I realized it's been a while since I posted. Mike and I have both been sick ... AGAIN! This cold/flu we got at Thanksgiving has just hung on!
Our 3 year anniversary was December 22 - Saturday. We met online, but met for the first time in person three years ago! We met for dinner at Rasta Pasta, and we planned to go have dinner there again. But, we were sick, so we didn't get to! Blah! (We didn't get to go last year either because we were snowed in!) But, we celebrated anyway by getting Chinese takeout. Mike bought me a really great necklace. I've never seen anything quite like it! Moon phases in beads! Perfect! I bought him a bottle of scotch - he's going to exchange it for a type he likes better. I so cannot remember all the intricacies of scotch!
We were supposed to go to his family Christmas get together on Sunday, the 23rd, but couldn't do that either. I was MAD! We missed Thanksgiving too - sheesh! Oh, well. Nothing we could do about it. We'll get together with his dad and step-mom maybe this weekend.We opened our presents very early on Christmas day. I think we both liked what we got each other! Mike did great picking out some beautiful jewelry for me. Two pendants - very different from each other. I will get good pictures to post. The ones I took quick this morning didn't turn out well at all. He also got me season 3 of Project Runway on DVD! Yay! :) My stocking stuffers were all kinds of crazy gadgets that he found at ThinkGeek.com. We had fun playing with them. I got him a Jellyfish tank and the game Oblivion - which he proceeded to play all day! The cats liked the wrapping paper!
Luckily, I did my grocery shopping and Christmas shopping before getting really sick again. I had all my ingredients to make special foods for us for Christmas day. We had planned to just stay home that day! I'm glad we did - it snowed most of the day! We got about 2 inches total. It was really pretty, but I'm glad we didn't have to drive anywhere! I made the breakfast casserole for us that I did on Thanksgiving. Then for lunch (wound up being late in the afternoon!) I made Cuban food! Yummy!! The first step is making sofrito sauce - which is then the base in the Ropa Vieja. Here is the sofrito in process. (Look how Christmas-y it is!)
Sofrito Sauce recipe:
courtesy of Sonia Martinez
Sofrito is the base of many typically Cuban recipes. My mom used to chop up all the ingredients (except bay leaf) in a blender and store in a jar with a drizzle of olive oil on top. Stored in refrigerator, it can last about a week. (I blend it and use about half for my ropa vieja - and freeze the rest.) She would spoon out amounts needed for each recipe, add the bay leaf and then sauté and simmer as directed. The secret to a good sofrito is to let it simmer a while so all the tastes meld.
21 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
8 to 10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 or 2 bay leaves
touch of ground cumin
touch of dried oregano
3/4 cup Sherry, or to taste
4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste (optional)
Sautee tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin and oregano in oil slowly until all vegetables are limp. Add Sherry and let simmer. If you add the salt, taste beforehand as you might not need it at all. Blend it all together to make a sauce.
Ropa Vieja Recipe:
2 1/2 lbs flank steak, cut in strips
5 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic or 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
6 ounces sofrito sauce (I use about 3 times this much!)
Heat 3 tbsp. oil in skillet on medium, brown meat on all sides. Remove from skillet, add remaining oil to skillet, stir in garlic, onion and green pepper and cook until translucent. Stir in black pepper, browned meat, tomato sauce, water and sofrito. Simmer until meat is tender and shreds easily, about 1 hour (takes more than an hour for me). Serve on top of rice.