The elusive Miami “RumCake” Cuban Birthday Cake

You always take for granted what you have.  ALWAYS. Until of course, you no longer have it.

I grew up in Puerto Rico in pretty much a Cuban enclave.  All of our cakes were the same, they all tasted the same, mainly because they were all done by the same woman Tete Fundora.  She made awesome panetela borracha cakes with Royal Icing. Wedding, birthdays, graduations – you name it.  If you asked who had made the cake it was always Tete Fundora.

Let’s get something straight Rum Cake and RumCake Birthday cake are two different things.

What makes the birthday cake awesome is that the cake comes out spongy and somewhat wet – to the point that it can last days and it can be frozen and defrosted successfully.  Our top tier of the wedding cake defrosted beautifully a year later and tasted AWESOME.  You would never know it had been frozen.

In Miami I never ever gave this a second thought, are you kidding?  I had places and places to choose from!  There was Sweet Art, Cakes by Edda and the now gone Cake Emporium (all three of whom I’ve used in the past) and even the cake lady contracted by our wedding package knew how to make a kickass rumcake cake.  More recently we’ve been using Moulin Rose for H’s birthday cakes as we usually do a birthday party for her in Miami so Abuela can be present.

Oh those wonderfully rum flavored birthday cakes.  Yes FOR KIDS.  And adults too.  We are Cuban, we are from the Caribbean,we like rum everything and that’s how we roll, right Martha?

So, you ask?  Well the problem is I no longer live in Miami, and I am in a No Cuban zone apparently so I cannot get my fix of RumCake whenever I want – or when I need to.  My Birthday, Alan’s Birthday, Our Anniversary, Easter, Thanksgiving and of course H’s birthday (on her actual birth day) which is of course what brought us to this post.  My somewhat failed attempt to start my daughter early on the Cuban RumCake addiction (she already loves Buttercream frosting so I need to get her to eat the cake!).

H was turning 3 and I thought what better deal than a home made Cuban RumCake Birthday Cake!  So I took to the net and to friends and got a recipe from my good friend Vivi for a cake her aunt used to make.  I already had a theme – Olaf from Frozen – so I went to Michael’s to get the Fondant and the decorating sheets, to Wegman’s for my ingredients and got to work.  I followed the recipe to a T.

Beat Egg Whites to punto de merengue? Check.

Eggwhites "a punto"

Eggwhites “a punto”

Beat butter with sugar into a cream? Sort of check.

Buttercream

Butter & Sugar

Add yolks one by one? Check.

Add cake flour? Check.

Fold in the EggWhites? Check.

Butter the mold? Check

Cake Batter

Cake Batter

Dress up the cake?  SUPER CHECK – I mean isn’t it amazing for my first Fondant cake?

Olaf Cake

Olaf Cake

Fluffy, spongy, rumcake? FAIL.  EPIC FAIL.  This cake came out so dense I could probably kill someone with it!

Fail

Fail

Arrrrgggghhhhhhh.  The trials and tribulations of being a Cuban mom.

*SIGH*

There are two things I think went wrong here.  One is I do not own a Kitchen Aid mixer – I own a hand mixer by Sunbeam that was probably $20.  So the settings and the speeds may have been off and maybe the butter or the eggwhites were not beaten as they should.  Two, is I think I needed a bigger mold.  I think I made the cake too tall (4″) and it took the oven almost two hours (instead of the one hour on the recipe) to cook the cake and maybe it got a bit over cooked?  I dunno.

The cake did look gorgeous, so at least of that I am proud and happy.  But I did get frustrated that taste wise and look wise the inside was such a fail.

Does anyone have a recipe they want to share?  I will try it and post a review here.  I just really want to get this cake thing right, as I do not want H growing up without the staple Cuban RumCake Birthday Cake!

RumCake Cake recipes anyone? For sure there has to be a Cuban or a PuertoRican reading this who knows EXACTLY what I am talking about.  I will patiently wait for your feedback.

HELP!

 

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Homemade Marmalade

We belong to a CSA for the summer. For those of you not familiar with what a CSA is, basically its a program where you pay into, and they give you weekly rations of fruits, vegetables, bread and even eggs that are locally and organically grown. I opted to buy it this summer for two reasons: one I wanted to challenge my cooking creativity (I’ve now become acquainted with three types of chard and have discovered garlic scapes) and two, I wouldn’t buy vegetables even if you paid me. So this was a nice way to incorporate some green.

