Category Archives: Latin Cuisine

Puerto Rican Pasteles

Pasteles have a long history, but they are still extremely popular in modern-day Latin American cuisine. They are very common at festivals, family gatherings and parties. This is a very labor-intensive dish; the very same reason why most people buy their “pasteles” from someone who has the experience and the patience to make these, like myself. Puerto Rican pasteles are much more labor intensive than any other due to the masa mixture which consists of a combination of grated green banana, green plantain, taro, and calabazas (tropical pumpkins), and is seasoned with liquid from the meat mixture, milk, and annatto oil (annatto seeds infused with olive oil). The meat is prepared as a stew and usually contains the combination of pork shoulder, potatoes, chickpeas, olives, and capers seasoned with bay leaves, recaito, tomato sauce, sofrito, fresh garlic, and annatto oil. The pork shoulder can also be replaced with chicken.

Assembling a typical pasteles involves a large sheet of parchment paper, a strip of banana leaf that has been heated over an open flame to make it supple, and a little annatto oil on the leaf. The masa (dough) is then placed on banana leaf and stuffed with meat mixture. The paper is then folded and tied with kitchen string to form packets.

Once made, pasteles can either be cooked in boiling water or frozen for later use. Because they are so labor intensive, large Puerto Rican families often make anywhere from 50-200 or more at a time, especially around the months of November throughout January, “the holiday seasons”. They are usually served with rice and pigeon peas (arroz con gandules), roasted pork, and other holiday foods on the side.

Let’s make this happen…

Masa:
12 green bananas
4 plantains
2-3 lbs. yucca
1-2 lbs. white yautía
1 large calabazas
¾ cups milk
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tbs sofrito
2 tbs annatto oil

Filling:
3-4 lbs. of shoulder pork, skinned and diced into small tiny pieces
3 small Idaho potato, diced into small pieces
1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans
½ cup sliced Spanish stuffed olives
½ cup of sofrito
3-4 bay leaves
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

2 batches of parchment paper to roll pastels
Banana leaves – cut into rectangles of 10” x 8” approximately
Cotton kitchen soft twine (pasteles string)

Let’s make this happen…

Masa…

1. Peel all vegetables, diced into small pieces and shred them using a food processor or the old fashion way you can use a hand grated (which will take you all night).
2. Add the sofrito, salt, annatto oil and milk to the masa mixture. Mix it all well to create a homogenous smooth mixture. The annatto oil will provide a bright orange color to the mixture.
3. Add salt to taste, or Sazon Goya con cilantro y achiote, Sazon Goya con ajo y cebolla (Goya seasonings).

Filling…
1. In large stew pot fill half-way with water; add salt and add pork. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cook for an hour.
2. Rise to medium heat, add the rest of ingredients and cook for another ½ hour.
3. Once everything is cooked, add the olives.

Assembling…
1. Place a piece of banana leaf on top of the parchment paper (it’s similar to butcher’s paper).
2. Take a little bit of the sauce of the mixture and wet the banana leaf.
3. Take a large spoonful of masa in the center of the banana leaf. Using the spoon, form a well in the center of the mixture;
4. Place about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the well. Carefully fold the leaf over, in order to cover the filling with masa on all sides.
5. Fold the paper like a letter and fold in the sides to create a compact package. Set aside and continue making/packing them. Repeat this procedure until all the masa mixture has been used. You can now freeze or cook them when you are ready.

Let’s tie them…
1. Take two packs placing them on top of each other (facing two large ends together) and start binding them together with cooking string. Don’t tie to tight (during cooking they will expand).

Cooking

1. In a large pot of water add 2-3 doubles sets of pasteles into water; bring to boil for about 45 minutes or until the masa is cooked; (if pasteles are frozen, place them directly from the freezer onto the boiling water and boil for about 1 hour).
2. Drain them well when you take them out of the water (place them onto a plate and let sit for a minute or two) cut sting and unwrap.
3. Serve over rice, side with pork and salad or just enjoy alone.

BTW: Pasteles can stay in the freezer for up to three months if well sealed and wrapped!!

Enjoy!

Latin Fusion for any Party

Latin Fusion for any Party  

I’ve complied all the fixing you’ll need for a very special Latin Fusion Party!  

