March 20, 2008

Lime Vinaigrette

Filed under: recipes,salad,sides — Jose @ 1:33 am

This is a not so traditional Cuban dressing but I think the fact we are using limes makes up for that:

1/4 cup The best tasting EVOO you can get your hands on
1-2 tbsp Fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp Fresh minced shallots
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Salt (to taste)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly with a whisk or a food processor. Taste. It should be somewhat potent in acidity and salt so adjust accordingly. Let sit at least one hour, overnight is even better. Re-Whisk prior to tossing with your salad in a cold bowl. This scales nicely, just keep the ratio of oil to lime juice at about 3:1

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February 23, 2008

Stock your kitchen with appliances for 10 bones

Filed under: equipment — Jose @ 12:21 pm

I know you’ve been to Walgreen’s lately. It’s right up there with clipping your fingernails or trimming your nose hairs (holla if you got ’em) in terms of frequency but so much more interesting and ultimately rewarding. You have to look in the right places though.

Go past the $9.99 binoculars, the $2.99 personal fans and the $3.49 pleather old man’s crossover sandals. Past the cosmetics and perfume cash register island… go on now. Stop. You made it. It’s the “Kitchen” aisle. Here’s where it gets tricky: Look UP.

Oh. My. Made in Chinas.

Walgreens: Would you say that I have a plethora of appliances?

You: Oh yes, you have a plethora.

Walgreen’s: What is a plethora?

You: Why, Walgreen’s?

Walgreen’s: Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.

You: Forgive me, Walgreen’s. I know that I, (insert name here), do not have your superior intellect and education. But could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?

(Thank you, Three Amigos)

Here’s the deal–They’re $9.99 or less:

WGeens They’ve got yer Deep Fryer, yer Toaster Oven, la Rice Cooker, le Toaster, yer Slow Cooker, der Food Processor, la Coffee Maker, Blenders, Electric Kettles and like 10 more I can’t remember. Now, go out and buy yourself a hand mixer so you don’t succumb to death by wrist cramps after trying to hand-whip a pint of heavy cream. I personally own the rice cooker, blender and fry daddy.

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January 27, 2008

Top 4 Cuban Restaurants in the US

Filed under: restaurants — admin @ 12:50 pm
  1. Casa Lario’s 7705 W Flagler St., Miami
    A Miami Cuban food institution, it was the touchstone from the late 80’s until the late 90’s when the quality dropped off due to changes in management and staff. I understand the original owners are back and I can attest that the food is back to its previous level of excellence. Their style of preparation and rationing of the side dishes, quality of ingredients, bread, etc is very close to what I grew up eating and thus, try to cook today. Do not confuse this location with the one on Ocean Drive (different owners).
  2. Las Culebrinas 4700 W Flagler St, Miami
    I think Ropa Vieja con Camarones or Carne de Puerco con Pure de Aguacate would have been met with a “¿Que QUE?” and a hard cockeye or two were it ever to appear at a family meal. That said, this food is Cuban at its core with some nice, perhaps evolutionary, touches. They still have all the staples, so don’t be afraid weight loss supplements that work.
  3. Porto’s Bakery 3614 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, California
    The original Porto’s is the most consistently packed Cuban bakery I have ever been to (yes, Gilbert’s included). This, the 2nd Porto’s location, has both a bakery and a restaurant. Delicious Cuban, and Pan con Bistec sandwiches, great mariquitas and mojito. Also, a full on Cuban bakery with pastelitos, croquetas, papas rellenas, palitroque, empanadas and Quinceañera cakes with neon-pink-roses frosting. All this in a high ceiling, church-like building that seats close to 200 or so.
  4. My apartment, or yours or La casa de tu Vieja
    The truth is, I’ve had the BEST cuban food in the homes of my family, friends and acquaintances. I mean, how do you convey what your grandmother’s Bistec en Cazuela tasted like to a staff of cooks?
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January 21, 2008

Zen and the heart of Rice Cooking

Filed under: philosophy,rice — Jose @ 9:28 pm

You’d be hard pressed to find a more Zen kitchen appliance than the rice cooker. To power it on, you plug it in . To cook, you press the one and only option available. Seems pretty straight forward eh?. If you believe you can just toss some rice and water in there and get some tasty rice in 15 minutes, well, you’d be a straight fool.

Status Quo

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January 10, 2008

Quick Cuban Black Beans for 2

Filed under: beans,sides — Jose @ 11:37 pm

Feliz nuevo ano, Consorte” says my friend Nikita. We chit-chat about the Holiday and he mentions he’d like to come by to say Hello. I’d just put some water to boil in my plans for a chicken soup using last night’s leftover chicken, so I mention “Si, tengo una sopita pa’ el almuerzo.

Beanses

This quickly becomes a full on meal and dammit to hell, where can I get some Cuban bread! Sadly there is no such thing in my city by the bay, but there is a half hour to make black beans to go with my leftover rice.

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November 11, 2007

Pork adds life

Filed under: culture,pork — Jose @ 11:10 pm

I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I run with a pork lovin crew.

Mid Cooking Investigation

From the Roota to the Toota, we like us some porcine anything and there ain’t no denyin. We get together several times a year and frolic in Lardland for a few hours or days (they serve drinks in Lardland). We then return to our regular lives where there are meals that have vegetables and meat from other animals. I assure you the transition is hard on both body and soul and akin to jet lag, but nothing worth anything was easy anyway.

Here’s what we started with at our latest “get together”:

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November 3, 2007

Top 4 Cuban Food Names

Filed under: culture — admin @ 9:02 am
  1. Ropa Vieja
  2. Vaca Frita
  3. Fufú
  4. Ajiaco
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October 29, 2007

fu + fu + fu = Fufú Fufú de platano

Filed under: pork,recipes,sides — Jose @ 10:36 pm

I understand Fufú is an adaptation of a santeria word for “garlic infused platano and pork belly mash-slop is a staple food of West & Central Africa. No really, I read it on the internet tubes.

This 3 ingredient dish (5 if you count the optional salt and lime) is easy to make and is in the top 4 Cuban food names

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October 8, 2007

4 Things I’ve never heard my father say

Filed under: culture — Jose @ 1:22 pm

“I love sushi”

“I’m bored with Cuban food, I need a change… something new… something CRAZY!”

“Oye Mulata, can you pass the hot sauce?”

“Quien… Carajo… Took…  my…  Cilantro!?!?”

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Chicken of the Fric-a-seeFricasé de Pollo

Filed under: chicken,recipes — Jose @ 1:57 am

Along with picadillo and bistec de palomilla, Fricasé de pollo is one of the protein dishes we ate most frequently growing up. Using basic Cuban cooking ingredients and techniques you end up with a savory-sweet tomato sauce and succulent soup-style chicken and potatoes. Think chicken cacciatore, but with more vegetables.

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