The Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania is home to the three cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, as well as numerous townships and boroughs. Formerly an industrial hub, Allentown is probably most well known as the subject of the eponymous Billy Joel song. The third largest city in Pennsylvania, Allentown is vibrant with culture, celebrating its diversity. The Puerto Rican community is very alive in Allentown and very proud of their heritage and visible everywhere.
Bacalao a la Vizcaina (Basque Style Codfish Stew)
This Spanish-style fish stew from the Basque region of Spain is a traditional peasant dish popular in all Spanish-speaking countries (where each has given it their special twist). For example, in Mexico it is usually made for Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Lent; in Puerto Rico it is a year-round favorite but most enjoyed during Lent. This is a fabulous Puerto Rican version and a fish dish that endures!
Put the cod in water to soak for 8 to 12 hours, changing the water every 3-4 hours. Once this time has elapsed, remove the bones and clean well with a cloth.
You can get Bacalao (salted cod) in Spanish, Puerto Rican, or Italian Delis. Otherwise, try your fishmonger or local fish markets. You can also substitute any number of white fish, frozen or fresh, like haddock or cod.
Mexican Baked Fish
With this baked fish dish, you get to choose the heat! Use mild salsa for a little heat and extra hot salsa for lots of heat! Serve with rice, black beans, warm tortillas and lime Margaritas for a festive meal!
Brazilian Fish Stew
This easy but hearty dish is full of flavor and absolutely delicious! Serve with hot rice or warm tortillas.
Captain Duarte's Salt Cod Cakes
The slight saltiness of the cod brings out a whole new dimension of flavor in this variation on traditional fish cakes.
Milly was born and raised in Humacao, Puerto Rico and upon getting married in 1985, moved to the US. An Army wife, Milly has lived all over the US, and now lives and cooks in Allentown, Pennsylvania. A Spanish translator and interpreter, she has been a featured Cook of the Week, and loves Allrecipes.com. She cooked her first meal when she was 12 years old and loves to bake. Her home and kitchen is always open to friends and to her daughters' friends for a home-cooked meal.
Milly is truly a master of her domain, but when asked what is her favorite thing to create, she replied, "I would say desserts because those are the ones that generate the most WOW effect from others. I believe food is common ground we all share and it connects us all." View Cook's Profile >>>
"I would like to find a stew that will give me heartburn immediately, instead of at three o'clock in the morning." ~ John Barrymore
Milly was a delight! From the moment I stepped into her house, I knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary event. The kitchen was staged with everything set up and ready to go. And more! We were here so she could show me her traditional cod fish stew, but it was obvious she wasn't content to stop there! Numerous other recipes were in various stages of readiness, including a Coconut Cheese Flan, a yellow layer cake with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting, and little Quesitos (Puertorrican Cheese-Stuffed Puff Pastry) that when fresh out of the oven, melted in my mouth.
Before starting the stew, we headed over to nearby Bethlehem, and the Supermercado Mi Tierra, to pick up some authentic ingredients. A number of "tubers" including the yautìa, ñame, and yuca (ña is pronounced like the French 'gna' as in lasaGNA) were fun to look at and rolled off the tongue! A great little family store, I met the owner and could hear the pride in his having been there over 52 years!
As for the stew, this is a delicious recipe for Bacalao, also known as cod fish. If you've never tried cooking bacalao or salt cod before, I hope this is the first dish you try it with. Believe me, you will be hooked. The salt cod blends exceptionally well with the roasted red peppers. The golden raisins were a great surprise, exploding with a burst of flavor in every other bite, with the capers giving it a briny kick in the finish. I'm still surprised how good this dish was and how this box of salted fish undergoes an almost magical culinary transformation from a rather unappetizing looking ingredient to an outstanding dish with an inspired combination of flavors.
As we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor, we were joined by family and friends. It appears that when Milly starts inventing in the kitchen, she updates her facebook status, the 21st century version of the dinner bell, and in no time, all the chairs at the table are full, appetites eager and waiting! After demolishing a couple bowls of the tasty stew, as well as a serving of boiled green bananas, it was time to sample all the desserts! After the "Flipping of the Flan", the "Eating of the Flan" was the easiest part and requires no explanation! Thank you, Milly, for inviting me into your warm kitchen and home! An culinary experience I won't soon forget!
Allentown - City Without Limits
The official Allentown website.