Puerto Rico VIII: Discovered New Fruit- Quenpas (spanish lime)

This fruit is dangerously addictive and literally dangerous. Quenepas are everywhere in Puerto Rico and are sold in fruit stands all along the roads and highways.The tough outer shell bursts easily between your teeth with just the slightest pressure revealing a slick, fleshy pulp clinging to a pit. The texture feels tendered, but the fruit tastes of sweet lime and roses. Eating it is dangerous, since the smooth seed can easily slip down a throat when attempting to suck juicy pulp. After a while, the tannins in the shell left the tips of our tongues feeling like they, too, had been sucked on.

 

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Puerto Rico VII: Vegetarian Pasteles In Banana Leaves

Yummy!These are the Puerto Rican version of “tamales”. Traditional pasteles are filled with pork or white fish. But my aunt made me some with only all “masa” dough which is in my opinion the most delicious part. Pasteles are labor intensive and are typically made for special occasions or holiday ( Christmas ).

Couldn’t get enough of these ! I got a shot of my beautiful cousin Celeste eating one outside.

Masa (dough)

  • 1 1/3 lbs. yautía
  • 3 lbs. guineos verdes
  • 1 lbs. potatoes
  • 1 green plantain
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • ¼ cup achiote oil
  • salt

Peel the rest of the vegetables, rinse them and grate in a food processor. Add milk, oil, and salt. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

It is best to do this the day before actually putting the pasteles together. It makes for easier handling masa.

The Wrapper (use either banana leaves or aluminum foil)
Banana leaves
. Use 10 bundles of plaintain leaves. Remove the central ridge on each leaf. Divide leaves into pieces, about 10″ square. Wash and clean leaves with a damp cloth and blanch them (toast them slightly over gas stove flames).

If you have just a few plantain leaves cut them in small pieces and add a piece to each pastel for more flavor.

Aluminum foil.Use aluminum foil with butcher paper or plastic wrap on top to make a “wrapper.” You may add a piece of banana leaf (if available) right on top.

Assembling the pasteles
(Cover the kitchen counter with newspaper for easier cleanup time)
Turn on your Puerto Rican music. . . .

Grease center of the wrapper – using the back of a spoon dipped in achiote oil.

HINT – Use a ½ cup measuring cup to scoop dough (this helps keep the pasteles the same size). In the center of the wrapper place ½ cup of dough and thinly spread it not more than 5″ long and about 4″ wide. Keep a small ruler handy to determine size until you can “eye-ball it.”

Tie the pastel. (You may skip this part completely if you are using foil paper – simply make sure the folds are pressed securely.) Tie the pastel with string to hold it together. Make one run of string lengthwise and two runs the other way . This will hold the banana leaves secure.

Cook the pasteles for 1 hour turning them once half way through cooking. Freshly cooked pasteles taste much better.  Freeze them raw.

¡Buen provecho! This is a common phase used before eating or serving a meal, a polite version of enjoy. 

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Puerto Rico VI: Freshly Picked Coconuts

 

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Puerto Rico Day 4 and 5: Best Typically Tourist Places To Visit In San Juan

1. El Morro

Engineered in 1587, this 500 year old structure was built to protect Puerto Rico from sea attacks. It was built in honor of King Phillip II. This fort suffered attacks from the likes of the English in 1595 and the Dutch in 1625.El Morro has six levels that rise from sea level to 145 feet high. El Morro is designated as an historical site in February 1949.

2. Paseo de la Princesa

A beautiful and romantic promenade named after a prison building called “La princesa”. It now holds exhibits of Puerto Rican artists as well as offices for tourism. In front of La Princesa there is a statue of Puerto Rico’s beloved mayor from 1946 to 1968, Doña Felisa Gautier. Recommended by many as a tourist spot, you can enjoy all types of foods as well as enjoy the Puerto Rican cultural experience.

3. Cathedral de San Juan

One of the oldest buildings in San Juan, its construction began in 1521. It contains the tomb of the founder of the first settlement in Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de Leon. It was rebuilt twice after hurricanes in 1540 and 1615.

4. Fort San Cristobal

El Morro’s partner in defense, Fort San Cristobal is the largest fortification built by Spaniards when they came to the new world. It was begun in 1634 and completed in 1771. It contains the Garita del Diablo (the Devil’s Sentry Box), which according to a legend, the devil would come and snatch away people in its sentry box.

5. San Juan Bay

Busiest ocean port in the Caribbean bringing half of Puerto Rico’s trade. You can see island crafts and artists of Puerto Rico here. Great view from local eateries and from the pier of old San Juan. It is cool to see the ships sailing off the bay.

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Puerto Rico Day 3: 8 Zip Lines and La Bestia ” The Beast” The Largest Zip Line In the World

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Zip lining is something everyone should try at least once in their lives! Its such an awesome experience and will convert any scaredy cat into a adrenalin junkie.

First, I had to hike to my first zip line which was quite the workout. I had butterflies in my stomach and didn’t know what to expect. But once your going you feel amazing and high off the adrenalin. I didn’t expect to be going so fast and swallowed a bug. Protein right? haha

I quickly learned not to have my mouth open for the next 7 zip lines. Each zip line has its own unique characteristics and has a mini hike to get there. By the time you get to one your sweating and excited for the thrill.

The grand finale ended with the famous ” Bestia”, the beast of all zip lines. Instead of the traditional zip lines where your feet are pointed to the ground, your laying on your stomach like superman.

With a length of 4.745 feet (1.446km) and speeds up to 60MPH this had to be one of the most exhilarating thing Iv’e ever experience.

So next time your in Puerto Rico , make a stop at the Toro Verde Adventure park.

http://toroverdepr.com/

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Puerto Rico Day 2: My Tia Rosas Home-Made Mofongo A Signature Of Puerto Rico

If you come to visit Puerto Rico, you must try mofongo. It’s served at practically every restaurant here and but home-made best of course.

So what is ” Mofongo”, hmm what a funny name.

Mofongo is the signature dish of Puerto Rico, a mashed mound of plantains into which a combination of seafood, meat, or vegetables is added.

How To Make Mofongo?

Monfongo is made by mashing tostones (twice fried plantains) with garlic, olive oil.

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 green plantains
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Olive oil for frying
  1. First make tostones , slice and friend plantains.
  2. Mix together the garlic olive oil.
  3. Mash the tostones, a few at a time in the pilon (never use a food processor), adding a little bit of the garlic mixture. You will have to work a few slices at a time. When all done mix all the batches together for even distribution of seasoning. Add salt if needed. This is a side dish that needs to be served warm. Keep forming balls until mixture is all used up.

Make 3 servings.

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Puerto Rico Day One: Organic Bananas And Coffee Beans

Cacao, Puerto Rico-Cacao has a total population of about 2,068 inhabitants is a small agriculture community. This is where my father grew up and was 1 of 12 children. He grew up poor and started picking coffee beans at age 10.It was such an great experience getting to see where my ” Papi” grew up and learn about his up bringing. This place is literally a tropical jungle and stays grew all year round.

Mi tia Maria has ares of bananas plants and other crops as well but primarily bananas. These bananas are organic and taste AMAZING! They are super sweet and fresh.I ate three and took some to go. I cant wait to go back.

Places pictured:

Lago de matrulla

Chorro de dona juana ( More pictues to come)

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