Arroz con Pollo

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La Fonda Boricua

La Fonda Boricua

When I was in Spain, I had a Serbian roommate, Dunja.  We met up again when she visited New York and she she wanted to try some Puerto Rican food.  So, we headed up to Spanish Harlem to La Fonda Boricua.  This is the restaurant famous for beating Bobby Flay in an Arroz con Pollo throwdown.  The restaurant is the type of place that doesn’t bother with menus, but this was no problem.  We all knew what we needed to try, and it was amazing.  Here is their recipe from the throwdown.

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Tamales

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Corn husk tamales

Corn husk tamales

Mex Tex Trio was a restaurant owned by my friend Nalicia.  She would serve enormous portions of the most amazing food to guests in the restaurant and then give small cooking classes in the back room of the restaurant on some summer nights.   Among other recipes, she shared her method for making Mexican style tamales.

This is how it goes:  Salsa verde (green sauce) goes with chicken and salsa roja (red sauce) goes with pork.  Under no circumstances can these be interchanged.  It’s a rule, I’m told.  Alternatively, when in Nicarauga, they were using banana leaves instead of husks.  Where I live, I can only get frozen banana leaves which have this strange smell, so I stick with the corn husks.  Foil works well too, but this isn’t traditional.

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Empanadas Argentinas

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Empanadas made with Teresita outside Buenos Aires

Empanadas made with Teresita near Buenos Aires

Teresita is a retired school teacher who lives near Buenos Aires and is famed for her homemade empanadas.   Now she takes students from all over the world on market tours and then back to her kitchen.  Everyone stands around a big wooden table with little wooden rolling pins, learning the craft of making and folding the dough into the perfect pocket with a rope like edge.   Traditionally in Argentina, these are filled wtih beef, chili spices, eggs, & olives, but many fillings work well.

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Pepian

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Photo from Antigua Daily Photo

Photo from Antigua Daily Photo

Pepian.  It’s the very best thing I had in Guatemala and it’s different from the Mexican pipian.  How? I don’t know, but pepian and pipian are different brown sauces.  Traditionally this is served over chicken still on the bone, but I like to make it more stew like with shredded chicken.  You can find this amazing dish at a restaurant called Frida’s in Antigua, but the very best is made by my friend Marta on the other side of town.  For a much simplified version, see below.

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