Arroz con Salchichas, Alyssa Style

I had a very special experience last night. I cooked for Ania’s parents for the first time, as part of her father’s birthday festivities. I made a point not to cook something elaborate and time-consuming, though, as one might expect of a holiday meal. Instead, I went with something simple that shows off Puerto Rican cooking techniques that is also very special to me: arroz con salchichas. I look forward to arroz con salchichas every time a visit to Miami is in the offing, and after long, tense absence, I missed it profoundly. As tensions with my parents continue to rise and fall like so many narcissist tides, bringing this dish to a family that accepts me with enthusiasm is an emotional coup. As I come to recognize my belated mastery of this dish, that I had tried to learn how to make intermittently since I moved to Ottawa, I am ebullient.

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Arroz con Salchichas, Alyssa Style
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Spaghetti with Kiełbasa, Alyssa Style

This one’s a little different.

I grew up in northern New Jersey, the oft-maligned region of an oft-maligned state that has, more-or-less, New York City’s demographics. Centuries of immigration have pressed people from all over the world into this tiny piece of America, and with long shoulder-rubbing comes culinary interchange. When Puerto Ricans, Italians, and Polish people meet, magic happens, and some of that magic is spaghetti with kiełbasa, Alyssa style.

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Spaghetti with Kiełbasa, Alyssa Style

Arroz con Gandules, Alyssa Style

We return to the subject of Latin American cooking with Alyssa. This time, we visit my grandmother’s signature meal, arroz con gandules. Puerto Rican Spanish for “rice with pigeon peas,” this is a hearty meal on its own or accompanied with meat or a salad. It follows the Puerto Rican tradition of “one-pot meals,” making it relatively simple to learn and a staple when my grandmother entertains guests or contributes to holiday platters. I look forward to tasting hers again…if I am again welcome there.

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Arroz con Gandules, Alyssa Style

Tortilla de Papa, Alyssa Style

I’ve decided to follow a common request from my readers and share some of my cooking with you all.

Today’s entry is tortilla de papa, usually known as “Spanish omelette” in English. Understanding what I just wrote there requires a little etymology lesson.

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Tortilla de Papa, Alyssa Style