5 November, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The last 5 months have been terribly busy for me. Between moving house, my responsibilities at work tripling and studying for the GMAT, I barely had a free moment to eat, let alone cook anything. I just kept my head down, nose in the books/computer and my mind focused on the November 3rd 12:45 test date. So, November 3rd at 12:00am, I decide, in my typical anal retentive way, that I am going to make sure I have everything lined up and ready, including making sure my name is exactly the same on my ID as it is on my test registration. To my horror I realized I had registered for the test in my married name, I didn’t have my drivers license (lost) and my passport was still in my maiden name. After much scrambling, I realized I was going to have to get a new drivers license the next morning. Of course I panicked at this thought because it was so late and I was not going to be able to do the full GMAT ritual I had planned for myself. So, I had to think fast. I ended up sleeping 6 hours, waking up early to be first in line at the DMV, rushing home, sleeping another 2 hours, eating something and then heading to the GMAT with a carafe of iced coffee for in-between sections. The test felt really hard throughout and I was sure I bombed, so, imagine my surprise when I not only managed to not get the 580 I kept dreading I would get while taking the test, but beat my highest practice test score of 660 with a 690. My hands were shaking so badly when I got done that the proctor had to sit me down for a few seconds before my hand would stay still enough to get the palm print.
While I am contemplating taking the GMAT again to get a better balance between quat and verbal, I was told to take the weekend off, and I decided to do just that. So, after I stopped shaking, I came home and Tom took me out to tapas, then dinner, followed by a movie at home. Today, however, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. As is often the case when this happens I decided we needed to run all the errands I had been putting off for the last few months and I was going to finally make that bean and kale stew I have been wanting to make that I just hadn’t had the time for. This stew is what came of it and I must say, it is a glorious stew for rainy days, which, I guess, makes it a perfect Seattle stew.
One quick note – Do NOT add salt until after the beans are cooked. If you do, it will make the skin on the beans tough. I know most people think this is an old wives tale, it’s not, trust me. I did an experiment with this back when I was in college, Myth Busters style. I made one bag of beans in two separate pots with the same amount of water and heat. I added salt to one and not the other. The beans with salt had a much tougher skin.
2 bunches of Dino Kale
1 lb Cannellini beans
1 bunch scallions (or 1 small yellow onion)
6 oz chorizo (1 cup chopped)
4 cloves garlic (or 8 small)
1/4 cup white wine
8 cups chicken stock
1 liter boiling water
Step 1: Place a dutch oven over medium low heat.
Step 2: Dice the chorizo into centimeter dice, slice the onions into roughly centimeter size pieces and smash the garlic.
Step 3: Add the chorizo to the pan and allow to render until a fair amount of the fat has abandoned the meat.
Step 4: Add the onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes or until soft and stained red with the chorizo drippings.
Step 5: Add the garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until you can smell it but not until it’s too brown.
Step 6: Add the 1/4 cup of white wine and let reduce until the wine is all but evaporated.
Step 9: Simmer for 1.5 hours or until liquid reduces by half.
Step 10: Add the 8 cups of chicken stock
Step 11: Boil for another 1.5 hours or until the beans are soft
Step 12: Chop the Kale, leaves and stems, into centimeter wide slivers and mix into stew. Add more water if the stock has become too thick.
Step 13: Add a tsp of salt (or to taste).
Step 14: Boil for another 20-30 minutes or until the kale is soft and and delicious.
Step 15: Apply to face
Coming up next, I will try and finish up the posts from the Florida and European vacation.
1 July, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I am currently on holiday; visiting my family in Miami, then we are headed to Captiva and then to Paris and London. Given how much good food I will be sampling I thought it would be great fun to share my gastronomic adventures with all of you here. So I will be posting my pictures and restaurant reviews for you to enjoy and how knows, if you are ever in this part of the world you will have a few personal recommendations from yours truly! As a special treat I will also be blogging a couple of my mom’s meals with recipes and all!
12 June, 2012 § Leave a Comment
There is nothing more Cuban than black beans and rice. Period. Not even sugar or cigars. Therefore, whenever I came home from college a little too white washed my dad would say I needed an infusion of black beans and rice. Whenever we had our non-Cuban friends over for dinner and my mom served this dish, they were always offered an honorary Cuban certificate after completing a bowl of arroz con frijoles.* These beans, served with white rice and lechon, are the quintessential Cuban party meal. This recipe is one that I have pieced together from watching different members of my family prepare this dish and eating it at many a Cuban restaurant in Miami.
