Monday, July 28, 2008

You say Avocado, I say Aquacate...

"Ensalada de Aquacate"

(the "old Cuban" version)

While papa is the HEAD CHEF around this house, I seem to be the salad maker and baker. Since papa's been so busy, I've been forced to use my limited culinary skills lately. Here is another one of those very quick and easy salads that is as colorful and as healthy as you can get. Avocados is the main food in this cool, refreshing side dish!

The salad pictured has an extra ingridient and you are welcomed to try it, but papa wasn't too impressed with the surprise. Not that he didn't like it, he just said he much rather the "old Cuban" version. And it is, the old stand-by with the extra surprise ingridient at the end....

The ingridients and directions
(it's THAT easy!)

1 medium ripe (to your liking) avocado
1 medium yellow onion
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil and vinegar to taste

Stir and serve chilled

The extra ingridient
(it was worth the try!)

1/2 small green bell pepper

Optional ingridients

chopped romaine lettuce
sliced tomatoe

Chicken is not always chicken..

Especially when it's in this tasty rice dish. This turned out so yummy all I can tell you is get ready to roll your R's..and say it out loud....

Arroz con Pollo, porfavor!
(Chicken and Rice, please!)

The Ingridients

4 large chicken skinless, boneless, chicken breast (of pieces of your choice)

2 yellow medium onions

1/2 green bell pepper

4 to 5 large garlic gloves

2 to 3 dry bay leaves

1- 8 oz can of tomatoe sauce

5 chicken boullion cubes

Adobo Completo

1/2 teaspoon bijol

1- 12 oz. beer at room temperature (brand of your choice)

1/4 cup olive oil (brand of your choice)

2 tablespoons cooking oil (brand of your choice)

2 cups long grain white rice (rinsed)


Begin by coarsely chopping the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Toss in deep pan, add palm full of ADOBO COMPLETO, bay leaves and 1/8 cup of olive oil, saving 1/8 cup for later.
Turn heat on high and begin to fry. Once the raw ingridients are semi soft, add in the entire can of tomato sauce and continue to stir over medium high heat another minute or so. Add in chicken pieces, 4 of the chicken boullions, bijol and enough water to cover chicken. Cover with tight lid and continue to cook over medium high heat for approximately 30 to 40 minutes stirring occassionally and drizzling in the remaining olive oil half way through.
After 30 to 40 minutes, add the beer followed by the rice immediately. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, 2 cups of water, the 5th boullions and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute then lower the heat to LOW, cover tightly and continue to cook for another 20 minutes UNDISTURBED.
Here are the steps in pictures. I hope the visuals help!
And as always, please let us know how this recipe transalated into something tasty or not. We'd love to know!
20 minutes later, open and stir. At this point this recipe should look done but on the *wet side. Serve with the avocado salad (see "Ensalada de Aguacate") and crackers as I did or with such Cuban favorites like cuban toast, platanitos or tostones!
You can also add some color and veggies to this dish by simply opening a can of green peas and stirring in once cooked and right before serving. DELICIOUS and PRETTY!!!!!! Great party dish!
*If you would prefer dryer rice, subtract 1/2 of the water in the last step or cook a little longer. Also note this recipe can be made using your choice of chicken pieces (i.e. 2 chicken breast and 4 drumsticks, etc.)

Cuban Anti-Pasto....

Salad will never be the same....

Papa's been busier than ever and the cooking has been left up to me these here is some of my cooking. I think it's as good as papa's...well...maybe not....but it is tasty enough to pass along!
Add some color to your table with this healthy salad that is as versatile and available as the ingridents in your fridge! Easy to make in just a matter of minutes. Use it as a main salad or as an appetizer served alone or with crackers. The best part of this dish is that there are only 5 basic ingridents needed! EVERY THING else is up to you! I've gone ahead and posted the ingridients in the pictured salad as it was made. You can subtract and add any of the ingridients I used here and substitue with the additional ingridents I have listed. Mixing, matching and maybe even adding some of your own favorite ingridients makes this salad easy, quick and versatile enough to never bore of eating or serving it! Also makes a great party salad.
The basic ingridients
2 large tomatoes
1 very large or 2 small green bell peppers
2 medium yellow onions
1/2 cup fresh grated romano or parmesean cheese
1/2 bottle of oz House Italian Dressing (vinegarette style, not creamy!)
The everything else ....
The pictured salad also contains
6 to 8 slices of genoa salami
2 chorizos
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup bacon bits
Slice all ingridents into large bite sizes, mix, add in cheese and Italian salad dressing, mix well. Serve immediately or chill and serve later. Serves 8 to 10.
Additional items you can use...
Green olives
Red Bell Peppers
Shredded Carrots or Carrot Sticks
Minced Garlic
And then some!!!
Enjoy and please let us know if you like it! Did it taste good? Did you make it your own? What did you add or subtract??

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not your ordinary "black beans"

"Frijoles Negros"

Yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy! I just love black beans! And Papa has a fantastic and super easy recipe for them Cuban style. This is not your average black bean soup. This is black bean soup with some attitude. One of the things that makes this recipe easy, is the use of canned, *pre-cooked black beans. This recipe can be doubled or tripled and still be tasty!

