So let's start with dessert. Typically a Dominican Christmas Eve meal isn't heavy on baked desserts. Usually there's a spread including many varieties of turron, nuts in their shell, dried fruit, chewy white brach's jelly nougats and not much else. The star is the main meal but having a very strong sweet tooth and growing up in the states I craved something a little more. So I dove into my freezer fruit stash and put together a blueberry buttermilk cake as well as a peach version. I'll admit I'd never made this recipe before so I took a chance in doubling right off the bat but the cake didn't disappoint. Mr. Maricucu requested a sweet potato pie which the kids devoured with as equal gusto as the cakes.
My parents, being the food mules they are for this far away daughter came up with a stash of pasteles en hoja. These are plantain and root veggie puree pockets stuffed with a savory meat filling, wrapped in a plantain leaf (or foil) and steamed. I'll readily admit that while I find these utterly delicious, they can be a bit strange for someone who did not grow up eating them. Poor Mr. Maricucu was dutifully sent home with one while we were dating and at least had the foresight to take off the foil and plantain leaf before digging in despite my lack of instructions. Alas he wasn't impressed but hey he tried.
My mom worked her magic on the potato salad. I'm not a potato salad person but this is the only one I will eat. Very simple, well made and well seasoned but no eggs. Shudder.
Never fear, I didn't have my poor mom slaving away in the kitchen by herself. I made the pork according to my mom's recipe but I need to tweak my listening skills just a tad. It wasn't bad but mine came out a bit more dry than hers.
The poor pig didn't suffer in vain though. With the juices and drippings my made made a heck of a good moro (black bean and rice pilaf). Seriously good stuff and the perfect side dish for our Noche Buena.
Of course it wouldn't be Christmas Eve dinner without a batch of pastelitos to snack on while we waited for the food to cook. Yes, I ate all of this and yes I'm still recuperating from the huge meal but it was so worth it.