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Jennifer Lopez Shares the Puerto Rican Dishes Her Family Makes … – TODAY


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Don’t be fooled by the green engagement rock, Jenny’s still enjoying the glorious foods from the block.
On Nov. 30, Vogue caught up with Jennifer Lopez in its latest installment of “73 Questions.” In the video, the “Gigli” star — who revealed she wants to film a sequel of the film, by the way — dishes on her acting career, upcoming album “This Is Me … Now,” iconic fashion and what she likes to cook on her favorite holiday.
As Vogue laid out in its December cover story with her, Lopez grew up in the Castle Hill neighborhood of the Bronx, in what she herself described as a typical working-class Puerto Rican household. With that comes its own set of food traditions that she shared in a breezy question-and-answer session.
In the clip, interviewer Joe Sabia asks a few questions about Lopez’s culinary tastes over a cup of tea in her backyard, but not before asking her go-to order at the bodega.
“Ham and cheese on a roll with an orange drink — if you know you know — and a small bag of chips,” Lopez says matter-of-factly.
And the food discussion didn’t stop there: When asked if she could only cook one thing for the rest of her life, Lopez answers, “rice, beans and chicken cutlets,” ingredients that make an appearance in the feast on what she calls her favorite holiday of the year: Christmas.
After revealing the “sparkly” holiday as her fave, she talks about the Christmas tradition that she and her family look forward to the most.
“We cook the same food every year, which I love because I wait for that food all year,” says Lopez with a smile. “Pasteles and arroz con gandules and pernil and all the, like, specialities. So, it’s my favorite.”
After mentioning that she likes to wash it all down with some coquito, she retires to her recording studio for a session.
So, what if you want to eat like J.Lo but don’t know where to start? Well, we’re here to help you out in case you’re not super familiar with the dishes in her holiday spread.
Pasteles are a traditional Puerto Rican food made with a pork and adobo stuffing encased in green plantain masa and wrapped in banana leaves. The savory, boiled dish is often made by the hundreds, served during Christmastime and then frozen to be enjoyed up until the start of Lent.
Arroz con gandules, Puerto Rican rice with pigeon peas, is a savory side dish made with smoked ham or smoked Spanish-style cured chorizo, sofrito and spices, including cumin, cilantro and paprika.
Alejandra Ramos, TODAY contributor and host of “The Great American Recipe,” says she likes serving this classic dish with a sprinkle of spicy, vinegary hot sauce, like Tabasco, on top.
Pernil is a Latin American dish that consists of slow-roasted pork shoulder marinated in a puréed combination of orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, onion, garlic, cilantro, Cubanelle pepper and spices for up to two days, and in Puerto Rico, typically served with arroz con gandules.
Ramos says the slow-roasted dish is perfect for entertaining and celebrations, like, for example, Christmas with Ben Affleck and other loved ones.
Coquito, commonly known as “Puerto Rican eggnog,” is a rummy, creamy and dairy-based cocktail made to enjoy during the holiday season.
Although Coquito does share some similarities with British eggnog, the star ingredients of the Puerto Rican staple are coconut, milk and sweet cream of coconut, which thickens it to a cozy consistency. Enjoy this with family after you grub down on your Christmas feast, whether you’re in the South Bronx, sunny LA or anywhere else in the world.
Washington, D.C. native Joseph Lamour is a lover of food: its past, its present and the science behind it. With food, you can bring opposites together to form a truly marvelous combination, and he strives to take that sentiment to heart in all that he does.


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Anand works as a work from home journalist based in Trivandrum, Kerala, India. Anand had contributed content for various websites and also worked as a chief technical editor for ASPAlliance.com. He also contributed content for several print magazines like DevPro (formerly asp.netPRO) and his headshot appeared on the front page of the July 2006 issue of the magazine.