Invite your family and friends over and impress them with a Bistro-Chic Style Latin Fusion Dinner Party.

 

Arroz con Leche/ Spanish Rice Pudding

Arroz con Gandules/Spainish Rice              

Pasteles/Latin Savory Cakes                      

Pernil/ Roast  Garlic Pork                             

Yucca con Mojo/Yuca with Garlic Sauce         

Pumpkin & Spanish Flan

Clam Soup with Garlic & Shrimp

Deep Fried Peppers Stuffed with Cod

Mini Meatball Sliders

Ginger Holiday Martini

Chef EdieM

 

 

Growing up and being Latina….
I was completely unaware that I was an American Latino until maybe the fourth or fifth grade. I realized it more and more during my lunch time, and while some of my classmates carried brown paper bags with them to the cafeteria, others got in line for the free lunch or ate at the corner deli shop. As for me, I had to walk home every day with my sisters back and forth for my lunch.

First, we were strapped for money (coming from large family of seven at the time) so I needed to go home and also the food was great especially the left-overs (e.g.) arroz con frijoles (rice and beans) and if there were no leftovers it was Jamón y queso y pan con mayonesa (ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo).

As my journey through school continued, my parents couldn’t help me with my homework the way other parents could because my parents lacked education. I was totally on my own when it came to my education. I lacked talent on building friendships during school yet strictly paid attention in class to avoid the risk of being a failure. I also had to translate for my parents, not like English to Spanish, but translate what was being said so they can comprehend the English language and as a young confused girl, this was the worst thing you could ask me to do since I had no idea what was going on!

I was bullied in school and in the neighborhood, because the way I looked, having pale skin, reddish blonde hair and green eyes – features people don’t typically identify as Latina. I was constantly asked and questioned, “Where are you really from?”, or “Can you speak Spanish, right”? Or constantly questioned why I looked different from my other siblings whom had dark skin and dark hair.

Indeed it was painful and rough for me growing up and did I mention it affected me socially, too. I couldn’t do a lot of things my friends could, such as sleepover or movies. Strict Latino up bringing parents or just punishment.

In the end “Yes, I am Latina,” proud of it and it was different and difficult then, but much, much better now.

Garlic Dipping Sauce | Mojito

This Garlic Dipping Sauce | Mojito is the recommended garlic dipping sauce to serve with tostones (twice fried green plantains) or aranita (shredded green plantain fritters). You can make the Mojito in advance, up to about 3 days, and keep it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature about an hour before serving. Garlic

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 cup olive oil, warmed

1 whole head of garlic peeled, crushed and finely chopped

1 small onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lime

Salt to taste

 

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl. (A nonreactive bowl is one made of material that does not react chemically to the citrus acids.)
  2. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat 2-1/2 to 3 minutes or until a thermometer reads 200°. Carefully add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; remove from heat.
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. When room temperature, add zest and juice of limes and lemon.
  6. Mix until well combined.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving.

Tip: Use a blender or food processor to mix the ingredients.

 

Enjoy Chef EdieM

Distinct Cuisine

Spanish food consists of freshly prepared dishes made with locally produced and fresh ingredients such as extra virgin olive oils (EVOO), wines, cheeses, chick peas, rice almonds, garlic, saffron, and fresh fruit. Add to these more olive oil and wine, very fresh fish, seafood, game, cured hams, sausages like chorizo, chicken and fresh breads and you get a whole list of popular Spanish foods, mildly spiced yet full of flavors.

Spain has a rich and diverse cuisine, reflecting its extensive history and culture. It is a country where each of the 17 Autonomous Communities, valleys, and villages has a distinct cuisine of its own and takes pride in its way of preparing simple dishes that can provide you with the unique experience of consuming Mediterranean food.

The Paella’s, Tortilla Espanola de Patatas and Gazpacho’s dishes are Spain’s national food which is infused sometime with Chorizo (Spanish Pork Sausage).

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Paella de Marisco (Paella Seafood)  Originated in Valencia, where villagers mixed rice with snails or game and vegetables and cooked it in a large pot over an open fire. Today Paella is Spain’s most well-known national food, where shellfish, seafood, meats and vegetables may be used.

