A Comer Pasteles (to eat absolutely yummy food)

Well, that translation is a little off. Pasteles are a holiday tradition in Puerto Rican culture. They aren't necessarily the healthiest meal but, if you don't over indulge, you can survive eating one for dinner. Just avoid doing what my mom does during the holidays - she serves them almost EVERY NIGHT. It's made out of plantains and yautia and my favorite have chicken (instead of pork), olives, chickpeas, and red peppers stuffed inside. Uncooked, they look like this:

Wrapped in parchment paper, banana leaf and tied with a string. You can freeze them until you are ready to cook them. All you have to do is take them out the freezer and boil for an hour.

Cooked, they look like this:

Not necessarily the prettiest dish but very delicious.

Traditionally, they are eaten with avocado, rice and beans. I prefer to eat it with an avocado salad. My people love carbs and starch. If you feel like you NEED the beans to "wet" the pasteles, then so be it but skip the rice! You can also cut them in half and share them with someone to cut down the caloric intake. Most Puerto Ricans I know, put some ketchup on top of the pasteles. Perhaps that's what us Nuyoricans do. ;)

Anyway, the reason why I am even talking about this is because my boyfriend came home with six pasteles on Sunday and he cooked two of them for dinner on Monday night. OMG . . . they were delicious. However, I must add that I didn't find one olive in mine but the boyfriend did find two olives! He got lucky, or perhaps she marked them for him. See, these pasteles came from his friend from way back (like junior high school days) who is making and selling them. I am so happy that Joanna has taken up the art of making pasteles because I really thought they would be extinct in my life, since I only knew old ladies who made them.

I loved them so much that I had to share her contact information with you all. If you are interested in ordering pasteles from Joanna, send her a message at JoannaOrt {at} yahoo.com. She sells half a dozen for $13 and a dozen for $25 . Mention this blog post in your subject line so she knows to open your email (we really shouldn't open emails from strangers folks). I'm hoping Joanna would like to share her tricks of the trade with us in a recipe post on the blog!