6 November, 2014
A Kick Ass Cuban Feast to Impress Your Friends
Last summer I experimented with a modified Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) protocol to assess my digestive system’s response to several foods I have not previously tested. (My ND wanted me to keep some foods in as I am still breastfeeding). I felt so good on it that I am playing with a modified version again this autumn as a means of re-weaning myself from dairy, wine, and other foods I’m really better off not having.
(What the heck is AIP? Click here to learn more)
Taking the time to nourish my body in this way has been emotionally restorative and energizing for me. Cooking gives me a creative outlet and place to focus that I don’t otherwise give myself these days, what with chasing a babyNom around and working part time with the last remaining clients I have. Since he’s been born, I haven’t done any artwork and getting out to exercise has been spotty at best. Eating is something that needs to get done anyway, and as a bonus to the emotional fulfillment I get to expand my culinary repertoire, take better care of myself physically, and come up with new nom noms to share with you here. Last week I introduced the movie The Chef to the friends we are staying with and fell in love with the idea of getting creative with foods and menu planning again. So I took to the interwebbies to find a paleo, mostly AIP Cuban dinner. The results were better than I could have hoped for – this is, hands down, a set of recipes that can easily be made and served for dinner guests, doubled for a dinner party, or stashed away and savored just for you.
AIP Plantain Wraps
I nabbed this recipe from Simple and Merry and used it unchanged. Unlike most recipes, this one is one I would not edit in any way, shape or form – it’s perfect as is and creates astoundingly moist, pliable, tasty wraps. While these became a substitute for corn tortillas, they will also be great stuffed with bacon, avocado and shredded romaine; jam and a drizzle of coconut cream, or simply spread upon with good, old fashioned butter, rolled up, and nommed joyously.
- 3 Green Plantains
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sea salt
1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Peel and chop your green plantains.
2. Place all the ingredients in your high speed blender. (See below for food processor instructions.)
3. Using the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades, puree until it is smooth. It will be thick.
4. Use a spatula to spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the batter as thin as you can without breaking through to the parchment below.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. It should puff a little and will settle down as soon as removed from heat.
6. Cut into 6 – 8 pieces and enjoy!
*If you don’t have a high speed blender:
1. Peel and chop your green plantains – you should have 4 cups of cubed plantains.
2. Puree the plantains as much as you can in your food processor. It will be a rough chop.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and puree for a minute or two, but as much as you need to, to make it as smooth as possible. Scrape down the sides so any larger chunks get incorporated.
4. Spread onto a parchment lined sheet tray -mine is 17″x13.”
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
6. Cut into 6 pieces and stuff with yummy food – enjoy!
Mojo Marinated Cuban Pork
It was nothing short of a serendipitous blessing that I stumble upon the recipe created for the movie, The Chef, in my Pinterest search for what to do with a pork shoulder roast sitting in the fridge. Luck was even further on my side by the fact that this recipe features simple, fresh ingredients that are all acceptable for my modified AIP protocol (if doing strict AIP you’ll want to omit the cumin seeds in the marinade)! I adjusted the cooking time and method slightly on account of unwrapping my shoulder and discovering pork shoulder steaks inside. Bonus: by having pork shoulder steaks instead the marinade coats more of the meat and the cooking time is reduced significantly.
The result: a flavorful, moist hunk of meat studded with crunchy salt bits and charred fat (Ooooooh, so tasty!) …. just as El Jefe discovered in the movie, this recipe will have folks lined up for a taste.
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup lightly packed cilantro
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
- ¾ cup fresh orange juice
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. minced oregano
- 1 tbsp. cumin seed or 2 tsp ground cumin (omit if following autoimmune paleo protocol)
- Sea salt and pepper
- 3½ lbs. boneless pork shoulder, cut into four steaks
- Place all of the ingredients except the pork in a blender, blend together on low so herbs become finely chopped. Transfer the marinade to a large resealable plastic bag and add the pork. Whisk in 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Transfer the marinade to a large resealable plastic bag and add the pork. Seal the bag and turn to coat; set in a baking dish and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 425° and set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the pork to a work surface; discard the marinade. Fold the pork under itself, into thirds if necessary, and tie all steaks together with string to form a neat roll. Season all over with salt and pepper and set it on the rack.
- Roast the pork for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and roast for 45-60 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145° for medium rare, 160° for well done; transfer to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Discard the string before slicing across the grain.
- Serve sliced pork in plantain wraps with fresh cilantro and finely diced onion. Drizzle lime vinaigrette on them as well, if desired.
Don’t worry about missing the cumin if you are doing strict AIP. With all the citrus and herbs you won’t be lacking in flavor – I promise!
I created this vinaigrette from leftover dinner ingredients to drizzle over the obligatory veggies that must appear at dinner. When I make this again I’ll focus on a more entertaining salad or vegetable side; tonight we were hungry and I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to consider veg. The mustard seems like an odd ingredient, but it helps emulsify the lime with the oil so the vinaigrette does not separate. If avoiding seed spices this vinaigrette will still be tasty, it just may need whisking at the table.
- 6 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive OIl
- 4 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. dijon mustard (omit if strict AIP)
- 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp S+P
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Drizzle over mixed greens for a salad. Add lime soaked onions, thinly sliced red cabbage, and crumbled cotija cheese to your greens for extra Latin flare.