Saturday, November 10, 2012

Remember me?

Okay, so it's been a while. You remember who I am, right? Cubanita? Living in Gringolandia? Yes, maybe?

The last time I apologized for such a long absence it was due to my return to school.  I found that it was very time consuming and I struggled to balance life and school. What did I do to remedy that? I decided to get a full-time job on top of full-time school--who needs sleep or socialization or anything, really? I'm not going to lie to you. It's tough and most days it is a struggle to do everything I need to do. The only reason that I am writing to you now is that its a three-day weekend and that grants me 24 more hours (so naturally I will just sit in my jammies and surf the internet all day--right?).

Spring & Summer came and went...

I turned 31! No fanfare this year. I was taking a final exam on my birthday and Mami didn't show up at my door.  In fact, she called me the day before to let me know not to be expecting her.  Funny lady.

Mi Gringito and I celebrated three years of wedded bliss! I had another exam that day (sense a pattern?) so we weren't able to celebrate. Mi Gringito did, however, take me to Mount Kearsarge the following weekend and I climbed my first mountain! We decided to call that our anniversary celebration. Oh, and he bought me a car & the new iPhone.

I celebrated my first Surgiversary on October 25th with a total loss of 91 pounds since my surgery date and 126 pounds overall.  I have lost an entire human!!!

We had an earthquake.

One week later, Hurricane Sandy came to visit and two days ago we had our first snowfall.

I think that about sums up what has happened since our last meeting. We can now move forward...

I've decided that I want to decorate for now. I know that you are supposed to wait until the day after Thanksgiving and blah, blah, blah...but I have a problem with that.  Number one, Mami & Papi are coming to visit and I want the house ready before they get here. Number two, we've already discussed how much spare time I have so I am taking full advantage of that extra day this weekend. Not going to lie -- I've got Christmas music playing as I type this!

Of course, with the lack of spare time I need a quick dinner for Mi Gringito when he gets home today. Any Cuban cupboard should be chock full of white rice & salchichas, right? Mine is no different.  Arroz con salchichas it is! I swear that Mi Gringito does a little happy dance when he gets home and sees that I've pulled out El Hitachi!

Arroz Con Salchichas
3 C White Rice
2 cans Salchicha (Vienna sausages)
1 can Yellow Corn
4 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Tbsp Dried Minced Onion
1 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Salt
2 Bay Leaves
2 GOYA Seasoning Packets
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • Wash, rinse & drain 3 cups of rice and place in rice cooker.
  • Open all the cans that you are using and drain the liquids into the rice (use a measuring cup to keep count) and then finish with water to total 5 Cups. Set aside.

  • In a caldera, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic and onions until the garlic starts to brown a little. 

  • Add the cumin, GOYA Seasoning, and the bay leaves.

  • Add the corn and let cook for about a minute.

  • Cut the salchichas in threes and add to the mixture.

  • Let this cook for about a minute or two.
  • Add the mixture to the rice and stir well.

  • Add the salt.
  • Stir and set the rice cooker.
  • Once it's done, stir and let stand at least 10 minutes.

 My dish is on the left and Mi Gringito's is on the right...mind you, he had about 2-3 helpings! YUMM!

I was grocery shopping the other day and I actually found an 8lb pernil! I of course grabbed it and its now in the freezer.  I figure that I can roast that sucker and feed Mi Gringito for at least a week or two! Can't wait for that one!!

Enjoy the days coming up to Thanksgiving and the holidays! I am thankful for you, my readers!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Love You, Miami (and Fritas too)!

I have been gone from Miami for 2 years, 4 months, 9 days, and about 16 hours -- but who's counting?

Mi Gringito and I just got back from a trip back home to visit the family.  We were only able to be there for a week, but oh what a week it was!!

First off, this was the first time in years that I did not have to ask a flight attendant for a seat belt extender.  I was so giddy, I had to take a picture of how much seat belt I had left over once I was secure:

Our first item on our "To Do" was have a good 'ol Cuban Hialeah!

Cafe con Leche y Una Tostada - Ambrosia & Nectar of the Gods!
Second item: Go to Cuba Nostalgia. For those who aren't "in the know", Cuba Nostalgia is an annual festival held on the weekend of May 20th.  I rarely went when I lived in Miami, but I was tickled pink when I found out that our trip was coinciding with this event! What can I say? Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I was on a mission at Cuba Nostalgia, though.  I could not leave there without a charm for my bracelet from Santayana Jewelers and a print from Tony Mendoza. I succeeded on my mission and got these:

Yes! A Caja China (right next to my cafetera!)...isn't that the cutest thing ever???

With Tony's art, I was torn.  He has so many awesome prints but I only had a few dollars to my name, so I grabbed this one titled "Cafe Amor" and vowed that it would be the first of my collection.

I vow to make this my first of many of his art!

There were so many lovely things to see. Mi Gringito especially loved the old baseball uniforms.

Third item: See the new Marlins Stadium.

Thanks to my lovely cousin, Tatertot, we were able to enjoy a Miami Marlins game at the new Marlins Stadium.  I have to say that I was impressed with the venue, the food and the new "look". The uniform and colors are growing on me and Mi Gringito had me on a day long journey to find him an orange Hanley Ramirez t-shirt.

