Friday, December 10, 2021

Ropa Vieja: Classic Cuban Style Shredded Beef

I grew up eating many different types of dishes aside from Italian, and Cuban cuisine is one of my favorites. Ropa Vieja literally means old clothing, probably because the shredded beef resembles old clothing. 

There are many different variations of this recipe with many more ingredients, but I like the one I grew up eating with less ingredients and great flavor. Served over a garlic white rice, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household... enjoy!


For the beef:
Water (fill a pot large enough for the beef chunks)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 pounds chuck or flank beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 stick celery

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green or red pepper, diced or cut in long strips
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1-2 cups tomato sauce or Italian crushed tomato in puree form from a can works fine as well
2-3 bay leaves for taste, then removed when ready to serve
1/2 cup green manzanilla olives (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt/pepper to taste

For the rice:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
2 cups jasmine or long grain white rice
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

let's make it
Beef preparation:

1. Before you begin, rinse the beef in water and cut into a few large chunks.
2. Place the beef in a medium sized pot and fill with water, enough to cover the beef. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 onion, and celery. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook of about 1.5 to 2 hours until beef is soft. Add water occasionally, if it is no longer covering the beef as it cooks.
3. Once it is cooked, place it in a bowl of cool water to cool for about 20 minutes. Once cooled, you can shred the beef and place it aside in a plate.

Ropa Vieja Sauce:

1. In a medium size pot, sauce olive oil, diced onion and garlic. Then add the pepper, tomato sauce, and white wine. Let simmer on low heat, and then add the water when it begins to dry out, stirring as it cooks for about 10 minutes.
2. Once the sauce is boiling, add the shredded beef, olives if you’d like, bay leaves and salt and pepper.
3. Fold the beef into the sauce until it is fully covered. Cook for about 5 more minutes low heat.

Garlic White Rice:

1. Before you begin, take 1 teaspoon of olive oil and oil the medium sized pot you will use for the rice with a paper towel, this prevents the rice from sticking to the pot. Place the pot on low heat and sauce olive oil and chopped garlic.
2. Rinse the rice in water and then place in the pot. Add the water and stir. Add either the lemon juice or vinegar, salt for taste.
3. Bring the rice to boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes pass, remove the cover and cook for another 5 minutes. One cooked, fluff the rice and serve hot.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Alfajores: Caramel Filled Cookies with Coconut Flakes

These cookies are one of my absolute favorites. I first discovered them when I was in high school at an international food festival. Someone brought them in and as soon as I got home, I looked up the recipe.
The gooey, sweet, and creamy caramel and soft cookie on the outside just go so perfectly together.  
They are always a hit whenever I bring them to an event. Buon Appetito!


12 tbsp. butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups corn starch
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
dulce de leche (sweetened condensed milk can)
grated coconut

let's make it

for the dulce de leche filling

1. Fill a small pot with water halfway and place on stove, low heat. 

2. Open up the can of sweetened condensed milk, and place it in the pot filled with water on the stove. 

3. Make sure there is enough water to cover the can, but not to overflow into it. 

4. Leave the can on low heat until the milk becomes dark, thick and creamy. About 1-2 hours.

for the cookies

1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
2. Add the 1 egg, 2 egg yolks, corn starch, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and zest of lemon. 
3. Mix all ingredients together and begin to knead the dough into a ball. 
4. Set aside in the fridge for 20 minutes. 
5. Once the dough has rested, take pieced of it and roll into little balls in the palm of your hands. 
6. Flatten them down onto a greased cookie sheet. 
7. Bake in a preheated 300 degree F oven for about 12 minutes, until golden light brown. 
8. Once the cookies are baked and have cooled, spread the dulce de leche on one cookie and make a sandwich with another cookie. 
9. Press the cookies together so that the dulce de leche comes out in between. Then dip the sides into coconut flakes. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Homemade Gnocchi

I LOVE gnocchi. Every time I go to an Italian restaurant and I see them on the menu... I just have to get them. We've tried many times making them at home, but they never came out pillowy-soft, melt in your mouth, like at certain restaurants. Then we tried making it with this recipe, and well it's a keeper. Buon Appetito!


4 potatoes
3 cups flour
1 egg
a pinch of salt
(some water if needed)
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese

let's make it

1. Boil the potatoes and once cooled, place them through a ricer.
2. Clear and open, free area on a tabletop. Place riced potatoes down on flat area and place in flour, egg, cheese, and salt. Mix it all together and knead (softly) it into a dough ball.
3. Then take a knife, and separate the ball, slicing it into 4-5 sections.
4. Then from each section, knead it into long pieces, rolling in and out. Use a sprinkle of flour if it begins to stick.
5. Cut each long piece into pillow-like cubes.
6. Take a fork and pat it in some flour.
7. Take every single piece of gnocchi and run it softly over the fork to make the ridges.
8. When done with the gnocchi, place them on a flour-dusted surface, so they don’t stick.
9. Bring to boil a large pot of water.
10. Place a few gnocchi into boiling water. Once they begin to rise up to water surface, wait another minute. Then remove them from water.
11. Serve them with your sauce of choice over them.