3 cans Black Beans (Goya is preferable)
3-4 cans of Water (use the same cans the beans came in)
1 Yellow Onion – Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic – Minced
1 Tbs White Vinegar
1 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Oregano
1 Tsp Salt (or to taste)
Olive Oil to coat bottom of pot – preferably Spanish Extra Virgin
Place large pot over high flame, add olive oil, onions and salt.
Sweat onions for a minute or two then add the garlic and saute until they are integrated, about 30 seconds.
Add the beans, water, vinegar, sugar and oregano.
Allow to come to a boil and then reduce heat to low or whatever temperature is required to sustain a simmer.
Once the beans have reduced to 2/3 taste and adjust seasoning. Continue to cook until they have reached the desired consistency. Serve with white long grain rice and apply to face.
*A picture of you eating this will get you a digital Honorary Cuban Certificate from yours truly!
12 June, 2012 § 1 Comment
In Cuban cuisine, Lechon refers to a whole pig marinated in mojo and cooked either over a fire or, as is more common now in Miami, in La Caja China. Now a days, however, the name is used as a sort of blanket term for any pork roast cooked in mojo. It is the main dish at almost every Cuban party and it is what my family and I ate at almost all our family gatherings. The smell of this roasting in the oven transports me back to my childhood and the happy times when my grandparents and father were still alive and I didn’t have a mortgage and a job. This particual roast I made for a dinner party I had at my house last weekend with some dear friends of mine Rachel and Omeed. They had taken me to a “Cuban/Puerto Rican” restaurant in Seattle and after tasting the food there I told them I had to make them proper Cuban food so they’d know what they were missing. The recipe I present to you below is what I made for them. I learned this recipe from my mother and grandmother and I have adapted it to make up for the unfortunate lack of sour orange in the Pacific Northwest. If you are somewhere were you can get Sour Orange replace 4 limes for two sour oranges.
5-6 Lbs Pork Shoulder Roast with Bone and Skin still on
1 Head of Garlic Minced (2 tablespoons)
1 Onion Sliced
2 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Slice the skin on the pork so that you slice through the skin and expose the fat. It’s best to not cut all the way to the meat but don’t worry too much if you do. Pierce the flesh with a knife 8-12 times.
Rub the roast well with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic. Rub it in well, making sure that you get it all the cuts and piercings you have made in the roast. Once it’s had a good massage, place it in a large baking dish with a sliced onion, squeeze the limes over the roast, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
Remove from fridge 2-4 hours before cooking, uncover and allow the skin to dry and the roast to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 500 and cook for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 275/300 degrees and cook for 30 minutes a pound. If the skin starts to get too brown cover with aluminum foil and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees. If the skin has yet to turn brown and crispy turn the oven to broil. Watch it very carefully as it goes from brown to burnt in minutes.
Once the roast is done allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with and avocado and tomato salad, rice and beans** and apply to face.
*I am not being paid to link to La Caja China’s site and I have no relationship with this product or it’s owner/inventor.
26 April, 2012 § Leave a Comment
About 6-8 months ago I discovered a spicy tilapia dish in my local Sichuan restaurant that has completely changed my view of fish. It is called fish filet boiled in chili sauce and it will blow your mind, not to mention melt your taste buds straight out of your face. It has quickly become one of my absolute favorite dishes in the world and I crave it at least once a week. What’s really odd about this is that I used to hate seafood. I ate it only when I was trying to be virtuous, but on the whole, I really didn’t like it. However, after a few months eating this, I now find myself craving seafood of all description. My favorite fish is undeniably tilapia. Sadly most people find tilapia boring, which is a downright shame because tilapia is a fabulous fish. It has a lovely delicate flavor that surprisingly enough stands up to strong flavors and a wonderful, almost sensual flaky texture. Just as importantly it is also sustainably farmed, affordable and really, really good for you as well as the earth.
This dish was the result of one of the above mentioned seafood cravings and the joyous return of spring weather to the usually damp and grey Pacific Northwest. After all the stews and roasts of winter/fall, when the weather turns, we begin craving something lighter and fresher; these Mediterranean flavors were just the ticket. I used scallops in this because I had some in the freezer that were nearing the end of their use by date but you can easily go without them. This feeds 2-3 people depending on how gluttonous you are feeling.
