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Summer Vegetable Salad with Plantain Crusted Fish

This will have you shouting !Olé! or something like that. It’s light and breezy — with lots of punch and crunch. Continue Reading

3 BBQ Side-Dish Kabobs, Mother’s Day and a Creative Cooking Crew Challenge | Crunchy Plantains on a Stick

The Creative Cooking Crew’s challenge for May — what are you bringing to the BBQ? -- was announced about the same time my nephew and his wife said they would be hosting a Mother’s Day barbecue. They’d do the meats and everyone else could bring accompaniments. Perfect timing.

When you’re a cook, it doesn’t matter if it’s Mother’s Day — you still cook. And, because I enjoy cooking, the challenge and, definitely, eating, I couldn’t bring just one thing.

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Still the Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine: de Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean

I’ll admit it. I’m a fool for “Nuevo Latino” as witnessed by the many times I’ve dabbled in that category on this site.

In fact, a lot of my fearlessness and creativity in the kitchen was inspired a long time ago by a few chefs like Douglas Rodriguez. He’s the undisputed “Godfather of Nuevo Latino” and a member of the critically-acclaimed Mango Gang that revolutionized the Floribbean concept in the late eighties-early nineties.

Over the years, I’ve been to at least 4 of his restaurants (Yuca, Patria, OLA and this one), each multiple times — and his Nuevo Latino cookbook is one of the few cookbooks that survived my move from New York to Florida (and is still with me after 3 more moves in FL). It’s a treasure.

Yes, I’m fan. Let me show you why. Continue Reading

Tips on Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties (Large and Small)

I know most people who read blogs like FOODalogue or create boards on pinterest are really into entertaining and generally on the troll for new tips to make the effort stress-free so I thought I’d tell you about 2 dinner parties I hosted recently.

Last week I hosted a dinner party to celebrate 2 family members’ birthdays. It was joyous, over-the-top loud and a wee bit chaotic. That’s what happens when four generations of family (18 people) get together. Continue Reading

A meaty, greasy, tasty Frita (Cuban burger) goes Vegan. Será posible?

“Choose one of your favorite rich, heavy, fatty animal-protein-based meals and give it a healthy VEGAN spin.” That was the challenge.  Continue Reading

Junk Food Goes Gourmet, Holy Mole: A 5 Star Culinary Makeover Challenge

The message announcing the new challenge said “take your favorite Junk Food … something you are addicted to, for example chips or fries … and use it in a gourmet dish!”

I panicked and replied “Yikes, I’ll have to find a bad habit in a hurry.” Continue Reading

When a Beet Meets a Plantain – and – A Challenge Announcement

I’ve been missing the challenge. Oh, sure, I challenge myself with most every meal I prepare, but it’s not the same as being given a category and told to run with it. That’s stoking the fire, revving the engine, jumping off a cliff. That’s exhilarating! Especially when it works. :)

I have more than 10 pages of food challenges on this blog. Most notably, Our Family Food Fights and 3-years running of A Culinary Tour Around the World. Then there were also a few Royal Food Jousts, Marx Foods contests and the 3 rounds I lasted in Project Food Blogger … loved the challenge, hated the vote-pandering! 

I gave up. Continue Reading

Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice)

Apparently every Spanish-speaking country has their version of this classic dish. Being half-Spanish, I grew up eating a traditional arroz con pollo from Spain. When I started cooking myself, I took a somewhat Spanish-American approach. That meant I used no-fail Uncle Ben’s rice and strictly adhered to the directions…2-1 liquid, bring to a boil, lower and cover for 20 minutes. Even when I did it in a paellera in the oven, I covered it with foil.

Interestingly, I realized as I wrote this post that the literal translation of this dish is ‘rice with chicken'; yet, it is popularly translated and referred to as ‘chicken and rice’ (and that’s the way I used to make it.) Do you see the distinction?

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I ATE•PR: Fine Dining at Pikayo and Varita + the Chef’s Secret Recipe for Chorizo Emulsion

If one picture is worth a 1000 words, this may be my ‘wordiest’ post ever!

Tuna Tartare on Crispy Rice with Chipotle Mayo

Vacationing in a tropical place like Puerto Rico offers distinct and varied dining opportunities. I’ve written before about eating and mixing it up with the locals on their beautiful beaches or in the mountainous countryside and quaint towns…so I thought it was time to showcase the high-end resort side of dining in Puerto Rico, compliments of Chef Wilo Benet who has not one, but two, restaurants in the Conrad Condado Plaza Resort. I had the pleasure of enjoying tasting menus at each.

There are many things that set this Chef apart. He’s genuinely nice, almost renaissance-like in all his artistic endeavors, and he’s a top-notch chef who presents creative contemporary dishes with native roots. You’ll see what I mean. Continue Reading

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