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Good morning, GUScubanellas!  Ok, I'm late for two now three reasons:  One, I didn't start to write my diary until this a.m.  Two, I had finished the intro, was ready to cut and paste stuff in and whammo, everything froze, then I got the unresponsive stupid face icon thing (no kidding), then I tried shutting down windows with mud speed, then rebooting (15 minutes) and of course, I didn't save any text.  Third is I'm having screwy html code nonsense again and am tired of trying to fix.  Apologies to The Inoculation Project because I lost your banner somehow.  

Brb -- going to save this now!  Ok, now for my shortened preamble, save, grab the templates and anod's latest buddy list from my email (yay! anod), save and give you some great recipes.

BBC has had the same story for a couple of days which is the only reason it stuck in my head.  It seems the newish Cuba of Raul Castro will be offering corporations 8 years of no taxes and then 15% corporate tax.  I've already worked out our GUS, LLC, LTD, XRE, LMNOP shell corporation where we can offshore our millions -- but I digress (and now saving).

I'm really hoping that something more sane will unfreeze our relationship with Cuba.  I also don't want no stinkin' cigars in return.  Several of my friends tell me they don't smoke -- they just have a cigar now and then.  Ok.  Back to my main point -- which I don't think I actually have -- serendipitously (I'm not spell checking I have to save) I was organizing my legume collection because I'm back on my healthy eating/no wine program.  What to do???? (Save)

Well, of course, the interwebz, when working, opens up the world of recipes and I spent a great deal of time Friday evening looking for a black bean recipe.  The subtle and not so subtle differences in Latin cooking are fascinating.  I found a black bean recipe just in time and had all the needed ingredients.  Fantastic and have included below.  Then I found a new favorite food site so, other than having a computer breakdown (save) I have had a foodadventurous weekend.  I have to decide split peas or lentils today.  I'll do so after I save, preview and publish this diary.  (Save)

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Don't be put off by the length of the following recipe.  It is perfect for a weekend such as this one in CT -- rainy and overall lazy.  It really isn't hard, just requires time and a bit of attention.  

I used the store brand black beans and cut this recipe in half since it is just me.  It can be served over white rice and/or as a side dish to a pork recipe.  I just had the beans with some shredded cheddar melted and a dollop of sour cream.  OMG!!

Authentic Cuban Black Beans

INGREDIENTS

2 - 1lb. Bags of Goya Black Beans (I like the size and texture of their beans when cooked)
2 - Medium to Large Spanish Onions, Red Onion works as well (To be used at different times)
2 - Medium to Large Green Peppers (To be used at different times)
8 - Large Garlic Cloves (To be used at different times)
6 - Dried Bay Leaves (To be used at different times)
Coarse Salt (Used as you cook, you must taste as you go and depending on your salt level add accordingly)
Fresh Pepper (Ground Black Pepper also for a touch later)
Olive Oil (Either Goya Spanish Olive Oil or Sicilian Olive Oil its hearty and cloudy and great for beans)
1-Teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
Ground Cumin

INSTRUCTIONS

PREPARATION (THE SOAKING OF THE BEANS)
Clean/rinse the beans very carefully several times they might contain little pebbles.
Once cleaned place the beans in the pot
Cut 1- Spanish Onion into quarters–place in the pot
Cut 1- Green Pepper remove seeds into quarters–place in the pot
1-Teaspoon of Ground Cumin–place in the pot
1-Teaspoon of Coarse Salt–place in the pot
1-Teaspoon of Black Pepper–place in the pot
1 1/2-Tablespoon of Olive Oil–place in the pot
4-Large Peeled Garlic Cloves – Use your paring knife and cut a slit into them–place in the pot
Add 3- Dried Bay Leaves

I like to use my hands, but spoons work as well, mix all together. The aroma is great!
Fill the pot with water about 1 inch above the bean line, cover and soak overnight for at least 12 hours….

IN THE MORNING (THE FUN BEGINS)

Check the bean water line- water has been absorbed, add more, at least 1-inch above the bean line

Bring to a high boil for about 5minutes, stir and reduce to low heat

Cook uncovered for about 2 1/2 hours

Skim occasionally and stir–check the water line, never let it dry out, check bean tenderness. If you need to add more water it must be warm/hot.

After 2 1/2 hours the vegetables (onion, green pepper, cloves, etc. have basically dissolved to nothing).

 Discard the bay leaves and remove the vegetables with your tongs and transfer to a bowl. Next transfer into a food mill- if you leave a few vegetables behind in the pot it is fine. Add some liquid of the beans to your food mill with the vegetables and create a nice paste- add back to the pot….

Taste the bean tenderness most should have cracked and they should be tender not MUSH, not hard…Continue to cook on low heat…. Add your last 3-remaining bay leaves. Add some fresh cracked pepper – to taste. (Less is more, you can always add more)

FINAL STEP…. MAKING THE SOFRITO!

