Esai Morales Talks about Healthy Eating

MCCN Editor’s spoke with her favorite celebrity crush, Esai Morales. He talked about his passion in recognizing Earth Day, ” I want to become a part of the solution and not part of the problem.  It is not a left or right issue.”  Using his age of 47 as a frame of reference, Morales discussed changes in his diet  like vegetablesand whole grain pasta.  He says, “You don’t have to have a big meaty meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.    It is not neccessary and quite  frankly that is why a lot of us are coming to an early grave.”

Carmelo Anthony and LaLa Valaquez Wed


Longtime couple NBA player Carmelo Anthony and former MTV VJ Lala Vasquez Wed.  Read More about the Latin couple’s cultural story at the MCCN HOME. Also Read how gal pal Kim Kardashian helped Vasquez prepare for the big day.

Bacalaitos Recipe

I love elboricua.com.  This is a great go to site for Puerto Rican Food such as plantain recipes, sauces, main dishes and desserts.  Favorite this website for recipes. – Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

Message from the El Boricua website:

This website is the internet home of  “EL BORICUA” an electronic monthly cultural magazine available on-line only. Both this website and our monthly magazine are dedicated to our descendants, the children of Puerto Ricans -where ever they might be – so that they can remember our culture, learn about their roots and history, and be proud to call themselves Boricuas and Puertorriqueños.

Bacalaitos.
(10 bacalaitos)

1/4 lb. bacalao filet
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
3/4 cup bacalao broth
1tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. crushed garlic
oil for frying

Today we can buy processed bacalao that is not “dry” and does not need to soak overnight or boil for hours and hours. Make sure you get the soft bacalao that has been deboned. Sometimes it comes in a wooden box or in platics bags. They have it at some Walmart stores and Fiesta Grocery stores and many others.

Rinse the bacalao and tear into smaller pieces. Boil in plenty of water for about 20 minutes or so. Discard water and add fresh water and boil again for another 20 minutes. Let it cool in the water and save the water. Remove the bacalao and drain in a metal drainer and wait for it to cool down (save the broth). Once cool to the touch, tear the pieces into smaller little tiny pieces and set it aside. If you hold it between your fingers it separates itself.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add the broth and whisk. The mixture should look like pancake batter. Then add the drained bacalao and whisk again. DO NOT use an electric appliance to stir this stuff because the bacalao will become like fiber and you will end up with a matty mess that will have to be thrown away. I’m speaking from experience here. The batter should look like thin pancake batter. If too thick just add a bit more broth and whisk. If you put too much broth add a bit of flour – just a bit.

Spoon the batter by ½ cup fulls into hot oil. The bacalaitos should be fried over high heat turning only once. They should be golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels before serving. If they are getting too brown too fast lowe heat a bit.

Any extra fish or batter may be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for later use. Remember that this recipe is only for about 10 bacalaitos – so multiply if you must.

MCCN Host Erika L. Holmes Gets Personal about Latin Foods

MCCN host Erika L. Holmes shares about the foods of Puerto Rico and Panama.  Our host of What’s the Dish? is a proud PanaRican.

See Erika interview celebrities about their favorite foods in the Video Section

Click here for: Pastelillos de Carne Recipe

Pastelillos de Carne Recipe

Pastelillos de carne before cooking reduced

 These Photos are complimentary of MCCN host Erika L. Holmes.  In a previous article she shared about her Panarican(Puerto Rican and Panamanian) roots.  Now, shifting emphasis to the cooking of her Puerto Rican mom, Erika snaps some photos of her mom in action.  The recipe below is from The Valley Table Magazine.  We are working on getting’s Erika’s mom’s recipe.     

  • Ingredients: Filling
    1 pound meat (The pork we use for the pastelillos is usually left over from a roast loin of pork. Dice the meat into small bits, then add to the sauteing sofrito and tomato sauce. If starting from scratch, choose 2 to 3 pounds of lean pork chops and saute on the stove top with sofrito and tomato sauce. When cooked, cut the meat from the bone, chop up into small cubes and return the meat to the sofrito. Some people chose ground beef, or ground poultry meat, for ease of cooking. Pastelillos using pork, or seafood (crab, lobster or shrimp, diced-the fillings used in Puerto Rican coastal towns) are preferred and are more traditional.)
    Sofrito for filling
    1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    4 ounces tomato sauce (1/2 can)
    pinch of oregano
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 tablespoons of olive oil for saut?ing
     

Ingredients: Dough
3 cups all-purpose white flour
12 tablespoons softened butter
4 tablespoons water to add to flour
1/2 bottle of vegetable oil for frying
pinch of salt     

Serving: approximately (2) dozen pastelillos

Method
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron). Saute onions, peppers and garlic until soft.
2. Add meat and tomato sauce to the pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. When cooked, remove from heat and let cool.
3. To prepare the dough, cut the flour and softened butter together in a large bowl, then add small amounts of water slowly, working the mixture with your hands to a soft consistency (the flour should be moist, but not wet).
4. Break off fist-sized pieces of the dough; using a well-floured rolling pin on a well-floured surface, roll out each portion into a 1/8-inch-thin circular disk. (Have extra flour on hand to dust the rolling pin and your hands as needed.) Using a small (4-inch) plate as your guide, trim edges.
5. Place about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling onto one side of each disk.
6. Fold the disk in half over filling; press edges down firmly with the tines of a fork so that no filling will leak into the oil. Before frying, lay the pastelillos flat on floured wax paper, a few inches apart, to prevent sticking.
7. Deep-fry each pastelillo in hot (375F) vegetable oil until golden (about 4 to 5 minutes on each side). Remove and drain on paper towel. (Or burn your mouth on a hot one!) Serve with white rice and beans, or a good calderone of arroz con gondures (rice with pigeon peas).     

