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Cuban Mojo Onions

13 Nov

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico… but I am Cuban at heart.

To my friends in Puerto Rico… I am almost Cuban. To my family in Miami, I am 100% Puertorra. I live in both worlds simultaneously and to me, it’s all just part of being the daughter of a Puerto Rican mom and a Cuban Dad Kinda like “café con leche”.

Many of the flavors and foods I love so much, I learned from my Dad. He taught me to eat guava paste with cream cheese, croquetas, Medianoches and Cuban Sandwiches, rice with black beans, tamales en hoja and in cazuela, guava pastelillos, patelillitos de carne, frutabomba and mamey milkshakes… and yuca with Cuban mojo, amongst many other things.

Whenever I boil some viandas, the local way we refer to root vegetables and tubers, I like to eat them with a side of onions that taste like Cuban mojo. The reason I don’t go out and make mojo from scratch is because it takes a lot of olive oil for just me in one serving. So I came up with this simplified version that hits all the flavor notes of Cuban mojo in a simple, perfect for one person’s serving.

Cuban Mojo Onions

Cuban Mojo Onions

1 medium sized onion, it could be white or yellow, sliced to your desired preference
About 2tbs Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic
The juice of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a small sauté pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and the sliced onions. I like to slice them thick, as if you were making onion rings. Sauté them to soften them more than for them to acquire some color. So when the pan starts to sizzle, I usually turn down the heat level to medium. Add some salt and pepper to season and draw out the moisture and soften the onions.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and mash them a bit with the side of your knife. Add them to the pan like that. The purpose is for the onions to get the garlicky flavor without having to do a lot of work. Stir everything together to continue to soften the onions and garlic together.
  3. When the onions have become soft, add the juice of the lime directly in the pan. It’ll sizzle… at this time, you can turn the heat off and leave in the pan. The onions will not brown after you add the lime juice and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Serve over boiled potatoes, yuca, malanga, yautía, taro root, or anything else you want to give some Cuban flair to. This is a very easy side dish that will leave you wanting more…

Ryan Lochte’s Open Dinner Invitation…

3 Aug

Ryan Lochte is one of the hotties in the USA Swimming team… he should need no introduction by now, as he has been one of the faces of the London 2012 Olympics. And with all the coverage of the Olympics I have been watching, you get to know these athletes in more ways than you ever imagined.

 

I learned yesterday that Ryan’s mom is CUBAN!!!! And that Ryan looooves his Cuban foods fix – Bistec Empanizado, Ropa Vieja and his favorites, croquetas. He was interviewed by Matt Lauer this morning in the Today Show and all I was thinking was how I would love to speak with him in Spanish and to invite him over to dinner…

Today Ryan celebrates his 28th birthday and has already finished his tour in London with his 5 medals – 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze – so I think it’s appropriate and good manners to invite him over to my house for a nice Birthday dinner. It’ll be vegetarian, but it’ll be delicious and lots of fun.

Here are a few ideas for the menu:

Eggplant Milanese

Spinach Croquetas

Tuno Antipasto

I know this is not Ropa Vieja, but I think he will like it!!!!

antipasto-1.jpg

With some rice and tostones on the side

So, in the spirit of a very cool video prepared by the USA Swim Team, I can only use Carly Rae Jepsen’s Summer anthem to extend Ryan the most proper invitation to dinner…

I’d trade my soul for a wish,
Pennies and dimes for a kiss
I wasn’t looking for this,
But now you’re in my way
 
Your stare was holdin’,
Ripped jeans, skin was showin’
Hot night, wind was blowin’
Where you think you’re going, baby?
 
Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe?
 
It’s hard to look right,
At you baby,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe?

Ryan??? Are you game??? Call me… ;)

Miami Favorites

11 Nov

I have barely set foot in my house these last few months… you have “witnessed” from my posts from Mexico (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) to my whole series on Paris from a vegetarian perspective.  Right after returning from Paris, I went for a week to Miami to visit my family and to take care of some business at the same time…

I’ve been sooooooo many times to Miami that I never do any of the touristy stuff…  I rent a car and do regular stuff with my family and go through a list of places to go and things to do, usually shopping and eating at places not available in Puerto Rico. 

CRACKER BARREL

My sister took me the first time to a Cracker Barrel when she was living in Texas.  I looooooove breakfast foods.  I could eat breakfast foods at any time of the day every day.  Cracker Barrel is a restaurant that serves breakfast foods all day long. 

Every time I go to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale I make it a point to grab breakfast at least once there.  My mom, sister and brother-in-law are also fans.  We always order the same: Buttermilk pancakes, pecan pancakes, and our favorite Hash Brown Casserole.  This is a cheesy potato dish we ALL love… we may share in the pancakes, but we all order a personal serving of hash browns.  It’s that good…

Cracker Barrel

CB Breakfast

hash Browns

 

CHICHARRITAS DE PLÁTANO

I already talked to you about Chicharritas de Plátano… also called mariquitas or as we call them in Puerto Rico, platanutres.  But I wanted to show you how they serve them at the restaurants in Miami.  You will find them usually in the appetizer section, although my aunt usually considers them as a side dish or a snack.

