Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here we go again! Cuban Pork Roast

I went to my local supermarket to buy a pork shoulder, and there weren't any. I asked the butcher. "Do you have pork shoulders?" "All our pork shoulders are hams," he answered.

Pork butts it is! They are marinating to go into the oven on Saturday morning.

For these 2 pork butts I used:

1 head of  garlic pressed
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced in half
the juice of 4 oranges
the juice of 4 limes

2-3 tbsp salt
1-2 tbsp rosemary (chopped or pressed)
1 tbsp oregano

Please click here to see cooking instructions and helpful comments from a previous post and check back on Saturday to see how these turned out.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dulce de Leche • Caramel Sauce

I've never made dulce de leche, but I like it in certain desserts, and since it's that time of the season for all things sweet, I thought.... what the heck! So, I googled it and came across this recipe. 

It's really quite simple to make, but you do need about half an hour to forty-five minutes of uninterrupted time to stir the sauce.

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk (I used regular milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous pinch of salt (optional)
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the evaporated milk and the condensed milk in your heaviest pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Adjust the temperature so that the mixture stays just barely at a simmer.

The mixture will begin to thicken and darken in color. The foamy bubbles on the surface will disappear. Keep stirring! Continue to stir until the mixture is making large bubbles, is very thick, and is a golden caramel color. It's very important to stir constantly at this point to prevent burning.

You can also check for doneness by dragging the spoon along the bottom of the pot. You should be able to see the bottom of the pot for a few seconds before the mixture closes in on itself and covers the bottom again.

Remove cinnamon sticks. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and the corn syrup. Let cool completely.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Art-by-MSR: Flan de Calabaza (Pumpkin Flan)

Please check out this great Cuban Pumpkin Flan recipe by artist friend and fellow Cuban, Maria Soto Robbins.
Photo courtesy of Art-by-MSR
Art-by-MSR: Flan de Calabaza (Pumpkin Flan)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Guest blogger today: my daughter, Frances. I love it when someone else does the baking!


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Turn to medium-low speed and mix about 30 seconds. Your mixture should be mostly combined at this point. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to medium speed and beat for about 30 more seconds. Stop and scrape bowl.

Turn to the lowest speed and gradually add in your flour, salt and baking soda into the bowl. Mix for about 2 minutes. Turn to medium-low speed and mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape the bowl. Add your chocolate chips. Turn to lowest speed and mix for about 15 seconds.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees (I did this at 350) for 10-12 minutes (mine took exactly 12 minutes). Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.

Should make 27 teaspoon sized cookies or 20 tablespoon sized cookies.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Butterflied Cuban Turkey

 Done! I preheated the oven to 350F and placed the turkey in the center rack covered with aluminum foil. It was done in about 3 hours at which time I removed the foil and let it brown for about 30 minutes. Below is post from Monday.

So I've defrosted my turkey. Last year I made two turkeys: one butterflied with herbs, and one whole with Cuban mojo (marinade). Turns out everyone liked the butterflied one but the mojo of the Cuban one. So this year I'm making a butterflied Cuban turkey.

To butterfly a turkey you need to remove the back. This I achieved with great care and a bit of frustration. You need to cut along either side of the thick bony back where the thinner ribs connect. I will post a picture. Don't freak out.... LOL

Then you turn your turkey breast side up and press down with the heal of your hand to break the breast bone. This was not easy. Although I used my "man-hand," I didn't get it as flat as I had wished.

My advice, if you want a butterflied turkey, buy a fresh one and have your butcher do it for you.

Save the backbone along with the neck and gizzards for stock.

Now, for the mojo.  This is a 12 lb turkey. I used:

2 heads of garlic, pressed
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 cup orange juice
1 cup lime juice

Pretty simple.  (Note: you don't need to do this so far in advance, 24 hours is sufficient.)

I'll be roasting this on Thanksgiving. I will preheat the oven to 350. I will cover the turkey with aluminum foil and cook for several hours. The butterflied turkey requires a bit less time

Click here for useful information on oven baking times for roasting a turkey.

Stuffing Balls Wrapped in Bacon

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since my family doesn't reallyl care for stuffing (I end up being the only one who eats it). I decided to try to make it more appealing. I was thinking appetizer... so here it is stuffing balls wrapped in bacon.

