Rice, Grains and Pasta

"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 ...

Kale, spinach and sweet corn savory cornbread

Have I told you about my newest obsession? No? Well, since you insist... For the last few months a group of friends and I meet in our terrace to do "power yoga" with a friend trainer. This is not my first time, nor is it for the other participants, but in my case the last time I ...

Zucchini boats filled with rice and chorizo

I love creating recipes, it's the closest to being a kid with a chemical set you can be after you are legally able to drive. My favorite recipes come out of any sort of challenge. In this case I found myself with a pack of chorizo that I had in the fridge for a while, and ...

Spiced wild rice mix with cauliflower

We Dominicans love rice. It's no wonder that we hear "it's not lunch without rice" all the time. The sad thing is that we always stick to the same kind of rice. The long-grain rice that is used in traditional Dominican cooking is one of about 40,000 varieties of the grain. You read right, 40,000! What I ...

Caramelized onion tart

Let me tell you a story of friendship and the internet, while we share a slice of this rustic caramelized onion tart with cheese crust. For the story of how I came to share it with you has more to do with the internet than you can imagine. Back in the early 90s I got connected ...

Whole wheat banana pancakes

I'm sitting in one of the many waiting rooms in which modern humans waste a considerable amount of their lives. A worn-out National Geographic I found there keeps me company. I wonder what kind of germs reside between its pages, but I soon push the thought aside, as other things occupy my mind: How much longer ...

Lobster summer pasta

Did you know that in the Dominican Republic, and many other Caribbean countries, the fishing of lobster is banned for part of the summer? La veda de langostas, as it is known here, seeks to protect the lobster from overfishing by giving the species time to replenish. It takes place from March to June in Belice, ...

Dominican style-farina - cream of wheat

It's hard to believe, but this recipe for Dominican-style cream of wheat is one of the most searched for in our blog. At least I find it quite surprising, after all it is a very simple dish that I thought most people could cook without a recipe. In the meantime, let me tell you of my ...

Seafood black rice

This stunning Spanish seafood black rice is one of my favorite dishes. For a seafood lover such as myself, it's just perfect: jam-packed with seafood and strong ocean flavors. It speaks of summer and lazy days to me. As soon as the days started warming up I was back to my old love. And speaking of ...

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I like my pasta dishes simple. A few ingredients, some olive oil, toss, serve. This cannelloni filled with ricotta and spinach are so easy to make, so filling, so rich that I wonder why I just don't make it more often. Mother's Day is coming (in the Dominican Republic it's the last Sunday of May), so if ...

Brown rice pilaf

I am not sure what changes as one grows older. Slowly our taste in foods change, and things that we would have considered "gross" or that we didn't like as kids slowly become acceptable foods, enjoyable even. I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't love pasta, or one who enjoys eggplants. Likewise, I have ...

Couscous and dry tomatoes tabouleh

We Dominicans  love rice, looove it! Some even feel like a lunch isn't complete without a serving of the grain. Corn and bulgur make an appearance in our cuisine as rice substitutes. But those are not dishes that are served frequently. I have to be honest, I love rice, but it would bore me to tears ...

Spaghetti, tomato and 3-cheese pie

Did you hear that Dominican Republic won the World Baseball Classic? No? OK, good, let me brag about it. Baseball is the sport in the Dominican Republic. Not to say that other sports are not played and followed; they are. Basketball, volleybal and others have good following and loyal fanatics, but baseball rules king. As a comparison, ...

Whole-wheat pasta with creamy textured soy sauce

My dad is a inveterate practical joker. With him, life was always an adventure. One day he showed up at home with what looked to be dog food. I wouldn't have been surprised if he had been trying to trick us into eating dog food, but the label was clear: "soy meat" . "What's that?" You'd think ...

Brown rice and garden vegetables pottage

For today I had a rich dish that included a cup of butter in its preparation. There was a change of plans. The night I was supposed to go in the kitchen to make this dish I woke up at 3AM with a dull pain in my stomach. Don't worry, nothing more serious than an upset ...

Pastelón de arroz (Rice casserole)

A few years back, as part of an advertisement campaign, a certain local company had a funny commercial in which a newlywed husband called his wife on his way home to ask what she was cooking for supper. We never see the wife, but the husband gleefully repeats what she says: - "Pastelón de arroz?!" The following ...

