Posts Tagged ‘puerto rican style’

Crucian Cherries, A Perfect Diet Food!

May 18, 2012

Crucian Cherries or Acerola Cheries

When you Google “Crucian Cherry”, the only thing that comes up is a cute little song by local entertainer Jazzy Blue extolling the virtue of this berry and the fact that you can’t just eat one because the first one makes you want more. But since one of my three trees is heavily bearing, I decided to see how much harm I was doing by eating several handfuls three times a day. I had also heard our Crucians of Puerto Rican heritage call it Arecibo Cherry so decided to search that term. I ended up with the right answer for the wrong reason. Seems that this tree is called the acerola tree which just means cherry in Spanish. Hence calling them Acerola Cheries is just like calling them Cherry Cherries. Of course we do the same thing when we order or make Shrimp Scampi because Scampi means shrimp in Italian.

But my search was made to find out if my addiction to these tasty morsels is causing me damage. After all, a handful may have 5 or 6 cherries and doing three handfuls twice a day will give a total of 30 cherries which weighs about a pound. Fortunately, I only get about three crops a year and they only are ripe for a couple of weeks. My scale tells me a big Julie Mango a few times a week does more damage to my weight so the question really became one about if Crucian Cherries are any good for you.

From nutritiousfruit.com, I found that Acerola cherry is juicy, sweet and sour in flavor and “very high in vitamin C and other nutrients. It is incredible and unbelievable that one tiny cherry has a higher vitamin C content than an orange. Specifically, the vitamin C content is 65 times greater than an orange, which means one cherry has a vitamin C content that is equal to the minimum daily recommended requirements.”

I am not sure whether or not I really eat a pound a day of these things but even if I did, it really wouldn’t matter. With only 100 calories per pound, I am now eating 120 times the daily requirement of vitamin C. This bulk loading of Vitamin C is supposed to be useful for fighting pain, healing cuts, bruises damaged muscles and keeping colds and flu away. I eat them because I like them, but it’s still nice to know I get something right once in awhile.

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Pollo en Escabeche – A Zesty Chicken Dinner

April 23, 2012

Pollo en Escabeche - A Zesty Chicken Dinner

In my last post on Pollo en Escabeche, I mentioned a Goya recipe that looked attractive and for the most part, I followed their recipe with only a few minor changes. What attracted my attention was that their meal was definitely served as a dinner and not just an appetizer. Well I just had to give it a try to see how their presentation compared to mine.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, skinned and deboned.
1 packets Sazón GOYA con Azafrán
1/2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 carrots, coined
2 T crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 bay leaves
½ tsp thyme
3 whole cloves
1 thin slice scotch bonnet pepper
1 T Spanish olives
1 oz dark rum
2 oz Lime or Lemon Juice
2 oz Balsamic Vinegar

Method:

  1. Wash chicken with lime and sprinkle evenly with Sazón.
  2. Add oil to the coffeepot and add all ingredients except rum, vinegar and chicken.
  3. Cook about 1 hour until onions are glazed add rum and chicken. Cook covered until done. Minimum of 2 hours but can be up to 8 hrs.
  4. Add vinegar, stir and serve.
  5. I served the chicken hot with brown rice and used the oil blend as gravy for the rice.

Actually, I think I like this better than the appetizer Pollo en Escabeche that I previously published. Even though it used the same ingredients, it just looks more like a dinner.

Bok Choy and Flowers

April 21, 2012

Flowers and Panas en Escabeche

Last week the winds brought down partially ripe breadfruit from a tree and I got 3 of them. Now breadfruit is one of those items that is best eaten in the green phase as when ripe, it gets a very sweet taste and has the consistency of custard  I am not fond of the ripe ones. Even green it is not a popular vegetable in the Virgin Islands but gets more popular in the Eastern Caribbean. When I was in St. Kitts last summer a friend prepared Breadfruit Plantains and they are fantastic.

They are essentially fried and when cooked for only five minutes they are according to my granddaughters who did not know I made a switch with regular white potatoes, the best French Fries they had ever eaten. When they are cooked for 15 minutes or so, they turn a golden brown and get very crispy like a potato chip. I like them both ways and have been know to over indulge since you start with a whole breadfruit weighing about four pounds and you can fry another batch ever 5 to 10 minutes.

Since I had three breadfruit to play with, I started searching for other recipes. It seems the first recipe I found was called “Soused Breadfruit” which I had never heard of nor could I find it anywhere on the web other than that one recipe. But in the West Indies, most souse recipes call for Vinegar and oil which is the basis for Puerto Rican Escabeche so I expanded my search for Panas en Escabeche.