Fry Pan is now needed

Finely dice/cube your remaining onion,green pepper(seeds removed) and garlic cloves – set aside
Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil to the fry pan low heat until FRAGRANT do not smoke it at all
Add the garlic, stir, do not let it brown
Add the onion, continue to stir until opaque and tender about 8-10 minutes
Add the green pepper cook until tender
Add pinch of salt to taste
Add pinch of black ground pepper
Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (sometimes I use the cap of the bottle as the measurement)
Add the cumin–1teaspoon
Stir – mix well making sure all flavors are combined
Remove from heat and add all contents to the beans that are still cooking at low temp. Continue to cook your beans for about another 1 1/2 low heat – COVERED.
Your basically done… The beans should be tender, the broth a bit thick…
Set aside serve and eat or store in the fridge–only in glass containers.

Note:  I learned from my new favorite website (this is not their recipe) that the addition of olive oil when cooking beans cuts down on the foamy scum that rises.  Indeed it did - I had none.

Also not from my new favorite website but this looks incredible.  I've been dying for a good pork shoulder recipe that wasn't overly sweet.
Cuban Roast Pork

Ingredients

1 large    4 or 5 pound pork roast shoulder or fresh ham (ham that is not cured or smoked or cooked)
2 c    sour orange juice or 1 c. orange juice 1/2 c. fresh lime 1/2 c. lemon juice
1 large    bay leaf
2 tsp    dried oregano
2 tsp    cumin powder
2 Tbsp    salt and 1 teaspoon salt.
1/2 tsp    black pepper
20 clove    fresh garlic peeled, cloves can be left whole

cuban mojo sauce

2 large    onions sliced in thin rounds
1/2 c    roast pork pan drippings
1/2 c    reserved garlic and lime sauce mixture

Directions

1 Buy a nice large pork shoulder or fresh ham try to buy with the skin on the fresh ham. I am doubtful you will find a pork shoulder with the skin on it but you can try. THE NIGHT BEFORE: Take your pork shoulder or fresh ham and stab it all over making deep stabbings in the meat all over the roast. Next take your salt pour about two tablespoons full in your hands and rub deep all over the pork roast or fresh ham sticking your fingers in the deep stabbed holes to penetrate the salt well into the meat. Do this all around the ham. You will need about 2 tablespoons of salt all together. If it is a very large fresh ham you might need as much as three tablespoons of salt. Rubbing deep into the meat all over and into the holes made with a sharp knife. Please be careful with the knife when stabbing the pork so as to not cut yourself. Make sure your hands are dry as well as the handle of the knife when stapping the pork. You do not want your hand to slide down onto the sharp blade as I have seen happen when stabbing the pork.

2 After salting put the pork to a side. In a blender add the lime/lemon or sour oange juice, garlic cloves, and the seasonings bay leaf, cumin powder, oregano, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt. Blend on high until all is liquified. This is your Cuban Mojo, pour one cup of the mojo in a jar cover and reserve for later. Now take your pork roast and pour the rest of the sauce all over the pork roast rubbing the mojo sauce deep into the pork meat in the slits or holes. The secret is to make sure you rub your pork meat roast or fresh ham with all this lime/garlic sauce making sure it is well introduced into the meat. When done sprinkle a little more oregano, cumin, black pepper over the entire roast again just a little sprinkle. Cover with aluminum foil; and refrigerate until the next day for roasting.

3 Next day remove pork from the refrigerator let stand on the counter for at least an hour then put into a preheated 325 degree oven. Depending on how large a roast you have roast about 3 to 4 hours or a little more. Pour a half cup of the reserved mojo and baste your roast every hour with some of the mojo. Roast is done when the juices run clear and the meat is tender. Do not cover with aluminum foil to roast. You can tent the roast with aluminum foil but do not crimp the edges all arond. You want to roast your pork meat not steam it. I do not even tent mine. If the roast starts to get to brown on top tent it with the foil. take a large piece of foil and fold in half then put over the roast leaving the sides open, no crimping. A five pond roast can take as long as five or six hours slow roasting. When done remove roast from the oven take out of the pan put into another pan. Let roast hang out for a bit.

4 In your pan there should be lots of pan drippings pour them into a frying pan over medium heat and add the onions and fry them in the drippings. Next take half cup of the reserved mojo from the refrigerator and pour into the onions sauteing everything for about five minutes. After about 10 minutes slice all of your roast and pour the mojo with onions all over the meat mixing it well into all of the pork meat. Serve with Cuban black beans and white rice.

Now for my new favorite food site:  Three Guys from Miami  I guess you Floridians may know them since they have or had a show on your PBS station.  The site is like Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers (Car Talk) but with food.  The recipes look brilliant and I'm cooking the following one when I lose 7 pounds (2 pound wiggle room for the heavy cream).  If you get that soapy taste from cilantro -- you can substitute fresh parsley.

Shrimp in Cilantro Cream Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

Delectable shrimp in a sauce that combines cilantro and cream to create a very subtle, yet rich flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, reserve shells
1 quart lightly salted water (to make shrimp stock)
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup shrimp stock (see instructions)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Make a stock by boiling the shells of the shrimp in lightly salted water. Strain and reserve the stock.
Make the sauce first. Use a 3-quart saucepan and melt the butter over medium-low heat until it just begins to brown.

Whisk in the flour quickly to make a smooth roux or paste.

