Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Very Cuban Dinner

Thanks to all our foodie friends that supported Denise and I on our Quickies Noodle Challenge.  We got some fun and creative noodle dishes.  Please hop on over to Quickies on the Dinner Table for the complete round-up.

Quickies Noodle Challenge Round-up

Please check out Denise Fletcher's fantastic cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon, & Night.

This is a plate of food that Laz grew up eating.  Did I just go third person on you?  Yup.

Although, I was born in Miami, Florida USA, I am always dismayed when someone does not know what Miami is.  C'mon man, the 305?!  Forget it.  My entire family was born in Cuba.  Hence, I am very Cuban.  When I got to kindergarten, way way back in the day, I only spoke Spanish, had to learn "The English" in school.  So I was feeling a bit nostalgic today.  Please bear with me as I wax poetic about my childhood memories. chance.

Of course, my version is about as traditional as, well, I am.  Anyone who's read this blog for more than a minute knows that I am not a traditional kind of dude.

I grew up eating this crap. Still to this day one of my favorite meals.

For all my Anglo and non-Spanish speakers I will try to expose you to some Spanish words - might as well learn something huh?  This dish has many Cuban and Caribbean components so I will explain...

Tostones are fried mashed green unripe plantains.  Normally a side kick, today they form the base of this course.  For a complete methodology of making tostones click here.

Arroz con Frijoles Negros: White rice and black beans.  The cornerstone of my diet growing up.  Literally could eat this with any meal. Recipe.

Aguacate - Aguacate? No me jodas!  I kid you not.  Fresh from Florida, avocado.  Why avocado here, dude?!  Tastes good, cannot argue that.  Avocado, sea salt, and as my friend Jessie from The Happiness in Health recently noted "Lazaro’s signature white truffle oil."

Are you having fun yet?  I know I am!

Bistec Empanizado translates to breaded steak.  Think chicken-fried steak, Cuban-style.  The key is to marinate the sirloin for about 2 hours to make for a juicier final product.  If you marinate in acid for much longer than that, you will start to cook the exterior of the meat.  Sirloin ceviche really sucks.

Miso Mayo - Miso Mayo. My favorite condiment. It makes the world a less dark place.  About as Cuban as a corn dog.

Pure de Malanga - Malanga Puree.  Malanga is a brown, hairy tuber closely related to taro.  Found in tropical regions all over the world.  I prefer it to yuca, which most Cubans love but I am not a fan of.  Here I made a etherial puree in the same exact methodology that I make my Yukon Gold Puree.

Grand Mariner Jelly - Okay, I promise you that Moms - Mom, nor Abuela - Grandma, never ever made a Grand Mariner Jelly with any of my meals.  This is an LC thing.


Breaded Sirloin, Black Beans, Malanga Puree & Grand Mariner Jelly

For the Grand Mariner Jelly:
1 tbs water
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1/3 cup orange juice
4 drops fish sauce
1 tsp ponzu sauce
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp Grand Mariner
1 tsp Vermont maple syrup

In a microwaveable dish, combine the water and powdered gelatin. Let sit for 2 minutes. Microwave for 20 seconds.

In a glass bowl, combine the orange juice, fish sauce, ponzu sauce, soy, Grand Mariner and maple syrup. Whisk to incorporate thoroughly. Add the melted gelatin. Stir to combine. Place in desired container. Cover and fridge until set.

For a thorough tutorial on cooking white rice please phone Uncle Ben's.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. wow gorgeous presentation love plantains! nice job here!

  2. Loved who you both picked to win the Quickies Challenge. A well deserved win. She sure pays attention to details doesn't she? Gotta love the sweet girl and her delicious dish! Speaking of love, LeeQs is loving Laz's dish! ;-) Ok so I suck at third person.

    That Grand Mariner jelly sounds absolutely amazing. I thought Ponzu sauce on it's own was already great, but then you go and create your magic. Sauces can really turn a good dish into a great one. Wonderful dish and flavors all around. Thank you for the Spanish lesson as well. These days I'm learning from Dora...teehee.

  3. Thks for the interesting post, Lazaro! U never failed to come up with surprises. Yap, I'm talking about both your background & recipe :)

    I like it that u've mixed ponzu & fish sauce with liqueur. I would never have thought of that. Kudos!

