ARROZ CON GANDULES (Puerto Rican style rice and Pigeon Peas) and PERNIL (Puerto Rican style Roast Pork)

It’s that time of year again when friends and family will be coming to visit. That can only mean one thing, it’s time for me to cook the national dish of Puerto Rico. A gathering wouldn’t be complete without the unmistakable aroma of rice and roast pork cooking in the kitchen.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!


1 large green pepper coarsely chopped and seeded

1 medium onion coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic finely diced

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Place all of the above ingredients into a small food processor and pulse until smooth to make sofrito. Set aside 1/4 cup of the sofrito mixture to prepare the rice. Reserve remaining 2/3 cup of mixture to make pork marinade (mojito).


5-8 pound pork butt (bone in optional)

2/3 cup sofrito mixture

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup orange juice

Place above ingredients into a 2 gallon Ziploc bag. Sealed bag and rub marinade into the pork.

Place bag in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Turn bag and rub in marinade a few times during the 24 hour. Remove the bag from refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking and allow to sit on counter to reach room temperature. preheat oven to 325° place pork into a large Dutch oven fat side up and pour the excess marinade over the top of the pork.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place in the center of the oven. Cook the pork for 3 1/2 hours. DO NOT REMOVE LID WHILE COOKING. When pork is removed from the oven let it cool 15 minutes before opening lid.

Puerto Rican Style Rice with Pigeon Peas

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup sofrito

One 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons of capers

One dozen Manzanilla olives

One can pigeon peas do not drain

2 cups long grain rice

Place oil and sofrito into a large oven proof pot and sauté over medium heat for three minutes. Then add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, capers,olives and pigeon peas to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice to the pot and cook uncovered until the water level drops below the level of the rice. remove the pot from the stove and cover the pot and place into a 350° oven for 20 minutes. When done remove pot from the oven and let it rest covered for five minutes. uncover the rice and fluff with a fork.


Creamy Custard Pie Recipe

custard pie

During a recent visit with my sister, she asked me to try a piece of custard pie that her friend had brought to her and it was amazing. However there was one problem with the pie. The aforementioned pie came from a bakery that is over 2 hours away. Thus began my quest for the perfect custard pie recipe. I began my search on Google. I typed in custard pie  and I found a myriad of recipes all claiming to be the best. Then I found  a pie recipe blog called In this blog I found a few more recipes for custard pie that weren’t too different from the other recipes I had found elsewhere (eggs, milk and sugar). Then I found a section called “Vintage custard pie recipes”. This caught my  attention because I write about “Heirloom recipes” which are my family’s recipes that I have  tried to save from being lost  forever because as some of my older relatives have passed away so have their recipes. I continued to read and the author of one recipe made a point of saying  the reader needed to pay attention to a certain part of his process to achieve successful results. That’s when I realized that recipes are more than a list of ingredients. The most important part of the recipe is the  methodology used by the person teaching you. So pay close attention to them because when they are gone so is the heart  and soul of the recipe. Now that I am finished preaching, here is how I made my “Creamy Custard Pie” and remember to teach your children well.

9″  Single Crust Pie Shell:

1 cup flour

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp salt

4 tbsp. salted butter (diced and chilled)

1 tbsp. Crisco shortening

¼ cup ice water

1 egg white reserved from filling recipe


2  cups whole milk

3/4 cup Half and Half

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white)

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 cup sugar


Pie Shell: (option – 1 frozen 9″pie crust then skip to filling)

 Place diced butter in freezer for 5 minutes.

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Put flour, sugar, butter and salt into food processor.

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Pulse 10 times.  Then pulse 10 additional times while slowly dripping ice water into tube of the food processor. Mixture should look wet yet still crumbly.

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Drop mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap.

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Cover with a second sheet of plastic wrap. Using a rolling-pin tap down the dough then roll it out to an 11’” circle.

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Place dough while still wrapped in plastic in fridge for 20 minutes to an hour. After letting the dough rest in the fridge remove top sheet of plastic then flip the dough over and place in 9″ pie pan. Then remove final piece of plastic.  Fit dough to pan then cut excess dough leaving 1 inch overhanging pan. Fold this back into the pan under its self.  Pinch top edge to create fluting.

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Brush the interior and top edge of the un-baked pie crust with reserved egg white before filling with custard. (This prevents the crust from getting soggy.)


In a medium-sized sauce pan heat milk and Half and Half until small bubbles appear along the top edge of the pan and remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, nutmeg and salt and set aside.


In a medium-sized bowl whisk the 3 eggs and 1 yolk until creamy. Save egg white for crust.


In a small bowl combine flour and sugar. (This step prevents the flour from clumping when being added to the eggs.)


Slowly whisk the sugar/flour mixture into the beaten eggs.


Slowly add 1/3 of the scalded milk to the egg/flour/sugar mixture while whisking. Then continue to add the final 2/3 of the scalded milk. (Using this method prevents the eggs from scrambling.) Avoid adding too much air into the mixture when stirring as this will cause your custard to become grainy. Slowly pour the mixture into the un-baked pie shell. Cover edges of pie with foil to keep crust from burning.


Place the pie in the lower 1/3 of a pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil then turn the pie 180 degrees. Continue baking until the center is set, about another 20 minutes. (The pie should have a slight wiggle like Jell-O and not be too brown on top)


Transfer the pie to a rack until cool. Then place finished pie in the refrigerator to chill. Have fun and share this recipe with your friends and family!

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.