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Tortilla Espanola de Patatas (Spanish omelet) Here is no doubt about it, the Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Omelet of potatoes and onions is the most commonly served dish in Spain and it is served as a breakfast, a “tapas or appetizer or dinner in ever café, diner and Spanish home.

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Gazpacho (Cold Soup) This refreshing cold soup originated in the region of Andalucía, but is popular all over Spain, especially in summer.

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Chorizo (Spanish Pork Sausage) Spanish chorizo is a red, pork sausage seasoned with paprika and garlic. It is a staple of the Spanish diet and considered a Spanish national food. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from fresh and “soft” to semi-cured and even dry and cured.

…” I remembered as a child growing up in Hoboken, Carmen, my oldest sister had a friend from Spain who came to family outings once in a while.  I remembered her only dishes she would bring were Octopus Pies and Cochinillo Asado (roasted baby pig).  My tastes buds were not developed yet and I must confess to you all out there I threw away my share when no one else was looking.  I thought to myself, oh God how can anyone eat this poor little animal?  My sister pleaded with me to eat and enjoy the food. I think to myself now how I made a fool of myself by crying to avoid eating it all together.

Moving forward twenty years later I met someone who came from Spain to attended NYU; I was invited to one of her dinner parties; I had no idea what would be served, I thought maybe cheese, wine, fruits or lamb. I brought over a bottle of red wine and an empty stomach.  Her place was old, small and over crowed.  Yet, her table setting was elegant and food presentation, perfect.   I must say, the aroma was out of this world and the food tasted so good.  Two hours and four bottles of wine later I was told Octopus Pie and Cochinillo Asado was the main course. Go figure! Cochinillo Asado is one of the most typical dishes in the cuisine of Castilla, especially the city of Segovia. It is roast baby pig. Its fatty outside is crisp and perfect for those who like pork rind, while its meat is tender and juicy”…

Let’s make this happen…

  • 6 lb. suckling pig
  • 1/2 cup EVOO, 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium carrots; 1 yellow onion

Preparation:  Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

1)  Season the piglet with salt and pepper, inside and out. Wrap the ear with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Then, place the piglet in a large, open roasting pan. Baste with EVOO and dab with butter all over.

2)  Place in oven and roast, basting often with the pan drippings for about 2 1/2 hours.

3)  While the piglet is roasting, peel the carrots and the onion. Slice the carrots into 4 pieces each. Coarsely chop the onion. About 10 minutes before removing the piglet from the oven, place the carrots and onion in the pan with the piglet.

4)  Remove the piglet from oven when it is fully cooked. (Check meat and make sure that the juice is clear and not bloody.) Remove the aluminum foil from ears and place on a serving dish. Keep warm in a warming drawer or under heat lamps.

5)  Pour juices from roasting pan into a sauce pan with the vegetables and heat over medium heat on stove. When the juices start to sizzle, skim fat off top. Add 2 cups of water. Increase heat to high and boil rapidly to thicken. Strain through a strainer or cheesecloth.

6)  Serve the piglet on a large platter with the warm gravy on the side, roast or fried potatoes and a simple green salad.

Octopus Pie Recipe – Ingredients for Pastry

  • 2 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted lard
  • 7 tablespoons milk
  • 12 ounces flour

Mix together in a large bowl eggs, salt, milk, olive oil and lard.   Add the flour, little by little, so as to form soft dough.  You will know when it is right because the dough will no longer stick to your fingers, although it will still be quite moist. Knead the dough very little. Let it rest, rolled out, while you cook the octopus and prepare the rest of the pie filling (see below).

Making and baking the pie:

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound cleaned octopus, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 large peeled tomatoes (or 2 tomatoes and 1 tablespoon tomato puree)
  • 1/2 to 1 mild red pepper, seeded and chopped

Have a casserole with boiling water and 2 bay leaves in it.   Take a cleaned octopus by one end and lower it 3 or 4 times successively into the water, which must continue to boil hard, until the octopus curls. It will curled, leave it in the water to continue cooking for about half an hour. Towards the end of the cooking, add a little salt.