Vegan brown rice rissotto

Not long ago I got two emails from readers asking if I could give them ideas on how to cook brown rice. About a week later we hear the alarming news that government agencies were warning consumers in the US that rice might be contaminated with arsenic. Shortly thereafter another warning: brown rice was even worse. I ...

Classic Pesto

Have you heard the adage "you can't please everybody all the time"? Turns out that, like taxes and death, that also is one of the surest things in life. A smart person soon learns that trying to please everybody is a fool's errand. In the end we all just have to assess our priorities and decide ...

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If you've been around for a while you may have noticed that my versions of traditional recipes, like this one for locrio de pica-pica (Dominican rice and spicy sardines),  are often modified to make them healthier, and sometimes some extra vegetables are included. There is a reason for that: I write the recipes the same way ...

Pizzetta para la merienda

A couple decades ago, during the years of my ill-spent youth, I could have never thought I would one day call myself a mother first and above all. The idea that parenthood could define a person seemed foreign to me. Oh, how times change! And many a childless person will roll their eyes at me, and ...

Easy rolls for school snacks

From the moment I "graduated" as a mom, I made it my goal to give my child the best food I possibly could. I armed myself with nutrition books, baby food recipe books (courtesy of Aunt Ilana), and I suffered pain and discomfort because I had my mind set on breastfeeding my child as long ...

Savoury cracked corn (Chenchén)

I've mentioned this many, many times: For such a small country this one has so many regional variations in its cuisine that it's entirely possible to reach adulthood without trying something that is a staple on the other side of the country. Meet exhibit one: Aunt Clara. I was born in the northwest of the Dominican Republic, and ...

Rice with onions and carrots

I once met somebody who told me that her husband never ate leftovers. Poor lady. I don't know what positive qualities her husband may have, but for me somebody who would not eat the occasional leftovers cannot be a candidate to be Mr. Aunt Clara. At our home we recycle all the leftovers, and the idea of spending ...

Oven-baked rice with chorizo

Yesterday I got the call from school that every parent dreads: the school doctor told me Nadia had fallen in the playground. Before I went into full panic mode, and with a swiftness that I suppose comes from either training in handling freaked-out parents, or the experience of doing so, she informed me that other ...

Christmas almond and raisins rice

Before I get another word out let me clarify something: This is not like the Christmas rice you know. And I know this because I have yet to taste two that are the same. Everybody seems to have a different idea of what it contains and how it should taste. Having said that, I have to ...

Arroz con fideos (Rice and fried noodles)

There is more to the history of  arroz con fideos (rice and fried noodles) than you think. It's a story of immigration and travel. One of the greatest things about running this site for over 9 years is, that due to a strong web presence, our site has become the virtual Dominican gastronomic embassy. In fact, ...

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 ...

Arroz con maíz (Rice and sweet corn)

"What do you mean you 'don't like it'?" How many times have we been the source - or target - of that baffling question? Taste is a weird thing, and the old adage "there is no disputing about tastes” encapsulates perfectly the pointlessness of such arguments. Perhaps the wisest approach to life is to ...

Locrio de Trigo y longaniza (Bulgur with Pork Sausage)

Students from humble economic backgrounds who attended public rural schools in the 70s are probably most familiar with this recipe. According to my sources, school cooks often served this dish with bulgur instead of rice because schools received large donations of bulgur from the relief agency USAID. This is a variation of our locrio (rice mixed ...

Moro de habichuelas (Rice and beans)

Moro is a mixture of rice, beans and vegetables. This is one of the most common dishes on the Dominican table. We are presenting here a generic recipe in which you can use either black beans, white beans, faba beans, butter beans or green pigeon peas in place of the red kidney beans. Dominicans are not ...

Locrio de camarones (Rice and shrimps)

This weekend a friend and I visited Santo Domingo's Chinatown, an uptown section of Santo Domingo that Chinese immigrants (recent and old) have made their home. Some of the ones we met didn't yet speak any Spanish, some spoke Spanish with a heavy accent. We met two of them that were listening to, and enjoying, merengue ...

Moro de guandules con coco (Rice, pigeon peas and coconut)

I was 12, and I fell in love. It was all new to me and I was smitten: I ate moro de guandules con coco for the first time. It was my first trip to Samaná, and I remember with a smile the horror on my brother's face when he found out that the food contained ...

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 ...