Light and Healthy

Paleta de batata (Sweet potato popsicles)

In my head paleta de batata con coco (sweet potato and coconut popsicles) and summer are indelibly connected. When I was a kid I spent many a summer in the Santo Domingo neighborhood of San Carlos, where one of my aunts lived. Back then it was the kind of old-fashioned middle class neighborhood you see in ...

Albondigas de pescado (Fish balls)

Summer, summer, summer! It's everywhere. It's "summer this", and "summer that". Girls in bikinis, over-tanned idiots and kids playing with garden hoses. Will the cliches never end? But I'm going to let you in on a little dirty secret: summer is my least favorite part of the year. If you don't understand why I just don't feel as ...

Cauliflower and carrots gratin

My husband and I spent our first years together, more than a decade and a half ago, wandering the country. For me sometimes revisiting places I had been to, for him learning what this land of ours has to offer: From pristine white sand beaches to the highest mountains in the region, from tropical deserts to ...

Pastelon berenjenas y queso (eggplant and cheese casserole)

First of all, what sort of vegetarian are you? What the airlines describe as 'lacto'? 'Lacto-ovo'? These curious categories have long been obsolete everywhere except airline ticketing codes. They mean vegetarians who eat dairy products and vegetarians who eat dairy products and eggs. Are you a fishetarian? That means a vegetarian who eats seafood (my definition). ...

Green split peas soup

Quick, summer is coming soon! It's barely May and round here the heat gives us little respite these days. Luckily it has been raining heavily for the last two days, which brings the heat and humidity down a few notches to more bearable levels. Cool enough to eat soup without melting into a puddle of sweat, and just ...

Strawberry and yogurt popsicles and ice cream

Coming from a coastal town in an area defined as "Tropical Desert Forest" my first visit to Constanza in my early teens  came as a real shock. Geographically and climate-wise you would have a hard time finding two places so different and still located on the same small island. To my 13 (or 12?, can't remember) ...

Mango and shrimps salad

Before mango season is over I wanted to bring you this recipe for mango and shrimp salad. Every Dominican has an opinion on which is the best mango cultivar: banilejos, puyitas, injertos, etc. Truth is if you have never tried a ripe mango in our country you have missed much in your life. I find mangoes ...

Roasted auyama (West Indies pumpkin) cream with cheese crust

I have a confession to make: I'm terribly out of tune with the seasons and other natural cycles. It's actually a bit embarrassing. I used to show up at my corner fruit vendor when I lived in Santo Domingo and ask for mangos when it wasn't mango season, or avocados when the trees were still in ...

Lentil stew

Just as we do at home, we aim to keep the food in our blog balanced. This seems intentional, and to a certain point it is, but I've also noticed that over time I've unconsciously been avoiding repeating too many recipes of the same category. After posting a few rice, meat and other type of recipes ...

Bollitos (cornmeal rolls)

This past week one half of our family gathered at a local resort as we do almost every year. It is a time for relaxation, catching up, and on the practical side of things getting everybody together under the same roof, so to speak. We hope some day we'll have a home large enough to ...

Christmas vegan eggplants

Years ago I shared with our readers the story of how I went from carnivorous to vegan some time during my early 20s. Many a sun has set and risen from that time, and my dietary preferences have changed too. I have gone from carnivorous to vegan, from there I lapsed into vegetarianism, and today I call ...

Healthier "Russian" potato salad

The good thing about this season's celebrations is that it spares no segment of our country. At least everyone celebrates New Year's Eve with a feast fitting their budget. But let's not forget those with alimentary restrictions, be them because of religious, ethical or health reasons. And especially for those looking for a light alternative to ...

Cerize juice

Every nation has its rules about what goes and what doesn't when it comes to gastronomy. Coffee here as we know is drunk sweeter than sweet. Those of us who decline any sugar at all are considered eccentric at best. In the same way as Italians who react with horror at ignorant foreigners who flout the ...

Crema de cepa de apio y jengribre

Ginger is used in Dominican cooking in desserts and the ever-welcome ginger tea. It is not a traditional part of our savory cuisine. I've set out to change that. OK, that would be a bit too ambitious. But in the meantime let me share with you the many ways in which we use ginger at home. ...

Repollo guisado (Cabbage stew)

It happened in the summer of 1993. It wasn't a difficult decision. It was always uncomfortable around the table in the company's cafeteria. I had already developed a reputation for being picky, people had suspicions. The real challenge came when we were sitting for our Christmas dinner, as my mom cut me a piece of the ...

DSC_3539

It is said, not completely groundlessly, that New York City is the second biggest Dominican city. When it comes to our sites, we have more readers in New York than in any other city in the world. Watching Hurricane Irene head for New York filled us with the same sense of dread as the news that ...

Crema de cepa de apio (Creole celery root cream)

I was introduced to cepa de apio for the very first time a few years back. I had been looking out for it since I first heard of its existence, when a friend told me it was an extremely rich source of calcium as well as one of the better-tasting tubers, or as Dominicans call them, viveres. I ...

