"Surf and Turf" Rice - A paella-inspired dish with all the flavors from my Caribbean paradise.

Few things leave me speechless. If you knew me well you’d agree. I was the kind of kid who probably made her mom wish she were deaf once in a while.

This week — in what must be an auspicious alignment of the planets — two things did leave me stunned, if only briefly: this “Surf and Turf” Rice, and another even more incredible event.

I first heard the news from a friend blogger (and fellow nominee) on Facebook, to which I hastily replied in monosyllables, and possibly an excess of punctuation. I then got an email that made it official: Our blog is a finalist of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blogs Awards in the Regional Cuisine category.

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Dominican Avena Caliente (Spiced warm oatmeal drink). What a great way to start the day!

The best part of keeping this blog, and having it become the de facto digital Dominican kitchen, is that we get to show you recipes that may not longer be as popular in the Dominican home, but that definitely deserve a revival. They deserve to be shown to the world, and adopted for the wonderful ideas that they are.

Whoever came up with the idea of avena caliente (oatmeal and milk hot drink) must have been a culinary genius.

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Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Creamy Spinach and Onion

Culture doesn’t stop changing. No part of it does –thank goodness– and that includes a country’s culinary heritage.

We may hang on with teeth and nails to nostalgia, but the world keeps travelling at 1070 miles/hr, and dragging us all in this fantastic rollercoaster ride we call life. A lot of these changes are completely worth the price of admission.

Much as I love casabe, I am very glad for each and every wave of our ancestors that brought us good food  –better food even– and we didn’t get stuck eating casabe and roasted fish for the rest of our lives. And thanks to all the creative cooks of bygone eras that combined new ingredients to make the dishes that today form our culinary culture.

And with this, I bring you a dish I believe can easily become part of our new culinary culture: Codfish and Potato Fritters

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Translating Dominican Staples into English

As part of our tireless quest to bring Dominican cooking and traditions to as international an audience as possible, we do face the occasional challenge. The language barrier, for one. Most of our terminology is straightforward enough – arroz is rice, habichuelas are beans, café is coffee, and so forth.

But what happens when the food in question is unknown or not that common in the English-speaking world? There may be a word for it in the dictionary, but will readers from outside the DR know what we’re talking about?

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Pork with Vermouth Sauce & Celeriac and Cassava Mashspon-post

Nearly every week for years now I have gone into the kitchen and created something new and unique. Sure, sometimes it was just a matter of tinkering with and writing a recipe created centuries before I was born, but there’s always my touch in it. I set the table and present the food in its best light: natural, approachable, beautiful. Then I let my guests in with a bit of trepidation: Will they like it?

You, my lovely reader, are one of those guests.

Few things stop me from this ritual-come-job-description. Few things can, I love this, after all.  And this week I decided to serve more than the usual one dish, and share a lovely, simple dinner with you: a mixture of our beloved classics and a touch of elegance. You too will love this Pork with Vermouth Sauce served with Celeriac and Cassava Mash

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