Neighborhood Kitchens

Merengue's Tostones Rellenos de Camarones

Sunday, July 1, 2012
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Tostones are fried plantains pounded flat and then fried again to create a delicious chip. They are a staple in most Latin American cuisine and throughout the Caribbean and can be eaten alone as a snack or used as the base for another dish. In Tostones Rellenos de Camarones, these fried tostones serve as the perfect complement to a filling of shrimp cooked in a tasty red sauce.

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Neighborhood Kitchens Visits Merengue

By Margarita Martinez   |   Friday, June 29, 2012
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June 29, 2012
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Getting ready to shoot at Merengue in Roxbury. (Patricia Alvarado/WGBH)

BOSTON — I love Merengue. I am speaking about the restaurant, not the music from which the restaurant gets its name. Don’t get me wrong. I like Merengue music and have been known to cut a rug or two to the music of Wilfrido Vargas and Elvis Crespo, but I am more of a Salsa girl myself. Perhaps it’s because I am Puerto Rican. Unlike Merengue music, which is firmly believed to be a Dominican invention, the origin of Salsa music is debated in the Caribbean and Puerto Ricans definitely argue that it is their creation. Another cultural staple whose origin is hotly contested in the Caribbean is Mofongo. Who wouldn’t want to lay claim to the delicious and very satisfying Mofongo? Almost everything you want in a meal is right there in every forkful. There is starch, protein, and definitely flavor. Growing up, my family enjoyed many of the same dishes eaten by Dominicans. We frequently had rice and beans and tostones, but Mofongo was a treat reserved for visits to lechoneras, or Puerto Rican roast pork restaurants. And this is one of the reasons I love Merengue. A visit to this Dominican restaurant means that I can have Mofongo and other delicious comfort food prepared very well.

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Merengue's Mofongo de Chicharron de Cerdo

Thursday, June 28, 2012
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Mofongo is a fried plantain dish with controversial origins. Puerto Ricans fiercely claim they invented this delicious dish of fried, green plantains and chicharrón while Dominicans, with equal ferocity, claim it is they who were really the creators. No matter the origins, mofongo is a very popular dish in both countries and is made from fried, green plantains mashed together in a pilón (a wooden mortar and pestle) with broth, garlic, olive oil, and chicharrón (pork cracklings). This is then often filled with vegetables, chicken, or other meat to create an even richer gustatory experience.

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Meet Merengue Chef Hector Piña

By Margarita Martinez   |   Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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June 27, 2012
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Hector Piña, chef at Merengue, with Margarita (Patricia Alvarado/WGBH)
When I met Chef Piña, I learned it is the Dominican dishes from his restaurant Merengue that the Red Sox enjoy during home games at Fenway.

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How to Find the Ingredients Used at Casa Romero

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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June 26, 2012

Chef Romero on how easy it is for today's cook to find the ingredients that deliver that distinct Mexican flavor.

>> Watch the Casa Romero episode of Neighborhood Kitchens.

A Prized Casa Romero Tool: The Whisk

Sunday, June 24, 2012
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July 24, 2012

Chef Romero says his most prized kitchen tools are the whisk and a very sharp knife.

>> Watch the Casa Romero episode of Neighborhood Kitchens.

About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44

About the Author
Margarita Martinez Margarita Martinez
Margarita Martinez grew up in the Bronx, NY and Ossining, NY with a Puerto Rican father and a Franco-American mother. She now calls New England home. Margarita has always had an insatiable appetite for travel and food. She made her first empanada as a teenager visiting Argentina, satisfied her sweet tooth with poffertjes and stroopwafels while studying in Holland, engorged herself on Thai street food for a month in Bangkok, and continues to search for authentic international cuisines in the Northeast. Margarita loves to discover new ingredients, flavors, and cooking approaches that she can bring to her own home kitchen.

On the Go

In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Find a Neigbhorhood Kitchen
click on the map to explore

Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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