To make it less boring for me (Alan loves anything green), I also bought the fruit, egg and bread share. I love fruit, and usually love to make smoothies, but this summer I had a mission – I wanted to bake my first pie. But wait, doesn’t the title say mermelada? Yes it does, I haven’t gotten enough fruit to make the pie yet.

Last week we got blueberries and raspberries. I stared at them for a while, and looked at Alan and said “How about we make some mermelada?” His eyes lit up like a kid. Bam! Mermelada it is I told myself. I know mermelada takes fruit and sugar, so I set around the Internet to find a recipe for Blueberry-Raspberry Marmalade (or Jam as everyone wants to call it). During my search I learned about the process of canning, sterilizing, and this thing called pectin.

“Pecto-what?” said Alan. P-E-C-T-I-N.

Went to Wegman’s for my jars and the Pectin. No luck. No jars; no pectin. Really? Isn’t the summer when everybody makes and can jams? Hello? Middle of fruit season?

On a whim decided to go to Target. SUCCESS! Jars in all sizes, and some sort of Pectin that I wasn’t sure about.
Alan stared at me and said “That pectin thing is a gringada. In Chile we use just the fruit and the sugar”. And really I thought, people have been making jams since before this pectin probably existed. So, no pectin it is! Now to find a damn recipe (for the rations) that uses no pectin. Alas! within five minutes I had one. Today, I’m taking the day off my research duties and decided Today was THE day I was going to make marmalade.

So here goes my foray into the American (and probably other countries) tradition of making your own marmalade. Since we had small amount of fruit there is no canning involved. I guarantee you this will last us only a couple of days.

What you will need:

  • 1.5 Cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 1.5 Cups Fresh Red Raspberries
  • 2 Cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 small or one large Ball Jar
  • 2 decent size saucepan
  • 1 very good spoon
  • Pair of tongs

Place your jars and lids (yes I know I placed the bands instead; amateur I am) on a saucepan with enough water and simmer on medium for the duration of the process.

Sterilizing Jars

Rinse the blueberries (I opted not to rinse the raspberries as they were very soft). Place blueberries and raspberries in a large enough saucepan. So it doesn’t boil over, rub butter on the top inside of the saucepan.

Berries ready for sugar!

Add the 2 cups of sugar and mix well. Set the temperature of the stove for medium low for the first 5 minutes and stir a couple of times. Then set to medium, where you will stir occasionally until you bring to a boil.

Berries with Sugar

Once you bring to a boil, keep at medium heat, and stir CONSTANTLY for about ten minutes making sure nothing is sticking at the bottom. The idea is to prevent any foaming while it boils; otherwise you will need to skim the foam at the end. The mixture will turn from its initial reddish to a more deeper magenta color. I also crushed with the stirring spoon some of the blueberries.

Almost there!

After the 10 minutes, turn heat up to medium-high, and keep stirring CONSTANTLY. This will help accelerate the “jellying” process so you don’t have to stand there for a long time. Keep stirring for about 5-7 minutes and then turn the heat off. Keep stirring until it no longer boils. If you want to make sure the marmalade is at the jellying state you prefer, spoon out a bit to a plate and leave it at room temp (you can also pop in the fridge for a minute or so). However it sets, is how it will set after you jar it.

Boiling Berries!

With tongs pick out the jars from the saucepan and drain. Pick out the lids too. Set aside. If there is any water left in the jar, turn it upside down with the tongs so it drains. Because the jars are hot, I placed them on a folded kitchen towel. Grab your marmalade mix and pour it into the jar (or jars) making sure you are scraping every little last bit. Once done wipe outside of jar with paper towel.

Done!

Once you’ve poured the mermelada in the jars, leave about a quarter inch to the top, lid and band them. Let them cool outside, until they are room temperature. Then you can store in the fridge if like me you like the mermelada cold and set. Then go to the supermarket and get some bread and follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Open the Jar

Step 2: Spread

Enjoy!

A Ropa Vieja that makes itself (or how I learned to love the crockpot)

One of the things my husband and my friends BEG me to cook is Ropa Vieja.  Seriously, it goes something like this:

“Where are you from?”

“I was born in PR my parents are Cuban”

“Seriously? So you can make Ropa Vieja

*sigh* of all the GREAT Cuban dishes, Ropa Vieja is at the top of the list.  I often wonder why, as I much rather have Tasajo or Lechón, but I tend to please my comensales and make Ropa Vieja.

