Friday, March 20, 2009

Arroz Con Pollo - as promised :)

So my recipe is probably nowhere near as good as Bobby Flays and definitely not as good as Jorge Ayala, but its simple and easy and tastes good to me! :)

What You Need:
- 3 cups of Goya’s Canilla extra long grain white rice.
- chicken pieces (my mom likes to throw all the pieces of a chicken in there - legs, thighs, etc. but personally, i love this dish best with only chicken breast pieces. so try the breast of a 3 lb chicken - cut into pieces, for starters)
- 2 tablespoons of Goya Corn Oil
- 1 packet of Goya Sazon
- 1 8oz can of Goya Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of Goya Adobo
- 3 tablespoons of Goya Sofrito

What To Do:
- Rinse the rice clean at least three times. NOTE: you don't want any starch from the rice in this dish. it will be way to sticky.
- Season your chicken pieces with the adobo, sazon - and if you have any, a little bit of garlic powder.
- NOTE: try to season the chicken at least 15 minutes before you start cooking. you want the seasoning to really saturate the meat.
- Heat the oil in a 8 quart rice pot over medium heat.
- Add the sofrito and saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce and stir. Saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces and 2 cups of water.
- Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the rice and more water to cover everything in the pot. Stir. Cover and allow to cook for 30 more minutes.
- Stir one last time.
- Cover once again and cook for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy this one pot dish!!!!

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Cook Time: 55-60 minutes

Thursday, March 19, 2009

La Fonda Boricua - A Great Recipe on the FoodNetwork

Recently I was channel surfing and happened to stop on the Food Network to catch Throwdown with Bobby Flay. For those of you who don't know, its basically a show where Bobby Flay will challenge someone who is particularly skilled at a particular recipe. He'll challenge them by creating the same recipe and judges get to pick out which dish came out best.

In this particular episode, Bobby Flay challenged Jorge Ayala - head cook at La Fonda Boricua in New York City. Of course, Bobby loses (because you can't challenge a Puerto Rican at Arroz con Pollo!) but everyone has a good time.

La Fonda Boricua is a fantastic restaurant with AMAZING food! And I encourage everyone who's in the New York area to give a shot.

Tomorrow I'll be throwing down my own recipe for Arroz con Pollo - so check it out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Piñon or Beef/Plaintain Casserole

The first time I had this dish was at a friend's house - and I have to tell you that I practically ate the entire dish by myself! The combination of sweet and savory will make your mouth explode with delicious-y goodness! Try it out!

What You Need:
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of Goya Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of White Vinegar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 Yellow Plantains (see picture in previous blog)

What To Do:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- In a small bowl, using a fork, crush together the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Once crushed, mix in the oil and vinegar.
- Add the ground beef to the seasoning mixture.
- In a frying pan, fry up the ground beef until thoroughly cooked and brown. Set it aside for now.

- Peel the plantains and slice (at an angle) into 1/2 inch slices.
- In a frying pan, over medium heat with a bit of olive oil, fry the plantain slices until golden on each side. (about 5 minutes per side)
- Grease a casserole pan.
- Place a layer of plantains on the bottom of the pan.
- Top with a layer of ground beef.
- Continue this layering until all the food has been used.
- Pour the eggs over all layers.
- Bake uncovered for 1 hour.


Total Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Odd Tradition...

So because this tradition still boggles my mind, I thought I'd put it out there for the rest of the world to know about and discuss...

Ever since I was little, my mom & dad (and just about every adult I knew) would put cheese in their coffee!! I kid you not!
If my dad sent us to the store to buy breakfast, he would always say, "don't forget the queso de papa!". Check out this picture I found:

Of course, there are different brand names, but queso de papa is actually a cheese common in the Caribbean that is similar to a Colby cheese. I also thought it was plain old American cheese!

So we'd buy this cheese for our parents, and they'd cube it up and drop 2 or 3 cubes right into their hot cup of coffee. I still don't get it! I guess cheesy coffee is the way to go, but for me, I'll just stick to milk & sugar.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Along those Seasonal Lines...

So after writing about Spring, I decided to kick my summer plans into high gear! In my family, you have no choice - they don't know how to plan anything! And so, I've decided that I'm going to keep up the Perez family tradition of heading to Coney Island on the 4th of July. Heads up though - if you're going to do the same, make sure you get there insanely early!

