Cuba

So way back in October, we cooked Cuba!  Today we cooked The Gambia, which is 20 countries later in the list…

I remember reading about a popular Cuban sandwich but wasn’t excited about the prospect of eating pickles on it. So I went with a slow cooked beef recipe called ropa vieja (the fact that it could be made in the crock pot definitely made it a winner!), yet another rice and beans recipe called “Moros y Cristianos” (“Moors and Christians” … the black beans represent the Moors and the white rice represents the Christians… yep.), and a sweet plantain dish called platanos en tenacion.

Ropa Vieja (recipe)

This was a slow cooked beef recipe with tomatoes, peppers, and a tomato based sauce.

What went in the crock pot in the morning:

ropa_vieja_uncooked

The finished product:

Cuban_ropa_vieja

Moros y Cristianos (recipe)

This another pretty simple rice and beans recipe.  Sauté onions, garlic, and peppers.  Add beans, tomato paste, and some spices.  Add chicken broth and rice.  Cook until done.

Cuban_moros_y_cristianos

Cuban Platanos en Tentacion (recipe)

The recipes I read (including this one) were very insistent that this is a side dish, not a dessert!  It involved plantains (the riper the better), cinnamon, sugar, butter, and white wine.  All good things.  The brown things sticking out of the bananas are pieces of cinnamon (we did not eat them).

Cuban_platanos_en_tentacion

The full meal:

Cuban_meal

The flavors in this meal were great.  The rice and beans (of which there was a LOT) was good.  The meat tasted great, but the cut that the recipe called for was very stringy after cooking.  I had a hard time getting past the texture, but Tyler was okay with it.  The bananas, which were as sweet as you would expect bananas baked in butter, sugar, and cinnamon to be, actually worked reasonably well as a side dish and complemented the other foods.

Overall, not bad!  I gave the meal a 4/5 rating.

Here’s to catching up on these blog posts…

Costa Rica

It’s been several weeks since my last post.  We’re still going strong working through our list (our next country will put us past the 25% point!!!), but I am, unfortunately, ten countries behind on this blog…

Several weeks ago we cooked Costa Rican food!  One of the most well known national dishes is actually a big breakfast, so we had breakfast for dinner one night.  We made gallo pinto (yet another rice and beans dish…), which is typically served with platanos maduros (fried plantains), eggs (fried or scrambled), and sour cream.

Gallo Pinto (recipe)

This was pretty straightforward–fry onion, pepper, garlic, and cilantro (although I think I may have waited and added cilantro at the end?) in oil.  Then mix in cooked beans, sauce, and spices (we had to buy a new sauce for this: Salsa Lizano… thank you, Amazon Prime).  Then the cooked rice was mixed in.  Done.

gallo_pinto

Platanos Maduros (recipe)

This was another nice, simple recipe.  The only struggle is that our grocery store did not have very ripe plantains in stock at the time we made this.  We ended up using a combination of medium ripe plantains and very ripe small bananas (I don’t remember their name, but the sticker said they came from Costa Rica, so I called that close enough…).

Pre-frying:

platanos_maduros_uncooked

 

Mid-frying:

platanos_maduros_cooking

Post-frying, served with dinner:

Costa_Rican_meal

Overall, this meal was very good.  Even for an egg hater like me, the scrambled eggs went pretty well with the rest of the food.  Everything on the plate complimented the rest very nicely.  Tyler made the pinto gallo for breakfast several times afterwards in the next couple weeks, and the leftovers went quickly.  So we’ll call that a win.