Tag Archives: Puerto Rican
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Happy Birthday to my Mom!!!

23 Aug

Happy Birthday to my Mom!!!

Today is my mom Debra’s 54th birthday…I know, she looks great for her age and she is a pretty remarkable woman. She was born and raised in the Bronx and is 100% Puerto Rican (Making me and my sisters 1/2 PR and 1/2 Greek) and is a little spit fire. Strong emphasis on the little she is only 4′ 11″ ( I’m 5′ 3″ thanks mom, haha). She came from a life of poverty and physical abuse thanks to a horrible stepfather and she was able to overcome it all. She was one of the few of her six siblings to attend and graduate college and become a business manager. She managed a very successful bakery in Brooklyn where I pretty much grew up. I have very fond memories of those years in the bakery. My mother is currently a first degree black belt in the Korean Martial Art of Tang Soo Do. She now is also an instructor at the martial arts school she earned her belts in. This year she even attended the World Tournament of the Tang Soo Do Association in North Carolina and walked away with a bronze medal in weapons. She is truly an inspiration to me and keeps me looking forward to all that I can accomplish in the coming years. I LOVE YOU MOM AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

A Grandmother’s Love Begins in the Kitchen

28 Mar

A Grandmother’s Love begins in the Kitchen

                 Growing up in a Greek and Puerto Rican home made for some exciting adventures in the kitchen. Both ethnicities centered themselves around good food with good friends and especially family. My yia yia (grandmother in Greek) Metaxia, was always an excellent cook. She would always summon me to the kitchen to test the doneness of a potato when she made her famous lemon chicken, or to help her roll out some kourabiedes (Almond butter cookies). My Puerto Rican grandma Elizabeth would always want me to hover over a pot of arroz con candules (rice and beans) or to be present when she was filling her famous pasteles with savory chunks of pork. Being a kid at the time I would often turn down these invitations into the inner sanctum to go out and play with friends. I wish I would have known then, what I know now. My grandmother’s where passing down their legacy and most importantly their love.

                   I lost my yia yia the summer of 2004 to an infection of the blood. It was sudden and took everyone in the family by surprise. It was a blow I wasn’t prepared for. I realized that I never got the chance to learn all of what she had wanted to teach me. Guilt began to overcome me and I didn’t know how to remedy it. On the days when I felt the pain of her loss the most I would remember her food. I remembered all the love and care she put into making every meal that would pass our lips. I was ecstatic when I found out that my mother had compiled my yia yia’s recipes for traditional Greek cooking in an old marble notebook. To my dismay the recipes were less than perfectly written. There were one word steps for preparation, and angry cross out marks and squiggles all over the pages. Well everyone has to start out somewhere. So I set out determined as ever to learn all that she wanted to teach me when she was still alive. Slowly but surely I worked my way through the notebook. From appetizers to grand entrees, they each had their turn taking center stage in my kitchen. Then one day it dawned on me. I should create a polished family cookbook. Not just any cookbook, but one equipped with photos of each recipe so that my family could see what the final product should look like. It would be the perfect family heirloom that can be passed down from generation to generation.

                   The summer of 2009 brought more sadness to our family. My grandma Elizabeth passed away due to complications from her lifelong struggle with diabetes. Once again the light rushed out of the family kitchens. No more bubbling pots and intoxicating scents to fill our home. This time, however, there were no written Puerto Rican family recipes. I had to rely on my mother’s memory, and experimentation to recreate my grandmother’s exquisite flan and savory empanadas. I had again missed my opportunity to learn from the master. Now I was left with no grandmothers, and a book that was still heavily under construction. After my grandma Elizabeth’s passing I felt a new vigor for this cookbook. Even though work on it slowed down and on occasion ground to a halt I still worked on this precious project. I wanted to honor their love and their culinary expertise, but not just for my family now. I wanted to share their love for food and family with the world.

                   To this day I am working on the family cookbook. Testing both of my grandmother’s recipes and taking care to ensure not one flavor is out of place. When I taste each dish I want to be able to feel their touch, and to hear the warmth of their voices. I want their knowledge and their love to be felt in each succulent bite. As the flavors dissolve on my tongue I should be able to be transported to the most cherished of child hood memories. This is why the book has been such a huge part of my life. It is a piece of them. With a combined 148 years of life they have left me all of themselves within the lines of these recipes. It is an honor to be the guardian of such precious knowledge. I will make them proud no matter how long it takes me.

