Ever since I first saw the recipe for Mojito Cupcakes on the Baking Diva’s blog, I have been craving an entirely Cuban meal. When we lived in Atlanta we would go to Little Cuba about once a week for Vaca Frita or Ropa Vieja. We didn’t realize how spoiled we were….. The pick’ns for Cuban are slim here & not so great. We still go, but only out of a disparate need for tostones y yukas fritas.
Planning the menu was easy – just find a recipe for our favorite dishes. In this case, Ropa Viejo. The challenge was that there was an ingredient that I never heard of, Sofrito Sauce. I can tell you that the good people at PW & Safeway haven’t heard of it either. Soooooo, darn! I had planned for Alfredo to go to the mercado down the street, but he wasn’t able to go. Double darn. My Spanish is passable, however my Texan accent becomes really thick for some reason & I feel like a parody of an American when I attempt to communicate in this language. No big deal, go in, grab your stuff & go. Then, I have a totally Gringo moment. I’m in the store all of 30 seconds & I send a bottle of Malta crashing to the floor accompanied by my shriek of horror. I was no longer incognito. Darn, again!
~~this is now a family favorite~~
So, along with Ropa Vieja, we had tostones, yellow rice & black beans. The only changes I made to the recipe I that I found on Taste of Cuba were that I simmered for 2 hours instead of one & added olives at the end. To make yellow rice, replace water with chicken broth & add saffron. Tostones are one of those treats that become easier & less stressful to make the more you make them. If you’ve never had them, then try them first before making them at home. Black beans…. what can I say? I use a can of Cuban Beans from Trader Joe’s. The meal was a complete success. The kids ate every bite (the tostones being their favorite) and Alfredo had seconds & thirds!!!
Ropa Vieja recipe
2 1/2 lbs flank steak, cut in strips
5 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic or 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
6 ounces sofrito sauce
Heat 3 tbsp. oil in skillet on medium, brown meat on all sides. Remove from skillet, add remaining oil to skillet, stir in garlic, onion and green pepper and cook until translucent. Stir in black pepper, browned meat, tomato sauce, water and sofrito. Simmer until meat is tender and shreds easily, about 1 hour. Serve on top of rice.
Finally, we’re ready for dessert. Mojito Cupcakes. I have been dreaming of these for weeks now & can tell you that they were worth the wait. I was a bit annoyed by the complexity of the recipe at first – zesting limes & steeping mint leaves in hot milk. Then, when the fragrance of batter wafted through the air as I blended everything together I just fell in love (can you do that with a cupcake?). Alfredo suggested that we share a cupcake (he had 3 serving of dinner after all)…. I stand pretty firm on the idea that cupcakes are NOT to be shared and I’ve never been happier for having such conviction. Yumm, yumm, yumm! These will be made again…. soon.