  4. Hey Laz

    I had my first taste of Latin food in NY recently - I actually OD-ed on Dominican stewed beef, rice with black beans (incredible stuff!!), avocado salad and tostones, and gallons of a citrus and cilantro based sauce that reminded me so much of mojo, so good were they. Don't know how similar or different it is from Cuban food, but looking at the ingredients in this masterpiece, I know I will love it! I am already in withdrawal and man, do I wish you could cook for me right now *sigh*

  5. I have not been round here for a while now, life is getting a bit crazy, I am organizing the Christmas parties and my family will be arriving soon.
    I have heard that Cuban food is a fusion of several cultures, one of them being Spain.
    Best wishes ♥

  6. I love the different parts of this dish and the intermingling of classic components with updated LC additions. Brilliant as always, Laz. The addition of miso mayo is fantastic and of course I love the smiley.

    I'm off to check out the round-up! I saw many incredible dishes in the blogoshphere that were part of this challenge...I bet the round-up is amazing!

  7. Lazaro, I can see why this is one of your favorite meals! It all looks delicious! Cuban food is the best and you did it up perfectly with awesome photos too as usual. I'm off to phone Uncle Ben!

  8. I can certainly understand why this is your favorite meal. Nothing beats black beans & rice and you've really jazzed it up.

  9. You gave me a great idea for my son's vegetarian girlfriend! This looks so good, but its morning, so is that wrong LOL I would eat it for any meal!

  10. your presentation is always amazes's like dining five star all the time. love it!

  11. I've never made tostones, but I love eating them. This is a lovely dish! I like the miso mayo smiley face, haha. I've never had miso mayo, but it sounds like a great condiment. Thanks for sharing a not-so-traditional Cuban dish with us all :) It makes me crave Cuban food now!

  12. I've only had Cuban food twice in my life and how I loved it!! Your creations are so clever and inspiring to me, Lazaro. I can't help but smile at all the little details that go into this dish to make it extra special. :-)

  13. Nice presentation! Avocados are sooo good. You need no reason other than that to add them to a dish.

  14. Congratulations on your successful Quickies Challenge with Denise and to the winner! I didn't grow up eating anything that looked even remotely this good :-( I think I could eat your Cuban soul food every day and be very happy. The dish looks wonderful and I love all your special touches, as always they make the dish ;-)

  15. Once again, you've elevated a seemly everyday meal to the next level. I love that you seemed to address the trifecta - education, presentation/story and of course inspirational recipe. What a treat. I cannot wait to make this. You have me inspired for some Cuban in my future.

    I do know where Miami is, but the same cannot be said for Minnesota where one person in Miami asked me, "That's near Canada isn't it?"

    Happy Holidays

  16. My what a flavorful heritage you have Lazaro! Miso mayo? Seriously? Wow.

  17. Hi Laz!! Cuban food is my weakness and sadly I know of no good Cuban restaurants near me. It's what I love about going to Miami, though. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and looking forward to my guest post!

    All the best,

  18. Nice combo of traditional Cuban elements with some very non-traditional surprises. Something you do better than anyone I know. We do love Cuban AND Caribbean dishes.

    (When I moved here in 1970, all of SoFL was 305.)

  19. You know me and my platanos...great presentation!

  20. Ay yay yay!! What an amazing combination of flavors! Some of these are familiar to me, others are new- but I know my girls would be in 7th heaven if I made this- as would I! Lovely way to combine your favorites. Thanks for teaching us something new today!

  21. "Sirloin ceviche really sucks." Ahahahaaaaa! Funnee but soo right. I've gotta try the miso mayo, that sounds divine. Miso is a wonder food, isn't it?

    Si, I don't think any abuela is making Grand Marnier jelly, perhaps guanabana or mamey? See how much I've learned living in the 305 for five years? I can even make a mean tostone con mojito now! Muchas gracias, Laz, this post cracked me up! (and made me hungry!)

  22. Love this dish! I have been fortunate enough to have several friends since childhood that I have been introduced to Cuban cuisine early on. In fact I had a boyfriend years ago that was Cuba (but a French woman and Cuban man? :)
    Beautiful dish, and as always love your personal touches...I must try the Grand Mariner jelly, delightful!

  23. I too, was born in the 305 ( I just recently learned that term). Although not Cuban, I enjoyed all the benefits of Cuban food. To this day, it remains one of my favorite comfort cuisines.

    Happy Holidays to you.


  24. About a year ago, I had the opportunity to go to a tasting at a Cuban restaurant as like a trial for what they would put on their next menu--I had never really had Cuban food until then, and I really learned to appreciate it. I loved learning more about Cuban food through this dish and I'm liking the LC twist!

  25. Los cubichis son tremendos! U r forgiven for not being born on La Perla de Las Antillas!


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