1.25.2018

Converting Cuban Ropa Vieja to Instant Pot or Crock Pot

Ingredients
1 flank steak
1 large yellow onion, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned (if you have red bell pepper, or prefer red, that’s fine)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 small can tomato sauce (the really little ones)
2 tbs tomato paste (if you only have kind of tomato – sauce or paste – you can always make do; I just think adding a little paste makes it richer)
1 tsp Powdered Cumin
1 tsp Powdered oregano
Optional garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic on hand
½ c cheap dry white cooking sherry (I buy the cheap $1.99 Goya brand in the Hispanic aisle, but any other dry sherry is fine)
Olive oil
Lemon juice 

1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Optional green olives stuffed with red pimentos 

Marinate your flank steak in a little lemon juice, salt and pepper (1/2 hour to overnight)


For Crock Pot

  • Drizzle olive oil to just cover the bottom of a crock pot and drop in the marinated flank steak
  • Drop in onion / peppers / garlic and arrange around the steak
  • Sprinkle spices over everything.  If you did not have fresh garlic, add about 1 tsp of powdered garlic. Add the bay leaf.
  • Pour tomato sauce and tomato paste on top of the steak and veggies. 
  • Pour cooking sherry in.
  • If you like green olives, throw in a handful.  If you don't like a lot of salt, put in half the salt now and add some more later if it needs it.  Otherwise, throw in the salt too.
  • Close up the crockpot and put on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. If you happen to be home, I like to mix around the sauce and veggies around halfway through.
  • To serve, cut the steak down the middle length-wise, then shred the beef.  Mix into the veggies and sauce. Serve alone or over rice or quinoa


For Instant Pot

  • Cover the bottom of the IP with olive oil and turn to saute on the Medium setting.  
  • When it's hot, drop in the onion and bell pepper.  Saute until soft and put in the minced garlic. (For IP, make sure nothing is "stuck" to the bottom)
  • Pour in dry wine/cooking sherry and mix in with sauteed veggies.
  • Sprinkle spices over everything.  If you did not have fresh garlic, add about 1 tsp of powdered garlic. Add the bay leaf.
  • Drop the marinated flank steak on top of the onion / peppers / garlic.  If you steak is too long, you can cut and layer it.
  • Pour tomato sauce and tomato paste on top of the steak and veggies.  Stir it around a little. 
  • If you like green olives, throw in a handful.  If you don't like a lot of salt, put in half the salt now and add some more later if it needs it.  Otherwise, throw in the salt too.
  • Close up the IP and make sure the pressure valve is open.
  • Turn to Slow Cooker setting.  Set temperature to high and set for approx 4-5 hours.  If you want to leave it overnight, try 7-8 on Medium.
  • To serve, take the meat out on a cutting board, cut down the middle length-wise, then shred and put back into the veggies and sauce. Mix thoroughly.  
  • Serve alone or over rice or quinoa





2.23.2011

2011-02-23 Chocolate Cake Pops

Weeeeeellllll....I said I would try to do something in chocolate that I've never tried before, and I'm not sure I'm going to repeat this one, but it was interesting to try!

For February's cooking challenge, the theme was to make something unusual or different from anything you've ever made with chocolate. So, I decided to make Cake Pops.

Cake Pops have largely been made "famous" by a cooking blogger and writer called Bakerella. If you go to her site and compare my efforts with her masterpieces, you may slightly pee while laughing at my Pops. So maybe you should take a bathroom break, and come back to me....OK, ready now?

Good. I don't want to be blamed for you ruining your undies.

So, first, I made the balls. Balls are made by baking a chocolate cake and crumbling it into a bowl. You mix the crumbed cake with a can of cream cheese frosting. Using a melon-baller or cookie scoop, make -- oh, I don't know -- about 50 balls.
Cake Balls

But you cannot eat these balls yet. Because they're naked. And no one likes naked balls. First you must freeze them for several hours (or over night) to get your balls firm. (Yes, I am enjoying all the ball double-entendres!) PS, I decided to keep about half the balls frozen to be candied at another time.

Now after several hours you have firm, frozen balls. Melt some "candy melts" in your color of choice. I chose red, because we all know that, universally speaking, red is the best color. I dipped them and rolled them around in the bowl using a spoon to facilitate the smothering process. I stuck a stick in each one. It was messy, but I lined them all up in a row on wax paper.
Cake Pops on Parade

I wrapped up my little red balls and brought them to a get-together, where they were gobbled up.
Eating a Cake Pop

My Pops don't look perfect, but they tasted good.

Out of 5, I give it 4 for taste and 5 for degree of difficulty. Dipping your balls is the hardest part...

Oh, I give up! I don't have any other ball jokes! Except this: Make and eat these Balls!

2.11.2011

2011-02-11 Chocolate Weekend

I've got a big weekend of chocolate cooking coming up...this month's theme is to do something new with chocolate. I've several ideas floating around...I've never made mousse or souffle, or actual candy. I'm also thinking of doing something which requires piped chocolate, too. I'm going to narrow it down today, and run out for supplies this weekend. I know I'm going to buy a set of piping tips, for sure, and I might take a run at something I can make and hand out at a meeting I have on Tuesday. We'll see.

In other cooking news, a friend of mine had a catering company that she is shutting down, and she had a liquidation sale, so I toddled down there last weekend and got myself some new "presentation dishes." Pretty, eh?
IMG_2950

I'm looking forward to displaying my wares pretty soon, but for now, the challenge is making room in storage for these new plates. Booooo.

This weekend is also going to be a "theah-tah" weekend. I'll be seeing West Side Story on Sunday night, with a few friends. A do love a musical! Can't wait for the fun to begin! C'mon, 5 o'clock!