Citrus Cumin Mojo Chicken with Peppers

 It’s like a trip back in time. Old roads, old cars, and old buildings. The walls of the Cuban houses in Viñales crumble but no one seems to notice. Or they do, but it’s all they know. It’s a part of this country, a part of life. The adobe on churches—which haven’t hosted a mass since the Cuban Revolution- has been chipping off for more then a decade, and they continue to go un-repaired. In town, the good roads have cobblestone laid down from before the war, and the big interstate is a two-lane paved road. The other roads are just dirt. Regardless, people smile and dance and enjoy life.

           When the sun shines in Viñales, Cuba it hits the crops of the local farms and the animals bathe in its warmth. The farmers that tend these small chunks of land still use classic horsepower (that is, horses and oxen) to turn the land and pull the hoes. Barns are full of drying tobacco, which is regulated through the government, along with anything else produced in the country. Wage is rations. 

            Despite the heavy regulations, there is plenty of tobacco enjoyed on the streets. In the evenings, especially during a feriado (holiday), the air is think with it: smokey, sweet, unmistakable. I don’t much enjoy it, but for how very Cuban it is. 

Citrus Cumin Mojo Chicken with Peppers

            I’d like to tell you Cuban food was just as distinct: full of Caribbean flavor, fresh from the sea. I’d like to tell you that tables were covered in a cornucopia, as a continuation of the beautiful scene laid out above, but that isn’t always the case. Tourists may get that experience: I myself was treated to some mighty fine and generous meals, but it was hospitality and should not be mistaken for habit. Lunch was the hardest thing to track down— I remember lunching on personal sized pizzas, if you could even call it that (the cheese was off, the sauce not quite right, and they were served folded in half, like a plump taco). There was also a rather memorable ice cream cone, filled with the best scoop of chocolate ice cream I have had (fifteen years later and I haven’t found one that comes close). And here were two feasts, on one Christmas Eve and one on New Years Eve. But in between, we knew we were eating like tourists.

         I say all of this to explain that while Citrus Cumin Mojo Sauce is considered something of a Cuban classic, it’s is not a dish I experienced while in the country. Rather, it’s a marinade I started experimenting with years later. I say all of this to keep it real, and also to remember. It’s far to easy to day dream about beaches and pine coladas made with local rum; it’s far to easy to forget how things were as time moves on. 

           This marinade is bright and cheery, sunny and fresh. This recipe calls for chicken, but you could use the sauce with shrimp too. 

Want more from the Caribbean? Try this 30-minute ropa vieja.


Citrus Cumin Mojo Chicken with Peppers

Published June 12, 2018 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast cutlets
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

  • For marinade:
  • Juice 1 orange
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon high mineral sea salt

  • For serving:
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • Optional: lime wedges

  • Directions:

    1. In a 8-ounce jar, combine orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, oil, and salt. Place lid on jar and shake to combine.
    2. Place chicken in an air-tight container and pour marinade over chicken. Place in fridge and allow to marinate for 8-12 hours.
    3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 450°F. Slice red onion and bell pepper into strips, and dice sweet potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread out on a baking sheet (optionally, line baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. (affiliate link!)). Drizzle oil over veggies. Now, using tongs, pull each piece of chicken from the marinade, letting access drip off. Place chicken on sheet pan with veggies.
    4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, brushing extra marinade over chicken every 5 minutes or so, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and potatoes are cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot with a lime wedge.

    3 Comments

    Immune Boost Green Juice

    Immune Boost Green Juice

    I’m not much of a juicer. Never have been. I’ve always been a little down on what I see as a glorified consumption of sugar. That might sound a little harsh, and I admit that it is. But more often than not I’d rather drink a smoothie with all of its fiber, or just eat a piece of goddamn fruit.

    But, last week, there I was. I felt a tickle in my throat. Oliver had just finished reading me a news story about how the flu was out of control this year. And I decided I needed a boost. Green juice.

    Have you been there? The “please, please, please don’t let me get sick,“ feeling? That’s what this juice is for.