Ropa Vieja is a dish that takes quite some work (similar to Tasajo), and I have an entirely different recipe for it when cooked the traditional way.  But some time ago Mami bought me a crockpot in the hopes that I would cook more with my limited amount of time (or some time late arrivals).  So as I set out to try my crockpot a friend told me that it was great for cooking the meat for the Ropa Vieja, and then I fount Marta.  And Marta has a recipe for Crockpot Ropa Vieja.  A recipe that *gasp* I. Tinkered. With. …to better suit my taste (and of course Alan’s) while still keeping as true as I could to traditional Cuban Ropa Vieja (not my family’s version).

So here is your list of ingredients:

  • 1.5 to 2lb of Flank Steak (I clean a bit of the fat off, but not all of it)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1/2 whole medium to large yellow onion sliced into strips (halfwise)
  • 4 to 5 fat cloves of garlic smashed in a mortar
  • 2 tsp of Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground coarse black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup of Cabernet Sauvignon red wine (preferably the same one you will use for dinner)

Depending on the side of your crockpot, you might have to do what I do and that is cut the meat in half across the grain like so:

Flank Steak cut in half

Next, mix all the dry ingredients – sea salt, cumin – as this will be your meat rub (Tip: for cold winters add the ground peppercorn to the rub as it will make the meat spicy, and the Ropa Vieja quite interesting!).  Make sure you rub it on both sides and across the cut.  You’ll have about half of it left to pour into the crockpot.  Set aside the Flank steak and the rub, while we prep the rest.  Slice the green bell peppers lengthwise; cut the onion in half and then slice thinly (or slice thinly and then cut in half).  It should look like this:

Onions, Peppers and Garlic …Oh My!

Mash the garlic up nicely on a mortero or if you prefer you can mince it.  I just really like using the mortero…it is kind of therapeutic.  Ok so once you have the garlic, the onions and the peppers ready here is what you do.  Layer some of the trio on the crockpot, add one half of the meat.  Add some more of the trio, add the other half of the meat.  Finish adding what’s left of the trio.  This ensures the meat gathers all the garlic, onion and pepper taste.

Bottom of Crockpot

After you layer the meat and the rest of the garlic, onion and peppers it should look like this:

Crockpot with Flank Steak and garlic, onion and peppers

Once everything is in it is time to add the 1/2 cup of the wine, the rest of the rub and the water (to cover the meat BUT AFTER the wine).  I use Root Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s not cheap but its not expensive (around $10) and its also the same one we drink with dinner so it matches perfectly!  Add the wine first, around the meat and softly on the meat so as not to wash the rub off.  Then add water – just enough to JUST cover the meat – and then add the rest of the rub to the liquid and blend softly.

Ready, Set and Forget it!

Set it in low for about 6 hours.  Check the meat with a fork @ 6 hours.  Usually it’s almost ready by then; if the meat separates easily then it’s time to take it out.  For the last half hour or so I just set the crockpot in warm so the meat is not over cooked.

Once done take the meat out with a slotted spoon and lay in the cutting board to cool off a bit.  While it cools, with the same slotted spoon, remove the onion, garlic and peppers, and place in a bowl.  You will need 1 – 2 cups of the beef broth so set that aside as well.  Separate the meat with a fork and your hands until is is in strands.  Be careful as it is very hot.

Shredded Meat, Beef Broth, and Trio

So what next?  Now comes the good part!  You will need the following:

  • the 2 cups of broth you removed from the crockpot
  • the onions, peppers and garlic you removed from the crockpot
  • 1 small can of unsalted tomato sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1/2 yellow onion cut in strips
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

On a deep pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and prepare a small sofrito with the 1/2 onion, 1/4 pepper and 2 garlic cloves.  Sautee for about a minute and add the onion, garlic and peppers you removed from the crockpot and sofreir another minute.  Add the meat, and stir with a fork so the sofrito and the meat blend well together.  Add half of the tomato sauce and 1 cup of the beef broth, cover and wait until it comes to a boil.  Take the lid of, and stir.  Add half of the tomato paste can and stir well, making sure it blends.  Cover and simmer in low for about 10 minutes.  Save the other cup of broth, with the leftover tomato sauce and paste for your leftovers – you will need them to heat the meat back up so it is not dry.

Ropa Vieja almost done!

