the grease. Add the rice to the caldero and fry the rice for a minute or so, stirring. Then add the hot water (just enough to cover the rice one inch above the rice line), and then add the salt. Resist temptation and stir just once or twice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Don't stir this any more, you know it will get amogollao, or sticky. Just let it boil until the water evaporates. Cook another 25 minutes or so over low heat, covered.

How easy is that?



August 2011 - Yesterday it rained, something we had not seen for months. Immediately I thought about making a delicious Asopao de Gandules. Yes, in the terrible heat of August, in Texas, I decided to make soup. After all we were under a ‘cool wave’ only 99°!

I have a very old caldero that was my grandmother’s and that’s what I use to cook most of the time, rice or soups, it doesn’t matter, even habichuelas are cooked in Mami Ana’s caldero. I’ve had it for years and years now and she owned for years and years, so it must be really old. Calderos don’t break or wear out.

Making Asopao de Gandules is so easy; on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult, this recipe is a 2. Practically all you have to do is dump all the ingredients in a large caldero, bring to a boil, and simmer for one hour and you’re done. How easy is that?

I had all the required ingredients on hand; canned gandules, sofrito, beef or chicken stock, and even a ham bone in the freezer. The only item I didn’t have is West Indian pumpkin, which is a rare find where I live, even at Fiesta, the local Hispanic Market.

I decided to use a ham bone I had in the freezer and needed to get that ready by boiling it over medium high heat for at least one hour in about 6 – 8 cups of water to make a delicious broth base. If you don’t have a ham bone use ham seasoning, Goya makes it, or use a beef of chicken broth or even bouillon. If you are using fresh ham, dice and mince it, then sauté in a bit of olive oil, add sofrito and cook that another couple of minutes then add the rest of the ingredients.

This asopao is good even without any meat – and in that case even faster to prepare.

For my family I use approximately 7 cups of broth, ¾ cup of sofrito, about 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 cup uncooked rice, 2 cans of gandules, and if I’m using vegetables like pumpkin add about 3 pieces, diced. Then finally I like to add about 1 medium onion sliced, ½ cup sliced olives with pepper, about 2 tbp capers, 2 envelopes Sazón with Achiote, about a cup of stewed tomatoes Italian Style, 1 tbp tomato paste, and 3 tbps minced recao. Don't add any salt until it is done because the olives and cappers and other ingredients often are salted, so just wait until it is done then taste it and add salt if it needs it.

This is brought to a boil, then simmered for about one hour or so. The asopao will thicken as it cooks and that’s the way it is supposed to be, otherwise it is a soup not an asopao. If your sofrito does not have oregano then add some at the end. If it’s too thick add a bit of water and let it come to a boil again. Now it is ready to serve.

I like mine with a bit of pique and sliced of avocado on top.

I served my asopao with tostones, yummmmm . . . . ! But you can make super delicious plantain balls by shredding 2 large green plantains, adding 2 mashed garlic cloves, and salt – mix together well and form into balls about 1” in diameter or so. Add the balls to the pot when the asopao begins to boil.

This is also delish with Mofongo, just shape into balls, serve the asopao and drop a monfongo ball on top.

I make my own sofrito and it is mostly onions, but even so I like to add sliced onions to everything just because I like to see them in my food.

See the recipe on our website . . . Asopao de Gandules


August 2011 - Piña Colada is Spanish for “strained pineapple”, and has a bit of a muddled history. Legend has it that it’s creation dates back to the 1800's where Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí, to boost his crew’s morale gave them a beverage or cocktail that contained coconut, pineapple and rum. This was what would be later known as the piña colada. With his death in 1825, the recipe for the piña colada was lost.

The Piña Colada is then re-introduced in Puerto Rico on August 16, 1954 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico by its alleged creator, Ramon “Monchito” Marrero. Apparently, the hotel management had expressly requested Monchito to mix a new signature drink that would delight the demanding palates of its starstudded clientele. Monchito accepted the challenge, and after 3 intense months of blending, shaking and experimenting, the first Piña Colada was born.

