Food and Recipes


Something to be careful of if you buy peanut butter here in the Dominican Republic. the US Food and Drug administration has announced a recall on peanut butter sold here in the Dominican Republic under several brands. There have been four reported cases of salmonella linked to Peanut Butter produced by nSpired Natural Foods Inc.

nSpired Natural foods markets and sell peanut butter under the following labels Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butters, MaraNatha Almond Butters and Peanut Butters and specific private label nut butters sold under the Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Kroger and Safeway brands. 

While likely if you are buying peanut butter from the larger market like La Sirena, Nacional, Jumbo and other larger supermarkets the affected product (more…)

Chocolate beans

Chocolate beans

Chocolate – the food of Kings!

Chocolate is an extremely versatile food that is used in drinks, deserts, candy and often as a main course. Cocoa or in Spanish Cacao is grown in parts of central and south America as well as in the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. Because I now live in the Dominican Republic I will be focusing on the variety grown here.

Organically grown Cacao can found throughout the island. And several times a year you will find the beans drying in the sun on the side of the road. Walking through the country side it is not uncommon to see the yellow, red or brown pods hanging from trees. So, how much do you know about the cocoa bean?

Dominican Hot Chocolate

Home-made Hot Chocolate Recipe

Chocolate is often bought in bars or cubes with very little processing. It’s even possible to buy chocolate where nothing else has been added. This is frequently the base for the Dominican Republics Unique Hot Chocolate.

Usually when people make hot chocolate here it is for a group. A large pot is used and all the ingredients are simmered over an open fire or a stove. Unlike the normal hot chocolate of the US where you just add some processed powder into some hot milk, hot chocolate here is made from scratch starting with pressed cacao bars. (more…)

The Dominican Republic has a great version of pumpkin to make deserts from, here it is called Auyama. However finding pumpkin pie spice can be a little tougher. Usually you can find it in the spice section of the larger stores like La Sirena, Jumbo and Nacional, but not all of us live near one of the larger towns that have those supermarkets. That shouldn’t stop you from making your favorite pumpkin desert.

There are 4 ingredients to pumpkin pie spice and all of them are usually available in the “super mercados” found in most of the smaller towns. You can usually find a metal display rack with small 2-5 oz packets of different spices in most of the local supermarkets. Often they have the spices in powdered form but quite frequently you only find the “unpowdered” full cloves, stick cinnamon, nutmeg balls, etc. That means you pull out the old grater and pestle and mortar (Pilon in the Dominican Republic) to grind up your spices. Also, you may have to crush up a little fresh ginger to use as you need it.

Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Pie spice: (more…)

Kanny Powdered Milk

Kanny Powdered Milk

Unless you live near one of the large supermarkets like La Sirena, Nacional or Jumbo, whipped cream and whip topping can be a little hard to come by, and when you do find it, it is going to be pretty expensive. Another advantage of the full cream powdered milk you get in the Dominican Republic is that is makes a pretty good whip topping (whipped cream).

First you need to make a heavy cream. You can make a pretty good substitute using about 50/50 full cream powdered milk and water. You are going to need one other thing that can be a bit hard to come by in the Dominican Republic – power – And you need to have it for the whole process. This makes timing pretty critical for this treat.

Prep time: 2 Hours (aprox. to chill water)
Mix time: 15 Min
Total time: 2 hours 15 min

Makes 1 Cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Cup Full cream dry milk
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Directions

Start by putting the water in a bowl and put it in the freezer (more…)

Kanny Full Cream Powdered Milk

Dominican Powdered Milk

Normally you can find condensed milk at almost any colmado in the Dominican Republic. Evaporated milk though usually requires you hunt down a “super marcado” or super market. But unlike the non-fat powdered milk you find in the United States, the full cream powdered milk that you usually find in the Dominican Republic can make a pretty good evaporated milk.

Evaporated milk is essentially milk with about half the water (50 – 60% or the water removed). You can make your own evaporated milk with Dry powdered milk. While in the U.S dry milk is usually non-fat, that is not the case in the Dominican Republic. The whole powdered milk(Leche Entera en Polvo) you find here makes a very good evaporated milk.

If you are in the Dominican Republic using the full cream milk powder you usually find here check the directions on the package first, but usually a three parts water to 2 parts milk powder works well to produce a good evaporated milk substitute, For instance Kanny says to mix 3 parts water to 1 part milk powder for normal milk so 2/3 cup Kanny full cream milk powder to about 1 cup water will yield good results (Normal milk is 1/3 cup powdered milk to 1 cup water.

Like the milk you get in the States each brand of powdered milk has its own taste. We have tried several with good results. Some of the most popular brands in the Dominican Republic are Milex, Dano, Nido and .Kanny.

For best results use cool water start with half as much water as you plan on using. Dissolve the milk powder into the water and then add the rest of the water. This method seems to work the best in keeping the milk from clumping. The milk can be used right away but it actually tastes a bit better if you let it stand a little while before using.

While this isn’t one of the more popular subjects when visiting a vacation based travel website (at least not a subject many people want to read about, unfortunately it is a necessary topic at times. I’ve included many posts on this site about food and water precautions (You can scan through my health section for those tips) but at times no matter how careful you are, you get a parasite or cyst.