4 Tilapia filets
6 Diver Scallops
5 Campari tomatoes, halved
1 Serrano chili
1 Habanero chili
4 Piquillo Pepper or 2 roasted red peppers, from a jar.
10-12 Kalamata Olives
1 Small jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts
1 tbs Capers
1 tsp Garlic – crushed (about 4 cloves)
5 tb Italian Parsley – finely chopped
1 1/2 Lemons, zested and quartered
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450F.
Blitz a bunch of parsley in a food processor. You will be using a lot of it in this recipe so just do it once for both dishes. Remove the chopped up parsley from the food processor and without washing it out add the chilis, garlic and peppers.
Remove from the food processor and put in a small bowl.
Add in the zest of the lemon, 5 tbs of parsley and mix to combine.
Oil a sheet pan or roasting tray.
Next, spread the fish out in one even layer and tuck the lemons around them.
Place in the oven and roast for 8-12 minutes or just until the fish is cooked through and flakes apart.
1 tablespoon of Olive oil
1 tsp Garlic
1 Lemon – zest and juice
2 tbs Finely diced Parley
1 tbs Capers
More Parsley for garnishing
Place a pan over medium heat. Add the oil and the lemon zest. Let cook for 15-20 seconds or just until you can smell the zest. Next add the garlic and cook for another 10-15 seconds.
Remove from heat and parsley.
Next and the lemon juice and capers and stir to combine.
Serve along with the fish, whose lovely juices compliment and entwine beautifully with the pasta. Apply to face.
16 February, 2012 § 2 Comments
Perhaps it is due to the weather being sunny and then quickly returning to a wintery grey with freezing temperatures that put me in a stew frame of mind. Or, perhaps it is simply that I love a sticky and unctuous lamb stew on any night of the week, regardless of the weather. Either way, this stew makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside with the added benefit of leaving enough leftovers so that both the hubby and I can eat it for lunch the next day and freeze another serving for the emergency stew craving.
This stew takes it’s inspiration from my Moorish ancestors, adding dried apricots, cumin and tomatoes; then serving it over cous cous. The apricot is the real surprise in this dish. I use an unsweetened and unsulfered variety. This lends a richness to the dish rather than the cloying sweetness you get with the sweetened and sulfered apricots. I really love serving this dish with Cous Cous not only because it soaks up all the lovely sauce but because it cooks so quickly and let me be honest, after cooking a stew for hours, I want something fast to serve it with.
3/4 Lbs Lamb bones
3/4 Lbs Lamb shoulder (cut into cubes for stewing)
1 Rib of celery
4 Cloves Garlic
25-30 Cremini Mushrooms
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Pack Diced Tomatoes (I prefer these to the tin but the tin works fine)
1/2 Cup Dried Apricots, unsulfered and unsweetened
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
1.5 Liters of Boiling Water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Roughly chop the Carrot, finely slice the celery, dice the onion, crush the garlic, stem and break up the mushrooms and season the lamb with salt and pepper. Set to one side. Place a large Dutch oven or stock pot over high heat and allow to get nice and hot.
Add the lamb pieces, both bone and shoulder, to the dry pan. There is no need for oil here as the lamb is fatty enough. The trick here is to let the lamb be for a minute or two before you turn it. If the pot was hot enough it will not stick, and if it does stick a bit, it doesn’t matter, you will be scraping it off the bottom of the pan anyway.
Turn it around so that it is brown on all sides and then remove to a plate. The idea here is simply to brown, not to cook through.
Next add the mushrooms to the pot. Saute until they have given up most of their liquid. If they get too dry you may add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Do not add salt to the mushrooms at this point as that will draw out the liquid in the mushrooms and they won’t fry up, instead simmering in their own juices which defeats the purpose of cooking them separately.
Once they have browned and are fairly cooked through, remove them to a plate.
Now, add the onions, celery and carrots to the pot and reduce heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper to help the onions release their liquid and begin to sweat. After 3-5 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.
Add the lamb and mushrooms back into the pot along with the cumin, garlic and rosemary.
Stir together and then add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for roughly 1 1/2 hours.
Add the apricots and allow to simmer for another 30-40 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bones and the shoulder meat is super tender.
Serve over cous cous and apply to face.
