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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

¡Viva Cuba!

¡Hola, mis carinas! Today we are talking a little trip to beautiful Cuba-at least in a culinary sense.

But first-what to wear? Just kept it simple since I was doing quite a bit in the kitchen tonight. Silver Aiko bootcut jeans, a plum purple turtle neck, a teal cardigan, and my lovely leopard print stilettos.  Never underestimate the power of an animal print shoe, my lovelies.  It's almost as good as a great set of lingerie for making you feel like you own the world.  Put those two together and you just might!

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Viva Cuba
Viva Cuba by wmckane

Now, then about that menu.  We are having Avocado Pomegranate Salad with Honey Lime Dressing, Paella Havana, Fried Plantains, and Torta de Plantanos (Banana Tarte Tatin-kinda).

Avocado Pomegranate Salad with Miso Dressing

Avocado Pomegranate Salad with Honey Lime DressingServes 4-6

8 cups mesclun or spring greens
1/2 cup pomegranate "seeds" 
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

3 Tablespoons honey
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup olive oil
Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients and taste for seasoning. 

Toss the greens and dressing to lightly coat. Garnish each serving with pomegranate and avocado. Serve immediately.


Most people have heard of paella in connection with Spanish cooking, however, in Cuba they have their own New World take on this Spanish classic.

Paella Havana

1 cup white rice, uncooked
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 pork tenderloin, cubed
2 small chorizo sausages, removed from casings and crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 large pinch of saffron
salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oil in a shallow oven proof skillet (about 3 inches deep) or a paella pan. Saute onions, green peppers, tomatoes, garlic and celery.  Add pork and chorizo and cook over medium heat until tender.  Add sweet potatoes, salt and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring.  Add chicken broth.  Stir well and cover with oven proof lid or aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with wine and serve.  ¡Que bueno!

Talk about eating the rainbow! Yummy and healthy!

Prepped and ready!

Almost time for the chicken broth

Ready to eat!

In almost all countries in Central and South America as well as the islands of the Caribbean, plantains are eaten.  Growing up in Aruba, they were one of my favorite foods.  Here they are served sweet, also known as maduros, dulces, or amarillos, depending on where you are.  Plantains can also be served savory, like a potato cooked in the same manner, but just chosen when they are more yellow in color than brown/black as mine was.

Fried Plantains

1 plantain, sliced on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick
2 T. butter

Melt butter over medium heat.  Add plantains, cook and turn when sides become golden brown and slightly sticky.

That's it, folks! Easy peasy!

Ah, dessert.  This is my little secret when I want something sweet and tropical but don't want to work too hard.

Torta de Plantanos (Banana Tarte Tatin)

1 frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 bananas, sliced in half vertically and horizontally
2 T. butter
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. cream

Melt butter over medium heat in an oven proof skillet. Add bananas, face down.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle brown sugar over bananas, getting in between the slices.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add cream, shifting pan to allow the cream to reach all the sugar.

Place puff pastry over skillet and place in 400 F oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from oven and flip onto platter.  Be careful!

Serve warm-aahhhh!

So, my lovelies.  Look good and eat well.


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