Symptoms of Parasites

Symptoms of parasites, amoebas (amebas) and cysts are all pretty similar. Usually diarrhea is the main symptom. This can also include stomach cramps especially right after eating. Heavier parasite problems can also include nausea and vomiting although that seems to more often mean you have amoebas (amebas) which can be pretty serious. If you are throwing up with diarrhea don’t wait, collect samples and go see a Doctor right away, you don’t want to add dehydration and other more serious problems to your discomfort.

If you start to get some of these symptoms (single case of Diarrhea or some nausea) don’t panic. First remember it is likely you’re eating food that is not your normal diet, quite often that means more alcohol, deserts, strange foods and quite often just more food. Any of these can cause temporary stomach problems. However, if they persist it’s (usually more than 1-2 loose bowel movements), it is probably time to go get checked out.

Getting diagnosed really isn’t that bad (well a little gross). First you need a small sample of the offending body excretion be it the diarrhea or vomit (or both). While there are many methods to do this, it is probably easiest to get a few plastic bags from the local colmado (neighborhood store). Open one up and spread it below you as you sit down on the toilet and …. Well, collect your sample. Being that there is usually no was to shut down diarrhea and you only need a small sample, that is what the other bags are for. Turn one inside out, cover your hand and reach in and collect a few table spoons worth of your sample and pull the bag back over your hand trapping the sample inside. Tie a couple knots and stick that into a second bag to ensure there are no leaks.

Good point to remember is that you don’t need the entire job, just a small sample will due. That is a lot easier to carry around, hide, hand to the lab assistant (man what a job that must be) etc.

Finding a Clinic

This part is a lot different than the States. You might have had the travel company try to sell you expensive travel insurance to cover all the possible hospital bills that your normal health insurance doesn’t cover. It is very unlikely (more…)

Carneceria Meat Market

Can I help you?

Something many foreigners have a hard time getting used to is buying meat. If you didn’t grow up on a farm then likely your version of meat is those neat little Styrofoam and plastic wrapped containers you find at the supermarket. Now, if you happen to live close enough to a larger supermarket like Jumbo or La Sirena then you can continue to view your meat as always sold in those neat little packages, but for the rest of us in the Dominican Republic…

Welcome to the Carniceria, The Dominican Meat Market!

Now, just to put this to rest, that angry looking guy in the image to the right, That’s Just for show!. Yes they do actually use machetes for just about everything including cutting meat. However, this guy is the owner of one of the meat markets in Fantino de Cotui and is actually very nice.

It’s not just about the Meat!

Well, it is just about meat, just not what we would always call meat. If you look closely in the picture you will see that there are hooves of, well something, on the counter. It also isn’t strange to find goat heads, cow heads, pig heads, you get the picture. Most carnicerias sell chicken, pig, and goat meat as well as beef. You can also find a lot of the other body parts that are not as frequently used in the States (well, except for in Hot Dogs).

Choose your Chicken!

Chicken is also a little different experience. At times they already have several chickens slaughtered, other times you can pretty well pick your chicken which is running around in the back of the store, they catch it, take it out back and 5-10 minutes later after the bird is killed, bled, and plucked it comes back to be chopped up with a machete, you pay a little more per pound if you want the innards cleaned out. A word of warning, stand back as they start chopping, or expect to get spattered!

Most places bleed the chicken properly, but if you notice the meat is pinker than normal you might want to ask them to try again and this time bleed the chicken longer.

Bleeding the animal is also a problem with pork. Most pork you find in the meat local meat markets is not properly bled. Many Dominican like the blood to remain in pork so the animal is often strangled or killed without bleeding it afterward. (more…)

A new health craze has hit main stream in the Dominican Republic, Moringa which can be locally grown can now be seen in La Sirena. You can pick up Moringa in a powdered form to be added to health shakes or other health drinks.

There are several other Latin American countries that have been growing and selling this plant as a alternative medicine for several years now including Honduras. Usually it is the leaves that are of interest which are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and Vitamin B as well as protein and calcium. Locally grown Moringa is now being sold in the streets and is becoming pretty common to find here in the Dominican Republic.

Moringa Health Benefits

Moringa leaves are also high in 46 different antioxidants. (more…)

After moving to the Dominican Republic we found that many of the things we like to eat are either not available in the area we live, are of low quality, or are very expensive. Baked goods pretty much top the list. So now my wife is making many of the things that we used to easily buy.

In the US she mostly worked with quantity measurements like cup, teaspoon and tablespoon. Many of the online recipes she finds are in weight i.e. grams. This morning I’ve been collecting many of the conversions that she most commonly uses so she can have a chart in the kitchen and thought I’d share it with you.

Looking for some exotic (or at least different recipes to try? Check out some of our most popular Dominican recipes, most are authentic Dominican recipes that we have collected from our friends here.

Common Cooking Conversions

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I’m sure it comes to no surprise to anyone that processed meats like hot dogs, spam, and salami are not exactly what you should be calling health food! Still, most of us would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that certain standards have been met so that the “meat” does reach some sort of a reasonable quality.

Over the last few weeks there has been a lot in the news about the low protein percentage as well as the fecal matter that was found in salami that has been sold in the Dominican Republic. So to address this problem instead of requiring that the meat processors meet the standards the Standards and Quality Systems Agency’s (Digenor) Technical Committee took a more novel approach, officially lower the standards of the salami so that it can now be sold as meeting the official standards.

As reported in Dominican Today, the standards for the required protein content of Dominican Salami have been lowered substantially.

New Dominican Republic Salami Standards

(more…)

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