Hello friends! I know it’s been a very long time since I last posted on my blog. I’ve had a lot of things going on and haven’t had the chance to just sit and write. While I haven’t had the chance to write, I do have a lot to write about. I thought we could greet each other with some wisdom and a new culinary experience for me.
I made Cuban food!
Post half marathon: mom and dad and I were watching the movie Chef. Now if you’ve ever ran even a 10km race, you know that you are starving afterwards let alone a half marathon. Watching the movie Chef only made us more hungrier. Upon learning that there are no good Cuban food restaurants in Vancouver I reached out to my friend Maikel (Mapa Social) who is from Cuba and we decided to cook up a Cuban feast and I would learn to make it myself. I was so excited and man, do the Cuban’s know whats up!
While we cooked for over 6hrs, and made multiple dishes I’m going to share with you the one dish that I think really made me excited, simple and delicious!
Ropa Vieja – beef in the pressure cooker with fresh oregano, rosemary, garlic, wine (and some water) beef bouillon, salt and pepper – you want to cook it and pull it apart – shredded beef. Add an fried potatoes, sofrito and more wine (stock) and tomato paste
Tostones – fried plantain – sliced, fried, flattened then fried again and salted – if you hit up my ceviche recipe you find them known as patacones (depending on where you’re from in Latin america will dictate what you call them)
Frijoles – black bean “soup”
Chicharron – pork belly – cut into small pieces, rendered until crispy, reserve the fat – you’ll need this later
Yucca – peeled, cut and boiled, strained and then we add the Mojo
Mojo – chopped garlic fried in the pork belly fat with lime juice – poured on top of the Yucca
Avocado Salad – large chunks of avocado with lime juice and salt
Rice – plain old white rice
The Mojo & Yucca Recipe
Pork Belly – will vary depending on how many people you want to feed – cut into bite size pieces
– Pan fried in water
– Reserve the leftover fat from pork belly – it’s done when starting to crisp
– Set aside on papertowel
– 2 large Yucca (cassava – again depending on what part of Latin America you are from will depend on what you call it) easily peeled – cut into large chunks about the size of a pop can – and slice the brown “bark” like skin by running a knife along the flesh
– Place in a pot of water and bring to a boil – you will see the yucca start to cook and open up – if it’s not opening after a while, add some cold water to “scare the yucca” helps it to open
– Pace the chicharron (pork belly) back in the grease, crisp up further and render the fat deeper
– Add 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice – stir it up
– Pour the chicharron/mojo – on top of the yucca and stir delicately
– Season with salt to taste
OMG – this is unreal. It goes amazing with the beef and the beans and rice and avocado – all scooped up with some plantain.
The smell was so unreal – it would have stopped you in your tracks if you were walking down the street. I can place pictures in here but I wish I could capture the smell! AMAZING!|
Doesn’t look like much but boy oh boy…the taste is unreal!
Next up – Cuban sandwiches
While pork isn’t my favorite it certainly went down easily. Light and crispy!