[Homestead] Stardreck coffee, Cuban Cuisine

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Tue Sep 28 18:50:41 EDT 2004


Cuban Cafecita is worth drinking---used to cost me a quarter, not the 
couple dollars for Stardreck--er-h-h Starbucks. Cafecita is a blast from 
the past, , a hot,eyeball-rolling concoction guaranteed to remove all 
the rust from your digestive system, possibly stomach lining along with 
it. Little cup of what Italians would call double-expresso, about half 
sugar, served still boiling. The Cuban miracle-worker is not confined to 
breakfast however, you drink it mid-morning and mid-afternoon too as a 
minimum. Ah-h-h, this kind of coffee and following kind of food I found 
in the Caribbean as a young man. No mention here of Haitian pwa rouge 
avec diri though---a terrible oversight, loved it and practically lived 
on it along with a fifty cent serving of goat stew that was my usual 
noon meal 
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lihait143002416nov14,0,2343240.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines

Last update: September 28, 2004 at 8:14 AM


  Java jolt will soon cost more at Starbucks

Associated Press
September 28, 2004 STARBUCKS0929

	

SEATTLE -- You'll soon be forking up an extra dime and a penny for a 
gentrified java.

Starbucks Corp. said it would raise the average price of its beverages 
by 11 cents at 4,500 stores in North America because of increases in the 
cost of coffee and sugar.

In its announcement Monday, the company did not reveal what the average 
price of individual beverages would be after the increase Oct. 6. 
Currently, a 12-ounce Starbucks latte ranges from $2.25 in Minnesota to 
$3 in New York City.

The price hike - the first since August 2000 - will amount to an 
estimated 3 percent for all the company's drinks, Smith Barney analyst 
Mark Kalinowski said.

The company had announced previously that it would raise prices by the 
end of the year, saying coffee prices have risen 36 percent and sugar 
prices 39 percent in the past year.

McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Dan Geiman said he did not think the 
increase will hurt business: ``It's 11 cents,'' he said. ``That's not a 
huge amount when you're already paying a few dollars-plus for your 
beverage.''

The higher prices do not apply at Seattle's Best Coffee, a smaller chain 
owned by Starbucks, company spokesman Alan Hilowitz said.


*A Cuban excursion*

By Jan Norris, /Palm Beach Post Food Editor/
February 7, 2002

Aren't we the lucky diners! With so many cultures calling South Florida 
home, we get the pick of the international table.

And no group is more prominent One prominent group in our area is the 
Cubans, who've brought South Florida a tasty and economical cuisine.

Cuba and Florida are a good food match - we share the same fruits and 
vegetables, and follow the same growing seasons, yet the cooking 
differences make for an exciting change of pace.

The Cuban meal day starts with morning coffee. Served straight, this 
strong brew - a European-inspired double espresso - is called cafe 
Cubano. If it's heavily dosed with sugar and drunk from a tiny cup, it's 
cafecita.

Those who prefer a lighter brew drink cafe con leche, which has steamed, 
foamy milk added to the espresso. The drink was popular in Spain long 
before the latte of France, which has become so popular in the United 
States.

Coffee-drinking and socializing are an important part of Cuban life; you 
can see it 24 hours a day at the take-out window of Havana restaurant in 
West Palm Beach. Late-nighters and early-morning workers get coffee and 
a pastry at the window while catching up on community news.

Lard used to make bread

A toasted, buttered slice of Cuban bread might serve as breakfast to go 
for some. The long loaves (usually 24 inches) have a thin crust and a 
soft, bland center. Lard is traditionally used as the fat in the bread - 
another European culinary trait.

Cuban bakers adapted French bread to their style of ovens, but instead 
of injecting steam to form the crust, they used a palm frond atop the 
loaf to keep it moist. Today, a wet string or cloth serves the same 
purpose.

Bakers at Tulipan Bakery in West Palm Beach use 500 pounds of flour a 
day to make the Cuban bread that is sold to restaurants across the county.

At the bakery, the bread also is cut into 8-inch lengths for the Cuban 
version of the hoagie - the traditional Cuban sandwich. Marinated roast 
pork, baked ham and Swiss cheese are layered on the bread and smeared 
with olive oil or butter. Then the sandwich is put on a press that 
flattens the bread and melts the cheese.

A midnight snack version of the sandwich, appropriately named medianoche 
(midnight), is made on a sweet dinner-style roll. Garlic mayonnaise 
gives it a special kick.

Instead of being served with potato chips, Cuban sandwiches generally 
come with small bags of yuca or plantain chips.

