Recent Posts

Perfectly Cooked Steak

Perfectly Cooked Steak

Growing up steak was a large part of our “Special” meals.  By “special” what I really mean is whenever my older brother returned home from College we would get to indulge in this “special” meal.  There was an entire pomp in circumstance surrounding this tradition […]

Bourbon and Guava Glazed Chicken Pinchos (Skewers)

Bourbon and Guava Glazed Chicken Pinchos (Skewers)

So a little known secret about me is that I LOVE TO COOK WITH LIQUOR! Any opportunity I have to incorporate liquor into creating a new recipe I am all over it. Recently we participated in a Bourbon and BBQ festival in Chicago.  I came […]

HAVANA CLUB MANGO MADNESS

HAVANA CLUB MANGO MADNESS

One of our BEST family trips ever was to the Cayman Islands.  It was so beautiful, the people were incredibly friendly and genuinely wanted you to have a great time.  My husband and I like to explore new places while on vacation, so we headed into town and stumbled upon a shopping district that had little store fronts tucked away down winding streets.

We came across a Cuban Cigar shop and near by was a liquor store.  I’m always intrigued by liquor stores in other countries or regions so I convinced him to stop in.  I found a lot of interesting liquor brands I’ve never heard of and some that I was familiar with.  However the stand out bottle was of course Havana Club Rum.  Owning Cuban restaurants you become enthralled with all things “Cuban”, so I had to take advantage of being able to purchase a bottle (or 5).  After my lofty purchase we headed down to the Cuban Cigar shop, chatted with the owner who is originally from Cuba and he gave me a tip that Havana Club Rum is great on its own but even better with tropical fruit juices.  So when we returned home I wasted no time in cracking one of the bottles open, blending some fresh mangos and passion fruit juice, splash of lime juice to cut the sweetness and dosing the whole thing with a generous amount of Havana Club Rum (THANKS CAYMAN ISLAND!)

SOOOOOOO GOOD! I can never make just one. Either I make 2 for myself or 15 for friends and family.   There’s no in-between with this drink.

 

HAVANA CLUB MANGO MADNESS

 

1 cup of frozen mango chunks (I purchase fresh mangos for the restaurants, cube them and then place in ziplock bags and freeze.  However, frozen mangos from the freezer aisle in the grocery store is totally fine!)

1//2 cup of passion fruit juice

2-3 shots of Havana Club light Rum (If you cannot find this particular rum, by all means use your favorite light rum)

juice of 1/2 lime

Place all ingredients in a blender.  Blend on high until equally incorporated and smooth consistency.

Pour into favorite glass and drink up!

Bolitas De Yuca

Bolitas De Yuca

Some of our best recipe ideas come from just being hungry at the restaurant and wanting to try something new.  Yuca is one of my favorite Cuban staple items.  I happen to love the versatility of Yuca and its familiarity to the potato.  Yuca is […]

Love at First Avocado!

Love at First Avocado!

Growing up, Avocados were definitely not on the menu.  Of course I was aware of guacamole, but it was only an option if we dined out, never on our plates for dinner.  It wasn’t until much later when I was 19 and started dating my […]

Grapefruit Vodka….for the Win!

Grapefruit Vodka….for the Win!

Whenever we get together with our florida family from St. Johns, its a whirlwind of food, kids and ALOT of drinking.  I always joke and say that I need a detox before and after.  My husband’s cousin Dundi, his wife Betzy and I always try to coordinate what we are going to cook.  If you were to observe our conversations you would think we are coaches planning the final plays in the last minutes of a championship game.  We take this cooking dinner thing very serious and often are planning our next meal while eating one of the previous meals we just finished cooking.  Belen, my husband’s uncle’s wife, Betzy and I take the same pride in planning our drinks for the night.  Our ole faithful is always red wine, but this last trip we were in the mood for something different.  So Belen, Betzy and I jumped into the car and drove to the nearest liquor store.

As we were driving, betzy mentioned a drink that her sister Amy and her had.  It was grapefruit vodka with lemonade.  Typically I am not a fan of vodka and lemonade but if Betzy co-signed it then I knew I had to give it a try.  We were on the hunt for Deep Eddys Ruby Red vodka and Simply Lemonade.  Betzy, had visited the distillery in Texas and said that it’s distilled with corn; Pretty interesting.  Once we got home, we immediately made ourselves a drink.  Like…IMMEDIATELY.    OKAYYYYY seriously why did I not know about this sooner?  Super simple! This drink was tart, sweet, refreshing, pleasing to the eye and was not overbearing.  A perfect drink for summertime.  Listen, to understand me is to know that I am a mom and businesswoman so I don’t have a lot of time.  Everything I do needs to be done with the utmost efficiency, so the fact that this is a two ingredient drink IS ALL I needed to hear.  We finished a large bottle in one night and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.  Please enjoy this drink again and again and again……

 

Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka

Lemonade

Crushed Ice

Collins Glass

  1. Fill a collins glass with crushed ice all the way to the top
  2. Pour Vodka half way, then finish with lemonade. (equal parts of vodka and lemonade..or heavier on the vodka if you’re like me)
  3. Stir together and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

Yes its that simple people!

