Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: The Top New York City Dining Neighborhoods of 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!
The Top New York City Dining Neighborhoods of 2015

 
Sofrito Lovers,

Every year, around this time Eater.com posts the opinions of various foodies, food bloggers, and their own staff on which neighborhoods they think have the best food.  The answers vary and the perspectives are all unique.  I think you'll like the comments!

Read through and enjoy!  ¡Buen provecho!

The Top New York City Dining Neighborhoods of 2015


The Lower East Side and the East Village had particularly strong years

by ,

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. Their answers will appear throughout the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. We've heard about the top standbys, the hot newcomers, and the words of the year. Now it's time for the hottest dining neighborhoods. Please add your answers in the comments.

Read the rest of the article here




Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Why Katz's Pastrami Is Still the King of Sandwiches in New York

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Why Katz's Pastrami Is Still the King of Sandwiches in New York

Sofrito Lovers,

Katz's Delicatessen is an NYC landmark! If you've never been to Katz, then watch the video below, find your way to Loisaida (Nuyorican for the Lower East side for us), and treat yourself to some of the most incredible Pastrami ever cured!

Katz has made every "Best Deli in NYC" or "Best Deli in the U.S.A" list ever collated. You can't beat the incredible homemade pickles, mouth watering fries, or the delectable sandwiches that are not for the faint of heart.  If you're a health nut, then look away, because the Pastrami and other deli meats are piled on HIGH!

I've re-posted this video from Eater.com, which speaks to Katz's history and its influence on NYC culinary culture. 

Watch the video, go to Katz's, and taste for yourself!  Buen Provecho!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Coquito with Nutella

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

 Coquito with Nutella

 

 Sofrito Lovers,

Apparently, Nutella Coquito is all the rage this holiday season! I've seen a few recipes posted on social media, folks have blogged about it, and even my partner, David, bought some home for us to enjoy. To be honest, I'm a bit of a Coquito traditionalist, but I'm beginning to buckle under the peer pressure.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to partake of it soon.

I've decided to post this popular Nutella/Coquito recipe from Cook Pad
so everyone can enjoy this new taste sensation.

I'm planning on making a bottle for Three Kings!  I'll let you know how it tastes!  Follow my lead and taste for yourself!  ¡Buen provecho!

NUTELLA COQUITO (PUERTORRICAN HOLIDAY DRINK)


This is another holiday drink we like to make in Puerto Rico for the holidays, is the same as my regular Coquito but this one I've added Nutella, you can leave the alcohol out if you want.

Ingredients
  1. 1 can evaporated milk
  2. 1 can condensed milk
  3. 1 can cream of coconut
  4. 1 can coconut milk
  5. 1 cup nutella
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  8. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  9. 1 cup white rum (Bacardi) or you can leave it out
Method 
In a blender mix all the ingredients until well combined, pour on a bottle, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, once you are ready to drink it, leave it outside for 20 minutes mix well and enjoy in a martini glass, or shots glasses.

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Dining on a Dime: A&A Doubles

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Dining on a Dime: A&A Doubles


Sofrito Lovers,

A few days ago, Eater.com posted this intriguing video about "Doubles" on their website. "Doubles" are a common street food from Trinidad and Tobago made with fried bread stuffed with spicy chickpeas.  I've never tasted a Double before, but this mouth watering video has me ready to head to Brooklyn on the next 4 train.

Take a look, then go taste for yourself.  If you see me say, "hi"; I'll be the one eating a couple of Doubles! ¡Buen provecho!



Cheap eats expert Lucas Peterson hits the streets again

In this week's Dining on a Dime, cheap eats expert Lucas Peterson heads to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in search of authentic Trinidadian cuisine. Trinidad has more national dishes than any other country in the world, and doubles are just one of them. A&A Bake and Doubles Shop, owned by Geeta and Noel Brown, is famous for its doubles: a hand-held Trinidadian sandwich made with fried bread and stuffed with chickpeas. Watch as Peterson digs in and learns the secret to Brown's doubles, a blend of old-world ingenuity and careful attention to every step of the process.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: 40 Easy, Homemade Holiday Food Gifts

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

40 Easy, Homemade Holiday Food Gifts


Sofrito Lovers,

If you're still scrambling around for gifts for those friends or family that are impossible to shop for I suggest you do what I do: COOK SOMETHING GOOD AND CALL IT A DAY!

During the holidays, there are way too many things to stress over so don't let those folks who are impossible to please get you down. Check out this post from Good House Keeping and cook up some undeniably delicious treats.  

If they still aren't happy, then take back the treats, eat them yourself, and scratch them off your holiday list permanently.

Happy Holidays! Don't stress!  ¡Buen provecho!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Happy Holidays/Arroz con Gandules!

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Happy Holidays Sofrito Lovers!