Following my thought path...thinking of the beach, made me think of all the Hispanics you usually see at Coney Island on the 4th, and I wanted to point out a few things you might notice while there:

1) The party starts on the train to the beach, lol. I once wrote an entire paper in college about the antics aboard the D train to Coney Island. The loud stereos, the kids jumping all over poles, and the amazing scents of Latin food everywhere!

2) Don't be afraid of the loud music! I don't know why, but Hispanics (especially my family) have the weirdest tendency to make the entire world know about our music tastes! We will not only blast the music loud enough for us to hear, but loud enough for practically the entire beach to enjoy. But don't be afraid - usually the loudest music leads to the most fun!

3) We bring everything but the kitchen sink. No seriously, if we could, we'd probably bring the sink too! I don't know about most of you, but I grew up in a family of 7 going on 17 when you added all the cousins, aunts/uncles, etc... So when we went to the beach there was no possible way our parents would spend a ton of money on Nathan's Hotdogs! So don't be surprised if you see a Hispanic mom pull an entire pot of rice out of her cooler at the beach. We cook, we eat, we enjoy all the comforts of home right at the beach!

4) We take up a LLAARRGGE area! Instead of bringing towels to the beach, as most people would, Hispanics take up larger sections of the beach by bringing bedsheets. I'm not kidding here! My mom would pack up at least 5 bedsheets and spread them all around. It was just like being at home!

5) Last but not least, the hard boiled eggs. I have no clue how this started or why it even goes on, but most of the Hispanics I know actually bring a tupperware full of hardboiled eggs to the beach with them! My father used to actually go so far as to bring the entire container of salt with him just to have it on his eggs. It's weird but its actually extremely delicious - give it a try one day!

So I hope I haven't scared you away from Coney Island anytime soon. Maybe if you go on the 4th, you'll see me and my crazy family there! We'll be the ones with the hard boiled eggs!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring is Coming - BBQ Time!!!

So anyone who knows me will definitely tell you that I am a SPRING girl. I was born in this Spring, love Spring weather, and usually all good things happen to me in the Spring - its just the way it is. But one of my absolute favorite things to do once that thermometer goes above 60 is a BBQ. So I thought I'd just give you a few tips on spicing up your next BBQ on that beautiful Spring day!

1) Never ever forget the Adobo! This is a must have! And its actually always funny to me that alongside all the millions of things a Hispanic host has to remember for a BBQ, they never forget the adobo. Basically sprinkle it on both sides of your burger right before grilling and you will keep coming back for more!

2) Sangria is a must! I've posted a great recipe for Sangria on this blog that you should definitely check out. It's just a great drink for everyone to relax a little and still cool down.
NOTE: If you have kids coming to the BBQ, still make the sangria, but without any liquor. Use lots of free fruit that the kids will LOVE eating right out of the bowl!

3) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! There is absolutely nothing worse than getting ready to have a great BBQ in the city, and realizing that there's nowhere to set it up. Yes, there are some parks that are great, but they get so crowded so fast that its nearly impossible to snag a grill or a table. So take my advice: grab whichever of your friends has a car and head up to Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. It's only about an hour from the city and is totally worth it! If you get there early enough, there are plenty of tables to go around, and the seclusion is fantastic for all kinds of parties!

4) And last but not least - make it a FEAST! Don't be afraid to bring foods that aren't traditionally at a BBQ (rice and beans, anyone?). Your hosts or your guests will love the fact that there are so many options besides whats on the grill.

I LOVE THE SPRING! I hope that you all do too!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Birthday Madness! :)

So it appears as if I forgot to put up a blog post yesterday - but I have a perfectly good excuse! Yesterday was my mother's and two of my brother's birthdays - Happy Birthday to Them!!

Yes, on March 12, 1984, my poor mom gave birth to two of my brothers ("the twins") on her own birthday. :( Ever since then, she's had to endure sharing her special day with two others, and most of those days ended with a birthday cake for all three of them to share.

But thinking about cakes made me want to point out to you the BEST bakery in NYC - Valencia Bakery!

Ever since I was a little girl, every single occasion that required a cake in our household came from Valencia. Their cakes are so delicious and perfect and made however you'd like it.

Valencia only has around 3 or 4 locations in NYC, and yet they never go out of business - and let me tell you why. If you ever ask any Hispanic were they get their cakes from, I can guarantee you they will all say Valencia. It's amazing what such a small company can produce!

Anyways, I'd like to post up a few of the cakes we've gotten from Valencia recently just so you can see how delicious they look, and try the bakery out for yourself!