Monday, August 18, 2008

Grandma food.

Homemade Cuban food a la grandma. Pictured here: black beans, amarillos (fried sweet yellow plaintains), yucca with mojo (lemony, oily garlic sauce), and brown rice - my grandmother's going healthy!

Not pictured: avocado, which was the only thing green on the menu. So, I guess healthy is all relative . . .

Mango Season

If you ever travel down to Vieques, make sure to plan your trip during mango season. Our hotel had overflowing mango trees and we were told to help ourselves. We even picked a few to smuggle back to the mainland. Pictured at right: the perfect mango.

Best meal on Vieques

Nick and I spent a couple nights on the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques, 7 miles from the main island. The New York Times travel section wrote about Vieques a few years back, and warned there were no good restaurants on the island. They must not have been to el Quenepo. Fresh, delicious food, beautifully prepared, but in a relaxed, mellow island environment.

Nick started with more ceviche, top, and then moved on to a giant freshwater fish, whose name I can't recall. Nick was in love with this pescado!

I even tried it and conceded it was pretty good. But I was happiest with my homemade sweet potato gnocchi.

Puerto Rican bar food

In San Juan, we went to the trendy bar at the hotel La Concha for delicious fruit-flavored mojitos (I had parcha - yum!!) and some tasty snacks. From top to bottom, rice-and-bean croquettes, local root vegetable chips with hummus, and ceviche. Delicioso!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

pickled onions have changed my life!

even in brasil, land of tasty-beyond-belief produce, this simple stovetop trick has made eating even more exciting. so much so that i needed to share it will you all.

in an on-the-fly attempt to make a chutney to go along with the cashew and tomato-based curry my roomate barbara was cooking, i sliced some red onions into rounds, put them in a pot of salted boiling water, let them cook till they were no longer spicy but maintained their crunch, drained them, and tossed them in an old jar with white vinegar, more salt, and couple pinches of sugar. i then put them in the fridge. half an hour later they emerged, super flavorful and brightly colored and crisp. i chopped some mango into cubes, mixed with the onions, and voila--delicious quick chutney.

but! the best part is this--these onions pair amazingly with all sorts of things. i´ve been eating them every morning with tomatoes or avocados or eggs for about a week straight.

try it out. picked onions just might change your life too.

chicken cashew curry with quick mango chutney and cardamom flavored rice. note: iced beer in the corner. that´s right, iced beer! i take my cerveja bem, bem gelada these days.