Yuca (cassava, or manioc) is a starchy root that's served the way 
Americans cook potatoes. It's peeled, cut and boiled and dressed with 
sauteed onions and garlic seasoning to accompany meats at dinner, or cut 
into long strips and fried to make yuca chips.

An appetizer version of yuca is on the menu at Don Ramon's, a popular 
Cuban restaurant with several locations in the area.

There, fried yuca is drizzled with garlicky mojo, a mixture of spices, 
garlic and sour citrus juices that's used as a marinade and a sauce. 
Some Cuban cooks make their own, much like Indians might make their own 
curries, but mojo is available at most groceries and markets that carry 
Cuban foods.

Sedano's grocery store in Lake Worth carries mojo, as well as yuca, 
plantains and most other Cuban groceries.

At a traditional lunch or dinner, Cubans prefer a more American- style 
plate: meat, rice and beans, and a vegetable. Pork and beef are 
favorites; a lechon asada, or roasted suckling pig, makes for a 
celebration dinner, and firepits to do the cooking are common in Cuban 
back yards.

As in many cultures, meat is seldom the main focus of a Cuban meal, but 
simply an accent to the other foods served.

Fried chunks of pork (no breading), shredded beef known as ropa vieja 
("old rags"), or a spicy ground-meat casserole called picadillo might be 
served as a small portion with side dishes.

Arroz con pollo, a seasoned chicken-on-the-bone and rice mix is popular 
for lunch, which is the day's main meal for older Cubans, who keep to 
the island's schedule of a heavy lunch and light, late supper.

Cuban cafeterias offer plated foods to take home as well as eat in the 
restaurants, and they are often among the best food bargains found 
anywhere. You can usually get an entire meal in the $6-$8 range, 
including a generous portion of beans and rice.

Cuba's 'national dish'

This ubiquitous side dish is often jokingly referred to as the "national 
dish" of Cuba.

Rice is served two ways - steamed white, or yellow. Yellow rice is of 
Spanish import, and originally it was flavored with saffron. The expense 
of the rare spice has caused many companies to use only a hint of 
saffron, and rely primarily on achiote, a seed, for the yellow coloring.

The beans served with it are generally black or red beans, though a wide 
variety of dried legumes are found in Cuba's cuisines. Black beans and 
white rice are sometimes listed as moros on the menu - short for "Moors 
and Christians," referring to the color of the food.

A soupy version of the beans might be served in a cup. These are 
typically topped with chopped onions and culantro, a Latin American herb 
related to the cilantro that grows readily here.

Baked or fried plantains offer a sweet complement to the salty fried 
foods of the main meal. Cubans eat a great deal of fruit in all forms; 
the starchy plantain (a banana relative) is cooked before eating.

Green plantains are cut into rounds, flattened in a press and fried 
twice. The starchy crisps are called tostones. Ripe plantains are 
peeled, baked with brown sugar and butter, and served as maduros.

While plantains are a mainstay on restaurant menus, other tropical 
fruits are eaten as snacks or in desserts or drinks.

Guava, a perfumey fruit, is one of several tropical fruits that home 
cooks and bakers use. They're also cooked before eating; the shells of 
the round fruits are poached in a sugar syrup as a sweet treat. You can 
taste these fruits in a guava-paste cream-cheese pastry that's renowned 
at the Tulipan.

The Cubans are big on sugar - cane sugar, in particular. For decades, 
Cuba was one of the largest sugar producers in the world, and residents 
often keep their own patch of cane to use in their kitchens.

While rum is the best-known drink made from cane sugar, there's a 
peculiar drink, guarapo, made from freshly squeezed cane juice that has 
as many fans as detractors.

To make it, a small stalk of green sugar cane is pressed through an 
extractor, producing a greenish liquid that's usually served immediately 
over ice with a squeeze of lemon juice - this prevents it from turning 
brown. The taste is more herbal than sugary.

You can see the press in action at the Tulipan or the Tropical Bakery in 
West Palm Beach; or you can buy canned or bottled guarapo at Cuban markets.

While fresh fruit or fruit with a sugar syrup is served for an everyday 
dessert, ultra-sugary cakes and puddings come to the table for special 
occasions.

'Three-milks cake'

At restaurants and bakeries around South Florida, you might encounter 
tres leches, or three-milks cake. It's a yellow sponge cake soaked with 
a mix of sweetened regular milk, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated 
milk; the cake is frosted all around with sweetened whipped cream.

Flan, an import from Europe, is a baked caramel cream - a cousin to the 
more delicate French creme caramel. The difference also is in the 
caramel: Cubans serve theirs as a syrup, while the French crisp theirs 
atop the dish.

Coffee finishes a Cuban meal in most homes and restaurants, though in 
some homes, a glass of sherry is then offered, more as a digestif than 
an alcoholic beverage.

jan_norris at pbpost.com

Here are recipes to try at home for a taste of Cuban foods.