Essentially, these is just like the Green Banana salad (Escabeche de Guineos) previously published. You dice the Breadfruit after pealing and discarding the seed. The breadfruit cubes are boiled for about 20- to 25 minutes which makes them soft to a fork. All of the other ingredients are added to the bowl and tossed.

This time I had green and red bell peppers so I used both. Also I had a cucumber that I wanted to use up so, I pealed it and sliced it very thin with a cheese slicer and added that to the salad. It was a pretty good salad  but not as good as “the Best French Fries ever.”

So what has this got to do with Bok Choy? My friend Gloria loves Bok Choy and at 90 pounds is not worried about salt and high blood pressure from traditional stir fried recipes which are really quite good.  Gloria Powell (www.antilleslilies.com) is a event florist on St, Croix heavily involved in working with tourists who want to get married in a St. Croix celebration.The solution, I made a trade of my excess arugula and Bok Choy for her gift of flowers. She also bought me a glass of wine.

Pollo en Escabeche – Puerto Rican Pulled Chicken

February 16, 2012

Pollo en Escabeche - Puerto Rican Pulled Chicken

There are 8 million Puerto Ricans in the US with about half living on the mainland and the other half on their home island. Since both men and woman in the islands cook, I would guess there are 4 million people who cook Puerto Rican Style food. What makes this interesting is I not sure any two cook everything the same way. While pretty much everybody uses the same ingredients, some are not seasonally available and and also, personal preference changes which ingredients go into the pot.

Finding a good recipe for something you were served in Puerto Rico is compounded by the fact that Cuba and the Dominican Republic have a different set of preferred ingredients for the same meal and many Latin American countries use the same name for entirely different meals. Even worse, some words can have different meanings for different meals.

According to Wikipedia which interprets the word “Escabeche” pretty much the way I know it to be:

“Escabeche is a typical Mediterranean cuisine which refers to both a dish of poached or fried fish (escabeche of chicken, rabbit or pork is common in Spain) that is marinated in an acidic mixture before serving, and to the marinade itself. The dish is common in Spanish, Salvadoran, Panamanian, Peruvian, Philippine, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican and Guatemalan cuisine, and popular in Catalonia, Portugal and Provence. Influences of the dish appear as far as Asia-Pacific with adjustments to local food staples. It is usually served cold after marinating in a refrigerator overnight or longer. The acid in the marinade is usually vinegar but can also include citrus juice. Escabeche is a popular presentation of canned or potted preserved fish, such as tuna, bonito or sardines. In the New World, versions of the basic marinade are often used with other foods than fish and meats, for example green bananas and chicken gizzards (Puerto Rico), jalapeño peppers (Mexico), etc. The origin of the word escabeche is Persian, and was brought to Spain by the Arabs during the Moorish conquests. The word derives from al-sikbaj, the name of a popular meat dish that was cooked in a sweet and sour sauce, usually vinegar and honey or date molasses.”

The chicken in todays post was served pulled (shredded) and hot but that is not always the case. This is the appetizer version served with crackers, traditionally saltine type. If served for dinner, it could be a cut-up whole chicken made with carrots and other vegetables or refrigerated and sliced on a sandwich. Of course all of the meals carry the same name.

Pollo en Escabeche

Ingredients:

1 Piece skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast 4-6 oz.

4T cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium-sized sweet or regular onions (cut off ends, remove outer skin, then chunk)

1 T. minced garlic

1 oz rum or white wine

1 bay leaf

1 T. Lime Juice

1/8” piece Scotch Bonnet or Jalapeño Pepper

1/4 tsp salt

2-3 T. Balsamic or Red Wine vinegar

Preparation:

  1. Add olive oil to a large coffeepot.
  2. Add onions, garlic, and rum and saute until onions are soft (1 hour).
  3. Add in chicken, lime juice, hot pepper, salt, bay leaves), cover with aluminum foil and cook for about 2 hours.
  4. Remove the chicken meat and shred the chicken.
  5. Stir in shredded chicken, add vinegar and continue to simmer until chicken is warm (30 minutes).
  6. Of course I served it with my favorite Stoned Wheat Crackers.

While refreshing my memory, I saw many good recipes and one that attracted my attention was from Goya which was with carrots and is served as a dinner. Of course I must give it a try for another slightly different dinner.