Remove the octopus, let it cool, and then cut it into small pieces. Meanwhile, chop onions and fry them very gently, covered, taking care that they do not brown. Add tomatoes and let them cook too. Add mild red pepper and the pieces of cooked octopus, and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes more.

Note: Let the mixture cool.

Divide the pastry dough into two.   Take a wide and shallow baking tin (round 11-12 inches) diameter or a rectangular one 9 X 13 inches. Roll out half the dough so that it will cover the bottom of the chosen tin.   Lightly oil the tin. Cover the bottom of it with the pastry dough, so that the dough comes up the sides and overlaps the edges.

Spread the filling over this. Roll out the rest of the dough to make the top of the pie, and put this in place, rolling the edges over and crimping them to make a tight seal all the way round.

Cook the pie in a moderate oven 350° for approximately 30 minutes, until it is a light golden-brown.

Chef EdieM

Señores y Señoras, Puerto Rican Rice & Beans

Here is a very tasty and simple good dish that is commonly made in every Latino  household any given day of the week. Traditional this dish is served with Pork Chops and a salad.  Do you know this actually tastes better after the beans have sat in the fridge for a day or two.  *NOTE: Your Pork Chops can be fired, baked or BBQ. Then placed them in a very lightly papered greased crock-pot using EVOO along with 1 cup water and 1 tbsp of the sofrito; cooked until the Pork Chops becomes tender; Served with Red Kidney Beans, White Rice and Salad.

Let’s make this happen,

1 (16 ounce) Goya bag of Red Kidney beans (rinse and boil for an hour, drain put aside until ready to use)  or for a quick fix you can use a  can of Red Kidney beans.

Use natural seasonings people, cumin, cilantro, sea salt, and peppercorn (Stay away from the adobo it is high in sodium).

1 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin Olive oil)

½ can of Goya tomato sauce; 1 Peeled, diced potatoes

½ cup of slice cooked ham or ½ cup pork grinds (small cubed)

2 cloves of fresh crushed garlic; 1 (5 g) packet sazon con azafran seasoning (commonly used in the Latino kitchen, it has such good flavors)

1 to 2 tablespoons of sofrito (homemade~see receipt below) it also comes pre-made in freezer or jarred, a necessary ingredient in the Latino cooking community)

2 cups of white rice, uncooked

Directions:

1) Made by Goya products & brand can be found in the Spanish/Latin section of your grocery store; Cook white rice follow instructions on package.

2) In deep saucepan, place ham or pork grinds into low-medium heated olive oil.

3) Once it starts to sizzle, add the garlic and seasoning, simmer low.

4) Then add the potatoes, sofrito and sazon con Azafran seasoning, stir.

5) Next add red beans and add one cup of water into mixtures.

6) Let it cook for another ½ hour, serve over white rice and side it with Pork Chops and salad.

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Puerto Rican Sofrito

2 bunches Cilantro
2 bunches recao
1 head of garlic
3 large red onions
3 large green or red bell peppers
2 tbsp. crushed oregano
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Prepare the ingredients – peel, wash, and seeded and coarsely chop; place into food processor, chop for 2-3 minutes; Storage/Freezer: You can use old ice-cube trays (to be used for smaller dishes) or place into medium sized Tupperware. Leave one in your fridge for the week.

Enjoy,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dedicated to my friend, Silvy: It has been just a few short months, but feels like a lifetime of  infinity.   I just thought I’d write to let you know you’re an amazing friend and hope our memories will continue to grow. You lift my spirits when I am down and showed me you are always there when no else is.  You’re not afraid to speak your mind and let me do the same. You’re a fun person to have around and help keep my feet firmly on the ground…someone special in my past life had pasted this poem onto me and said someday I would do the same, so I am pasting this on to you my friend….

A friend is someone with whom, your thoughts,
dreams and secrets you can share.
And no matter what you say or do, you know
that they still care.

A friend is always ready to laugh
with you when you are glad.
But has shoulder for you to cry on
at those times when you are sad.

A friend always want the best for you
And they are not happy until you are too.

A friend is never jealous
of the things you may attain.
And if you are the winner you will
not hear them complain.

A friend is a person who could spend every day
with you, from beginning to end.

When you find someone like this they are more
than a friend they are a …BEST FRIEND