                  Food nourishes more than just our bodies. It nourishes our souls. A meal tastes all the better when you know it was created with love for you in mind. So to all who still have those wonderful grandmothers in their lives, please listen to them. Accept their invitations to cook. Accept their invitations to sew. All of these requests are worth your time. They want to teach you all that they know. Many of us feel that our grandparents will be around forever. Then that one day comes when they are gone, and you have missed it all. Don’t be blind to those precious and tender moments. But remember this; as long as you love them they never truly leave you. They will always live on in the memories, knowledge, and love they leave behind just for you.

 

This article is dedicated to my Grandma Elizabeth

And my Yia Yia Metaxia

You will always be remembered.

 

 

Versatile Blogger Award

19 Feb

Versatile Blogger Award: given to me by the passionate writer @carinaragno http://piazzadcara.wordpress.com/ thank you very much for thinking of me 🙂          

Stop by her blog you will love it.

You’ll find the rules below:

1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.

2. Inform the bloggers of their nomination.

3. Share 7 random things about yourself.

4. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award pic on your blog post.

7 things about me:

  • I am a triple threat entertainer (dancer, actress, singer)
  • I speak both Greek and Spanish
  • I make my own organic beauty products
  • Hope to one day get my cookbook on traditional Greek and Puerto Rican cooking published
  • Want to own a farm in Lancaster, PA
  • Don’t know how to ride a bike
  • I have known my two best friends for 12 years

I would like to pass this on to the following bloggers:

  1. http://mydaysinfocus.com/
  2. http://tryityoumightlikeit.wordpress.com
  3. http://theresplendentlife.wordpress.com
  4. http://sleepeatgymrepeat.com/
  5. http://niltsi.com/
  6. http://mentalmanna.wordpress.com
  7. http://pronetouncontrollablefitsoflaughter.wordpress.com
  8. http://prettyyummythings.wordpress.com
  9. http://catchofmyday.wordpress.com
  10. http://pete975.wordpress.com
  11. http://needtotaste.wordpress.com
  12. http://foodimentaryguy.wordpress.com
  13. http://cosytravels.wordpress.com/
  14. http://daniellegriffin.com
  15. http://moonlitenchantments.wordpress.com/

Thank you all for having some great blogs. I always enjoy your posts. I hope you all participate 😀

Thanks

Christina

Seasoned Pitas

7 Feb

           Being from a Greek and Puerto Rican family I grew up with the best of both worlds; especially when it comes to food. I get to enjoy arroz con candules (rice and beans) and spanakopita (spinach and feta filo pies) in the same meal haha. However, one of my favorite things to eat is warm pita bread. When I was in high school I kicked the pita bread up a notch by adding some of my favorite seasonings and it soon became a family favorite. I love to eat this on its own or with some tzatziki (yogurt garlic cucumber sauce) and roasted Greek lemon chicken. Yum! 🙂

Seasoned Pita Breads

1 pita bread per person

Salt /Black Pepper                         

Garlic Powder

Olive Oil                                

Thyme

Oregano             

Spanish paprika

Rosemary

Red pepper flakes (optional if you like the heat like I do)

          Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle olive oil on pitas and spread around to the edges with either your fingers or the back of a spoon. You only want enough olive oil to give flavor and make a thin pale golden coating on the pitas. I’m a creature of habit so when I make these pitas I add the seasonings in this order—salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, Spanish paprika, thyme, and rosemary. I did not add measurements for the seasonings because everyone has different tastes. I know how much I enjoy on my pitas, and soon you will know just how much seasoning suits your tastes. These pitas cook fast since they are already cooked. Cook them on a center rack for only seven minutes, no more and no less. The goal is only to heat them through and get them slightly crisp on the tops and edges. We do not want a cracker; we are in search of pliable seasoned pita breads. These are great as an accompaniment to roasted chicken. They smell, taste and look wonderful since the paprika stains them a rich orange color. Enjoy!

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Seasoned Pita (Photograph Property of Salt Pepper Brilliant CMY)