    Immune Boost Green Juice

    It is SUPER high in Vitamins C, A and K. Like nature’s Emergen-C! But, 100% natural.

    I drank that green juice down (and loved it, citrusy, with a touch of ginger). The next morning, The tickle at my throat was gone, but two days later Oliver complained of a sore throat too, so there I was again making green juice again--the same green juice I had made for myself just a few days before.

    Now, I’m still not that into juice. You'll find no recommendations on juice cleanses here. But this juice is like a multipurpose vitamin... like an insurance policy. You drink it with a wholesome breakfast and you get all those extra vitamin packed in.

    So far, I'm still flu free: maybe it had something to do with this juice, or maybe not. Either way, I fell in love with green juice somewhere along the way. At least this green juice. The insurance policy.

    Vitamin Boost Green Juice

    Immune Boost Green Juice

    Published February 8, 2018 by
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    Serves: 2   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 2 leaves of dino (lacinato) kale
    • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
    • 1 lemon, peel sliced off
    • 1 blood orange, peel sliced off 
    • 1 and 1/2 apple, cored and roughly chopped
    • 1 inch ginger
    • 1 cup water
    • 6 ice cubes, for serving 

    Directions:

    1. Place ingredients in a high powered blender: first the kale and then the cucumber, lemon and orange, apple, ginger, and water.
    2. Purée until smooth (I use a BlendTec (affiliate link!), and set the blender to the “Whole Juice” setting).
    3. Place a nut milk bag (affiliate link!) over a bowl or wide-mouthed jar, and pour purée through the nut milk bag to strain out the pulp.
    4. Optional: If you like, stir back in a tablespoon or two of the pulp.
    5. Divide ice cubes between serving glasses and pour juice over ice. Serve.

    Comment

    Baked Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries

    Baked Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries

    If I could, I would make curly fries at home, but I don’t have a deep frier, nor do I want one taking up space in the kitchen (or giving me an excuse to deep fry more food). These shoestring fries are most definitely not curly fries — they are spiced but not with whatever magical powder Arby’s has… but hey, you can name the ingredients these are coated in, so that’s a major plus! And they are made with sweet potatoes, which is another major plus if you ask me. They are baked, so cutting them super thin (a spiralizer (affiliate link!) helps, especially if you want to make shoestring fries!) and cooking them until several are quite burnt is a sacrifice that must me made in order to get maximum crispiness.

    Sweet potato fries have always been a few notches higher on my preference scale than regular fries, but you could apply this same tactic to whatever potatoes suit your fancy.

    Baked Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries

    I’m also not one for ketchup—never have been- and always opt for barbeque sauce or aioli instead. These fries are seasoned with smokey paprika, cumin, and garlic, so they go particularly well with barbeque sauce. But of course, if you love ketchup you should make sure to serve this mega bowl of shoestring fries with a side of it.

    These shoestring fries make a great addition to a football watching spread, along with these chipotle wings, buffalo cauliflower, or loaded guacamole!

    Baked Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries

    If you're not that into making shoestring fries at home, you might try making these Cheesy Sweet Potato Stacks, which are basically mini sweet potato au gratins made with herbs and Creamy Toscano cheese, but around here we just call them "Little Stacks of Joy." 

    And happy February!! I'll be sending out the February newsletter in just a few days, so if you don't already receive my monthly newsletter, you can sign up here

    Baked Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries

    Published February 1, 2018 by
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    Serves: 5   |    Total Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled
    • 1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425°F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. (affiliate link!).
    2. Using a Spiralizer (affiliate link!), cut sweet potatoes into long thin spaghetti-like strips.
    3. In a large bowl, toss spiralized sweet potatoes with oil, salt, garlic powder, paprika, chile powder, cumin, and pepper until coated. Then, spread potatoes out on prepared baking sheets in a single layer. Break apart any clumps, and spread them out as much as possible: for crispy fries, you want to avoid having the fries touch each other.
    4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then use a metal spatula to flip the fries and bake for 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve, adding extra salt to taste.

    2 Comments