Saturday, January 30, 2010

I found my Mojo (sauce) in Puerto Rico!

I have been absent for a week because the hubs and I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a nice little "sunnymoon". We had some Hilton points and enough miles for 2 free airfares, so we booked a nice much needed vacation at the Caribe Hilton. It was fantastic...warm, sunny, tropical breezes, mojitos, and GREAT food! This was our third time there, but it has been 5 years since our last visit.

I just OD-ed on all the wonderful fruits and superb cooking. We have a favorite restaurant that serves very homestyle food...simple, inexpensive... El Jibarito, that is frequented by the locals. You can see some of the great food we had, and a look at the place itself, by clicking on the link.

Our waiter, Angel, who has taken care of us on all of our visits to the restaurant, ordered for us.
When he brought us fresh red snapper that had been breaded and fried, it was like a picture!
We also had bistecca (cube steak) with onions and mofongo (mashed plantain and yucca). Before we went there, we sat at a sidewalk cafe. My husband had a mojito and I had a pina colada while we munched on some fantastic tostones (fried plaintains).

We did a lot of walking and exploring of Old San Juan. It is a beautiful, colorful city that is rich in history. There are forts to explore, a lush, tropical rainforest to visit and shops and sidewalk vendors galore. And of course, there is always relaxing by the pool or ocean to round out the perfect vacation.
It is certainly hard to come back to Central New York, because when we left yesterday it was early in the day and already 77 degrees. When we awoke today it was 4 below zero. Welcome back to reality!! The good thing is that we can replicate some of the great food we ate and think warm!!

3 green plantains
Vegetable oil for frying
Garlic salt or plain salt

Making tostones is easy….. Slice the peeled plantains diagonally into 1" slices. Fry the slices over medium heat until they soften. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Using a tostonera (a press), slightly mash each piece to about half an inch in thickness. If a tostonera is not available insert the pieces between a folded piece of brown-paper sack and press down using a saucer. It is best to press all the pieces first before going on the next step. Dip each piece in warm salted water and fry again until crispy. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Salt them. Tostones may be served with ketchup (kid's favorite) or with garlic sauce or mojo sauce. (Plantains are a member of the banana family. They are a starchy, low in sugar variety that is cooked before serving as it is unsuitable raw. It is used in many savory dishes somewhat like a potato would be used and is very popular in Western Africa and the Caribbean countries. It is usually fried or baked.)

MOJO SAUCE Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Good quality olive oil -- 1 cup
Garlic, crushed -- 6-10 cloves
Lemon or lime juice -- 1/4 cup
Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
Place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Adjust the amount of salt or juice to taste.
You can also add some crushed red pepper to kick up the taste


Many people confuse plantains with bananas, some of the differences are noted above. Although they look a lot like green bananas and are a close relative, plantains are very different. They are starchy, not sweet, and they are used as a vegetable in many recipes, especially in Latin America and Africa. Plantains are sold in the fresh produce section of the supermarket, they usually resemble green bananas; ripe plantains may be black in color. Plantains are longer than bananas and they have thicker skins. They also have natural brown spots and rough areas.


  1. I've only been to San Juan once...loved all that gorgeous blue water and the hot I long to be there. Lucky you to be able to go!

    I have been looking at recipes for plantains; they seem to be so interesting, so this post is timely for me. Would love to try this. And boy, does that mojo sauce sound GOOD!!!

  2. it! Love the Mojo Sauce too. Terrific!

  3. That mojo sauce is indeed a winner. Ahh for a sunnymoon...


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