Everything tastes better with adobo. It’s the foundation of Latin cooking. Our salt. Our secret sabor.
Puerto Rican food is my favorite food. Not because it’s the healthiest. Not because it has the most vegetables. If you consider plantains, yuca, yautía, calabaza*, chayote**, and beans vegetables, then yes. But, if you’re looking for broccoli and kale, uh, no.***
It’s the flavor, the taste, the spices that add deliriously delicious depth to our food. Seasoned with adobo and sazón in a base of sofrito. Flavor on flavor on flavor. Made with fresh culantro and cilantro and pimientos morrones and oregano and garlic and onions. Sometimes with stuffed green olives and capers. Sometimes wrapped in plantain leaves. Sometimes with lime on the side for a tart kick. Marinated and cooked for hours. Deep, yummy home-cooked flavor.
Every morning in my abuela’s house, I woke to the smell of her cooking. In the “old times” as my daughter would say, lunch was the big meal of the day. We had toast and café con leche for breakfast. Yes, I dunked. Then a big meal for lunch. Abuela made food for an army cause you never knew who would stop by for lunch.
She macheted plantains off the trees in the garden. The old guy in the vegetable truck drove by shouting what he had fresh that day. The milkman left bottles of milk at the gate. We climbed the rod iron fence onto the roof to pick mangoes from the fruit-laden tree. Sweet and tart and perfect. Juice running down my hands and chin.
We made pasteles. Took three days. Best I ever had. My great aunt Tita’s alcapurrias, best I ever had. My mom’s piñon, tostones and queso relleno, best I ever had.
Taita, my other abuela, made the best habichuelas blancas and pollito con limón y cebollas. She put coffee in a sock and ran hot water through it over and over. If you got sick, her concoctions of aloe, lemon and honey cured you instantly.
When I was little, I would eat three plates of Mom’s rice and beans at a sitting. Now when I visit, I eat a bowl of rice and beans for breakfast – with a spoon.
You get the gist. It’s genetic. The flavor of the Caribbean.
While filming the first episode of EcoRicoTV in May, 2010, I decided to create and market an organic adobo, to share the taste of the Caribe in a way that honors people and planet. That’s when Gigi’s Organics was born. In the kitchen cooking healthy Latin food with the people I love.
Those same people have championed the vision, pushing me to share Gigi’s sabor. Now it’s your turn to experiment with adobo and sazón, to enhance the flavor of your cooking and create new family recipes. We can’t wait to see what you create.
Thank you for supporting and joining our community!
**Chayote = mirliton squash (sounds awful, tastes great stuffed with ground meat, raisins and almonds)
*** I once asked a waiter on La Isla what was in the salad. He looked at me like I was an idiot. “Well.. salad”, he said. I said: “Yeah, but what’s in the salad? Broccoli, tomatoes, spinach?”
He rolled his eyes: “Lettuce. Lettuce is in the salad. And onion. If you want tomato, I’ll see if we have some. But I don’t know.”