Where do I start with this recipe? Oh man, you know those recipes you’ve wanted to make/share for a long time? This is one of them. While my parents aren’t Cuban, I grew up eating at Cuban restaurants. It’s like a staple in South Florida. Everybody eats at them. They’re always a great place to go with a large group of people; the food is affordable, comforting and just plain delicious.
I always, always order ropa vieja (direct translation: old man’s clothes). It’s shredded beef in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. I’ve always wanted to make it and for some reason never have.
There are days when I miss home. I didn’t grow up with my mom cooking Cuban food, but when you grow up most of your life in South Florida, Cuban food tastes like home, too.
Cuban food was a big part of my eating growing up. If there was a big family get together, we’d often times be eating at a Cuban restaurant. There were days when I’d get out of school and head to little hole in the wall Cuban joint and I’d sit there with my friends, in our Catholic school uniforms, drinking coke and eating chicken palomilla, maduros and my all-time favorite, ropa vieja.
I hardly ever get the opportunity to eat Cuban food now (the few Cuban restaurants in Los Angeles are kinda awful) so when this cookbook, The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez, arrived at my doorstep, I was V V excited. I began thumbing through it, ooing and ahhing.
I landed on this chicken because it has everything I love about Cuban cooking. It’s inexpensive, it uses my favorite parts of the chicken (dark meat 4evr!) and it has mojo. MOJO IS EVERYTHING!
Mojo is a combination of sour oranges, onions, garlic and spices like ground cumin and oregano. Mojo is the heart and soul of this dish and a popular base for a lot of Cuban dishes.
Yesterday I tore open a pile of perfectly wrapped gifts and was greeted with: one cute/ugly sweater, two romance novels (alright?), one dvd of Sleepless In Seattle (a classic!), a super fancy wallet, various kitchen tools and a knife sharpening stone (thanks papa!).
I’ve wanted this particular sharpening stone for exactly two years. I’ve probably looked at it a dozen times online; lamented about buying it for forever (it’s a tad expensive).
For some reason I can justify dropping dollar$$ on shoes, but have issues with doing so on useful things. I’m a complicated human.