Add 1 cup shrimp stock and the wine, blending with your whisk to avoid any lumps. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from direct heat, but cover and keep warm for later.

Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, until it begins to soften.

Add the shrimp and continue to sauté for a minute or 2 only, flipping frequently.

Add the tomatoes and the garlic and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

While the shrimp is cooking, finish your sauce. Add the cream with a whisk and blend in thoroughly. Increase heat to medium to bring the sauce up to serving temperature. Stir constantly and do not let the sauce come to a boil.

Remove sauce from heat and add the chopped fresh cilantro. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and vegetables in the sauté pan, turning with a spoon to blend.

Serve immediately over white rice.

The following bread is one I can't wait to make.  Sure, artery killing, but how often does one make bread unless you are crazy sprout boy, GDbot?  There is an organic farm near me which sells leaf lard (pure lard with no chemical processing).  I'm going to get there asap.
Pan Cubano

An important note from one of the three guys:  This recipe is the real deal. You CANNOT make Cuban bread without lard. If it doesn't have lard, it's NOT Cuban bread! So please don't substitute!

Also, Click the link to see how beautiful the bread looks.

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 18 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 18 minutes
Yield: 1 large wide loaf

With a crisp crust on the outside and a lightly textured inside, a warm, fresh-baked loaf of Cuban bread is the next best thing to heaven.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 cups bread flour (see instructions)
2 cups all-purpose flour (see instructions)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup lard (melted in microwave)
2 tablespoons warm water (to brush on loaves before baking)

Grease a large bowl, and set aside.

Take a small bowl and dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup of warm (110 degrees F) water. Place the bowl in a warm place and let it stand until it starts to foam and double in volume, about 10 minutes. If it doesn't foam and bubble, you have some bad yeast!

Meanwhile, measure out 1/4 cup of lard and place the lard in a Pyrex measuring cup or other suitable container. Heat in the microwave on high for about 90 seconds until melted.

Place the water/yeast/sugar mixture in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add the rest of the warm water and the salt. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until blended.

Take your measuring cup and dig in to the flour bag, scooping out two whole cups of each flour. Now the important part: in a separate bowl, sift together the two flours. Sifted flour has more volume than un-sifted flour, so you will use approximately 3 1/4 cups of sifted flour in the following steps.

Gradually add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients in your mixer -- mixing constantly. At the same time you are adding flour, gradually pour in the melted lard. Keep adding a little flour and a little lard until all of the lard is added.

Continue adding more flour -- A LITTLE AT A TIME -- until you make a smooth and pliable dough. Try to add just enough flour to make the dough elastic -- just as much as necessary so that the dough hook barely cleans the sides of the bowl. Too much flour and your bread will be too dense! You will use approximately 3 1/4 cups of sifted flour to bring the dough to this point. (More or less, this is where the art of baking comes in!) Save any leftover flour mixture for rolling out the dough.

Now let the machine and the dough hook go to work kneading the dough. Set the mixer on a low speed and knead for about 3 to 4 minutes, no more! Your dough will be fairly sticky at this point.

NOTE: If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, you can also do this the old fashioned way. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pound the dough ball down and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about ten minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it into that bowl you originally greased in the first step of this recipe, what was that, something like a week ago now? We know, we know -- bread making is a long and involved process!

Flip the dough ball a few times to grease it up on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm place. (We like to pre-heat our oven to 160 degrees F and then turn it off, thus creating a perfectly warm environment for our rising bread.) Let the dough rise until it doubles in size -- about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

It's at this point in the process that you can usually find three guys, covered in flour, sitting by the pool with their feet up and enjoying a cold beverage. It's also about now when Raúl always asks, "Why didn't we just pick up a loaf of bread at the bakery?"

When you return from the pool, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, using the leftover flour you have in the bowl. Sprinkle some flour on the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out. We like to make a large loaf, shaped to fit our longest baking sheet diagonally -- about 20 inches long. So we try to roll out a 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Sprinkle more flour on the dough and turn it over a few times as you roll it out, to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. The added flour at this rolling stage should take care of most of the stickiness of the dough.

Roll the dough up into a tightly rolled long cylinder, with a slight taper at both ends. Wet your fingers and pinch the loose flap of the rolled dough into the loaf, making a tight seam.

Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.

Place the loaf diagonally onto the baking sheet, seam side down. Dust the top with a little extra flour and cover very loosely with plastic wrap. (You don't want the rising dough to dry out or stick to the plastic wrap.)

Place in a warm spot and allow the loaf to stand and rise once again until it is about 2 1/2 times it's original size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cuban bread is wider than French bread, so expect your loaf to spread out quite a bit as it rises.

Preheat oven to 450º F. Place a pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.

Use a sharp knife to cut a shallow seam down the middle of the top of the bread, leaving about two inches of uncut top on each end of the loaf.

Brush the top of the loaf with water and place in your preheated oven on the middle shelf. After about 5 minutes of baking, brush some more water on top of the bread.

Bake the loaf until it is light brown and crusty -- about 12 to 18 minutes total baking time.

We all know that oven temperatures do vary -- so keep an eye on it!


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