Showing posts with label mojito. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mojito. Show all posts

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ropas Viejas or Cuban Beef Stew or "Old Clothes" #recipe @LucyBurdette



Photo by John Brady


Trinidad ration store, photo by John Brady
LUCY BURDETTE: John and I had the privilege of visiting Cuba last November. Living in Key West, 90 miles from Havana, we are very interested in what's going on with this neighbor country. And imagine how excited we were to be back from the trip and three weeks later, hear the announcement about relations improving between US and Cuba. (If you'd like to read my blog post about things I learned, you can click here.)


But meanwhile, I know you want to hear about the food. The people of Cuba are not well off.  In fact, as it's a communist nation, everyone earns about the same amount of money, that is $20-$25 per month. Government ration stores still exist, where the citizens go to purchase their rations for the month, mostly dry goods like rice and oil. As you can see from this photo that my husband took in Trinidad, these ration stores are on the bleak side. 

We barely saw the kinds of markets that exist in other countries but here are a few farmers markets in Havana. Honestly they were not that appealing.
















 


One recipe that appeared on most of the menus, both government-run and private, was called Ropas Viejas otherwise known as "old clothes" or Cuban beef stew. Of course I had to try making it for you. 





We had guests for dinner the night I made this stew, including one friend whose mother was Cuban. He told me mine turned out to taste almost exactly like his mother's, which I took as a high compliment. 

Ingredients

3 lb. flank steak
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. dried oregano
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 (28-oz.) can peeled tomatoes, crushed
½ cup halved, stuffed green olives

1 small jar sliced pimiento peppers
3 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS


Season steak with salt and pepper and cut it into large pieces. (You will shred this later, so size isn't crucial.) Working in batches, cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes; transfer to plate. 



Add onion and peppers; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, oregano, garlic, and bay leaf; cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add wine; cook, scraping bottom of pot, for 1 minute. 

Return steak to pot with stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until steak is very tender, 2–3 hours. Remove steak, and shred; return meat to pot with olives, pimientos, capers, and vinegar. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro before serving.

 



The Cuban eateries we visited always served this dish with black beans and white rice, so that's how I served it too.

 





Are you wondering what to drink before dinner? Worry no longer, the answer is always "Mojito!" You can find my recipe here.



Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries:

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to Make Virgin Sangrias and Virgin Mojitos from Cleo Coyle for a Happy #July4th!



Got overripe fruit?  Waste not! This virgin sangria is a nice way to make use of it. 


Why virgin? 
A white wine sangria is delicious, and one of my favorite drinks, but on a workday, I prefer that my fingers hit my laptop keyboard rather than my forehead, which means no firewater until the day is done. 

A virgin sangria is also a good solution for households with kids because the drink can be converted into an adult beverage at the time it's poured, which means one pitcher can conveniently serve drinkers and non-drinkers.

Want a Happy Hour Cooler? 

Spike it...


To turn this drink into an adult beverage, Marc and I recommend mixing the virgin sangria in a glass with a generous splash of port, sherry, brandy, grappa, cognac, or your favorite fortified wine. Fruit liqueurs (and amaretto) work well, too. 

The virgin sangria will dilute the alcohol, which is why a more concentrated choice works better for mixing this cooler than using a standard red, white or sparkling wine (although your mileage may vary). 

While we’ve never tried vodka, it should work well, as should rum. Unfortunately, as I’ve written in the past on this blog, white rum sends me to the dark side, so it’s a non-starter for me. That’s why I drink a virgin mojito.

To get my Virgin Mojito recipe (pictured above),
see my "Tale of the Virgin Mojito" post by clicking here.


For my Virgin Sangria recipe,
scroll on down...




Cleo Coyle's 
Virgin Sangria - Makes 2 quarts

Ingredients:

- 1 (11.5 fluid ounce) can of frozen
   white grape juice concentrate

- 1 quart bottled or sparkling water
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 4 to 5 peaches or nectarines, chopped
- 2 cups chopped watermelon

MIX IT: Empty concentrate into your pitcher or container and stir in the water. When the concentrate is melted into a smooth liquid, add in the fruit. Stir well, cover, and chill for several hours or overnight. The fruit will fortify the white grape juice, making it refreshingly delicious. It will also blush the color from an unappetizing dark yellow to a pretty shade of deep pink. 





SERVE IT: Serve chilled in a frosty cold glass and garnish by a triangle of watermelon or small strawberry (see photo above for ideas).

SPIKE IT, IF YOU LIKE: This is a versatile drink for a household with children or one with drinkers and non-drinkers. To serve this drink as an adult beverage, simply mix half a glass of the virgin sangria with a generous splash of port, sherry, or your favorite fortified wine. Brandy, grappa, cognac, vodka, rum, and fruit liqueurs are other possible ways to spike this refreshing summer cooler. (A concentrated wine or hard alcohol will give you better results than standard wines or sparkling wines, which may taste too diluted by the virgin sangria.)





And to all of our readers in the USA...




Happy July 4th!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.





To view the
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The hardcover bestseller

is now in paperback!

See the Recipe Guide
by clicking here.


