Thursday, October 31, 2013

Puerto Rico + Family Wedding + Mofongo

This past weekend Brent and I flew the red eye to New York and down to San Juan, Puerto Rico to celebrate my cousin Lucille's wedding. I did not realize how far Puerto Rico is from California! In my mind Puerto Rico is close. California is close to Mexico. They speak Spanish in Mexico and they speak Spanish in Puerto Rico, so they must be close, right? Our total flying time was nine hours one-way, longer than it takes to get from Michigan to London! It was a quick Friday-Monday trip, but it was totally worth it to see my party in a box cousin get married and to spend time with the crazy Chenhalls. Below are a few pictures from our trip. Keep scrolling for food pictures!

The wedding ceremony was at the Castillo de San Cristóbal, a Spanish fort in San Juan. It was such a unique ceremony location. Brent and I, of course, teared up when we saw Lucille in her gorgeous dress walking down the aisle. The reception was then at Hotel El Convento. We ate yummy food and danced for hours, to be expected from a Lucille wedding.

The next day Brent drove Marta, Brooke, Alicia Ann and I to Yunque rainforest. We had fun visiting waterfalls, going on mini-hikes and we had plenty of laughs. On our way back to San Juan we were determined to find some authentic Puerto Rican food. We stopped along the side of the road for some mofongo. Mofongo is made from fried plantain mashed with broth, garlic, and pork cracklings. It is typically served in a mound and filled with meat. We ordered a creole steak mofongo and a garlic chicken mofongo. I also had to order fried plantains and we got some chorizo too. We loved the mofongo so much that we had mofongo again for dinner back in San Juan. This time we had ropa vieja mofongo topped with shredded beef. When I got back to Los Angeles I bought a few plantains from the grocery store today, and I'm gonna play around with frying them and mashing them, but I am sure I will not be able to top what I had on this trip. It was such a unique dish, and had such a variety of textures and flavors. Delicious!

If you ever have the chance to visit Puerto Rico, do it! Flights are fairly inexpensive, San Juan is a beautiful, surprisingly big colonial city with great nightlife, food and sightseeing. The rainforest gives the off the beaten path experience, and the beaches are beautiful. Thank you Lucille for choosing such a great location to get married. Congratulations to you and Anthony!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Picadillo Potato Stew

Brent is in London for the next week for work. I wish I was there with him, but it makes me happy to know he is spending time with Jackie, Alex and Lindsey. While Brent is away I have spent a lot of time with run club and school friends. Friday night Archana and I hosted a new to KAO happy hour at AFrame. Saturday morning Kathy and I had a great run through Brentwood and Santa Monica. That afternoon Ma'ayan and I were in the mood to explore so we went to Mochica in Downtown LA for a late lunch. Ma'ayan has spent a lot of time in Peru, so she was able to help with dish recommendations. We had the Papa a la Huancaina, Ceviche Carretillero, and the Lomo Saltado. Check out the photos from our meal below! Today after run club I was craving picadillo. I had most of the ingredients in my fridge but was missing the meat and tortillas. I had a bunch of potatoes from my farm box this past week, so I chopped up some onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots and peppers and made a stew spiced with my taco seasoning, the seasoning I use for my picadillo. I topped the stew with avocado, plopped myself on the couch and started watching episodes of New Girl (Alaina suggested catching up while Brent is away). I am enjoying my lazy Sunday afternoon, but it would be better with Brent!

1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large russet potatoes, rustically chopped (that means not perfect!)
1 large carrot, rustically chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
Hot Sauce!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup water

In a large stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until onions are transparent. Add the chopped potatoes, carrot, taco seasoning, and water to the pot. Give the stew a good stir, then allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Last, add the green peppers and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve the stew in bowls topped with hot sauce and avocado slices.

Mochica Downtown Los Angeles