Sofrito Lovers,

I wish you all an amazing holiday season!  Cook, eat, and have an incredible time!  My gift to you is my personal recipe for Arroz con Gandules (Puerto Rican style Rice with Pigeon Peas)!  I pieced this priceless recipe together from friends, cookbooks, cooking tutorials, and input from fellow foodies/cooks.

Cook, taste, and share with everyone you love! ¡Buen provecho! ¡Felicidades! Happy Holidays!

Arroz con Gandules


Ingredients:
1 Tbsp of canola or olive oil
1 cup of Jamon de cocinar (hamsteak)
1/2 cup of Green bell pepper or light green Cubanelle pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow Onion
1 Tbsp of Sazon
1 Tbsp of Sofrito
2 minced Garlic cloves
1/2 cup of chopped Cilantro
1 Tsp of Oregano
1 1/2 cups of rice
1 15 ounces can of Gandules
1/2 cup of Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup of olives
1 1/2 cups of water
Salt to taste


Directions:

1. Heat oil in a medium Caldero over medium-high heat.  Add the jamon/hamsteak and cook until it's brown and has released some oil.  Then add the onions and peppers and saute them until the onions are translucent.

2.  Add the Sazon, garlic, cilantro, and oregano and cook until fragrant (usually about 1 minute).

3. Add the rice to the Caldero.  Mix and coat the rice for a minute.  Stir in the gandules, tomato sauce, olives, 1 1/2 cups of water, and mix.  Taste the broth for salt, if necessary, add to your taste.

4. Cook uncovered until the water evaporates.  Once evaporated, gently stir the rice from the bottom up.

5. Lower the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes. Gently mix the rice to make sure it's tender and cooked through.  Remove the caldero from the stove top and let cool.

ENJOY!

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Cook like Jamaican!

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Cook like a Jamaican!

Sofrito Lovers,

On a cold winter's night, there is nothing better than a plate of Curry Chicken, Brown Stew Oxtail, or Gungo Pea Soup to warm you up.  For the uninitiated, I just mentioned some of the most common and widely enjoyed Jamaican dishes. Jamaican cuisine combines African, Native, and European ingredients and cooking methods; the result is a cuisine that is simple to prepare, yet full of incredibly complex flavors.

A few months ago, I was researching Jamaican recipes online and came across Cook like a Jamaican; I instantly fell in love!  The recipes and cooking tutorials, on YouTube, are easy to follow and prepare.  

Fay DeLeon, the site manager's mother, hosts the cooking tutorials. Fay patiently walks us through the cooking process with an attention to detail that a novice like me deeply appreciates! She blends cooking techniques with good old fashion Caribbean wisdom and culture. 

I love the Curry Chicken recipe so I decided to post it here!  You must try it! Watch the video, get to cooking, and taste for yourself!  ¡Buen provecho!





Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: 2016 Super-foods you need to try!

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

 2016 Super-foods you need to try!


Sofrito Lovers, 

As 2015 winds down, some of us are thinking about which New Year's Resolutions we want to make and which ones we want to re-do for 2016.  Being an intrepid healthy foodie, I'm already researching for new 2016 Super foods I will be incorporating into my daily food adventures.

In my research, I came across another one of those handy dandy Super-food lists posted on a blog called, "Nature's Happiness."

I find the list fascinating and informative.  I'm eager to start cooking with Kefir, eating kelp salads, and sipping protein packed bone broth.

Don't get me wrong! I'm still eating Cuchifritos, Burgers, Pho, Ramen, Pasta, and all the other delicious dishes I love.  I don't believe in deprivation, diets, or denial of cravings.  I believe everything in moderation and balance.  For every fried chuleta, there should be an organic salad.  For every gooey flan, there should be a fruit salad sprinkled with organic Probiotic powder.  It's all about balance.

Click the link below for the 2016 Super food list and go taste some of these delicacies for yourselves!  Buen provecho!


 
 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: El Atoradero Soft Opens in Prospect Heights

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Denisse Lina Chavez's El Atoradero Soft Opens in Prospect Heights


 Sofrito Lovers,

I'm excited and overjoyed to re-post this amazing article from NY.Eater.com about the re-opening of El Atoradero!

Last year, I posted a review of Carnitas El Atoradero, a small Mexican restaurant in the South Bronx with some of the best food you could ever find. I was devastated when I found out  the restaurant closed down due to a rent hike. 

I heard a rumor that it had reopened somewhere in the City, but never followed up on visiting the new spot.  Imagine my sheer joy, when I received this article about El Atoradero (without the Carnitas?) opening up in Brooklyn!  Yet again, another sign from the universe that I have to start trekking out to the BK!

Folks, read up, and go taste for yourself!  ¡Buen provecho!

Denisse Lina Chavez's El Atoradero Soft Opens in Prospect Heights by




Its menu will be rotating to see what people like.