14 February, 2012 § 1 Comment
I was lucky enough to spend two summers singing in Italy while I was in college and as you can imagine I ate a lot of pasta. Although it made me sick at times, I absolutely loved it. The sauces tasted nothing like what I was used to back home and the pizza wasn’t like any pizza I had ever had, there was a freshness to it all that I had never experienced in the United States of Sysco. Upon my return to the US I craved those fresh flavors and wasn’t able to find them. As you would imagine, I was very upset 5 year old. I wanted my spaghetti with pomodoro sauce damn it! Thankfully my mom had locked me in my room at the first sign of a tantrum when I was little, so I didn’t throw the tantrum most Americans throw upon returning to the US. I did however, decide to figure out how to make the sauce I craved. It took some time and cost a lot of tomatoes their lives, but in the end I persevered and came to this recipe! Over a decade after my return I am sharing the recipe with you. Sadly, I can’t get the same amazing tomatoes they have in Italy and the ones in the can are not a suitable substitute for this sauce, not even the imported kind. Tomatoes that are in a can have been cooked as a means to preserve them and as such don’t have the freshness required for a fresh pomodoro. However, if you are ever lucky enough to grow your own tomatoes and have a surplus at the end of the season this is a perfect sauce for it. You also should call me, cuz I need more friends like you.
Given the fresh simplicity of the pomodoro sauce I decided to serve it with pork chops simply seasoned and garnished with basil leaves. This dish is meant to serve 4 but if you are feeding big eaters it will only go for two.
8 oz Dried pasta
10-12 Roma Tomatoes (about 3 lbs)
1/3 Cup olive oil (In Italy they use more but it makes me sick and frankly, this is enough)
1 bunch basil ripped by hand (if you cut it use a sharp knife so it won’t bruise)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Red pepper flake and salt to taste
3/4 pound thinly sliced boneless pork chops (4 steaks)
6 basil leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
A note on timing: This is a relatively simple meal to make and takes well under 30 minutes to cook once the tomatoes are peeled. That said, if you want to get the meal to the table hot the timing is essential. Here is the timing/steps I recommend. Peel and crush the tomatoes, assemble the pork chops, place pasta pot to boil, begin frying the pork chops, add pasta to the water once it starts boiling, begin sauce, keep checking on the pork and move to serving tray when cooked, two minutes before the pasta is perfect add the basil, a minute before the pasta is perfect add it to the sauce and allow it to finish cooking in the pasta sauce adding reserved pasta water as needed. This should make the meat perfectly rested and ready to serve just as the pasta is finished cooking. If you are using thick pork chops you will want to start them before you place the pasta water to boil.
Place a pot of water over high heat.
While the water is comming to a boil score the tomatoes with a cross on the bottom, this will help them peel easier. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice and set near your pot.
Next, transfer to the ice water and allow to cool. This is not only so that you can handle them without burning yourself, but it actually helps the peels come off more easily. Let sit for 30-40 seconds.
Once all the tomatoes are peeled you can slice them in half and remove the seeds if you like. I prefer not to do this because I don’t find that the seeds really add a negative flavor and I enjoy the flavor the tomato water brings to the sauce. However, if you don’t like the seeds, scrape them out.
Then, either dice or crush the tomatoes with your hands. I like crushing them as it reminds me of the “brains” bowl on halloween when you were a kid, and I also just like playing with my food and getting dirty.
Set the tomatoes aside.
Bring water to boil in a pot and add the pasta noodles. The pasta should cook for 1 minute less than necessary in the boiling water. This means that if your package states to cook it for 8 minutes, cook it for 7. Strain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water, and add it to the sauce.
Place a skillet over high heat, add the olive oil and the red pepper flakes. Toast/fry the pepper flakes until they are aromatic being careful to not let them get black. About 15-20 seconds.
Quickly add the garlic, stir once or twice, letting cook for no more than a 10 seconds and then add the tomatoes.
Let the tomatoes cook down.
Then, 1 minutes before you are going to add the pasta add the basil.
Once the pasta is a minute away from doneness strain it, reserving some of the pasta water and add the pasta to the sauce, stir together and allow the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce. If it gets too dry add some of the reserved pasta water.
Season the pork with salt and pepper on both sides. Next take the basil leaves and apply to the pork. You will see when you hold the leaf that there is a dull side and a shiny side. The trick is to apply the shiny side to the pork. That way it will stick without any “glue”.
