July 30, 2012

Dinner Club - Theme: Puerto Rican

May's dinner was hosted by Lisette who also happens to be of Puerto Rican descent.  I don't think I've had Puerto Rican food before but I'll be having again for sure after this dinner. Here is what was on the menu from the host. Carne Mechada, arroz amarillo, Habichuelas rojas and tostones (translation: Pot Roast, Red beans and Rice and Fried plantains).

Dinner Club attendees from the front left: Lisette's sister, Lynn, Melissa Y, Lisette's mom Lydia, Me, Heather, Shannon. 

Some members couldn't join us on this night, our crew sort of changes depending on schedules anyway.  It was great to hear stories from Puerto Rican and learn about the differences and similarities in our cultures.  I think this might have been one of the most interesting dinner clubs for that reason. Thank you to Lisette for hosting and providing the pictures!

Habichuelas Rojas
Recipe found here

2 slices bacon, diced
½ cup ready made sofrito
3 - 15oz. cans beans (pink beans)
1 - 15oz can diced or sliced potatoes, drained
1 - 8 oz can tomatoe sauce
¼ cup sliced olives with pimentos
1 tbsp. cappers
8 oz water, appx.

Cook diced bacon until done - don't drain.
Add the sofrito and cook this for about 5 minutes over low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes or so. It should not be too thick. Of course you can make this same recipe using any type bean.

Papas (potatoes)

Pina Colada made by Shannon.  Went perfectly with our Puerto Rican dinner.  Cold and refreshing.  Thanks Shannon.

If I know Shannon she probably eye balled this recipe so the recipe below is one I found at AllRecipes.com

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 8 cubes ice

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.  Serve immediately.

Mixture to go into the rice.

Arroz Amarillo (rice)
Recipe found here

¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups uncooked white rice
4 cups boiling water
1 envelope Sazón Goya
1 tsp. salt

Rinse the rice using a metal strainer and shake off excess water.

Heat oil in a caldero, add the rice, water, Sazón, and salt. Water line should be about 1" above rice line. Too much water means rice will be sticky. Too little water and it won't cook through. Stir a few times to mix ingredients.
Cook over high heat until water evaporates, then stir once or twice (too much stirring and rice might get sticky), bring the heat down to low, cover and cook another 25 minutes or so. Traditionally Puerto Ricans shape the rice to have a pyramid like mound in the middle in order to cook better - not necessarily true. 

Rum Cake

Lynn T made a wonderful Puerto Rican rum cake.  Lynn is a fantastic cook and everyone oohed and aahed over this cake.  It was definitely a favorite.

For the cake:  1-pkg.  of yellow cake mix.....1 pkg of  instant vanilla pudding mix......4 large eggs....1/2 cup spiced rum, 1 /2 cup water....1/2 cup  veg. oil....1 cup  of pecans or any other nut........
In a standing mixer, mix all ingredients and mix on med. high for 2 minutes,,,,meanwhile spray a bunt pan with pam or other veg. spray.  Put the cup of nuts in bottom of pan and arrange evenly.  Pour in cake batter on top of nuts and bake at 350for 45 min. or until   done.   

 For the topping:  1/2  pint of heavy cream, 3 rounded tbls. of Ducan Hines fluffy white frosting mix, ...2 tbls. of rum extract. In a stand mixer or hand mixer beat all until light and fluffy.  When cake is cool, spread on top of cake, drain cherries and place on top of cream.  Cake should be refrigerated. 
The homemade version is easy too, but I found that the easy version has a more delicate flavor. 


Tostones (fried plantains)

I found this recipe http://www.elboricua.com

Boliches (roast)

sofrito stiffing mix for the boliche

Cooked sofrito stuffing for boliche

Carne Mechada (pot roast)
I found this recipe online here

Sofrito for beans
I found this recipe here

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)
1 bunch of cilantro
12 ajíes dulces (hard to find and may skip)
6 leaves of recao - (Eryngium) (hard to find/skip)
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.

Lemon Meringue Cookies were my contribution.  You can find my post about them here.

I found this website to be a huge help with these recipes.  Check it out if you're interested in Puerto Rican cooking. http://www.elboricua.com/recipes.html

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