Joined Aug 11, 2000
Ok, I got called on to do a last minute Cuban buffet for heads of a univeristy dept.
I was told....slabs of white fish with tomato, onion, garlic and some spice
black beans and rice
rolls butter

OK....Well budget is medium.
Cod with tomatoes, onions, garlic, red bell peppers, orange zest and a pinch of cayene with peppers and hot sauce on the side.

black beans.....what herbs/spices work for Cuban? this is my sticking point. I would normally do loads of bay leaves, thyme, pinch of rosemary, tons of garlic some onions and make it sorta soupy like red beans and rice.

Rice... I have many varieties will probably use Stansils fragrant Louisiana rice and red leaf with grapefruit, avacados, red onions and a mango or lime dressing....

rolls...we don't have cuban there sorta a sub? if not I'll go with ciabatta the roll of choice.

Dessert....coconut flan (I'll use coconut milk instead of some cream) tropical fruit salad (pineapple, mango, kiwi shtuff) around the base with large toasted coconut as garnish.

So my adulterated menu...(Fusion sorta, or just Julie food)

My question is: what would you make at this time of year, what hot sauces/peppers are cuban, what spices/herbs in the pork in case there are veg. guys...Thanks.
Joined Dec 1, 2002
For Cuban you should make yellow rice (Saffron). You won't need much just do it for the color. For the beans I saw a cuban use some kinda pepper but cant remember. I like to add diced onion, garlic, cumin, and ketchup. I think that the ketchup works well for two reasons. Its more complex than paste. second the sugar and acid allows the beans to maintain thier shape and not break down (in theory), like baked beans you use sugar and acid. Finish them with Espazote, if available. If not Oregano works well. The pepper thing I saw was a few whole peppers cooked with the beans then removed. A great garnish for the fish would be Tostones. Twice fried plantains. I have seen the cod served in plantain boats before. Just cut green plantains about 1" fry then smash flat and fry again. A garlic aoli w/ pepper sauce is great to dip them in. Probably something you know, but dont salt the beans until they are almost done they will take longer and never be quite the right consistency.
Joined Apr 26, 2001
A very frequently seen Cuban dish of rice and black beans is called "Moros," short for "Moros y Cristianos" (moors & christians). I don't make it often, so don't have a ready recipe, but below is one I found by doing a Google search. It reads about like ones I have done.

Also, while saffron is supposed to be used for yellow rice, a lot of the yellow rice I've had is actually colored with turmeric to save money. I found a yellow rice recipe on the Food TV website, also through Google and also below. It's been tarted up a bit from what I remember seeing in Cuban restaurants (they don't use the sliced scallions or pinch of cinnamon, as far as I remember), but could do if you don't find anything more accurate.

Another dish that often appears on a plate with moros is yucca, I think pan fried. I remember sitting in a Cuban restaurant in Miami (the Latin American Cafe) one night, listening to people come in and order "X (whatever the meat dish they wanted), moros, yucca," almost as if it was all one word.

Hope these help:

Moros (black beans and rice)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 C cooked black beans
1 C chicken stock
1 C rice
2 C water

Prepare the beans the night before according to the package directions.
Cook the onion, garlic, and green pepper in the oil until wilted. Add tomatoes, beans, and chicken stock. Simmer, stirring frequently, until heated through. Add raw rice and water. Cover. Cook on low about 20 minutes until rice is tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yellow Rice (Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002)

3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cinnamon
3 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups long grain or basmati rice
2 tablespoons sliced scallions

In a medium saucepan, heat the turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon over low heat until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add the water, salt, and butter and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Cover and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook, covered, without stirring until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add scallions, and serve.
Joined Jul 18, 2002
If you go to any respectable Cuban joint in Florida, Tampa and Miami in particular a great thing to order is Cuban Black Beans. Here is my tried and true rendition

Sautee on very high heat in olive oil, quartered or eighth chunks of white onion and sweet red pepper cut into fat strips (6--8 pieces per pepper). Slightly char them (psuedo grill) and place in cuisinart with balsamic vinegar. Puree to coarse texture but make a sauce.

Cook Beans using quick soak method, the boil with a load of dried oregano and basil, some hot sauce, water from quick soak and a few onions roughly chopped into 1/4. Cook until almost tender, then add salt and pepper. finish cooking, take out big pieces of onion, and mix with red pepper sauce and serve either ontop of the white, basmati or brown rice (depending on clientele) You can also mix up with rice. To finish do a fine dice (size of beans) of red onion and red sweet pepper and mix into beans for more color, taste and crunch.

Can be done ahead of time and reheated with fresh rice. Pretty, delicious and it simulates the Cubano Black Beans...
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Beans have been cooking from 6:30 this am....I sauteed red pepper and onions added cumin, thyme and loads of bay leaves
then added soaked beans, garlic slices and water. Cooked for 1.5 hours and tasted...not great, added ketchup and worked....loved what the ketchup did to the beans. thanks for your help!!

Got the coconut flan done, went with a creative adaption and hope it comes out firmly and cleanly onto the plate or else the fruit garnish is gonna be on top.

Cod was $10.99 a #, I went with 5# for 12 is 80 years old....the fish is really messing with food costs. I coulda done frozen for $3#....that is a huge descrepancy.....gotta look into other fish sources. I'm deciding whether to share my oven roasted frozen local San Marzano tomatoes with this group...

I just used my ancient saffron for an African meal.....think I have turmeric....really kinda surprised to see cinnamon in Cuba rice.

So, if the grapefruit is not toooo sour and the avacados are not toooo hard the salad should be great. I've got Consorzio mango viniagrette and that seems tropical.

Picked up habaneros, seranos and jalepinos....will slice and put out with some hot sauces, leaving the food mild.
Joined Dec 1, 2002
If you avocados are hard. You can do two things. One is to put them in a paper bag with a few apples or bananas, but would not work fast enough for the day of the party. Second is to slowly nuke em in the old nuke box. Do it in stage so them don't cook. Its not a good thing to do, but if they are hard it works.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Everything was great....and ripe thanks for the tidbits though.
I've recreated the menu 3 times since and am altering it for a lunch next Tues.....
black beans salad
green salad with grapefruit, avacado, red onions and mango dressing
chicken with tomato sauce
icebox cookies
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