But it doesn’t stop there, also laying claim to the invention is the Barrachina Restaurant in Puerto Rico which claims in 1963 that while on a trip to South America, Mr Barrachina met a bartender who he worked with to create a drink containing pineapple juice, condensed milk, coconut creme, and ice in a blender. …..

As with anything else, there are variations to this very Puerto Rican cocktail. But the basic recipe is (all measurements are approximate) 1½ cup ice in the blender, followed by ½ cup diced pineapple, add 2 ounces pineapple juice, then 2 ounces Coco Lopez Coconut Cream and then finish with about 3 ounces Puerto Rican rum. Run this thru blender until smooth and frothy, serve in nice tall glasses and garnish with fresh pineapple slices.

Keep cool this summer with a Puerto Rican coctail, Piña Colada. ¡Que rico!




Tembleque is a classic Puerto Rican dessert that is dear to our hearts and is usually served at Christmas. It is a coconut milk pudding with a jello like consistency.

Tembleque is also the perfect summer-time dessert with no baking and only a little time on the stove. It is a cool refreshing dessert and takes practically no time to prepare.

The name of this pudding translates as “trembling,” and it does indeed jiggle in a way that some people find quite delightful. Typically in homes tembleque is poured into a glass casserole, refrigerated until set, then sliced into squares and served.

And it turns out this is a Vegan Recipe. If you are looking for a recipe easy to make, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy- free this classic Puerto Rican dessert "Tembleque" is what you need for the summer.

To make this pudding ingredients are cooked in medium heat and stirred frequently until it thickens. After the pudding starts to congeal, it is stirred about a minute and then poured into a wet mold. Find the recipe in our recipe section. Tembleque

Mami used to make the best and most perfect tembleque and I was always hesitant to even try it. But after my first try years and years ago I realized there was nothing to it! Almost a fail-free recipe there are no real hints to post here. Just use a wooden spon to stir, moisten the mold a bit before pouring tembleque. When unmolding slide a butter knife around the edges to loosen it. The perfect summer dessert - every single time.




July 17, 2011 - So what can we do to cool off during the intense heat of this summer? Try a frozen Bacardi drink. Adult refreshing cocktails, perfect for hot summer nites.

Tony Rivera in Phoenix sent us these recipes. This is what Tony and his wife Laura serve at their once a month Friday night Poker Parties! No children are allowed, just aperitivos and these frozen cocktails.

Bacardi Frozen Torched Cherry Colada Recipe: •Fill a blender almost to the top with ice cubes •Add in Bacardi’s piña colada mixer •Fill the container that the piña colada mixer came in halfway with Barcardi Torched Cherry Rum •Add in a dash of grenadine •Blend until smooth

Another delicious frozen 'adult' cocktail is Frozen Mojito Slush For every 4 slushes, you will need: •1 pint lime sorbet or 1 can limeade from frozen juice section •8 shots Puerto Rican rum •1/2 cup mint leaves •1 tray ice cubes

In a blender, combine 1/2 pint sorbet or 1/2 can of lime ade with 4 shots of rum, 1/4 cup mint leaves and 1/2 tray of ice. Pulse, then blend on high until lime-mint slush is smooth. Pour drinks into 2 large cocktail glasses using a long handled spoon and repeat with remaining ingredients.





What to do with over ripe plantains and not enough time for a delicious pastelón? Try making Cuban Fufu (not to be confused with Puerto Rican Fufú - a spell, you know what I mean - don't have time to go into that right now). Making Fufu is easy, 'un mamey', as they say in Puerto Rico.

First put a Cuban CD in your computer or stereo. I found that Pandora.com has a Cuban music station. Enjoy the music and food of our Cousins – most often you won’t be able to tell it apart from our own. Cuba and Puerto Rico are ‘de un pajaro las dos alas’ . . . These prolific words were written by the Puerto Rican poet and revolutionary Lola Rodriguez de Tio circa 1890 and speak to the unique cultural, musical and political relationship of the two islands.

