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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…

Pumpkin Soup

5 Nov

This is the way my mom makes pumpkin soup… We make it locally with pumpkin, but then again, in Puerto Rico you just go to the store and buy PUMPKIN. But in the US, you can’t just go to the store and buy a piece of pumpkin… Below you’ll find a Puerto Rican pumpkin.

Photo Courtesy of the blog La Vida en Mi Patio – http://lavidaenmipatio.blogspot.com

In the US there are plenty varieties of pumpkin.  This was a challenge for us when my little nephew started eating vegetables because we were not able to find a pumpkin that was the same as the pumpkins we find in Puerto Rico. So we learned that the closest varieties are actually a KABOCHA squash or a butternut squash.

This is a Kabocha Squash
Photo Courtesy from the blog Apple Pie, Patis, Paté – http://www.applepiepatispate.com

So we have made this recipe using Puerto Rican pumpkin, Kabocha squash or butternut squash… it’s really more a method than a recipe. But you get my drift, no?  They do look similar on the outside, no???



2 lbs of Kabocha squash or Caribbean Calabaza– about 4 -5 cups, peeled
1 large onion, chopped in large chunks
½ large green pepper or 1 medium one, chopped in large chunks too
1 clove of garlic, peeled
2 -3 cups vegetable broth
Water, if needed
A large pinch of oregano
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

I always do this eyeballing the ingredients… here is how I measure things for this recipe.

  1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add a little drizzle of olive oil and add the onions, peppers and garlic clove. Sautee a little bit to soften the vegetables.
  2. Add the pumpkin to the pot. Mix it all well. Add enough vegetable stock to almost cover the pumpkins. If the 2-3 cups of vegetable stock are not enough, add some water. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of oregano.
  3. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, turn down to a medium low to simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked thru and very soft.
  4. Check the seasoning. Add a bit more salt or pepper if you feel it needs it.
  5. With an immersion blender, puree the contents of the pot to create a pureed soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the pumpkin and liquid CAREFULLY in batches to a blender to blend…

Garnish with a few toasted pumpkin seeds. This is completely optional…

My mom doesn’t even use the olive oil when she was making this for my nephew. She just dumps everything in the pot and cooks it all together, then she purees. So you could even make this without oil.

If the consistency is too thick for you, just add a little bit of more vegetable stock or even water. But then check for seasoning to make sure it still tastes delicious.

Let me know how you like this… OK??

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