Now that you’ve labored soooooo hard over this, comes the simple part.  Serve with white rice, chatinos (a whole other post) and ENJOY!

Buen Provecho!

Healthy Eating

As we plan to get pregnant soon, and I have some pounds to lose (keep your eye out for The Biggest Loser Lambie edition), I’m also taking a second look at the way we eat.

I get bombarded (a good thing) on a daily basis by ex-schoolmate Laura Posada who pretty much leads a one woman’s crusade for healthy family eating with her new book Fit Home Team.  She also looks terrific – which motivates me to once again get my ass back in shape so it can hold precious healthy life for 9 months.

Although my body works amazingly well with a 40-30-30 or Zone diet, I absolutely positively LOOOOOOOOOVE pasta.  And a 40-30-30 plan really limits your starchy carbohydrates.  So I try to find various ways to make it as balanced as possible.  I refuse to eat soy based materials – I actually read labels and actively avoid soy – so whenever I want to go meatless I opt for Quorn and either their crumbles or meatballs (both excellent – I’ve even done Chilean empanadas and Pastelón – recipes coming soonwith them and you can’t tell the difference).

So the other day at Wegman’s they were promoting pasta with butternut squash.  Truth be told, it was way waaaay too sweet.  But this reminded me of my friend Madelyn and her vegetarian ways and off I was to her Karma Free Cooking blog where I found exactly what I was looking for!

Pasta with Eggplant Puree!  Of course, in my quest to have protein everywhere (it also helps keep your brain on target), I will add the Quorn granules – just do a simple sofrito and add the “beef” and sauté for a while so they take the flavor.  Then just add this to the vegetable puree.

And in our case, Alan’s and I, it will more than likely be a side dish…..but at least I’ll get to eat some pasta!

So if you are looking for something different, good and healthy, scurry on over to Karma Free Cooking, and get some Pasta with Eggplan, with or without the protein.  Your call!

Fried Cow

Yes, friends, Vaca Frita.  I held off on posting this during Lent because I couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t fall on a Friday, and since Catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, I didn’t want to torture any of my readers.  Seriously, Vaca Frita on a Lenten Friday, that could be cruel and unusual punishment!  Afterwards I got caught up in my dissertation and before I knew it a week went by and no posts on my part!  Yikes! :-0

No one ever made Vaca Frita in my household, though we did eat a lot of Ropa Vieja (recipe to come soon!).  Believe it or not my first encounter with vaca frita was watching the Frugal Gourmet (remember him?  I think I just dated myself) while in college and he was making vaca frita.  How cool is that? The Frugal Gourmet showcasing Cuban food in 1992!  Ever since then I started tinkering with different recipes, and trying vaca frita at different restaurants.

Who serves the best vaca frita in Miami? From 2000-2004 I can tell you that Lario’s by Mall of the Americas was by far the BEST vaca frita in Miami (they also had the best congrí oriental but that’s an entirely different post), followed closely by Havana Harry’s and Havana Miami.  Most of the other places I tried the dish, it was either too greasy, too shredded or not enough lemon and garlic.  See there are two ways of serving vaca frita – the steak form and the shredded form.  I’ll eat both, but I overwhelmingly prefer the former: steak form.  And of course, wouldn’t you know it, es la más difícil de hacer de las dos!

Here is what you will need:

  • Flank Steak – about a 1.5lb for 4 people.
  • Sliced medium onion
  • 8 fat garlic cloves – smashed en el pilón
  • 4 green lemons (or in proper English limes) juiced
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper and cumin to taste

You might be tempted to boil the meat in a crockpot; however, for bistec style vaca frita this is not recommended because the vaca frita will shred into ropa vieja, in Spanish se va a desmoronar.  However if this is how you like vaca frita more power to you.  But this is my bistec de vaca frita recipe, so no crockpot!  Start by soft boiling, in very low heat (simmer), the flank steak.  Usually I season with some onion, salt, a bit of cumin and some bay leaves.

Flank Steak ready to simmer

Flank Steak ready to simmer

Watch while it boils, so you can take it out at the right time.  The idea is to have it close to medium; if you overcook it the meat will harden and get a bit gummy.  Not a major problem, you’ll just have to masonearla to get it to shred!  But first you should cut the steak into the four portions.  You want to make sure you cut across or against the grain, so that you can shred it.