Chef Denisse Lina Chavez has started slinging her famous carnitas at El Atoradero, a Prospect Heights iteration of her now-shuttered Bronx restaurant Carnitas El Atoradero. The new restaurant at 708 Washington Ave. soft opened last week and currently has a daily rotating menu, which will be posted on the restaurant's Instagram regularly, says partner Noah Arenstein. "We’re trying out different stuff, seeing what people want," he says.



Monday, December 21, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Puerto Rican Style Mac'n'Cheese

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Puerto Rican Style Mac'n'Cheese



Sofrito Lovers,

Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day and a few other holidays are coming up pretty soon!  If you're like me, then you're looking for side dish recipes to accompany the Pernils (roasted pork shoulders), Pavos (turkey), and Pasteles (kind of like Puerto Rican tamales) that you're cooking!

The video below comes from Sweets and Beyond, which is an amazing Youtube cooking channel that I frequent.  I consider Ida, the channel host, to be one of my culinary mentors.  I l love her simple, delicious, and easy to follow recipes. Trying out her recipes has bolstered my confidence as a beginner cook.

I've posted the video for her incredible Puerto Rican Style Mac'n'Cheese recipe! Also, I've included a photo of my version of her recipe, which I cooked last night. Check out her channel, cook, and taste for yourself!  You won't regret it!¡Buen provecho!



Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Gift Guide for the Beginner Cook

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Gift Guide for the Beginner Cook


Sofrito Lovers,

SeriousEats.com has published an article featuring holidays gifts for the Beginner Cook.  As an amateur chef, I think this list is amazing; I'd love to get a few of these instruments for my kitchen! HINT! HINT! FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

Hand-held blenders, micro graters, and Stoneware casserole dishes are some of the coolest "must have" items for the beginner cook! HINT! HINT! FAMILY AND FRIENDS!  Check out the list and make a beginner cook in your life a happy camper!  Spend generously and joyfully!  Happy Holidays!  


Some of the amazing items on this list...Hint! Hint! FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

 








Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Super-foods we should all be eating in 2015!

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Super-foods we should all be eating in 2015!


Sofrito Lovers,

Sometimes you have to give in to pressure and eat well (groan!).  The internet is rife with lists upon lists of "Super-foods" that we should be eating three times a week, adding to our morning coffee, or juicing for maximum nutrient absorption. I find the list below one of the most interesting compilations; it promotes eating some of my favorite foods. I know that it may be super dated since we're a few weeks away from 2016, but it's never too late to start eating awesome food!

According to Melissa Greer, author of the list for the website BestHealth, we should all be eating more Kimchi, dark chocolate, broccoli, quinoa, butter, and sprouts.  If these delicious Super-foods are essential to good health and vitality, then I must be Superman! I eat some of these on a daily basis!


Dark Chocolate is healthy!  Awesome!  Hershey's here I come!



Broccoli and all other cruciferous veggies are super healthy...and make me fart like crazy.



Any diet that promotes eating Kimchi is the one for me!



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Emmy Eats/Made in Japan

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!
Emmy Eats... and Emmy Made in japan
Sofrito Lovers,

Today, I'm sharing with you my favorite Youtube Channel: EmmymadeinJapan!  Emmy is a young Chinese American cook, crafts person, and foodie that hosts an awesome show called, "Emmy Eats..."  The premise is simple; Emmy eats treats, sweets, and snacks from all over the world and talks about the taste, texture, and if she likes it.

Okay, so some of you might be thinking, "Why is watching someone eat interesting?"  It's a scientific fact; observing someone enjoy their food has a deep psychological effect on us and motivates us to try to eat new types of food.  

Think about it, why are there fast food commercials on TV?  Because they work! Just watching a two minute commercial motivates people, the very next day, to try whatever new burger, pizza, or taco the company is selling.

Back to Emmy!  I love her insight, humor, cultural fun facts and openness to try new things!  Every time I watch an episode it makes me want to travel and taste the world!  Her curiosity is infectious!  I warn you, after watching a few videos you might find yourself shopping at a few "exotic" markets searching for amazing new goodies!

Give it a chance!  Watch some videos, buys some new treats, and ¡Buen provecho!

  


 



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: 50 Cheap Eats Destinations you should know about NYC.

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

50 Cheap Eats Destinations you should know about NYC 
Sofrito Lovers, 
I LOVE IT WHEN NYEATERS.COM POSTS THESE LISTS! From time to time, NYEaters.com posts these amazing lists of "cheap eats" throughout NYC. I love how they include eateries from the Bronx and Brooklyn, usually lists like these aren't as inclusive as they should be!
It's wonderful to have some of my favorite Uptown restaurants and mom'n'pop eateries acknowledged by the geniuses at this site!  I can't wait to read through this list and start pounding the pavement on a few new culinary adventures!
Enough of my rambling!  Read this amazing article, hit the streets, and taste for yourself!  ¡Buen provecho!