Arroz con Pollo Borracho (Drunken Chicken with Rice)

Arroz con Pollo Borracho (Drunken Chicken with Rice)

During one of my recent trips to visit our family in Miami, I discovered my love for all things cooked with beer…actually… ANYTHING COOKED WITH LIQUOR.  Depending on the choice of spirit, it can really transform a dish and add that extra zing of flavor […]


FAMILY FOOD AND BOOZE

Bolitas De Yuca

Bolitas De Yuca

Some of our best recipe ideas come from just being hungry at the restaurant and wanting to try something new.  Yuca is one of my favorite Cuban staple items.  I happen to love the versatility of Yuca and its familiarity to the potato.  Yuca is a root vegetable also known as Cassava.  It’s is super easy to prepare, just peel, cut into small pieces and boil with a little salt in the water.  Then you can either eat it boiled (yuca con mojo) with a little mojo de ajo or you can take the boiled yuca, refrigerate it for a couple of hours, slice them in strips and deep fry them for Yuca Frita.

At CUBA 312 we use yuca to make our yuca mash. Literally just yuca, fresh chopped garlic, butter, heavy creme, salt and pepper to taste.  One day in the kitchen at CUBA 312 I was talking about how much I love our yuca mash and how hungry I was but I was bored with eating the same thing over and over.  A lightbulb went off and I immediately took some of our mash and flattened it out in my hand and then stuffed it with some of our empanada filling. I then hand rolled it into a ball and dropped it into the fryer.  2 minutes later, out came this beautifully golden bitesize ball of deliciousness.  The outside gave way to a nice crunch, the inside was hot, creamy from the mash and the filling was steamy, tender and salty.  I remember making a few more that evening and having my husband, our business partner Marco, and the entire staff try them.  What a hit! Our Head Cook created a sauce to pair with them but honestly they are delicious on their own.  They made the cut onto our fall menu and   our guests would gobble them up before we could even place the plate down on the table.

 

Stuffed Yuca Balls

Yuca mash ingredients:

2 yuca roots (if you cannot find fresh yuca, frozen yuca is a great substitute)

2-3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 clove of garlic chopped fine

salt and pepper to taste

 

Filling:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 cups of water for boiling

1/2 tsp annatto seasoning

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp cumin

1 bay leaf

Peanut oil for frying or canola oil

  1. Boil the chicken breasts in water with all the listed seasonings until chicken is tender and can shred easily with forks. Set aside shredded chicken to cool.
  2. Peel and boil yuca (or if using frozen yuca just place in pot of boiling water) in stock pot with tsp of salt.
  3. Once yuca is soft and tender (similar to boiling potatoes) remove and place in large non reactive bowl. Devein yuca (there will be a long string that runs in the center, just pull it out and discard)
  4. Add heavy creme, butter, garlic, salt and pepper and mash until there are minimal lumps. Set aside, let cool, and then place in refrigerator to set up.
  5. Once filling and mash have cooled you can begin to make the yuca balls. Rub your hands with a little olive oil so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.  Take a golf ball size of yuca mash in your hand, roll it into a ball and smash it with the palm of your hand.  Then take a tablespoon of chicken filling and fold up the sides and roll into a ball then set aside. Continue to roll the remaining balls.
  6. Heat oil in heavy pot to 350 degrees. Drop balls a few at a time and let fry until deep golden brown.
  7. Remove and place on tray and season with salt.
  8. Top with lime zest.

 


All Time Favorites

Perfectly Cooked Steak

Perfectly Cooked Steak

Growing up steak was a large part of our “Special” meals.  By “special” what I really mean is whenever my older brother returned home from College we would get to indulge in this “special” meal.  There was an entire pomp in circumstance surrounding this tradition […]

Bolitas De Yuca

Bolitas De Yuca

Some of our best recipe ideas come from just being hungry at the restaurant and wanting to try something new.  Yuca is one of my favorite Cuban staple items.  I happen to love the versatility of Yuca and its familiarity to the potato.  Yuca is […]

Love at First Avocado!

Love at First Avocado!

Growing up, Avocados were definitely not on the menu.  Of course I was aware of guacamole, but it was only an option if we dined out, never on our plates for dinner.  It wasn’t until much later when I was 19 and started dating my […]