The official countdown has started for Noche Buena on Sunday, and being that everyone always asks me for a bottle of coquito (the magnificent Puerto Rican version of eggnog!), I figured I’ll get a jump on things and start putting it up. Now, I can remember helping Mami make coquito when I was a little girl, and the processs was ever so much more complicated. For starters, I had to grate the coconut by hand (knuckles beware!), but making coquito today is as complicated as turning your blender on. Assemble your ingredients: 1 can Cream of Coconut, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1 can evaporated milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and rum to taste.
You’ll find that upon opening the can of cream of coconut, there is a waxy “head” that rises to the top of the can, which sometimes becomes a little difficult to break through. Gently break through it with your spatula, to expose the liquid in the can.
I add this to the blender, and process it for a few minutes until it is smooth, then I add the condensed milk, which is thick and creamy. This helps to bind the cream of coconut so that it doesn’t seperate in your coquito later on.
Follow with the egg substitute, the evaporated milk, and the vanilla.
Stir in the rum to taste, and finish off with a dusting of cinnamon and or nutmeg. Chill.
Being that I’ll be entertaining guests at my home on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), I have been busy building my menu, from hors d’ oeurves to dessert. When I build a menu, I try to coordinate flavors, textures, temperature, in short, every aspect of the menu is similiar to an instrument in an orchestra; it is delicious on its own, but in combination with everything else, it should sing!
I first had these little arepitas at my friend Migui’s Mom’s house. Actually, Angela parked herself next to the platter where they had been served, and did not budge until every last one was gone. The are super easy to make, and remind me of the delicious “Latkes” that are so popular this time of year… these make a mouthwatering alternative. Whether you eat then for religious reasons or just because they are addicting, is totally up to you!
Ready for some “Latkes Latinas”? Click on the link below.
You are going to need 2 cups of grated yuca, 2 tablespoons grated onion, 2eggs, beaten, 4 teaspoons melted butter, a pinch of sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons of anisette, salt to taste and 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
While the pasteles machine that I used a few weeks ago, when I made my pasteles would make short work of this amount of yuca, I want to show you how I used to do it before (plus I’m too lazy to break down that whole machine to wash it, lol). Make sure to remove the woody stalk that runs down the yuca.
Add the grated onion, the egg, the butter, and the baking powder, mixing after each addition.
Add the anisette, the sugar, the salt and the chopped cilantro. Heat your oil in a frying pan, and drop by rounded spoonfuls into the hot oil.
Turn once, when golden brown on one side
Drain on paper towels. Serve with mojito isleno, or pineapple-habanero relish (recipe available upon request😉 .
Now that’s a great start to Noche Buena! Buen Provecho!