1. Tandoor Palace

This Wall Street old timer boasts a steam table room where you pick up your victuals, and a large, labyrinthine dining room. The ground-lamb dish called haleem is particularly flavorful, and vegetarians will particularly enjoy the palak paneer, luxuriant with rubbery cheese chunks and nicely spicy. Pick the tandoori bread over the rice on the $7.50 special — it’s as large as a small child, and much crisper.

88 Fulton St

New York, NY 10038

 

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Soul Food Junkies

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!


Soul Food Junkies



Sofrito Lovers,

Soul Food Junkies is an amazing documentary by Byron Hurt that explores the rich history of Soul Food, its impact on the health of African Americans, and its significance to African American cultural identity.

Narrated by Byron Hurt, this documentary also explores his relationship with his father, who was a die hard Soul Food junkie who died of heart disease. Hilarious, inspirational, and cautionary, this documentary will have you running to the nearest plate of Mac and cheese, corn bread, and smothered pork chops, in moderation, of course.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: How to make Coquito...

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

The Freakin Rican Restaurant: How to make Coquito with Real Coconuts


Sofrito Lovers,

Weeks ago, I was searching online for the ultimate Coquito recipe and fortuitously I came across the Freakin Rican's "how to" videos on YouTube.

Instantly, I fell in love with the fun and easy videos hosted by Derick Lopez; who along with his partner Victor Vargas are the CEOS of the Freakin Rican Restaurant.

Check out their brilliant website and make sure to support all of their endeavors!

I've posted my favorite video below; it's the "How to make Coquito with Real coconuts" video.  Watch, learn, and taste for yourself! ¡Buen provecho!



Friday, December 11, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right now!

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!
 

The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right Now, December 2015!

 


Sofrito Lovers,
 
One of my New Year's resolutions for 2016 will be to explore Brooklyn culinary culture! Undeniably one of NYC's food meccas, I've ignored the incredible eateries of this foreign land for too long! Living in the Bronx (Boogie down forever), I've always considered Brooklyn too far away to go and eat!  But, after reading numerous reviews of the amazing new places popping up throughout the BK, I realize I need to let go of my Brookyn-phobia and make the journey out there.  I can't keep missing out!

The article below, from NYEaters.com, is a good place for us Brooklyn Foodie Newbies to begin our food treks through the BK!  Read it, go taste it for yourself, and always: Buen provecho!
 

The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right Now, December 2015

Does Brooklyn have its own unique culinary identity apart from Manhattan? Are all the young, ambitious chefs and restaurateurs opening in Brooklyn these days? And are any Brooklyn restaurants worth the train/cab/boat/helicopter ride from the Upper East Side? These are all questions that can be debated, endlessly. But one thing's for certain: There are a lot of terrific new restaurants in Brooklyn right now. Here they are, in map form.

Added in December: Le Garage, Llama Inn, Zurilee Pizza Bar, Parkside, Take Root
Added in November: Cassette, Cozinha Latina, Black Tree BK, Pizza Moto, Tilda All Day
Added in October: Lorenzo's, Werkstatt
Added in September: Moku Moku, The Food Sermon
Restaurants are listed based on opening/reopening date.

  
 

 


Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Making Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Making Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup



Sofrito Lovers,

As much as I try to be healthy and avoid packaged foods, I can't help but love Ramen and Ramyun.  For those who aren't in the know, Ramyun is Korean style Ramen.  I find Ramyun flavors a bit more interesting than the Japanese ramen. Also, the serving size is larger than Japanese ramen as well.

Ramyun is extremely versatile; you can add vegetables, meat, eggs, and other spices to doctor it up.  When I'm feeling adventurous, I add frozen veggies, thin-sliced onions, and pre-cooked chicken or fish. Most times,  I keep it simple and add spinach.

Here is my sure fire way to prepare a simple, delicious, and fun Ramyun!

1.  Get your ingredients together:  Ramyun packet, soup bowl, spinach, and 2 1/3 cups of water.


2.  Open your Ramyun packet and make sure it contains: Noodles, a vegetable packet, and a flavor packet.


3.  Heat the water (medium-high heat) in a pot until it boils.

 

4.  Add the noodles to the boiling water and stir for a minute.


5.  After a minute, add the flavor packet, vegetable packet, spinach, and cook for 3-4 minutes more.  If you're adding frozen vegetables, pre-cooked meats, or raw vegetables, then cook a few minutes longer.


6.  Once your Ramyun is cooked, then serve it in a soup bowl and enjoy! Slurp away folks!  Now that you know how to make some delicious Ramyun, go taste for yourself!  ¡Buen provecho!