Fry the pork chops in a hot pan with a little cooking spray. Begin cooking them with the basil side down. Allow them to cook for 3-5 minutes or until they have achieved a nice golden crust. Flip and reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the pork has reached the desired internal temperature.
It is important to let these rest before you eat them. The timing I have given above should give you enough time to rest the pork but if your chops are larger than mine and take more time, do not skip the resting phase. Pork can be very dry and I find that it benefits more from a rest than even a steak will. So… rest your pork, OR I WILL KILL YOU!!
All that’s left to do now is to serve with a good parmesan cheese and apply to face.
11 February, 2012 § 2 Comments
Ladies and Gentlemen, Hell has frozen over!! I have managed to make a basic chicken stock. Not the brown stock from and earlier post, in where I admitted my shameful lack of kitchen prowess, but a clear, pure essence of chicken. I have reclaimed my cavewoman birthright of knowing how to boil water and bones to make something delicious. I feel like a champion!! I am so excited I must share this with all of you!
A few notes on the recipe:
Some of my previous attempts at making chicken stock ended with a liquid that was a bit funky. I usually save my carcases and freeze them so I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the ingredients may not have been the freshest and that might have contributed to the unpleasant flavors. However, even when I bought chicken wings for stock it often came out 70s funky. So as I do whenever I have a question that needs answering, I did my research and discovered that in most Asian cultures, they boil the bones, strain them and then make stock with them. Sort of like a 3-5 minute pre-boil. This method, it turns out, not only removes the funk, but almost all need for skimming as there is hardly any scum on the top of the pot.
Another question I wanted to answer was if there were parts of the chicken that were better for stock making. I read 100s of recipes, one of which was Ina Garten’s recipe calling for the use of three whole chickens! Cooking like this, no wonder she’s barefoot, she spent all her money on wasteful recipes! Aside from this, most people seemed to use wings, backs and necks. Seeing as backs and necks were cheapest, I went with that. Here I used a little over 4 pounds and got great results, however, I think adding a pound or two would make for an even richer broth.
As is usually the case when I make stock, I do not use any aromatics or seasoning. I can appreciate that this is likely what has held me back in my previous attempts, however, I feel that it is the right thing to do with stock that is not being made with a particular dish in mind. My reasons are few, yet valid. First and most importantly, I do not know to what use I will put the stock, and ramen, pho and cock au vin all have very different base flavor profiles. Secondly, I feel that pre-seasoning your stock does not allow you to control the salt and overall seasoning of your dish in as precise a manner. I have vivid memories of sauces made too salty by reduction. Finally, I feel that if you season your stock your food all begins to have a similar flavor. While this might be good for a restaurant that is trying to achieve consistency amongst its menu, it is not good for the cook experimenting with new flavors and trying to expand their cooking palate. If you know what you will be using the stock for and would like a more traditional, french style stock, you may add an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 stalk of celery and 1 large carrot along with herbs of your choosing, tied in a bouquet garni so as to be easily removed. Here, however, you will find a basic, essence of chicken that may be seasoned a la minut; because of this, It is more a technique than a recipe. So, without further ado, here is my victorious recipe, feel free to bask in the glow with me.
4-6 Lbs of chicken bones (I used backs and necks here but wings work great.)
3 liters of water (or however much it takes to fill your stock pot and submerge your bones)
1 large stockpot
1 smaller pot (your next largest pot)
Fill the stockpot with the 3 liters of water and place over medium heat. Fill the smaller pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, add the the chicken pieces to the smaller pot allowing them to boil for 3-5 minutes. Depending on the size of your smaller pot you may have to do this in batches. Once the bones have been boiled remove them from the boiling water and drain them well. Next add them to the large stock pot.
Bring the stockpot to a boil and immediately turn down to a bare simmer. Cover and let cook for 5 hours, checking regularly, skimming any skum that might raise to the top and adding more water so as to keep the bones submerged. While you should check on your stock to ensure that the water level is not too low and that the heat has not raised the stock above a simmer, you do not want to stir it frequently, if at all. Doing so will actually make your stock more cloudy and more importantly it will make the flavor muddier. Leave it be and it will reward you. You will know the stock is ready when you can snap the bones easily with your fingers.
Once the stock is ready, place a fine sieve over a bowl large enough to hold your stock. If you do not have a fine sieve you can use a colander lined with a few layers of cheese cloth as I have done here. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to cool over night. Once the fat has solidified you may skim it and transfer the stock to it’s final resting place/vesel. Personally, I like to fill zip top freezer bags and lay them flat in the freezer as it makes it easier to thaw the sauce later on.
