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If you, too, have ever wanted to sit down for coffee with Jennifer Lopez and ask her everything—beyond what we already know about how she gets such glowing skin, her adoration for all things taco-ed and her go-to hardcore workout—we now have something that allows us to at least be a "fly on the wall" of someone who was able to do just that!
On November 30, Vogue interviewer Joe Sabia peppered the singer/actor/mom/designer/entrepreneur with the magazine brand's signature "73 Questions." During their 11-minute Q&A, Lopez reveals details about her upcoming album "This Is Me … Now," her most memorable fashion moments and her favorite bodega order ("ham and cheese on a roll with an orange drink—if you know you know—and a small bag of chips").
Although Lopez now has a full real estate portfolio and several epic abodes to choose from, her roots are firmly planted in the Castle Hill neighborhood of the Bronx. (You might recall her tribute to this area in her chart-topping 2002 song "Jenny from the Block.") Noting that she was raised in a typical working-class Puerto Rican household, Lopez really perks up when the discussion turns to her favorite holiday of the year, Christmas, and the traditions her family shared during that most wonderful time of the year.
"We cook the same food every year, which I love because I wait for that food all year," Lopez says, smiling widely. "Pasteles and arroz con gandules and pernil and all the…specialities. So, it's my favorite." All of which she likes to enjoy alongside some coquito, she adds.
Since we're always looking for ways to spice up our holiday routine and have already fallen in love with our homemade take on J. Lo's go-to weeknight dinner, we look forward to adding these to our Friendsmas or Christmas menus, too.
Jennifer Lopez's 4 Favorite Puerto Rican Christmas Recipes
AllRecipes contributor Ramona Cruz-Peters, confirms that pasteles are a traditional holiday menu item in households with Puerto Rico and Caribbean heritage—including her own. (We'll be referring to her Pasteles a la Papa Cruz recipe when we DIY!) These savory treats feature a filling of plantain and yuca, instead of corn that's found in many classic tamales. Since they're made one-by-one, filled with that starch mixture and pork picadillo, wrapped in banana leaves and finally steamed, they're a true labor of love. So it's the perfect dish to assemble together when you have a lot of hands on deck!
Arroz con Gandules
A cousin to Arroz con Pollo and Asapao de Gandules, this side dish of rice with pigeon peas features sofrito, plenty of fresh herbs and sometimes, chorizo or smoked ham. Our friends at AllRecipes also have our hook-up with their Easy Arroz con Gandules that serves 12.
When you marinate pork in a purée or paste with citrus, vinegar, oil, onion, garlic, peppers, herbs and spices, you're already off to a strong start. Then roast the meat low and slow for a couple hours in the oven or in the slow cooker. Not only will your entire home smell magical, but the pork will be remarkably juicy, flavorful and primed to pair with the aforementioned rice side dish. We're already counting down until we can dive into this succulent Slow Cooker Pernil Pork.
This creamy, coconutty cocktail recipe "is a staple of the Puerto Rican holiday menu, says EatingWell contributor Jessica van Dop DeJesus (who was raised in Guayama, Puerto Rico). Sometimes described as "Puerto Rican eggnog," this is one drink made best at least a day in advance—🙌 for a make-ahead option!—she adds, to allow the flavors to merry. Follow her Coquito Recipe, and simply serve the rum on the side (for optional spiking) so kids and those who prefer not to imbibe can steer clear.