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A to Z of the Dominican Republic: Ladies only to post

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
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A few years ago fellow blogger had the idea writing a series of posts, using the letter A-Z, relating to the country she lives in. She asked other bloggers around the world to do the same, and so I did. Each week I will put a letter here and please do write about your Dominican memories using the same letter. So, we start with letter A, which is A for Avocado, as I absolutely adore them and eat at least 3 or 4 a week when in season
Avocados originally came from central Mexico and the word comes from Nahuáti, which was the language spoken by the Aztecs. The word they used was ahuácati which means testicle! Here they are known as aguacate, although in some parts of Spanish speaking Latin America they are known as palta. Also they are not called avocados all over the world; some places know them as alligator pears or butter pears. The word abogado here means lawyer, and when I first started speaking Spanish I kept saying "I really fancy a lawyer tonight, instead of I fancy an avocado".

I knew they were widely available in the Dominican Republic but I had no idea that the DR is actually the 3rd biggest producer of avocados in the world, only Mexico and Chile produce more. The DR has climbed up the rankings since 2008 when it was in 7th place.

Avocados grow easily from seed. You just take out the big pip in the middle, and using toothpicks, balance it over some water. Once the roots have grown and a shoot come out of the top, you can then plant it outside. Apparently it takes 4-6 years to produce fruit. Personally I think it might take a lot longer, but every time we eat a really nice avocado we start off a tree from the seed.

The avocado should not be allowed to ripen on the tree but should be picked when it is still firm. Once picked, it can be left to ripen naturally, but will ripen faster if you put it in a brown paper bag, or next to other fruit when apparently some sort of ethylene gas exchange takes place. In some countries they will actually treat the avocado with ethylene to speed up the ripening process. They are picked with a special avocado picker, which looks a bit like a lacrosse stick.

Avocados are very good for you. It is true that they have a lot of calories, around 300, but apparently, although they are high in fat, it is good fat as opposed to bad fat. They have more potassium than bananas, more protein than cows’ milk or a cooked steak, have the highest fibre content of any fruit, and are also high in vitamins B,E and K. They have been proven to lower blood cholesterol and are even being researched as a possible cancer cure.

The most famous avocado recipe is probably guacamole, the famous Mexican dip made with avocados, coriander, tomatoes and onions. In the Dominican Republic they are usually served in wedges, with the main meal, sprinkled with salt and sometimes lime. They are also served as a salad. I love half an avocado with its hole in the middle filled with juicy prawns and prawn cocktails sauce, or simply filled with vinaigrette.

So that is letter A. Something I love, something truly Dominican, something I would really miss eating if I did not live here. I could do with a few more recipes for them though, so if you have any delicious ways of eating avocados please let me know.

So what would your letter A be?

Matilda
 

AlterEgo

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 9, 2009
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Playa Najayo & South Jersey
As much as I love avocados, my letter A is easy.  Arepita de yuca.  Hands down the most delicious Dominican food, at least to me.  I don’t make them often, mostly because I can’t control myself when they’re on the table.  

Grate fresh yuca, either fine or coarse, and put into a bowl.  Add beaten egg, a bit of milk, salt and pepper, anise seeds and mix well.  Heat a mix of oil and a bit of butter in a nonstick fry pan, and drop by teaspoon into the oil, I use a fork to press down a bit and shape them.  Fry until golden on both sides.  

No measurements because depends on how much yuca you start with.  

Here in NJ we have a huge Asian supermarket, and I was amazed to find one pound bags of finely grated cassava in their frozen foods, for $1.79, and one pound bags of yuca flour for $.99 
 

janlindy

Member
Mar 8, 2011
249
1
18
I love avacados, have not tried to cook yuca but will try it soon. my favorite A is ajo I put it on everything I can get away with.
 

AlterEgo

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 9, 2009
19,567
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Playa Najayo & South Jersey
Yes I love them too! The grating does my head in though!

matilda


Put the yuca in a food processor, cut into small chunks.  The small one that sits on the blender base will work perfectly.  Process to desired size.  

I also use the food processor to chop lambi, saves time and fingers
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
5,485
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Me too ajo in everything. My favourite is garlic mayo which I make with 3 egg yolks, 6-8 cloves of garlic and salt in the liquidiser (blender), then add a chopped up oregano leaf, teaspoon lime juice and drizzle in olive oil until it turns white and thick. About half a cup of oil. Make fish chowder and serve with home made crusty bread and the mayo. Delish!!
 

Abuela

Well-known member
May 13, 2006
1,738
28
48
A is for Almendras. We have almond trees along our coastline to shade our shores. I love them for snacks as well a baking ingredient. Tonight I made linguine with almond pesto (instead of using pine nuts).
 

keepcoming

Active member
May 25, 2011
2,770
18
38
This time of the year...A as in arroz con leche. In the evening when the temp is a bit cooler outside I really enjoy a good arroz con leche. My other A would be aceitunas. Not many people know but it is one of my favorite little snacks.
 

Catseye

Member
Nov 7, 2009
157
0
16
aceite de coco - great for cooking, does not readily break down at higher heat like vegetable oil

if you get a good brand it has an incredible flavor, could be used as a butter substitute on things like broccoli, artichokes, brussell sprouts, bread even

also makes a great deodorant, lasts for a couple of days

has parasite killing properties, also why it works as deodorant

great for skin and hair

it’s finally available everywhere, when I first got here 12 years ago it was hard to find, closest place was in Puerto Plata at the mercado in the middle of town, was it Mason?
 