Prepare your stuffing according to package directions: basically adding sauteed onions with celery and broth. Let cool. Cut your bacon slices in half. Make a tablespoon size ball with the stuffing, wrap the bacon around and secure with a toothpick. You can make them on the stove top in a skillet or in the oven. I haven't put mine into the oven yet, waiting for the turkey to cook, but I went ahead and made a couple on the stove top to taste them and blog them for you to see.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This is an easy post because I copied the recipe from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese site. I'm reposting it here.
For the crust
1-1/2 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
For the Cheesecake
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs


  1. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
  4. Bake 55 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
 Turns out this makes enough for 2 pies. I only had one pie pan, so the rest I made as cupcakes. I used a Keebler Ready Crust for the pie, and crushed oreos for the cupcakes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Glazed Pork Steaks in Wine Sauce

These pork steaks turned very juicy and tender, oh and tasty too!

4 pork steaks
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cups sherry
1 cup beef stock (or 1 cup water and one beef bullion cube)
1 bay leaf
dash of paprika (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heata heavy pot/pan coated with olive oil. Add your crushed garlic, let the garlic cook for a minute or so and add your pork steaks. Let them brown a bit and add all other ingredients. Cover and let simmer for an hour or more. Check for tenderness, adjust seasoning. Remove lid and increase heat if necessary until the liquid reduces.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bistec Empanizado • Breaded Steak

So, I've been absent. VERY absent. It's not that I haven't been cooking.... okay, yes I haven't been cooking, well I haven't been cooking anything new that is. I just can't bring myself to experiment in the kitchen considering how expensive groceries seem to be. Haven't you noticed the prices going up?

Anyway, I realized I haven't posted just plain breaded steak. Now, normally at a Cuban market, I would just ask for Palomilla Steak please, but I don't even know what cut of beef that is to translate it into English. So, when I come across thin cut steaks up here, I buy them and make my daughter's favorite: Bistec Empanizado. We eat it as you see in the picture, but you can also serve it A la Milanesa, topped with a tomato (spaghetti) sauce and melted cheese.

Season your steaks with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You'll need 3 bowls, put bread crumbs (I use seasoned bread crumbs) in the first, a beaten egg (with a little water) in the second and bread crumbs in the third.

Coat your steaks on both sides with the bread crumbs (bowl #1), pass it through the egg (bowl #) making sure to coat it on both sides and then through the bread crumbs again (bowl #3).

Heat oil in a skillet (about 1/4 inch of oil) and fry your steaks til golden brown on both side. Adjust the heat as you go, you don't want your steaks to brown to quickly without cooking fully inside.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

White Bean Stew

I didn't want to call this a Fabada Asturiana because I lacked so many of the ingredients. To start with I didn't have fava beans! To make it more authentic, add Morcilla and pork belly to the ingredients below.

Ingredients I used

1 lb white beans,
2 Spanish Chorizo links,
1 Chunk of ham (sorry for the approximation)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 big onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf,
1 teaspoon of red sweet paprika

Soak the beans overnight (cover with enough water to double the height of the beans)

Rinse the beans and place in a pot covered once again with water to double the height. Bring to a boil. Add the chorizo, ham, onions, garlic, bay leaf and olive oil. Add the paprika. I added salt at the end since the ham and chorizo are salty. Turn the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 3 to 4 hours. If the heat is too high you lose too much liquid and have to add water as needed. The beans should be tender. I left mine more watery or soup-like, but you can let it reduce further.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crab and Corn Cakes

I live in corn country. My husband was driving out by the countryside last weekend and came across a stand by a farmhouse: 4 ears of fresh sweet corn for $1. He came home with 16 ears! Needless to say, I had to get creative.

2 ears of cooked corn, kernels cut off
1 can of lump crab meat (I threw out the can, I think it was about 6 oz.)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 tsp of chopped chives
1 tsp of parsley
salt and pepper

Mix all your ingredients in a bowl and let them sit for a few minutes in the refrigerator. Take about a tablespoon's worth of the mixture and form a ball. Drizzle a baking pan with olive oil and place 4 balls at a time in your pan. Gently press them down into a patty with a spatula, turning them until the brown on both sides.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mejillones Enchilados con Arroz Amarillo

I know so many people whose motto is "I don't eat anything that comes from the sea." Then there are people who will eat fish but not shellfish, and those who will eat fish and shellfish, but NOT mussels! That's okay; more for me.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of rice with mussels that my sister made. My daughter did not eat with us that day, so I decided to make her a different version of mejillones enchilados con arroz amarillo (mussles in a spicy red sauce and yellow rice).

2 lbs of mussels (I used pre-cooked frozen mussels, fresh is better of course)
1 medium size onion,  chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
8 oz canned stewed tomatoes
dash of hot sauce
dash of Worchestershire sauce
dash of soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
olive oil
salt to taste
parsley for garnish

If using fresh mussles discard any with open or broken shells. Scrub the mussels with a stiff brush, debeard and rinse under cold water.