Picadillo meat pies (Empanadas de picadillo)

For the dough:

1 envelope fast-rising yeast

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk

1 large egg, slightly beaten

1 egg yolk

1/3 cup sour cream

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted and cooled

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal

Pinch salt

For the filling:

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 jalapeno peppers, (drained if canned) finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped white onion

1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of allspice

1 pound ground round of beef

1/3 can (2 ounces) tomato paste

1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes with their juice

1/4 cup seedless raisins (optional)

1/2 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed manzanilla olives

1/4 cup chopped black olives

1 tablespoon small capers, drained and crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 egg, slightly beaten

To prepare the dough, dissolve the yeast with sugar and 1/4 cup lukewarm 
milk in a large mixing bowl for about 5 minutes. Beat in remaining milk, 
egg, egg yolk, sour cream, and butter.

Add 2 cups of the flour, the cornmeal and salt. With the dough hook of a 
mixer, or by hand if necessary, beat mixture until it forms a ball, then 
knead on a floured board until smooth. Add as much of the remaining 1/2 
cup flour as needed to make a smooth and elastic dough; this kneading 
usually takes bout 6 minutes. Form into a large ball, transfer dough to 
a large oiled bowl and turn to coat well with oil. Cover bowl with 
plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or 
longer if you are using regular yeast.

To prepare the picadillo filling, heat a large skillet or saute pan and 
add the oil. When it begins to smell fragrant, add garlic, jalapeno, 
onion bell pepper, cumin, oregano, cinnamon and allspice and cook over 
low heat until onion is translucent. Add ground beef and cook over high 
heat, breaking any large lumps into small pieces. Cook thoroughly. Add 
tomato paste, canned tomatoes, raisins, green and black olives, capers 
and salt.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until mixture is thickened. Drain off 
excess fat.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Divide the dough into 12 balls and roll each to 1/8-inch thickness. 
Press each with a 6-inch cutter to make an even circle. With a spoon, 
place about 1/4 cup of the filling onto the bottom of dough rounds. Fold 
in half, carefully enclosing the filling. Seal and crimp edges with the 
tines of a fork.

Brush beaten egg atop each dough round. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in 
preheated oven or until golden brown.

Transfer to a rack and allow to cool.

Makes 12 empanadas.

To make a guava pastry using the empanada dough, use the following 
filling, and prepare the dough and bake as above.

Guava paste and queso blanco filling for empanadas

Empanada dough (see above), divided into 40 small rounds

5 ounces guava paste

(see note)

2 to 3 ounces queso blanco or cream cheese (see note)

Cut the guava paste into 40 small pieces. Do the same with the cheese. 
Place 1 piece each of guava paste and cheese on each empanada dough 
round; seal and crimp as directed above. Bake as directed.

Makes 40 pastries.

Note: Use the guava paste that is jelly-like, sold in tins, in Cuban 
stores rather than the more firm guava paste sold in grocery stores. 
Queso blanco is a semi-soft white cheese common in most grocery stores 
in South Florida. Cream cheese or neufchatel are acceptable substitutes.

Above recipes from Miami Spice by Steven Raichlen, Workman, 1993.

Moros y Cristianos (black beans and rice)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 4-ounce jar red pimientos, drained, chopped

8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 cups cooked black beans (or use rinsed, canned beans)

4 cups chicken stock or defatted chicken broth

3 cups long-grain rice

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or culantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt, to taste

Heat a large pot and olive oil. Prepare a sofrito by adding the green 
and white onion, green pepper, pimientos and garlic. Saute about 5 
minutes. Add beans and mix well.

Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then add rice, salt, oregano, and 
cumin. Cover the pan with a sheet of wax paper, then with a sheet of 
paper towels and finally the lid.

Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes or until rice is tender but 
still moist. Five minutes before serving, add cilantro or culantro, and 
olive oil.

Add salt to taste and serve steaming hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 From Cuba Cocina! by Joyce LaFray, Hearst Books, 1994.

Mojo

1/3 cup olive oil

6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced

2/3 cup fresh sour orange juice or lime juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic 
and cook until fragrant and lightly toasted but not brown, about 30 
seconds.

Add the sour orange juice, cumin and salt and pepper. Take care, as the 
sauce may sputter. Bring the sauce to a rolling boil. Adjust seasonings 
to taste.

Cool before serving. Mojo tastes best when served within a couple of 
hours of making it, but it will keep for several days, covered in the 
refrigerator. Serve as a table sauce, or on Cuban sandwiches, boiled 
yuca, seafood or meats or use as a marinade for pork and seafoods.