AlterEgo

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 9, 2009
19,567
614
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Playa Najayo & South Jersey
aceite de coco - great for cooking, does not readily break down at higher heat like vegetable oil

if you get a good brand it has an incredible flavor, could be used as a butter substitute on things like broccoli, artichokes, brussell sprouts, bread even

also makes a great deodorant, lasts for a couple of days

has parasite killing properties, also why it works as deodorant

great for skin and hair

it’s finally available everywhere, when I first got here 12 years ago it was hard to find, closest place was in Puerto Plata at the mercado in the middle of town, was it Mason?


I just bought this for the first time from Trader Joe’s.  Last night I used it to sauté the onions, garlic, peppers, etc to make arroz con guandules, and we were amazed that we could taste the coco flavor in the finished product. Delicious.
 

Africaida

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2009
7,213
454
83
Allergic to Avocados (unfortunately) :cry:

Aceite de coco is a good one, awesome for for my super dry skin and hair. I found a very good brand of organic one that I buy when I visit DR.
 

Catseye

Member
Nov 7, 2009
157
0
16
OMG!  I just realized we missed probably the best A Ever!  Anyone wanna guess what it is?  I remembered after the B thread, talking about berenhena and batata . . .
 

Catseye

Member
Nov 7, 2009
157
0
16
Ayujama!  I love this soup, I don’t make it myself, my maid does, but it’s just wonderful!  Even just baked in the oven it tastes great.
 

Catseye

Member
Nov 7, 2009
157
0
16
Everyone ahould try ayujama soup, the two Dominican maids I’ve had both make it, slightly different but really tasty.  I eat it almost every day.  They chop it into big pieces and boil it with onion and another thing or two (I don’t pay attention) and then when it cools they put it in the blender.  Bologna serves it with cream and there was a nice restaurant in Puerto Plata years ago that I went to and they had their own version that was incredible.  I asked the chef there about his recipe and what he did was put shrimp and cream in the blender along with the soup.  It was one of the best soups I’ve ever had anywhere.
 

Meemselle

Just A Few Words
Oct 27, 2014
2,589
12
38
Ayujama!  I love this soup, I don’t make it myself, my maid does, but it’s just wonderful!  Even just baked in the oven it tastes great.
I am DEVOTED to la sopa de ayujama.

Have you ever let an aguacate get too ripe to eat and schmushed it in your hair? Wrapped in plastic or saran. And then go to the salon and have THEM wash it out.....
 

Chirimoya

Moderator
Dec 9, 2002
17,499
539
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A is for aplatanado/a - here's an article I wrote about six years ago:

“Aplatanado” or Going Native, Dominican style

One of the biggest compliments a Dominican can give a foreigner is that he or she is “aplatanado”. Literally, it means that the newcomer has become like a plantain, but what they’re actually telling you is that “you’re one of us”.

It’s not a compliment that is dished out lightly. In the Dominican Republic, plantains are much more than just a staple food; they are central to the national identity. The iconic breakfast dish in the DR, mangú, is made with boiled and mashed green plantains, garnished with fried onions and served with fried cheese or even fried salami. Tostones are fried green plantain slices – not to be confused with fritos or fritos maduros – fried slices of ripe plantain. Dominicans are so attached to plantains that they find it difficult to imagine that there are countries where not only do they not feature in the daily diet, they are considered exotic, obscure even.

As expat Brits in the Dominican Republic, Expat FAQs: Moving to and Living in the Dominican Republic authors Ginnie Bedggood and Ilana Benady accepted that they would never fully transform into Dominicans no matter how long they lived in their adopted country, but there is a process of “aplatanamiento” that they, like most foreigners in the DR, were undergoing.

How do gringos qualify for aplatanado status? On a superficial level, it happens when the foreigner is seen to be embracing Dominican ways of doing things, like dancing, enjoying the local cuisine, and using uniquely Dominican turns of phrase. Dominican friends will react with delight and pronounce the gringo “aplatanado”.

But eating rice and beans, dancing merengue and Bachata, and saying “un chin” (a little bit) is the least of it. The minor things that initially seemed strange, even unpleasant, or annoying go on to become normal, correct, and even pleasurable. This is what really indicates that you’re well on your way to becoming aplatanado.

A gringa aplatanada will turn around when someone calls out “rubia” even though she’s a brunette, because rubia, literally “blonde” extends to all white people in the DR. When it rains, she won’t think twice about putting a plastic bag on her hair along with her Dominican sisters who live in fear of their hair going frizzy.

Dominicans are so attached to plantains that they find it difficult to imagine that there are countries where not only do they not feature in the daily diet, they are considered exotic, obscure even.
A gringo may start using the ubiquitous Dominican nose wrinkle as a gesture indicating that he didn’t hear or understand the person addressing him. Gringos who are well and truly aplatanado will accept sweets in lieu of coins in their change at the supermarket without batting an eyelid.

It doesn’t fully hit home until you go “home”. All those things that used to be normal now seem so very odd—washing up with hot water, orderly driving habits, the lack of a neighbourhood colmado with a home delivery service… and people complaining about the “heat” of a Mediterranean summer.

This is when the foreigner who has moved to the DR finally starts to think of it as “home”.

Expat FAQs: Moving To & Living In the DR does not contain a secret recipe for becoming aplatanado, but it contains a lot of inside information about the country and how things work there that will stop you walking around looking as if you got off the last banana boat.

With almost 30 years of aplatanamiento under their belts, as it were, Ginnie and Ilana have written a detailed handbook for prospective residents in the DR with detailed historical and cultural context, practical information about almost every aspect of living in the country, negotiating the bureaucratic procedures, unraveling its mysteries, and most importantly, understanding its people.

For more on plantains and other delicious Dominican foods, see www.dominicancooking.com
http://www.jetsettlersmag.com/2011/10/01/aplatanado-or-going-native-dominican-style/