Cuban Night

We went to Amy’s for a Cuban dinner party this past weekend
and it was a great time. I have never
had some of the ingredients and flavors she worked with and I was excited to
try them all week. Mandi went over and
helped her take pictures and cook in the afternoon, then we all showed up
around 7. Amy will be writing the rest
of the post, but I may leave a few comments in red. Also the Recipes (as usual) are at the bottom
of the post.


Beautiful Boston
Butt (don’t be fooled – this is the shoulder of the piggy)

MMMM Mandi and I
bought one of these on the way home!


Typical Cuban marinade or mojo


If you don’t have this, use 2 parts OJ, 1 part lime juice, 1
part lemon juice


Had leftover pearl onions, so used that for the mojo


Black beans after soaking overnight


Just stirring the mojo.
See here for recipe


Hello tomatillo!


Hello chayote, which I have appropriately named butt fruit


Husked and washed tomatillos. I just wanted to add a little something to
the guacamole that wasn’t customary. It was an impulse buy that morning at the store.


Mandi about to chop the pepper for the beans later


I’m with stupid


Ever seen the inside of a tomatillo?

Why yes, I have.


Roast tomatillos until they are soft and you can puree in
the food processor


Mojito time

Isn’t it like 1:30 pm?


Mull mint with some sugar


Mandi starts the quacamole (not Cuban, but I thought we
should have something for the tostones)

Flavor injector of awesomeness!


Pureed tomatillos


Guacamole delicousness.
The tomatillos have a slightly sour smoky taste, so very little lime
juice was used in this guac


Lemon rind for the flan


Boil the chayotes/ mirlitons, whatever your country calls
them. These are for the salad


An early peak at the pig after it’s been in the oven for 30
minutes or so


Sugar for the flan (organic, of course – they actually have
this at Marketplace!)


Melt sugar to make caramel


Sugar is hot


Note – don’t use plastic utensils, or they will melt in your
Carmel

That HAD to be Mandi…

Ok, second batch


Any proper Southern girl has ham hocks in her freezer. I am no exception. These are for the beans


Beat eggs with sugar


Flan after cooking


Beans cooking. Just
beans and water and ham hocks


Get the thinnest steak you can find


Then pound the crap out of it on each side


Marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge


Happy ham hocks. I
would normally pick the small amount of meat on these, but I ran out of time


Stirring in the cooked green peppers, onions, garlic etc,
per recipe


Tony looks over us approvingly “Say Hello to my little
friends!”


Salad (prior to dressing)


Happy piggy, soon to be inside happy tummies


Green plantains. Get
them as green as you can find them


Heating up mariquitas salsa with oil


Shawn & Marek


My Puerto Rican friend Jen puts them in water with garlic
salt before fry #1


Fry #1


Remove from oil and place between wet paper towels


Mash with something


In to fry 2nd time. Tostones literaly means “twice fried”


Sprinkle with salt when you remove from oil


I had about 20 of these.


Steak in skillet with butter. It shouldn’t be so wet, so dump some of that
marinade


You actually want to brown on each side for a couple of
minutes


The finished plate (missing a tostone – it was in someone’s
mouth probably)

MINE


Release edges of flan with a toothpick


Put plate on top and flip

THANKS AMY! I had a great time. And it was delicious!

Recipes:

Flan:
The only change is that I used half and half
in place of the cream. I saw several
recipes that used just milk, so I figured this would be fine.

Beans:
I stuck to the ingredient list, but didn’t
really measure any of it. I also added
ham hocks to mine (a little bit of pig makes everything super delicious)

Marinade for both the pork and steak:
Again, I didn’t measure anything. I also added fresh orange, lime and lemon
juices to liven it up a bit. The sour orange
juice came from Miami,
Sucka!

Guacamole: I never
use a recipe. Mandi and I just threw in
the following to our [impeccable] taste.
Avocados
Tomato
Onion
Tomatillo puree
Tad of lime juice – just enough to keep it from browning
because the tomatillos have a sour taste to them already
Salt
Cumin
(No garlic – only because everything else had plenty of
garlic)

Sauce for the tostones:
This is really what Cuban’s use for fresh
made yuca or plantain chips. It’s not
needed for the tostones, but I wanted to have a couple of things to dip them
in, hence the guac and this. You
sometimes see a garlic sauce served with tostones in Cuban restaurants. When I saw cilantro and garlic in this
recipe, I just wanted to try it.

Mojitos : I used this recipe as a started on proportions,
but then catered to our tastes.

I used Havana Club (of course). The only difference is that I used simple
syrup and not sugar. Simple syrup is
equal amounts of sugar and water, heated over medium heat until all sugar is
dissolved.

Salad: Okay I totally
winged this, including the dressing. Not
a traditional Cuban salad, although some traditional ingredients. Just put in the proportion of whatever
ingredients you would like

Baby lettuces
Avocado
Chayote
Radishes
Mango
Hearts of palm
Red onion (soaked in cold water for a bit to tone down)

Dressing:

Vinegar (whatever you have – I used both Cider and Red Wine)
Grain mustard
Lemon juice
EVOO
I ran out of oil, so put in the following to thicken it up
1 tomato
Pineapple and juice
Central Grocery olive salad (if you don’t already know what
this is, you’ll have to wait for a muffulleta sandwich post this summer)