top of page

Indulge in Romance and Flavor: “This Could Be Us” Book Pairing

Welcome to our monthly blog series, where we blend the magic of literature with the pleasures of the palate. This March, we’ve handpicked a captivating romance novel that will sweep you off your feet: “This Could Be Us” by Kennedy Ryan. Let’s dive into the pages of love, and heartache.

In the heart of this enchanting tale, we meet Soledad Barnes, a domestic goddess with a penchant for planning and fixing everything. But life has other plans. When betrayal shatters her world, Soledad must rebuild from the ashes. As she navigates motherhood, resilience, and unexpected desire, she discovers a bold new version of herself. The forbidden man who enters her life adds a layer of complexity—can she trust him? Can she trust herself? Amidst loss and rediscovery, Soledad learns that sometimes love blooms in the most unexpected places.

Setting the Scene: Historic Puerto Rico

As you delve into the pages of “This Could Be Us,” let the vibrant tapestry of historic Puerto Rico envelop you. Imagine the sun-kissed shores, the rhythmic beats of salsa echoing through cobblestone streets, and the scent of tropical blooms lingering in the air. Here, the past and present intertwine—a fusion of indigenous Taíno culture, Spanish colonial influences, the love of family and the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean.

Now, let’s elevate your reading experience. Imagine sipping a piña colada as you lose yourself in the novel’s lyrical prose. This tropical concoction, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, combines the sweetness of coconut cream, the tang of pineapple juice, and the warmth of white rum. It’s a sip of paradise—a taste that mirrors the lush setting of our story.

Recipe: Piña Colada

  • 2 oz light rum

  • 1 1/2 oz cream of coconut

  • 1 1/2 oz pineapple juice

  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

  • Garnish: pineapple wedge and leaf

Shake all the ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled Hurricane glass over pebble ice, and garnish with a luscious pineapple wedge. Sip slowly, and let the flavors dance on your palate. You’ll feel like a character from our book, caught in a whirlwind of emotions.

As you savor the taste of Puerto Rico, let’s explore another culinary delight: Puerto Rican empanadas. These savory turnovers, known as empanadillas or pastelillos, have been a staple for generations. Introduced by Spanish colonists, they remain popular to this day. Imagine flaky dough enveloping a flavorful filling—be it beef, chicken, or cheese. Each bite carries the essence of tradition and heritage, just like Soledad’s journey.

Recipe: Puerto Rican Empanadas

For the filling

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil - divided

  • 1 large sweet yellow onion - small diced

  • 4 cloves of garlic - minced

  • 1/4 cup sofrito

  • 1 pound ground 80/20 beef

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry adobo

  • 1 large potato - small diced

  • 10 pimiento-stuffed olives - cut in half

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 Packages of 12 Goya Empanada wrappers for Baking or Frying

  • 1/2 cup raisins - optional

For the egg wash

  • 4 eggs

  • 4 Tablespoons water

In a large pan, sauté onions, garlic, and sofrito in olive oil until onions are translucent, then add beef, adobo, potatoes, olives, bay leaves, raisins, water, and tomato paste, simmering until the sauce thickens. After cooling the beef mixture, fill empanada wrappers, seal, and brush with an egg wash. Air fry the empanadas at 375°F until light golden brown, flipping once halfway through cooking.

For dinner, indulge in the tripleta sandwich. Born from a fusion of cocina criolla and late-night cravings, this Puerto Rican specialty lives up to its name. Imagine three kinds of meat—slow-cooked pork, cube steak, and cold-cut ham—layered between soft bread. It’s a symphony of flavors, a dance of textures. Pair it with memories of Harlem and the warmth of newfound love.

Recipe: Tripleta Puerto Rican sandwich

  • 1 loaf of Italian or French bread, or 4 boleo rolls

  • 8 slices of ham

  • 1 boneless pork chop or 1 chicken breast

  • ½ pound strip steak

  • 8 slices of swiss cheese

  • 1 tomato

  • 1 cup shredded lettuce

  • 2 tbsp Mayo

  • 2 tbsp Mustard

  • 2 tbsp Ketchup

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Grill chicken, steak, and pork until cooked; marinate in lime juice and Worcestershire sauce if time permits. In a bowl, mix mayo, mustard, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Layer Swiss cheese, ham, steak, pork chop, tomato, and lettuce on bread, spread sauce on top layer, then butter and grill until golden brown. Serve with fries or salad.

Share Your Thoughts

As you lose yourself in “This Could Be Us,” we’d love to hear your impressions. Did the flavors of our suggested pairings enhance your reading journey? Did you feel the echoes of history and romance? Leave your comments below—we’re eager to connect with fellow book lovers.

Happy reading, dear friends! And may your taste buds dance to the rhythm of literature and culinary delights. 📚🍹🍽️

4 views0 comments


Spread your passion with our community of loyal readers who love books, food, and travel.

AGR Book Club exists to connect readers to creators that curate a memorable experience inspired by the stories told in books. If you would like to share a dish or wine derived from a book or are the author of a fiction book that takes you on unforgettable adventure, let's talk.