This dish, canned or not, is one of my personal favorites. It goes with white and brown rice alike, but in "authentic cuban" food, only white rice is used.
*NOTE: Raw black beans can be used, but requires a different cooking method.
The ingridients
(1) Large can pre-cooked black beans
(2) Medium size onions
(1) Small green bell pepper
(5) to (7) Large garlic gloves
(3) Bay leaves
(10) Pitted Green Olives
Olive Oil
Pinch of Ground Oregano
Pinch of salt (to taste)
Splash of vinegar
The process

This recipe is for (1) Large can of black beans. Begin by chopping the onions and garlic gloves. Set inside a deep pot. Slice the green bell pepper into 1/2 and use only one 1/2, adding it to the pot. Add in the bay leaves, ground oregano, salt and about 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Place the pot on the stove on high. Begin to fry the ingridients, stirring occassionally, until the onions, garlic and green bell pepper are semi-soft. Reduce heat to low.
Open can of black beans and empty into the pot. Using the now empty can, measure one can of water and add to the pot. Add in the olives. Next pour a good drizzle of olive oil over the top (1/8 cup or so). Turn the heat up to medium and cover. Cook, stirring occassionally, for approximately 30 minutes then uncover and continue to cook over medium heat until the bean sauce thickens.
Once it is a thick as you would like it, add the vinegar. NOTE: Adding in the vinegar stops the thickening process! Be sure you like the consistency first! Cook another few minutes and serve.

Your finished dish! Super tasty, delicious "FRIJOLES NEGROS"

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Many Faces of "Plantains"


Plantains start out green and are usually made "Tostones" Once rippend they are usually made as "Maduros" but can also be made "Tostones"

This is the easiest recipe ever! Purchase as many "Plantains" as you like. Once you are ready to cook them start by pre-heating some cooking oil on low. In order to remove the plantain peel, take one end of the plantain , use a knife and cut a long seam into the peel in several places. After peeling, slice round pieces into 1 to 1-1/2" each (you can make them larger if you like).

Once the oil has heated enough to create bubbles when you dip one in, begin to place the pieces into the oil and cook over medium heat. You want to cook them on the inside. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes. Once they look semi-cooked, remove from heat and place on a plate. Using a plantain tostonera, smash each piece to look like the ones in the picture. Once smashed, place in hot oil again and continue to cook on medium to high heat until they are toasted! That's it!

Remove from oil onto a dish that has a papertowel (for draining) and salt (or not) to your liking. Serve with just about any Cuban dish!
Papa's First Recipe!!
Baked Chicken, Black Beans, White Rice and Fried Plantains
Here it is!! Papa's very first recipe for his blog!!!
This is a very easy to follow recipe but does call for some slow cooking as the chicken is baked. I've taken some pictures of the ingridents you will need. The brands do not have to be the same. I believe most major grocers have a latin food section. However, if you cannot get "Mojito" or "Adobo Completo" in your area, fear not, there are lots of places you can order them these days. You can even make your own! I will also be posting the recipes for these soon! Also making sure to turn the chicken over as directed is important in achieving the taste and tenderness desired in the dish. Look for the black bean and plantain recipes in my other posts. I do hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do! Please, let us know how it turns out! Papa would love to know. Really.
Your ingridients
6 pieces CHICKEN breast, 10 drumsticks, 6 wings
7 to 8 ( more if you like) large garlic gloves, smashed
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup "Adobo Completo"
1/2 cup olive oil
2-1/2 cup "Mojito"
1 -1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon "Bijol"
The process
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Rinse and place all your chicken pieces in a large pan. Sprinkle half of the garlic power, adobo completo and the olive oil on one side adding in the garlic gloves. Turn over and repeat on the other side. Do a rub. Rub the ingridients onto the chicken pieces. Once they are nicely coated on both sides, add in the mojito with 1/4 cup of the water over the top and cover with foil paper. Place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
45 mintues laters, turn up the oven to 350 degrees. While oven is heating up further, mix 1 teaspoon bijol ( a food coloring) with the remaining water and baste chicken on both sides. Re-cover and place chicken back in oven another 15 minutes before raising oven to 360 degrees. DO NOT UNCOVER! Continue to cook for approximately another 30 minutes. If chicken appears to be cooked. Remove cover and brown the chicken by raising oven to 370 degrees for another 15 to 20 minutes or as needed.

Your finish chicken! Serve with rice and beans as shown above or with mashed potates and a vegetable.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stay tuned...

This blog is new and a SURPRISE for my hubby! Yes! A surprise. I've been telling him for years he should do this. I even bought him a tape recorder and a notebook long ago. Not that it worked. But I know his cooking is yummy enough to share with others. He has his doubts, but I know he would love some feedback once you try one of his dishes! I promise, they are delicious!

Sooooooooooo...I made this blog and then said "LOOK HONEY! SURPRISE!!!" "What? For me?" Somehow, the page, the color, the effort paid off, he is now activing thinking about his new days as a chef and is gearing up to start cooking with some salsa music in the background and a margarita in hand.

Stay tuned and stop by soon for a meal to remember...