Saturday, March 26, 2011


You haven't heard from me in a while. Sorry about that. Life has been hectic, as usual, but more so. The highlight of the last couple of weeks was five glorious days in [mostly] sunny Puertro Rico visiting family and laying around doing absolutely nothing (oh, and kayaking in the ocean and hiking in the rainforest). When I wasn't doing absolutely nothing I was eating delicious food. Why am I bothering to write about this? I know Puerto Rico's part of the US, but except for the money and USPS infrastructure, it feels almost like a foreign country. Everyone's speaking Spanish, the driving is...special, and they have some great food. I got to try some greasy beach food and pina coladas on the coast, and my cousin Karl let me help make Puerto Rican style rice and beans while my Aunt Sandra made chicken with rice. I'll give the best recipes I can, but we didn't really measure anything so it will all be approximate. Make it however you want - it'll still be good. Pictures are after the jump as well.

Puerto Rican style red beans
Brown a few chunks of smoked ham - no oil necessary. Add garlic, sofrito, a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce, and salt. Stir. After about a minute, add a can of red kidney beans (no need to drain), a few chunks of some sort of pumpkin with a green rind, chicken bouillon, and half a can of water (depending on how much sauce you want). Cook until sauce thickens to your preference.

Chicken with rice*
Brown chunks of chicken. Drain the liquid from the pot and add water, rice, chicken bouillon, onions, and sofrito. Cook until chicken and rice are done. Serve with beans.

Chicken with rice cooking

The view from the balcony

I'm in the front looking terrified

El Yunque National Forest

A cloud tripping over the mountain, to use Karl's phrase

Being in the middle of a cloud felt totally isolated

Breaded and fried sausage in one hand, deep-fried bread in the other

My cousins Kelly and Karl drinking pina coladas

Meat on a stick!

Pina colada ice cream in Old San Juan

*Note: this is the convenience version of chicken with rice. The real thing, as made by Aunt Sandra's mother, includes bone-in chicken pieces and vegetables, is colored with annatto, and takes approximately all afternoon to make. It was delicious.

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