*** 



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Free Title Checklist,
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The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure


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, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Make a Virgin Sangria While Amusing Your Cat by Cleo Coyle




Got overripe fruit?  Waste not! This virgin sangria is a nice way to make use of it. 


Why virgin? 
A white wine sangria is delicious, and one of my favorite summer drinks, but on a warm day, I prefer that my fingers hit my laptop keyboard rather than my forehead, which means no firewater until the workday is done. A virgin sangria is also a good solution for households with kids because the drink can be converted into an adult beverage at the time it's poured, which means one pitcher can conveniently serve drinkers and non-drinkers.

Want a Happy Hour Cooler? 
Spike it...
To turn this drink into an adult beverage, Marc and I recommend mixing the virgin sangria in a glass with a generous splash of port, sherry, brandy, grappa, cognac, or your favorite fortified wine. Fruit liqueurs (and amaretto) work well, too. The virgin sangria will dilute the alcohol, which is why a more concentrated choice works better for mixing this cooler than using a standard red, white or sparkling wine (although your mileage may vary). While we’ve never tried vodka, it should work well, as should rum. Unfortunately, as I’ve written in the past on this blog, white rum sends me to the dark side, so it’s a non-starter for me. That’s why I drink a virgin mojito.

To get my Virgin Mojito recipe (pictured right), see my "Tale of the Virgin Mojito" post by clicking here.


For my Virgin Sangria recipe,
scroll down...




Cleo Coyle's 
Virgin Sangria - Makes 2 quarts


Ingredients:


- 1 (11.5 fluid ounce) can of frozen
   white grape juice concentrate

- 1 quart bottled or sparkling water
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 4 to 5 peaches or nectarines, chopped
- 2 cups chopped watermelon


MIX IT: Empty concentrate into your pitcher or container and stir in the water. When the concentrate is melted into a smooth liquid, add in the fruit. Stir well, cover, and chill for several hours or overnight. The fruit will fortify the white grape juice, making it refreshingly delicious. It will also blush the color from an unappetizing dark yellow to a pretty shade of deep pink. 





SERVE IT: Serve chilled in a frosty cold glass and garnish by a triangle of watermelon or small strawberry (see photo above for ideas).


SPIKE IT, IF YOU LIKE: This is a versatile drink for a household with children or one with drinkers and non-drinkers. To serve this drink as an adult beverage, simply mix half a glass of the virgin sangria with a generous splash of port, sherry, or your favorite fortified wine. Brandy, grappa, cognac, vodka, rum, and fruit liqueurs are other possible ways to spike this refreshing summer cooler. (A concentrated wine or hard alcohol will give you better results than standard wines or sparkling wines, which may taste too diluted by the virgin sangria.)


Amuse Your Cat... 




Yes, as I was taking photos for this post, our newest adopted New York Stray, Durango Quick (aka “Rango” or “Mr. Quick”), decided that a peach also makes a very good beach ball. And, of course, after playtime, he decided to take a taste of the delicious water droplets shimmering on the edge of my watermelon garnish. So…


Cheers to all you thirsty
cats out there!




Drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries



To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse: CoffeehouseMystery.com



The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 
 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure


Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
Mysteries
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mojito Sorbet

I see these ads on local TV all the time, touting the great bounty of fruits and vegetables that grow here in Texas.  I'm not sure what magic these farmers are using, what strange ju-ju makes their plants grow, but everything in my yard is deader than disco.

The one bright spot in my otherwise brown wasteland of a yard is my little duo of earth boxes.

Earth boxes, you ask?

Yes, earth boxes.  You can buy them ready-made, though I made mine with a big storage tub, a plastic colander, some duct tape, and a drimmel tool.  Basically, it's a big ol' box of dirt.  But the secret is that about a third of the way from the bottom there's a divider.  Below that divider, instead of dirt, there's a reservoir for water.  A small bit of the dirt (in my case, contained within the colander) dips down into the reservoir and wicks the water up to the plant roots.

The advantage to the earth box is that the water is deep, so it doesn't evaporate in the hot Texas sun.  The plants take just exactly what they need (no more, no less).  And when you refill the reservoir (through a 2 inch pipe with an "L" in the bottom), it waters the plants for at least a week ... so you can go away for a weekend without all your plants dying in the heartbeat you look away from them.

Spearmint and oregano going crazy in my homemade earth box.  Note the dead stuff on the ground nearby.

I use my earth boxes for herbs.  I have one chock full of beautiful basil (just made a simple pasta with vegies and basil last night!).  The other, this year, has oregano and spearmint, both of which are going nuts.

That abundance of spearmint--which I'm using in iced tea and lemonade and half-and-halfs every day--inspired this yummy grown-ups only, completely refreshing summer treat.  I bring you ...

Mojito Sorbet

1/2 c. fresh lime juice (strained)
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 bunch spearmint leaves, cleaned
2 Tbs. rum (I used coconut rum, but regular is fine)

In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and spearmint to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to steep until cool.  Strain the minted syrup through a sieve and add the lime juice and rum.  Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, until nice and cool.

Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.  Note that the sorbet will melt quickly, so be ready to serve right away OR pack into a container, cover, and freeze overnight.