CHicharritas Delicias

The best thing about ordering them in a restaurant… the garlic/lemon mojito they’re served with.  I used to go to this restaurant in Hialeah called Las Delicias, especially because they make their chicharritas super thin, but also because they served the mojito already on top the chicharritas.  Now, they serve the mojito on the side.  Oh well, it’s not the same thing but it’s still good…           

WHOLE FOODS                                                                                            

Every time I visit Miami, my mom and I need to make a pit stop at Whole Foods.  We wish we had one in Puerto Rico…  we usually buy stuff we have no access to here and to bring some treats to my sister’s house. 

Goat and Gruyere Cheeses

This time around my mom was craving a cheese she used to buy at Costco with cranberries inside… the closest thing I could find at the cheese counter was this goat cheese covered with almonds, walnuts and cranberries – excellent.  I also bought a small piece of gruyere to snack with these whole grain water crackers.  This was the first time my brother-in-law tasted gruyere… he liked it.

SHOP @ TARGET

We do not have Target stores in Puerto Rico YET (I hope the operative word in that statement is the YET). So every time I travel to where there’s a Target, we usually stop to at least walk the store.  We usually like to go by the house wares department to check out the kitchen and bath stuff and the FOOD/Supermarket section to buy my favorite risotto mixtures.  A new addition to my shopping cart – couscous mixes.  Really good when you’re hungry right NOW…

EATING PIZZA @ LINCOLN ROAD

I love eating pizza and in Lincoln Road there’s a pizzeria that makes pizza on whole wheat crust any time of day – Pizza Rustica.  In Puerto Rico, whole wheat crusts are not very common and the place we go to, only makes pizza on Friday nights.  So it’s a real treat for us to eat pizza for lunch when we travel.

Pizza Rustica

We ordered a whole pie divided into 2 flavors – Margherita (with fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil leaves) and a roasted eggplant and goat cheese varieties.

pizza - margherita and eggplant

margherita   Orangina Miami

The pizza was delicious… but what surprised me the most was that 1) I could find Orangina on the menu 2) and that it was double the size as the ones I had had in Paris and at half the price.  I paid 5€ (which is about $7USD) for a 8ox Orangina at the Deux Maggots in Paris.  I know Lincoln Road is not Paris, but the difference was astounding…

Pizza Menu

Mamey Milkshake

30 May

My best friend is Angie is in Miami right now… and as soon as she told me she was going there I said: “Please, drink a Mamey Milkshake in my name…”  Because God knows I crave one every time Miami is mentioned.

mamey_sapote

Mamey is a super sweet fruit reminiscing to a papaya.  It’s brown and kind of hard looking on the outside yet is super red and sweet on the inside.  The seed in the middle resembles a mussel.  It’s a very pretty seed indeed.    Some people in Puerto Rico call it sapote.  I call it simply mamey because that’s how it’s known in Cuba and how I was taught to call this fruit.  If you say just mamey in Puerto Rico you might often get another fruit that is similar yet not the same.  Here you need to specify mamey sapote.

In Miami you can get frozen mamey pulp to make milkshakes, which makes them very accessible year-round.  Fortunately and unfortunately, here in Puerto Rico you need to make them from the fresh fruit.  And it’s an expensive fruit here… sometimes I have paid up to $6 for one mamey.  So sometimes when I visit my family in Miami I bring a few frozen bags of pulp to indulge my mamey milkshake cravings.

 

 Batido de Mamey

MAMEY MILKSHAKE

¼ of the pulp of a mamey, about 1 cup of cut fruit
About 1 ¼ cup of milk – I always eye-ball this, never measure
2 tbs of brown sugar
A pinch of sea salt
¼ tsp vanilla powder
3 -4 ice cubes

 

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until frothy.

 

A mamey milkshake is one of the ideal accompaniments to a Cuban sandwich, or course now my preferred version is the Veggie Cuban.   Other appropriate accompaniments might be: a Frutabomba Milkshake or a Malta…

Salud!!

Guava Paste and Cream Cheese

15 Mar

This has to be the first dessert I was taught how to make… besides opening a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, that is.

I grew up in a house where there always was guava paste and cream cheese, two if my dad’s passions.  I guess the passion rubbed off on me, because nowadays I heart anything with either guava or cream cheese, not to mention anything that combines the two.

This is just so simple that’s difficult to even call it a recipe…

 guayaba-con-queso-crema

GUAVA PASTE AND CREAM CHEESE

3 strips of guava paste
3 strips of cream cheese – you can use regular or the 1/3 less fat kind – the only difference is that the regular kind will hold its shape better when eating it…
  1. Place guava strips onto a plate and place the cream cheese strip on top.
  2. Take carefully with your fingers and enjoy the pleasure…

 

Read well the guava paste packages before buying.  Buy guava paste that’s free of additives or artificial colorants.  It should only contain guava, sugar and citric acid.  Anything else in there you do not want it or need it.

If you’re not into cream cheese, or do not have it in the house, just use any other cheese like queso blanco, cheddar or even muenster would work well here… it’s just something to cut the sweetness of the guava paste.

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