Definitely could not complain about our seats!

The food, albeit pricey, was delicious! I am still dreaming about my  Shrimp Burger!

The home-run board...a little too flamboyant for my taste...


Billy the Marlin was shuffling!

I got a kick out of the signs in Spanish...
So, after an awesome and tiring week and us about to head home, Mi Gringito mentions to me that he has never had a frita. I was flabbergasted as were Mami & Papi.  Them being the wonderful hosts that they are decided to remedy that problem and took us to El Rey de las Fritas. Oh readers...what a treat! I wasn't able to finish an entire frita, but I did enjoy the few bites I could. Did Mi Gringito like it?  Well, I hope that he wasn't just being polite as he scarfed down three of them!

Once we got home, Mi Gringito couldn't stop raving about the fritas he had eaten in Miami.  That's when I mentioned that I had at least three different recipes for fritas in my arsenal.  He begged and pleaded for me to make them and make them I did!

I looked at the three recipes I had on hand as well as a handful on the internet and noticed that not one of them was even similar.  Some called for onions, some omitted chorizo, some were pork, others ground beef.  I decided to just take the information I gathered from my research and make my own version. If they ended up tasting awful, I could always learn from my mistakes and move forward.

Fritas Cubanas con Papitas

  • 1/4 C Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 C Bread Crumbs
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Onion Flakes
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 lb. Ground Pork
  • 12 oz Ground Chorizo
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 16 to 18 Round Potato Rolls
  • Ketchup
  • 1 can Potato Sticks


  • In a small bowl, mix the evaporated milk, breadcrumbs, paprika, onion flakes, cumin, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and the egg. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, mix the ground pork, chorizo, salt and pepper.

  •  Add the seasoning mixture to the meat mixture and blend well. Hands really work best with this step, but you could use a fork if you wanted to.

  • Wash your hands frequently, it gets messy.

  • The mixture is a bit wet, so you want to cover it and place it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. I left mine in the fridge for about 3 hours and it made it very manageable in the next step.

  • Divide the mixture into 16 - 18 equal sized balls.  You can make them smaller or bigger, its basically a taste preference in this step.  I found that 16 balls became the perfect size for the bread I was using.

  • Flatten the balls into patties that are about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. 

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil using medium-high heat. Make sure not to crowd your pan and fry the patties approximately 3-5 minutes per side.  

  • Let patties drain on a napkin while you fry up the remainder of the patties. 

  • Place a patty on the bottom side of a potato roll then top with loads of Potato sticks and a dollop of ketchup.  

So, once I was finished I asked Mi Gringito if mine were as good as the ones he had in Miami.  With his mouth full, he responded that they were better!  I certainly enjoyed them as well, and let me tell you that they tasted even better the next day cold and right out of the fridge! Move over, cold pizza--there's a new bad boy in town!

I'll let you guys be the judge, though! Buen Provecho! Let me know if you try this out!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mudanzas y La Cosita de Guayaba

Happy Saturday, Readers! It's been a while, but I can explain...

You see there's this thing called school which I had completely forgotten how much time it could consume and oh yeah, we moved! Although we loved living with Los Suegros, it was time for us to be on our own.

I love "Welcome" signs & I love Disney, it was a win/win

We were able to move and build loads of IKEA furniture in about two days time. We are very thankful for help from one of our dear friends, Java, who only demanded payment in food, coffee & grape soda! The apartment is still full of boxes and containers. I'm a bit overwhelmed with it all, but school will be over in two weeks and I will be able to focus on the apartment before I start all over again with Summer classes.

My only gripe is that I had to buy a Cuban mop online because they don't sell those things up here.  Please don't ask how much it cost -- I mop my floor with my tears mixed into Fabuloso.

Shipped all the way from Miami

To celebrate the move (and as a form of payment for her services), I decided to introduce Java to the wonder's of Cuban food.  Our first meal at the apartment was my ropa vieja. She loved it, of course! But my crowning achievement was La Cosita De Guayaba (Java named it as such). The story behind this delicacy stems from when I first moved up to NH and was working at a call center.  We started having food days and being one of only four Hispanics in the entire office, I decided I'd make something akin to a pastel de guayaba con queso but not. It never had a name so they started calling it my "Guava thingy" -- Java just took it one step further and translated it into Spanish.  I like the about you?

La Cosita de Guayaba
1 tube Pillsbury cinnamon roll
1 16oz can Guava marmalade
1 8oz tub Whipped Cream Cheese
1/2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1/4 C Sugar

  • Preheat oven to the temperature on the cinnamon bun package
  • Roll out the cinnamon buns in an 8x8 pan and press down to make a crust

  • Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
  • In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice & vanilla extract

  • Remove pan from oven
  • Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on top of the crust

  • Pour guava on top of the cream cheese mixture until completely covered (you will use approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of the can)

  • Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes

  • Let cool & enjoy!

I've found that if left in the fridge overnight, the taste gets even better!

Do you have moving nightmares you want to share? How about cooking nightmares?  You should've seen what my first version of La Cosita De Guayaba looked like...not very appetizing, but it sure tasted yummy!