Cut into four steaks

Cut into four steaks

In any case I do use a masón, and open the steak for easier shredding.  However, I wait for it to cool. Don’t hit it too hard; you want to separate it enough so that you can shred by hand but still manage to keep it all together.  Confused?  Don’t be.  See?  It’s not that hard!

Semi Shredded Steaks

Semi Shredded Steaks

Be very careful when you shred the steaks.  The idea is to separate it but keep it together at the same time.  However, this separation will allow for the marinade to get through.  Don’t marinate too long either; about an hour.  For the marinade there are various things you can do.  What I do is take a lemon per steak (limon criollo so in English that would be a lime).  Squeeze all the juice out. OJO: If you don’t like it too lemony then just use two lemons.  Add a bit of olive oil.  Take the garlic cloves and mash them in a pilón.  Find a deep dish to put the steaks in; even better if it has a lid.  I use a square pyrex with lid.  Add some salt to the lemon oil mixture, and then add all of it to the garlic in the pilón.  Yes, its almost like making mojo.  Pour it over the steaks, cover and shake shake shake señora!  Let it sit for at least an hour.

Now it is time to add the FRITA in Vaca Frita.  In other words it is time to fry those steaks!  Slice the onions and then cut them in half, so they are half moons.  Heat up the olive oil in a skillet in medium heat.  You want it hot enough to fry the steak and not allow any juices to start boiling.  When the oil is hot enough, fork the steaks out and put on the skillet.  Add the sliced onions.

Frying the Vaca Frita!

Frying the Vaca Frita!

Here you need to velar la vaca frita, so it doesn’t burn and more importantly, so the garlic doesn’t burn.  And you’ll have to turn it at least twice.  When the strings start getting brownish and toasty, then you are almost there.  At that time, whatever was left in the pyrex (the lemon garlic mixture) throw it in!  You want the Vaca Frita to be sort of crispy crunchy on the outside, but inside you want it to be like traditional ropa vieja – meaning soft and moist.  That’s el truco de la vaca frita!  When you are done, serve with white rice and black beans.

Vaca Frita, white rice and black beans!

Vaca Frita, white rice and black beans!

Like I said before, it’s up to you to manage the amount of lemon and garlic you want according to your liking.  Personally I like it really REALLY garlicky, which is why I loved the Lario’s vaca frita.  I like some cumin, a bit of salt and a pinch of pepper.  But those you can manage to taste.  The trick here again, is the crunchy in the outside, moist in the inside.

Enjoy!

¡Tostadas!

There is nothing I miss most living in Rhode Island than being able to have tostadas y café con leche for breakfast.  Now, I have café con leche every morning; that is not problem.  But tostadas?  I can’t even get anything similar to Cuban bread for those.

But, Dios ayuda a los pobres, and I have good friends (Thanks Vivi!!!!).  Yesterday I received a package with Mallorcas and YES, pan de agua aka Cuban bread.  It might’ve not been the best bread ever, but when you’ve been as deprived as we have, trust me.  It. Is. The. Best. Bread.

So for those of you clueless on how to make great Cuban tostadas, it is quite easy.  So here we go!  The most MOST important ingredient for making Cuban tostadas, is a plancha.  You have to have one of these:

La Sanwichera! aka Grill

La Sanwichera! aka Grill

Of course the first thing you need is a libra de pan.

Pan de Agua from Pepín

Pan de Agua from Pepín

After you’ve cut the bread into the size toast you want (for example the picture depicts three tostadas), then halve it so we but butter inside.

Pan with butter

Pan with butter

Next key ingredient is softened butter.  NO, not margarine.  Aside from how unhealthy it is butter tastes sooooo much better.  So be sure to butter both sides of the toast.  Once we are ready, we heat up the grill machine, and I personally butter both sides of the planchas.  It gives the tostadas a nice color and an even better taste.  Once the grill is hot enough (I use the medium setting)  carefully place the tostadas inside, and let the lid fall with its own weight on the tostadas.  Be careful and make sure the tostadas stay parallel to the plancha.

In the beginning.....

In the beginning.....

Every once in a while apply a bit of pressure by attempting to close the grill.  After about 5-7 minutes, turn the tostadas over.  Leave them on another 5-7 minutes while again applying some pressure on the lid.  Lastly, flip the tostadas over.  This means that although your are turning them on their side, you are also turning them back.  For example if you had an end, with the end pointing towards you, now on this last flip the end should be pointing away from you.  This will finish off the flattening part of the tostadas.

