There are many things that I love to do, but I only have one true love.
And that is eating. Especially Cuban food. I mentioned earlier that I'm
from Miami. There is no better place to get a homestyle Cuban meal.
I guess I should mention that my mom's side of the family is Cuban,
so my love for everything Latin comes naturally. A second love of mine is
having a wonderful home cooked meal with my close friends,whether it's at
the beach or in a backyard. We do this pretty occasionally and I can't think
of a better way to socialize,relax and have a good time all at the same time.
Here are some great Cuban recipes to try at your next dinner party...

To start with, you have to have a great appetizer. Here's what I recommend:

Mojo Shrimp
Mojo
8-10 jumbo shrimp 3 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped garlic 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup oil 2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup white vinegar 1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/4 cup lime juice salt and pepper

Simmer oil and garlic in pan for 10 minutes on low, remove from heat. Let cool and strain.
Mix marinade ingredients with strained garlic, then add garlic oil. Brush shrimp with marinade,
let set for 20 minutes. Put shrimp on hot grill for 2-4 minutes. Turn shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes.

Here are the three must-haves for an authentic cuban meal:

Bistec de Palomilla

This is the most typical steak served in Cuban restaurants. For cooking at home,
you can either have your local butcher slice the sirloin no more than 1/4 inch thick.
You can also get a thicker slice and pound it out with a meat hammer or rolling pin.

6 thin-sliced, boneless sirloin steaks 4 tbsp. butter
juice of one lime 2 tbsp. olive oil (for frying)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Just before the oil starts to smoke,
drop the steaks in, two or three at a time. You have to be very quick! Heat each side
no more than one minute - less time if you like your meat rare.

Once the steaks are cooked, remove the steaks, remove pan from heat and quickly
add lime juice to deglaze the pan. Add four tablespoons of butter and garlic. Return to
low heat and cook long enough to heat through, but do not brown or otherwise overcook
the garlic. Pour the sauce on the steaks and serve with fresh lime sections.

And of course, we can't forget the side items. Here are my absolute favorites!

Baked Sweet Plantains

No Cuban meal is complete without plantains, also known as 'maduros.'

4 medium plantains, very ripe 1/2 cup dry wine or light rum
1/4 cup dry sherry 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tbsp. salted butter 4 tbsp. ground cinnamon, to taste
4 tbsp. ground nutmeg, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the plantains in an ovenproof casserole,
pour the wine, sherry and sugar over them and sprinkle with butter and cinnamon.
Cover the plantains and bake 20-25 minutes. Uncover, turn the plantains over, baste
and bake uncovered another 15 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve hot.

Cuban Black Beans

And last by not least, the best part of every Cuban meal...My grandma's legendary
Cuban Black Beans. I can't explain to you how much I love these beans!

1 lb. package of
black beans
10 cups of water
1 green bell pepper 2/3 cup olive oil
1 large Spanish onion 5 garlic cloves
4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano 2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. sugar 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp. cooking sherry
(vino seco)
1.5 oz. jar of cocktail onions and 1 tbspn. of onion liquid
About 25 pitted pimento stuffed olives 1 tbsp. of the olive liquid

Place the beans and the green pepper in the water overnight to soak(or atleast six hours).
Boil in a covered pot in the same water until tender, approximately 45-60 minutes.
In a skillet, heat the oil and sautee the chopped onion, minced garlic and chopped green pepper
for about 2-3 minutes until brown and tender. Add salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaves, cumin and
sugar. Boil for about 1 hour at medium heat to keep it at a slow rolling boil. Add the cooking
wine, the cocktail onion and the olives with their liquid and cook at a low heat for about
1/2 hour and then uncover the pot and cook slowly for another 1/2 hour so the liquid is reduced
and the bean soup thickens to a more creamy consistency. Serves approximately 8 portions. May
be served with chopped raw onions and a little parsley on top to garnish.

These recipes are a courtesy of 3 Guys from Miami and my Grandma Norma.

Cuba

Instead of having pictures of food, I thought some photos of Cuba would be nice.
These are both from La Habana, where my grandma was raised. She moved to the U.S
with two baby girls in 1957, right before Castro took over. I would love to go
to Cuba one day, but I'll never travel there until Fidel gets the boot. Isn't it beautiful though!

Cuba

Site created by Ashley Oswald,
ashly2716@msn.com

Last updated:October 24,2002
copyright 2002 Ashley Oswald