Coat a pot with olive oil and saute your onions and garlic. Add your stewed tomatoes, hot sauce, Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, bay leaf and wine and salt and let simmer for the flavors to meld. Add your mussels and cook until they open carefully spooning the sauce over them as they cook. Turn off the heat cover and let sit for a while so the mussels absorb the flavor of the sauce. Serve over a bed of yellow rice.

Note: If you don't eat mussels you can substitute shrimp, crab, lobster or any other shellfish for this recipe.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash, Onions and Peppers

This is so simple. Peel and cut an acorn squash into section (any squash will do), peel and quarter 2-3 onions, seed and quarter 1-2 bell peppers. Liberally coat the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for approximately 40 minutes, turning the vegetables half way through.

I served the roasted vegies with salmon sauteed in olive oil, white wine, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, salt, olives and capers. Sorry I didn't follow through with this one as far as the steps.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Invitation to Dinner

Sorry guys, I don't have a recipe for this arroz con mariscos. I got to enjoy this great meal made by another fellow Cuban.... my sister! Yummy!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mantecaditos: Sugar Cookies - Cuban Style

I am copying this recipe directly from Authentic Cuban Cuisine by Martha Abreu Cortina.

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Guava paste (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together completely. Make a roll and cut 1/2 inch thick slices to form the cookies. Press down on the slices with the plam of your hand. Dent the center of the cookie with your thumb and fill with guava paste if desired. Bake at 350F degrees for 20 minutes.

The only problem I had with this recipe is that I had to add more shortening. The recipe may be correct and my measuring skills may be off since it is very difficult to get shortening into a measuring cup without making a complete mess. If you have trouble getting the dough to stick, add another 1/4 cup of shortening. Also I wasn't ready to bake yet, so I wrapped my roll in plastic wrap and refrigerated for a couple of hours.  The cookies were a hit.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's for Lunch? Salmon Patties

This is very simple to prepare and very tasty.

2 cans salmon (approx 7 oz each)
12 saltine crackers, crushed
1 egg,
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Mix all these ingredients together. (I think I ended up using basil instead of parsley.... I don't know what I grabbed from my herb garden, but it tasted fine either way!) Coat the bottom of a pan with oil (I used olive oil) and form 7 to 8 patties. I formed round balls and then flattened them with the spatula, it works better for me this way. Brown on each side on medium high heat and you're done!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cookbook Review: Authentic Cuban Cuisine by Martha Abreu Cortina

I have been graciously asked by Pelican Publishing to review Authentic Cuban Cuisine by Martha Abreu Cortina.

Ms Cortina is a native Cuban who learned to cook by watching her mother. Years ago she sat down with her and copied every recipe she enjoyed so much. Now these recipes are available to us.

Authentic Cuban Cuisine lives up to its name; these traditional recipes are as authentic as they come.  From appetizers to desserts and every course in between, Ms Cortina lays out a reference-style recipe for every scrumptious meal.  The ingredients are clearly listed in red and the instructions on the side are easy to follow.  Alternative ingredients are offered for those of us who live in areas where Spanish markets are not readily available: for example using Polska or turkey Kielbasa instead of chorizo.

Included is an English/Spanish ingredients list which I found very useful as well as an English index and a Spanish one for those of us who are familiar with the recipe by the Spanish name. There is also an extensive beverages section including everything from mixed drinks such as the popular Mojito to the Wheat Shake (Batido de Trigo).

In going through this book, it reminded me of a typical Cuban kitchen. These are the home-cooked meals I remember as a child: the desserts my abuela made such as rice pudding (arroz con leche), the roast pig (lechon asado) of nochebuena, and the everyday black beans and rice.

If anything was lacking it was a sandwich section which we can only hope will be included in a future edition. :)

Check back soon as I will be replicating a recipe from Authentic Cuban Cuisine.

I have included a link for those of you who may be interested in purchasing this book.*  Click here.

*Please note, Cuban in the Midwest is NOT making any money off the proceeds from the sale of this book.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No-Knead Bread #2

I made a no-knead bread a few days ago, and I was so impressed I decided to give another try. I made some adjustments to the recipe and the family seemed to prefer it. I used bread flour instead of all purpose flour,  more yeast, more water and more salt.... the recipe follows:

3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp. instant or regular active dry yeast
2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups tepid water

In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rest on the countertop for 18-24 hours at room temperature.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice, then roughly shape into a ball. Grease a bowl place your dough into it and turn it to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit for another 3 hours.

Once the bread has rested for 2 1/2 hours, preheat the oven to 450°. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Flip the dough over into the pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until it’s nice and golden.

This loaf had more air in it. It was lighter, not as dense as the one I had baked previously.