Cuban Recipes | EvinOK

Muy Saborosa Cuban Cuisine

As I started to brainstorm topics for this column, I was visiting my parents. Once my mom learned that I had not yet decided on a topic, her trademark grin spread across her face. Enthusiastically, she said, “You never write about ethnic cuisine. Can I show you how I make Cuban food? It would be muy saborosa.” How could I refuse the chance?! My mother lived in south Florida during the 1960s, when more than 14,000 children were exiled to America from Cuba through operation Pedro Pan. She made many new friends and learned to speak Spanish with a Cuban accent. She also learned to appreciate Cuban cooking and prepare it herself. What appeals to me most about Cuban dishes is that they are flavorful, but not necessarily spicy. This column features my mother’s recipes for Picadillo and Tropical Salad. Picadillo is a comforting meat dish with sweet and savory flavors bursting from each bite. Her Tropical Salad seemed like an odd combination to me at first, but is refreshing and cool. If you are interested in learning more about Miami-Cuban life and cuisine, my mother raves about these books: Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire, Memories of a Cuban Kitchen by Mary Urrutia Randelman, and Miami Spice by Steven Raichlen.
Fettucine Alfredo | EvinOK

Pasta Sauces Without Tomatoes

There are few things more delicious than mom's spaghetti and meatballs, but sometimes tomatoes aren't what you're craving. This week's recipes are pasta sauces that are deliciously free of tomatoes. So, wear your favorite white shirt and dig in! The Chicken Soup Sauce is one of my favorites. It evolved as I tried to duplicate a taste I enjoyed in a restaurant a decade ago. I never did achieve the same flavors as I remember, but this came from my playing in the kitchen. If you are serving chicken or want to bring a bit of elegant to noodles, try the vegetarian Artichoke & Wine Sauce. Of course, if you are not fond of the slight bitterness in artichokes, you may wish to skip this recipe since I embrace it and go one step further by suggesting capers be added. I hope you enjoy these.
Cooking Asparagus

Green Asparagus – Sprouting In A Garden Near You

I am fascinated by foods, such as asparagus, that withstand the test of time and trends. Its existence in the Mediterranean during ancient times secured its popularity with ancient Greeks and Romans, and early Egyptians. The Greeks named the sprouting green for its tendency to be the first to shoot up from the ground each spring. The same goes for asparagus today, since we all know that its arrival in our local market means spring is here!
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(Friends + Food) – Furniture = Picnic!

Picnic season is upon us! In my mind it is always a good time for a picnic. You can spread out in front of your hearth on a snow day or dine on an enclosed porch on a rainy day, but I know we all love when the weather cooperates to make a picnic outing possible. I adore picnicking! To me, it is all about setting aside distractions (TV, phone, daily life) and enjoying the company of good friends, while eating delicious food and appreciating being outside. I look for excuses to turn a normal outing into a picnic feast, whether it be an afternoon fishing or a morning at the beach. Though, there are still traditional picnic moments. For the past seven years, I gather with a group of friends for at least one evening of al fresco dining. It is amazing how so many things can change in our lives over the years, but every picnic dinner has the same memories of relaxation and fun.
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The Great Dinner Caper

Life is all about stopping to smell the flowers, right? What about taking time to stop and eat the flowers? This week, you can give it a chance by cooking with capers. These small flower buds come from a Mediterranean shrub and have been a staple in regional cuisine for thousands of years. These shrubs can also be found in parts of Africa, Asia, Italy, southern France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, and Morocco. Buds vary in size from delicate small ones (nonpareils) to large ones (not to be confused with caperberries which usually have seeds and a stem). While closed, the caper shrub’s flower bud is hand picked then pickled to create the tangy flavors that are synonymous with the capers available jarred in grocery markets. They are packed in salt or brine to preserve the buds, making them a bit salty and deliciously tart. Customize your capers with Julia Child’s wise recommendation to replace half of the jar’s brine marinade with vermouth. This is also possible to add a little punch to green olives destined to be in martinis. Capers are an international affair. Their pickled nature makes them easy to transport worldwide so countries from the Mediterranean to the Arctic to the Panama Canal may incorporate capers into their cuisine. This week, travel to Europe by enjoying Frikadeller Patties. A few countries have variations of this recipe, using different meats and shapes to make it their own. For decades, my family has enjoyed this light and delicious European burger of sorts. Pasta Puttanesca bring Italy to your table as the sweet scents of the sauce waft through the air. Surprisingly simple, the vegetarian sauce holds up to variations and reheating. Travel the world without leaving your kitchen with the charm of capers in international cuisine.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Nothing quite makes you feel better than a big cozy blanket wrapped around you and the scent of homemade chicken noodle soup wafting through from the kitchen. Since it is not always possible for mom to be in the kitchen just when we need her, this recipe will help make it easy to bring the home-cooking flavors to you.

Brussels Sprouts with Couscous

I’ve been loving couscous lately! For a nice light lunch, I tried and fell for Brussels Sprouts with Couscous. This could work well with other vegetables, like green beans. The recipe makes enough for a side dish for four people, but I put the individual amounts in parenthesis after each ingredient since it’s such a quick thing to prepare for yourself, an intimate dinner, or a big family meal. It is served hot/warm.