Last leg of Tostadas....

Last leg of Tostadas....

See?  You can almost close the grill!  Now, just another 5 minutes and then they are ready to be served.  Accompany with a nice hot and foamy café con leche and you have a Cuban breakfast!

Cuban Tostadas!

Cuban Tostadas!

Enjoy!!!!!

I get Cravings…

No I’m not pregnant, YET.  But every once in a while, the Cuban blood in my veins thumps around for something in particular.  Something that I’ve not had in a while.  Today it was Pan con Bistec. In Miami I would go to the Sergio’s in Bird Road, the one across the Bird Bowl.  Man, those guys made a mean Pan con Bistec.  It was the ONLY place where I did not have to specify the no mayonnaise clause.  It was really heavenly!  So here I am in March, in a small rural town in Rhode Island with a Pan con Bistec craving.

But what am I to do?  No Cuban bread; not even French bread.  Ahhhhhh but there is always a way to curb a Cuban girl’s cravings!  El Cubano siempre resuelve! So, if you are in my situation (and even if you have access to Cuban bread) here is what you will need to enjoy a delicioso Pan con Bistec:

  • Beef round sandwich steak (cubed or uncubed)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Loaf of Italian, French or Cuban bread (in this case it was Italian)
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • French fries – you know, the kind that come in the can (don’t worry you’ll see the pictures)

So with my trusty camera guy (ie. Alan my loyal husband) here we go!

Sliced onions in half

Sliced onions in half

Heat a tablespoon of Corn Oil in a non-stick skillet.  While the oil heats up, slice the onions and then cut the slices in half.  Make sure, and this is very important, that the slices are as THIN as you can make them out to be.

Season your Bistecs, with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder to taste.  Try not to overkill but enough to give it that Cuban taste.

When the oil is hot enough, then throw in the bistecs.  If the oil is not hot enough, then the bistec will release water and it won’t dorar properly.  It will look more like a bisctec hervido than fried…and nothing grosses me out more than boiled bistec!

Back to the Bistec, fry for about 5 minutes on each side, you know so it gets a nice color.  Right before you are about to turn the bistec throw the onions in.  This will add enough juice without burning the onions.

Bistec with onions

Bistec with onions

Once the bistecs are done, and the onions are a bit darker than honey then you are ready to start assembling this gift from God that is a Pan con Bistec.  No, I’m not exagerating!  Cut the bread to the size of sandwich you will want, and halve it horizontally.  The first step is to place the bistec on the bread.  Sometimes, depending on the mood, I put some papitas first and then the bistec.

Bistec

Bistec

Make sure you put those onions on top of the bistec as well!  Next we go for the papitas, so place those on top the bistec and onions.

Papitas!

Papitas!

Those papitas are HIGHLY addictive.  Alan never understood why I liked them so much until he learned just HOW MUCH I absolutely LOVE Pan con Bistec.  That said, make sure you keep some extra papitas to serve on the side.  Yes, they are messy to eat, but the combination of the salty papitas, with the onions and the bistec and its juices is just to. die. for.  No, I’m not kidding.

Now for the last step, place a couple of leaves of lettuce (Romaine or Iceberg, it’s really your preference) and two to three slices of tomatoes.  You can use big tomatoes or Roma tomatoes.  I like the big ones.  Oh and yes, I peel them before too.  Don’t worry you don’t have to; eating peeled tomatoes can become addictive as well.

BOPLT - Bistec, Onions, Papitas, Lettuce & Tomatoes (almost done!)

BOPLT - Bistec, Onions, Papitas, Lettuce & Tomatoes (almost done!)

The next step, is the easiest – place the other bread half on top and ENJOY!  Before you bite into this wonderful Cuban concoction, they should look something like this:

Pan con Bistec!

Pan con Bistec!

Notice the papitas on the side!  Aside from mover el esqueleto Friday nights at La Covacha, this is one of the things I miss the MOST from my Miami years.  You can literally have this almost anywhere in South Florida and what’s even better at any time.  Hungry in the morning?  Pan con Bistec!  Want something for lunch? Pan con Bistec! Try something different for dinner? Pan con Bistec!  Late night munchies? Pan con Bistec!

Try this at home, it’s great for watching Football games, Baseball games, Soccer games….. well you get the picture.  It’s really GREAT even by itself!  Enjoy!