COOKING CUBAN FOOD
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
The Cuban Kitchen
(Alfred A. Knopf)
ISBN US 978-0375711961 0375711961
ISBN Canada 978-0307595430 0307595439
Are you looking for an authentic Cuban recipe or instructions on how to make a Cuba libre cocktail? You will find 500 food and drink recipes in this cookbook, along with a big helping of culture and traditions.
The best Cuban food is usually made with family recipes. The Cuban Kitchen has recipes for Cuban sandwiches, coffee and even a beef and potato stew (carne con papas).
The 432-page cookbook is organized by type of cooking (e.g., pressure cooker) and by ingredients (e.g., plantains). Each of the authentic recipes has an English name, translated from Spanish, e.g., pan con bistec is Cuban steak sandwich.
Raquel Rabade Roque introduces some recipes with serving suggestions. For example, she suggests serving her sweet plantain omelette with Cuban bread and a cortadito (75% Cuban coffee mixed with 25% milk).
She introduces other recipes with explanations of Cuban cuisine, such as mojo (Cuban garlic-citrus sauce), which is very different from mojitos (cocktails made with spearmint leaves and white rum).
How to cook Cuban food
Besides instructions, Raquel Roque includes several Secrets of a Cuban Cook sidebars. Her tips range from how to crack a coconut to how to smoke pork Cuban-style.
In addition to cover photos of Cuban foods and drinks by Sabra Krock, the cookbook is illustrated with sepia images of Raquel Rabade Roque's family and Cuban scenes.
Where to buy ingredients
Many of the recipe ingredients are readily available. When they are not, Raquel Roque provides websites and online sources for Cuban groceries, such as Cuban Food Market.
At other times, she provides substitutes for Cuban ingredients (e.g., use two parts lemon juice to one part orange juice as a substitute for sour or bitter orange juice made from Seville oranges).
Whether you are cooking Cuban food or not, Raquel Roque's cooking tips are very helpful. She tells you, for example, how to tell if an avocado is ripe (shake it and you will hear the pit loose inside).
Sample Cuban recipes
Cuban sangria. Cojimar fish croquettes. Cassava and cheese fritters. Black bean soup at Victor's Cafe. Vegetarian Cuban sandwich. Pressed Cuban ham and pineapple sandwiches. Cuban shrimp wraps. Sweet plantains with rum and coconut sauce. Cuban chicken salad. Breaded Palomilla steak. Picadillo pie. Cuban salsa. Baby back ribs with guava sauce. Puffed pork cracklings. Cuban-style stewed beef jerky. Cafe con leche pound cake. Coconut flan. Mango marmalade. Cuban shortbread cookies. Dulce de leche ice cream.
- Introduction: Cuban cooking lore, history and anecdotes
- Stocking A Cuban Kitchen: Equipment and ingredients
- Classic Cuban Cocktails: More than sugar and rum
- Batidos: Milkshakes and juice drinks the Cuban way
- Appetizers: Croquettes, empanadas and fritters
- Broths, Soups and Creams Cuban Style
- Nutritious Potages
- Cuban Sandwiches, Wraps and Chops
- Dressings, Sauces, Mojos and the famous Sofrito
- Vegetables and Root Vegetables
- Plantains in Many Variations
- Rice goes with Everything
- Pastas Cuban Style
- Cuban Salads
- Cuban Egg Recipes
- Tropical Catch of the Day
- Chicken the Cuban Way
- Veal, Sausage and other Meats
- Cuban Baby Food
- The Cuban Pressure Cooker
- Light Cuban
- Cuban Desserts
- Cuban Ice Creams and Frozen Treats
- Cuban Coffee: Cortadito and More
- Cuban Candies: Old- and new-fashioned
Raquel Rabade Roque grew up in Cuba and now lives in Miami, Florida. The Cuban Kitchen is an updated English version of her Cocina Cubana cookbook.