Mabí / guarapo de piña (fermented pineapple juice)

After a few days during which our very hot summer gave way to intense and seemingly-random rain, we are back to sunlight and hot days. Fortunately we Dominicans have a few weapons in our arsenal to help us survive the heat. Fermented drinks are not uncommon in the Dominican Republic. I'd dare to say that ...

Desayuno de avena (Oatmeal breakfast)

Today I am going to commit a sacrilegious act. One no Dominican child is ever allowed to do. I am going to criticize my mother's cooking, may the cooking goddess have mercy on my soul. I hated my mom's oatmeal when I was a child. There was something about that bland, slimy concoction that turned my ...

Jugo de avena (Oatmeal and milk drink)

Oatmeal is known and loved by people pretty much everywhere. Children and adults around the world eat it for breakfast. Although a steaming bowl of oatmeal is usually associated with winter, it doesn't mean it’s only consumed in colder climes. Even under the tropical sun of the Dominican Republic, oatmeal is used in the preparation of ...

Camarones guisados (Stewed shrimp)

Visitors who come to the Dominican Republic, especially those who come for a 'holiday in the sun' often arrive equipped with little background information about the country, its history and its culture. North Americans and Europeans, who make up the majority of these tourists, will have had exposure to Mexican cooking as their only example of ...

Molondrones guisados (Stewed okra)

Okra (also known as gumbo or ladyfingers) is a well-known vegetable worldwide. It is used in dishes from Southeast Asia to the Mediterranean. It is the main ingredients in the Gulf coast gumbo and the Trinidadian callaloo. The Dominican Republic is one of those countries where okra is a part of the local cuisine. In our country ...

Guineítos (Savory unripe bananas)

Stop at any roadside eatery in the Dominican Republic and you can order some guineítos (savory unripe bananas). In fact it always reminds me of road adventures, greasy dives, and tasty cheap food (I am looking at you, Bonao!). Nothing like topping some tender green bananas with sauteed onions and peppers to make them even better-tasting. If you always ...

Molondrones a la vinagreta (Okra a la vinaigrette)

Regardless of your opinion of okra as a food, you have to admit Ensalada de Molondrones (Okra Salad) is a dish that looks good. It's also good for you. We've all heard about the Mediterranean diet, held up as one of the healthiest eating regimes the world has known. Just as beneficial but not so well known ...

Ensalada de coditos (Pasta salad)

Let me tell you my story on ensalada de coditos. When you are a kid you tend to believe everything you read: I thought that all English ladies went picnicking once or twice a week and that they all wore long flowery dresses and big floppy hats or fascinators, sat on red and white-checkered tablecloths and sipped ...

Pan con aguacate (Avocado-stuffed bread)

Avocado sandwiches or pan con aguacate are a typically Dominican snack. The classic version is made with a pan de agua (the ubiquitous Dominican bread roll) sliced in half and filled with scoops or slices of avocado. There are varying schools of thought: some mash the avocado onto the bread with a fork, others leave ...

Mazamorra (Mashed pumpkin)

It’s been over three months, and I am back in the DR at last. Like so many other returning Dominicans and Dominicans-by-adoption the first thing I did was treat myself to a ‘fria’ from the first petrol station on the road from the airport to Santo Domingo. My sensible side tried to remind me that ...

Tayotas con huevos (Christophines with eggs)

When vegetarianism was not so common, parents like me used to be accused of imposing an unconventional diet on their children, sometimes to the extent that it was believed to be a form of neglect. But don’t most parents impose some sort of belief system on their children, and don't usually let them decide for ...

Té de jengibre (Ginger tea)

Despite my oft-misunderstood predilection for Marmite, there are some English institutions that have failed to rub off on me. Most notable has got to be the strong, sweet, milky tea that most English people can’t contemplate living without. The Dominican equivalent would be giving up coffee, and I can definitely relate to that. My love ...

Revoltillo de huevos (Scrambled eggs a la dominicana)

I write this article not as a chef, but as a teacher of Spanish to US high school students. What does that have to do with cooking? you ask. Everything. I believe in hands-on, in-depth experiences for my students. Food is a terrific starting point of getting to know and love any culture, and I take cultural ...

Ensalada hervida (Boiled salad)

A few weeks ago we had a poll to determine how good our readers were in the kitchen. From this we learnt that 44% of our visitors were good cooks, 33% were ok cooks and 21% were a hazard in the kitchen. If I am surprised by the result it is because there weren't more ...

Champolas de tamarindo y guanabana(tamarind and soursop juices)

One of the things I love the most about our cuisine is the fact that we have a large number of fruits available year around. And we have figured how to make juices from nearly all of them. Champolas (juices) are natural heat busters, and of those champolas de tamarindo y guanabana (tamarind & soursop juices) ...

Pera-piña (Pineapple and rice juice)

There are two groups of people who have strong opinions about how people should raise their kids: people who have kids, and people who don't. I don't know exactly what genetic quirk makes people feel is not just vital, but urgently necessary to share their deeply-held child rearing philosophy with other parents. You know who else has ...