For one serving of Fufu, peel and slice one ripe plantain and boil in salted water for about 30 minutes then drain. In the meantime cook one or two slices of chopped bacon, when bacon is almost crispy add a bit of chopped onion and one large fresh sliced and mashed garlic clove. Cook that until done - just a few minutes. Always cover the pan with a lid to prevent grease from flying all over your stove. If you have good quality chicharrones, by all means use that instead of bacon – about 1/3 cup. Just break up into tiny pieces and heat in olive oil (along with onions and garlic) for 2 or 3 minutes. I am always generous with garlic.

Add drained amarillos to the bacon, onion and garlic mix, including grease and mash together. Add salt if needed. Shape into a ball and serve. Yum!

Now I don't really like the pale yellow color of this dish, although it is natural, so I add either a bit of Paprika or even powder achiote (a recent discovery for me). Using just a bit of this gives the dish a darker yellow tone, more pleasing in my eyes, if you overdo it - you'll end up with red Fufu.

We all know plantains become a hard mass when cooled so just reheat left overs in a bit of olive oil, maybe add a bit of water. Always use olive oil because it is traditional. Frying the left overs will give them an extra nice crispy crust.... OMG my mouth is watering.

Some people like their Fufu to be smooth like mashed potatoes, I prefer to leave it a bit lumpy (but then I'm Puerto Rican not Cuban). I think they like it smooth.

Fufu is yet another reason why I love my Cuban cousins.


Pastelón de Yuca

May 15, 2011 - One of my favorite things to do with basic seasoned ground beef is pastelón. It doesn’t take a lot of active prep time (although it does require oven time in addition to stove top time) and it is a warming dish that will take everyone to their happy place. The more meat you use, the thicker it will be. You can also substitute Pollo Guisado (stewed chicken - criollo style, of course), or make picadillo using ground pork. Anyway you prepare it is delish!

Our basic traditional pastelón is made using layers of fried amarillos and meat. This time I am making it using mashed yuca and pork picadillo. It is yummy!

Use fresh or frozen yuca, boiled in salted water until soft and remove the spinny center. I prefer frozen yuca, which is already peeled (such a hassle to peel). Prepare the pork picadillo the same as beef picadillo. The recipe for picadillo is on our site.

Once you have the yuca prepared and mashed and the picadillo ready all you have to do is put it together. Lightly oil the bottom of a large pie plate or baking dish. Begin with a layer of yuca, then meat and continue until the dish is full or the ingredients are all used. Smoothing out the yuca over the meat is kind of tricky, put a large spoonfull on your oiled hand and mash it down flat, then lay it over the meat - continue until the meat is covered. Last, scramble an egg and pour over the last layer spreading it carefully over to the sides. Add shredded cheese (optional), and then bake at 350° until the egg is cooked, about 20 min. That's it!


Tortilla de Huevo

June 5, 2011 - So, the question is what do Puerto Ricans typically eat for breakfast? Probably the same thing that everyone else eats, more or less, since cultures seem to be meshing together now a days. But if you ask about traditional, that's another story.

Traditionally islanders start with a very hot and strong up of Espresso, often Latte (with boiled foamy milk - always whole milk) and maybe sugar. What is the preferred brand? Almost anything local, but New Yorkers like Bustelo. I prefer Café Yaucano. Most often this is accompanied by warm, freshly baked buttered French bread. In the old days however, the meal included baked batatas (Caribbean sweet potatoes, which are a bit different than what we eat in the states).

Mami Ana, my abuela prepared fried amarillos with fried eggs for Papi Domingo, my abuelo. The eggs were soft and Papi would run the fork with amarillos thru the yolk. I make these sometimes.

Omelets in Puerto Rico are known as tortillas or tortillas de huevo. We cook ingredients then add the egg. It does not get stuffed and folded in half. If making a tortilla de huevos, cook the ingredients first and then add the eggs stirring just a bit to spread the egg around. Cover it so the top gets cooked or just flip it over.

Mami Ana often prepared the children a tortilla de guineitos niños (finger-bananas, about 4" in length, rippened). That was delish. My mother would sometimes make us tortilla de guineitos maduros (rippened banana and eggs). These tortillas are delicious.

For my family I like to prepare a tortilla made with diced bacon, onions, bell peppers, green sliced olives with pimentos, and diced tomatoes. Sometimes I add diced cooked potatoes (Spanish style), and sometimes I add chopped cilantro.