Lourdes Castro

Vaca Frita: Crispy Beef
Rating: Unrated
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This recipe for vaca frita ("fried cow") is a close cousin of Cuba's famous ropa vieja, stewed shredded beef in tomato sauce. The beef for vaca frita, however, is marinated in lime, garlic and salt, then seared until crispy. The key to achieving the perfect texture is to cook the beef in small batches, so it sautés rather than steams.Plus: F&W's Beef Cooking Guide More Beef Recipes
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Tostones: Savory Plantains
Rating: Unrated
New!
Lourdes Castro teaches students how to fry plantains for perfect tostones. Latin American Recipes
Sparkling Mojito
Rating: Unrated
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The mojito may be Cuba's national cocktail. The drink gets its name from the African word mojo, which means "to cast a spell." Making mojitos in a pitcher doesn't work—it's impossible to distribute the lime and mint evenly, plus the club soda tends to turn flat. Instead, muddle a large batch of mint, limes and sugar, then pour the mixture into glasses and top with ice, rum and club soda. More Rum Drinks
Natilla (Creamy Egg Custard)
Rating: Unrated
4817
A direct descendant of the Spanish crema catalana, natilla is a rich, creamy egg custard made without the crispy sugar topping. It's sweet, thick, comforting and perfect for entertaining, because it can be prepared ahead. Be careful when adding eggs to the warm milk mixture; if you combine them too quickly you can wind up scrambling the eggs. To prevent that, add the milk mixture to the eggs very slowly in order to increase their temperature gradually.
Maduros: Sweet Plantains
Rating: Unrated
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When plantains turn dark brown, it means they are superripe and ready to be turned into maduros. Cubans slice and fry them to create this sweet, sticky side dish. Lourdes Castro recommends rolling the unpeeled plantains on the counter to soften the flesh, producing a more tender maduro. Fast and Easy Ethnic Recipes
Café Cubano
Rating: Unrated
1
No Cuban meal is complete without a café cubano (Cuban coffee). A well-made café cubano has a thick layer of sweet crema (cream) floating over strong espresso. To get the crema right, whisk about 1 tablespoon of the espresso with sugar until it turns foamy, then pour the pot of espresso over it. Lourdes Castro says you can't overbeat a crema, so stir it energetically.
Avocado-and-Onion Salad
Rating: Unrated
New!
Since people in Cuba don't usually have ready access to salad greens, Lourdes Castro says, many will start a meal with this simple avocado salad instead. Cubans tend to use Florida avocados, which are widely available in the Caribbean; they're larger and smoother than Hass avocados, stay bright green when ripe and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. More Healthy Recipes
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Arroz Blanco: White Rice
Rating: Unrated
1
Cuban rice is made rich by cooking rice with water in garlicky olive oil. If you are short on stovetop space, Lourdes Castro recommends finishing the rice in the oven. Bring the rice to a boil, place the covered pot in a 350° oven and cook for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve. More Quick Side Dishes Fast and Easy Ethnic Recipes
Avocado-and-Onion Salad
Rating: Unrated
New!
Since people in Cuba don't usually have ready access to salad greens, Lourdes Castro says, many will start a meal with this simple avocado salad instead. Cubans tend to use Florida avocados, which are widely available in the Caribbean; they're larger and smoother than Hass avocados, stay bright green when ripe and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. More Healthy Recipes
Arroz Blanco: White Rice
Rating: Unrated
1
Cuban rice is made rich by cooking rice with water in garlicky olive oil. If you are short on stovetop space, Lourdes Castro recommends finishing the rice in the oven. Bring the rice to a boil, place the covered pot in a 350° oven and cook for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve. More Quick Side Dishes Fast and Easy Ethnic Recipes