Makes 1 cup.

Note: You can buy already prepared mojo at most grocery stores and in 
Latin markets.

Though Nicaraguan in origin, tres leches (three-milks cake) has been 
adopted by most Hispanic restaurants and bakeries.

Tres leches (three-milks cake)

For the cake:

1 cup sugar

5 large eggs

1/3 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the milk syrup:

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon light rum

Meringue:

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.

Prepare the cake: Beat 3/4 cup of the sugar and the egg yolks until 
light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the milk, vanilla, flour and 
baking powder.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the cream of tartar after 20 
seconds. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating 
until the whites are glossy and firm, but not dry. Gently fold the 
whites into the yolk mixture. Pour this batter into the buttered baking 
dish.

Bake the cake until it feels firm and an inserted toothpick comes out 
clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. 
Unmold the cake onto a large, deep platter. Pierce the cake all over 
with a fork.

Prepare the milk syrup: Combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed 
milk, cream, vanilla, and rum in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well mixed. 
Pour the syrup over the cake, spooning the overflow back on top until 
all is absorbed.

Prepare the meringue: Please 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar in 
a heavy saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook over high heat, for 
2 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook the sugar to the soft ball stage, 
239 degrees on a candy thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites to soft peaks with the cream of tartar. 
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating to stiff 
peaks. Pour the boiling sugar syrup in a thin stream into the whites and 
continue beating until the mixture is cool to the touch. The hot syrup 
"cooks" the whites.

Using a wet spatula, spread the top and sides of the cake with a thick 
layer of the meringue. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before 
serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Above recipes from Miami Spice by Steven Raichlen, Workman, 1993.

Fresh parsleyed yuca

3 to 4 pounds yuca, peeled, fibers removed, cut into 3-inch strips about 
1 inch wide

2 to 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Place yuca in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Add a 
little cold water and continue to cook about 35 minutes, or until tender.

If the water begins to boil, add a little salt and more cold water each 
time to keep it at a simmer. Be careful not to overcook or to undercook, 
as texture is important. Remove, drain and add butter, parsley and fresh 
lime juice.

Serve steaming hot.

Makes 4 servings.

 From Cuba Cocina! by Joyce LaFray, Hearst Books, 1994.

Where to get Cuban food

If you can't be invited to a Cuban home for a meal, you can taste the 
foods or buy them to cook in several restaurants and markets around 
South Florida.

Here's a brief guide to some of them:

The Tropical Bakery 4000 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach

This is both bakery and cafeteria, and catering is available. Try the 
ham croquettes, little tamales that are used as appetizers, or empanadas 
(meat pastries) filled with picadillo -a spicy ground meat mix. Tres 
leches, decorated cakes for special occasions and flan are also available.

El Colonial restaurant

1017 N. Federal Highway, Lake Park (also at 351 S. U.S. 1, Jupiter)

Open for lunch and dinner (with a special early-bird dinner). Full Cuban 
menu, including beer and wine. Currazco steak, boliche (pot roast), 
shrimp on the grill, chicken chunks and Cuban sandwiches are some of the 
menu items. Desserts include tres leches, flan and rice pudding.

Don Ramon's restaurant

7101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach (also at 502 S. Military Trail, 
West Palm Beach; 9220 Alt. A1A, Palm Beach Gardens; 6230-10 Indiantown 
Road, Jupiter; 2220 S.E. Ocean Blvd., Stuart)

Full menu for lunch and dinner, with appetizers including yuca chips and 
mojo, palomilla (pounded steak), ropa vieja, lechon asada (roast pork). 
Full bar; and live band entertains on weekends.

Havana restaurant 6803 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Takeout window open 24 hours for coffee and cold foods, including Cuban 
sandwiches and pastries, at this full-service restaurant. Cuban menu 
featured inside for lunch and dinner; full bar; live band some evenings.

Sedano's Grocery 2505 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth

Sedano's is a regular grocery store with a focus on Latin foods, 
including a large produce section, meat market and deli department where 
hot plated foods are on the steam tables.

Tulipan Bakery

704 Belvedere Road,

West Palm Beach

There are a couple of tables, but takeout is more popular. A variety of 
pastries, cakes, sandwiches and drinks, including guarapo, is available.

Sample Cuban foods at these other markets and restaurants:

Padrino's Restaurant, 20455 S.R. 7, Boca Raton

Zeida's Restaurant, 1756 S. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach

Rincon Cubano Ristorante, 3516 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Julio's Cafe, 2441 10th Ave N., Lake Worth

Pan American Grocery, 5509 Broadway, West Palm Beach

Union Bakery, 2111 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth

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