Inside the Mind of Isadora


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Pasteles – A Traditional Puerto Rican Christmas Recipe

PR_Pasteles_photograph[1]

Recently a Puerto Rican restaurant opened in the next town from where I live. Hubby and I stopped in for lunch. The food was outstanding. We asked if they made traditional Christmas foods. When we heard they did we ordered these delicious pasteles. I’ve posted this recipe before but thought there might be someone adventurous who would like to try and make them. Enjoy ….

Pasteles aren’t appealing to the eye but delicious to the palette. There are as many pastele recipes as there are cooks. The recipe changes according to what is grown in the particular region. This is the one I am familiar with. Making and serving pasteles at Christmas time is a Puerto Rican tradition. Its hard work, but well worth the effort. There’s always a gathering of family members for the long and tedious work. As many as 50 to 100 pasteles are made at one time while traditional Christmas songs are played and the adults drink lots of coquito (look for this post).They hold up well in the refrigerator and can be frozen. As a child each one of us had a task. I do not make them but do enjoy eating them when they are available at restaurants or while vacationing on the island of Puerto Rico. They’re only available during the holidays. Pasteles were originally made for the traveling “Parranderos” (carolers). These were people who traveled with their instruments through town on the back of a flatbed truck singing and playing festive songs. Along the way, they would stop at homes where an invite would provide a little coquito and pastele. It was nourishment to help the travelers as they continued on their journey of spreading Christmas cheer. Everyone would laugh and dance as they played while sharing in the true meaning of giving. Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, I had never experienced this. However, during the one year I attended school in Puerto Rico I learned about these traditions. It showed me another way to celebrate Christmas.    2017©written by Isadora DeLaVegaPastele

Recipe:

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 4 hours

Ingredients: STUFFING

2 pounds diced pork

4 ajíces dulces (small sweet peppers)

1 small onion

2 tablespoons recaito

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon adobo

1 tablespoons oregano (dry flakes)

1 bay leaf MASA DOUGH

4 pounds yautía

6 green bananas

1 tablespoon of salt

achiote oil

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

WRAPPING:

40 banana leaves (cut into approx. 10 in X 5 in rectangles)

20 Pieces parchment paper (cut into approx. 8 in X 4 in rectangles)

20 Pieces of kitchen string (Cut into 18 inch. lengths)

Preparation:

PART 1 – MAKE THE STUFFING

1. Brown the pork pieces in a pan.

2. Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients.

3. Cook until the pork is no longer pink inside.

4. Set aside and let cool.

PART 2 – MAKE THE MASA DOUGH

1. In a large bowl, peel and grate the yautía and the green bananas together.

2. Stir in the salt and enough achiote oil to moisten the dough and add a little color.

You are now ready to assemble and wrap the pasteles.

PART 3 – WRAP THE PASTELES

 1. Set the dough aside and prepare a work surface to assemble and wrap the pasteles. If you have friends helping you, set up an assembly line.

2. Follow my step-by-step guide to assembling and wrapping pasteles.

3. Set aside the pasteles you are going to eat right away. You can freeze the rest.

PART 4 – COOK THE PASTELES

1. Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. There should be enough water to cover the pasteles.

2. Boil the pasteles for 1 hour.

3. Unwrap the pasteles before serving.

Serves: Makes about 20.


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Coquito – A Traditional Puerto Rican Libation

Christmas coquito - shot glasses IMG_4867

My first Christmas experience of Puerto Rican traditions was in 1963

when I was sent to a private Benedictine Monastery school called Colegio de Nuestra Señora de la Valvanera.

I was a high school senior. I lived with my maternal grandmother’s sister who had 5 children.

My great grandmother, who was a Taino indian, completed the family.

The family was well-known and taken care of very nicely since my great aunt was the mayors mistress.

It was an accepted arrangement in this town. I’ll be going into more details about this in my memoir I’m writing.

Anyway, you can’t imagine the culture shock I had.

I’d been raised in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York up until that point.

I was very unhappy  for the first month. I missed my former life.

Then, as I began to experience this very new culture, I started to feel an emotional connection I’d never felt before.

Below is one of the traditions I experienced during my first holidays on this personal cultural journey .

I hope you will try this very easy to make beverage and, perhaps,

incorporate something that sounds like a positive tradition in this story.

2015©Isadora DeLaVega

***** Yes, I have posted this one before.

I added a little inside information from my memoir to make it fresh for those who’ve seen this recipe before.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

coquito

Coquito is a traditional drink served during Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Fiesta de los Tres Reyes celebrations. The drink is similar to eggnog except with rum. In many households, it’s prepared days ahead in order to allow the flavors to blend well. This particular recipe does not call for raw eggs. Nor does it call for you to crack open a fresh coconut. It’s a very simple mixed drink. There’s another recipe below that is made with eggs. It depends on your family tradition as to which way you make it. No matter which way you decide to make it, remember that it is a lot more powerful than you think.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes – tastes best if left in the fridge overnight

Ingredients:
2 15-ounce cans cream of coconut
2 14-ounce cans condensed milk
1 can coconut milk
6 ounces Puerto Rica Bacardi white rum (use less or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh grated coconut (coco rallado) for garnish

Preparation: 1. Mix all ingredients in a blender.

Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Coquito must be kept refrigerated until served.

Serve as a cocktail in a shot glass.

Enjoy … !!!
Serves: This recipe makes about 36 ounces.

 Exitos Navideños De Puerto Rico: La Gran Trulla

This is a traditional song sung by the carolers.

Christmas - coquito ingredients - maxresdefaultAnother recipe for this traditional drink:

Coquito is gluten-free.  To make it dairy-free substitute the milks (except coconut) with rice, soy, hemp, , or almond milk and double the sugar.  If you want to lower the sugar content; substitute all of the sugar for agave nectar or brown rice syrup.
1 can coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cans condensed milk
fresh grated coconut (coco rallado)
1 liter white Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi)
cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
In a bowl add egg yolks, sugar, milk, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and mix well. Add evaporated and condensed milks, rum, and coconut cream and coconut milk. Add grated coconut and mix well. You can mix all of the ingredients in a blender. Pour coquito into bottles with sealable tops and add the cinnamon sticks to each bottle. Refrigerate and serve cold.


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Coquito – A Traditional Puerto Rican Libation

coquito

 

Coquito is a traditional drink served at Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

The drink is similar to eggnog.

In many households it was prepared days ahead in order to allow the flavors and the rum to blend well.

This particular recipe does not call for raw eggs.

Nor does it call for you to crack open a fresh coconut; however, if available you can.

It’s a very simple mixed drink.

Coquito is served with pasteles. The recipe for that is here.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 -15-ounce cans cream of coconut

2 – 14-ounce cans condensed milk

6 ounces white rum (use less or more if you’d like)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon coconut (or vanilla) extract

Preparation:

1. Mix all ingredients in a blender.

2. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Serve cold with a cinnamon stick as garnish

Serves: This recipe makes about 36 ounces.


6 Comments

Pasteles – A Traditional Puerto Rican Christmas Recipe

PR_Pasteles_photograph[1]

Pasteles aren’t appealing to the eye but delicious to the palette. There are as many pastele recipes as there are cooks. The recipe changes according to what is grown in the particular region. This is the one I am familiar with. Making and serving pasteles at Christmas time is a Puerto Rican tradition. Its hard work, but well worth the effort. There’s always a gathering of family members for the long and tedious work. As many as 50 to 100 pasteles are made at one time while traditional Christmas songs are played and the adults drink lots of coquito (look for this post).They hold up well in the refrigerator and can be frozen. As a child each one of us had a task. I do not make them but do enjoy eating them when they are available at restaurants or while vacationing on the island of Puerto Rico. They’re only available during the holidays. Pasteles were originally made for the traveling “Parranderos” (carolers). These were people who traveled with their instruments through town on the back of a flatbed truck singing and playing festive songs. Along the way, they would stop at homes where an invite would provide a little coquito and pastele. It was nourishment to help the travelers as they continued on their journey of spreading Christmas cheer. Everyone would laugh and dance as they played while sharing in the true meaning of giving. Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, I had never experienced this. However, during the one year I attended school in Puerto Rico I learned about these traditions. It showed me another way to celebrate Christmas.    2014©written by Isadora

Pastele

Recipe:

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 4 hours

Ingredients: STUFFING

2 pounds diced pork

4 ajíces dulces (small sweet peppers)

1 small onion

2 tablespoons recaito

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon adobo

1 tablespoons oregano (dry flakes)

1 bay leaf MASA DOUGH

4 pounds yautía

6 green bananas

1 tablespoon of salt

achiote oil

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

WRAPPING:

40 banana leaves (cut into approx. 10 in X 5 in rectangles)

20 Pieces parchment paper (cut into approx. 8 in X 4 in rectangles)

20 Pieces of kitchen string (Cut into 18 inch. lengths)

Preparation:

PART 1 – MAKE THE STUFFING

1. Brown the pork pieces in a pan.

2. Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients.

3. Cook until the pork is no longer pink inside.

4. Set aside and let cool.

PART 2 – MAKE THE MASA DOUGH

1. In a large bowl, peel and grate the yautía and the green bananas together.

2. Stir in the salt and enough achiote oil to moisten the dough and add a little color.

You are now ready to assemble and wrap the pasteles.

PART 3 – WRAP THE PASTELES

 1. Set the dough aside and prepare a work surface to assemble and wrap the pasteles. If you have friends helping you, set up an assembly line.

2. Follow my step-by-step guide to assembling and wrapping pasteles.

3. Set aside the pasteles you are going to eat right away. You can freeze the rest.

PART 4 – COOK THE PASTELES

1. Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. There should be enough water to cover the pasteles.

2. Boil the pasteles for 1 hour.

3. Unwrap the pasteles before serving.

Serves: Makes about 20.