Pastelillos de carne reduced- Photo by Erika L. Holmes

 Find out about Erika L. Holmes: https://multiculturalcookingnetwork.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/a-panarican-holiday-with-erika-l-holmes/

Latina Ladies of Avatar in the Spotlight

Michelle Rodriguez and Zoe Saldana have more than a few things in common.  Both women are American born.  They are both Latina.  Moreover, they are both of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent. Currently, they are both stars of the hottest film at the box office, Avatar.

MCCN recently did a feature on Zoe Saldana called: Her Skin Doesn’t Make Her Blue, so let’s give Michelle, the woman or shall we say the “Girl”who fought her way to the top with her breakout independent film performance in Girlfight her just dues.  Born in Texas, Michelle grew up moving from place to place including  Texas, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and New Jersey.

Her official fan website describes Rodriguez as a cross of beauty and brawn. As far as social cause, Rodriguez is involved in an effort against illegal whaling:

See Article on Zoe Saldana: https://multiculturalcookingnetwork.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/zoe-saldana-her-color-doesnt-make-her-blue/

Zoe Saldana: Her Color Doesn’t Make Her Blue

In the hit film Avatar, Zoe Saldana is the color blue.  No sooner than the film, premiered the world wanted to know more about the lead female warrior character in the James Cameron film.  People are learning that the talented actress, Saldana is Afro-Latina.  Born and reared in the United States until she was 10 years old, her  multi-cultural heritage includes her father being of Domincan descent and her mother Puerto Rican.  She lived in the Dominican Republic until age 17.  Believe it or not, some parts of the world are not aware of the Afro Latino or the identity of  the Latino image bearing Black skin too.  It is great that Zoe’s success is shedding more light on culture.  What is also exciting is seeing her land a role in the film Colombiana as the lead.  It makes a strong statement about the star power she brings despite many Latin American countries still struggle with Black as Beautiful in their heirarchal scale.  Saldana embraces her physical identity as Black and her culture as Latin.  She never let Hollywood’s typical ideal leading lady concept be a hurdle for her.  She has simply jumped over the hurdles.

What do  Zoe and co-star Michelle Rodriguez have in common? Find out at: http://www.multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/component/k2/item/113-the-other-latina-star-of-avatar-michelle-rodriguez.html

Read Dinner and Movie Review for Avatar: http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/dinner-and-a-movie.html

Arroz Con Gandules Recipe

(Photo credit: Black_Cherry at Photo bucket)

Ingredients

¾ pounds raw green pigeon peas
3 cups water (used to precook the green pigeon peas)
2 cups white rice
2 ounces diced smoked ham
2 tablespoons corn oil
½ cup sofrito
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt

For soaking the green pigeon peas:
1 quart water
2 teaspoons salt

Directions
  1. Rinse the rice well and set aside.
  2. Soak the raw green pigeon peas in 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons of salt for about 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse them and cook in 4 cups of water until they have softened. (TIP)
  4. In a 4 quart cooking pan, add the oil and smoked ham and simmer over moderate heat for about 3 minutes while stirring.
  5. Add the sofrito and tomato sauce and simmer for another 3 minutes while continuing to stir.
  6. Turn up the heat to moderate high and add 2 tablespoons of the water that was set aside and the green pigeon peas. Simmer for 3 minutes while continuing to stir.
  7. Raise the heat to high and add the water that was set aside. Once the water boils, add the rice.
  8. Mix all the items well. Once the water starts to boil again, reduce the heat to moderate high and cook uncovered until most of the water has evaporated.
  9. Reduce the heat to low, stir the rice again, then cover the pot with aluminum foil and put the lid on.
  10. Cook for 15 minutes. Stir the rice and continue to cook until done. Sample the rice to see if it is done. It should be soft to chew. Makes approximately 6 servings.
Extras
  • On some (picky) electric stoves like mine, it is better to cook at a warm temperature rather than low. It takes a little longer but worth the wait.
  • Enjoy it. Let me know how it turned out.
Tips From The Rican Chef
  • If you want to know when the green pigeon peas are done, test them by picking up one pea in a spoon and squeezing it between 2 fingers.

Visit her website at: http://www.elboricua.com/RicanChef_Arroz%20Con%20Gandules.htm

A “Panarican” Holiday With Erika L. Holmes

Erika L. Holmes is the official host of MCCN.  She usually finds out the scoop on what’s the celebrity dish.  The tables are turned and now she tells of her ethnic background including a Puerto Rican mother and Panamanian dad.  Holmes shares what consists of a list of “Panarican” holiday dishes and drinks:

Puerto Rico

Drink
Dishes
Desserts/Treats
Panama