If for some reason the fat does not solidify well and you can’t seem to skim it off properly, you may freeze the stock. The fat will rise to the top and the whole thing will freeze, it is then very easy to scrape it off. If you need to use the stock right away I would suggest investing in one of those little fat separaters that look like measuring cups with the spout coming from the bottom. They have worked very well for me in a pinch.
9 February, 2012 § Leave a Comment
When we were much younger my father used to take us frequently to an Argentinian restaurant in Miami, and I think it is here that I learned to love beef. I also learned to love the piquant sauce they put on their meat called Chimichurri. It is a tangy sauce of parsley, garlic, red chili pepper, vinegar and a little olive oil which is much greater than the sum of its parts. In our house we spread it on everything, from fish to beef to bread; it also makes a great pasta sauce should you have some of it left over from a grill session.
This really comes out better if it’s made by hand, I think it has to do with the mouth feel of the rougher, less uniformly chopped parsley, that is why I chose this method for the post; however, I admit I am lazy and most times I just make it in the food processor. That said it is not hard to chop the parsley by hand, it just requires patience and a little practice. More importantly, the lack of a food processor should not be an excuse for not making this dish. If you are going to use the food processor, remove the parsley, garlic and pepers from the processor before adding the liquid and seasoning to taste. Either way it will turn out delicious!
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
3 cloves of garlic
1 red pepper (you can use more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin works best)
1 tsp salt
Chop the parsley very finely, crush and mince the garlic and finely chop the chili. If you are using a food processor you would add the chili and garlic first and whiz up, then add the parsley and pulse it 15-20 times, or until the parsley is at the consistency you see in the picture or finer.
Place the herb mixture in a bowl and add the vinegar, oil and salt. Taste your sauce and adjust the quantities of vinegar, oil and salt until you reach your desired flavor. Sometimes you will need more vinegar or olive oil, it all depends on the potency of your vinegar, the strength of your parsley and how tangy you like your chimichurri. The finished product should be a very thick sauce as pictured above.
4 February, 2012 § 1 Comment
When I was much younger and had crushes on boys who didn’t like me, my mom always consoled me by saying “It is better it didn’t work, he wasn’t Cuban, so he wouldn’t understand why you need a pastelito de guayaba.” She was of course kidding but it did, at least on some level, ring true; I do love those damn pastries!! So when I first took Tom, my midwestern boyfriend, now husband, to Miami and he fell in love with these I saw it as a sign!! He understood why I needed a pastelito de guayaba!! He was the ONE!!!
I have a million memories of summers spent in Miami with my family where my dad would call me into his room and say “Emmy, bring me a pastelito de guayaba from Gilberts” and so I would have to go out and drive to casa del coño to get him one*. I would of course get myself one, and maybe a croquetica, but that’s another post. So of course when Tom and I go to Miami, we drive to Gilberts and get ourselves pastelitos de guayaba. Here in Seattle though, I can’t seem to find them anywhere and Tom gets quite the craving for them; esta tan aplatanado!** I tried making them with guava paste and puff pastry at home and they came out ok. Sadly, try as I might I couldn’t get the glaze on the top that I LOVE on the pastelitos from back home. That was, until I added a teaspoon of sugar to the egg wash. That was the trick and now I make the best damn pastelitos. The puff pastry is flaky and crispy and the interior is gooey and sticky and sweet. I find that the brand of puff pastry doesn’t make as much a difference as does the brand of guava paste, if you can find it, go with Goya.
* Casa del coño is a Miami Cuban saying that means “very far away”
** Estar aplatanado is another Miami Cuban saying. It translates literally into “to be very bananaed” but means to be a non-Cuban who acts like a Cuban. Usually the saying is that Cuban wives aplatan their husbands. I guess I have succeeded
Guava Paste – about 4 ounces
1 Sheet of store bought puff pastry (here I am using Trader Joes brand)
1 Tsp sugar
Pre-heat oven to 400F
Crack egg into a little bowl
Add sugar and mix together
Bring puff pastry to room temperature and place on cutting board
Cut pastry in 4 equal squares
Fold over and press pastry together to close. I like to use a fork to make a pretty pattern and ensure a good seal.
Video “How to assemble a Pastelito de Guayaba”:
Apply to face.