It was just the right place to go, the right time in our lives, the right combination of every element involved. What a blessing to have the chance to spend 10 days with your father - as an adult - to speak of all kinds of things, to visit your roots, re-trace the steps of your grandfather (and his father) and encounter magic and wonder at every turn...
Twice in a lifetime seems too much, but it was just as good the second time as the first. In many aspects, it was even better; closer with family than ever before. And flying back First Class because of an airline error wasn't bad either...
Their tag line says "...quality is a matter of family honor" and they couldn't have written anything more appropriate. My Saturday morning visit produced a deep respect for the Padron family, a heightened appreciation of their quality products and the happy expectation of many a Saturday morning to come visiting some new friends.
It is hard to miss the determination and commitment of this cigar company. With over a dozen different brands, culminating in the legendary "Edicion de Silvio", the Perdomo family is dedicated to carrying on the legacy of their patriarch Silvio and the values he came to embody.
If you are a Cigar Aficionado and will be visiting Buenos Aires in the near future, then you MUST visit "Hondo" in the city's sparkling new Puerto Madero area. Hondo means "deep" in Spanish and my evening there was DEEPLY DELIGHTFUL!
I don't know if I've ever done this: cook the very same thing two nights in a row! I wanted to make a bracciole for the gurlz tonight and I was hoping it would get the same results as last night when a good friend went back for THIRDS! Now THAT'S what we like to see in the Diner! And I figured I'd use the opportunity to document it all...
That's an $11 piece of flank steak that I brought home, put between two sheets of plastic wrap and beat the tough out of...
I made a stuffing out of breadcrumbs, minced garlic, thyme, Pecorino cheese, chopped capers and green olives and some lemon and orange zest.
Make sure you roll it with the "grain" of the meat running lengthwise, that way when you cut slices of it, you will be cutting across the grain and it will be as tender as it can be. Tie it up with butcher's twine and brown it on all sides in an oven-proof pot.
Once it's browned on all sides, pour your homemade sauce over the top (I made a mushroom ragu to use for this) and let it braise in the oven until the internal temp is to your particular liking doneness-wise.
Remove the bracciole and let it sit for a few minutes. I used this opportunity to put some rigatoni I had cooked in with the mushroom ragu and take advantage of the sauce...
Slice yourself a piece, tell the guests not to eat the butcher's twine ;) and ENJOY!
Know what's a blast? Having some dear friends over for dinner on a Tuesday night, nice and casual, and spending great time hanging out, talking and catching up with each other's lives...
Here they are: the pride of Santa Clara, cigar photographer "sin rival" and his beautiful wife - the pride of the Miami-Dade County School system.
And yes, there was also bracciole - stuffed with breadcrumbs and green olives and capers and garlic and orange and lemon zest... with some fresh fettucine on the side. It's people like this and times like these that make for such a great life!
In keeping with my "I'm through with Publix" mode, I stopped by a local grocery store yesterday and picked up two HUGE "paletas" to make lechon with. I marinated them both in "naranja agria" and spices and then set one of them to roast this morning early, the other I dropped off at buddy's house.
Their size made for a long cooking time, but like all the good stuff in Life - the wait was well worth it.
There are few things in life like a big Sunday dinner of Cuban pork (with chicharron), white rice and black beans (that have also been made from scratch). We ate this today because my youngest daughter went back through the archives of my blog and said "You need to make THAT this weekend!"
A dear friend knew I was cooking a special meal for the kids, so she brought by a box of frosted eclairs from the local Vicky Bakery. There were squeals of delight! Now, however, the only sound in my home is the sound of napping!
This blog has almost 1000 posts over almost 4 years... plenty of meals inspired from all over the world, but always new territory to explore! This morning, as we all were waiting for the lechon to cook, I had to introduce my children to the heretofore unknown to them pleasure of peanut butter and Fluff on Ritz crackers...
In order to end up here: A dinner of roasted free-range chicken (that's chicken that still tastes like chicken!), fingerling potatoes with rosemary and garlic and roasted stuffed tomatoes... the day just steadily built from a wonderful morning into that great dinner finale. After blueberry waffles for the gurlz, a frittata for the growing young man and that sense of satisfaction that comes from making a big breakfast for your kids on the weekend, I made some "batidos de mamey" as a long-distance salute to my friend Ozzie who celebrated his birthday this past week. A passionate Cuban living in Iowa and SURELY missing mamey and about another 100 other Caribbean treats.
There was also time to sample a new cigar (new to me) that a friend sent me this past week. The flavor is spectacular and it's rolled impeccably like all Oliva Family products are. I"ll have to try a few more to make my final decision ;)
Or was it two weeks? It's all a blur, that's for sure. TONS of work (great thing), road trip (great thing), and go-go-go until I left the office tonight around 6pm and said... "Ya, basta!" It was time to unplug and relax - which always means I'm heading to the kitchen... Some highlights:
"Almond Joy Brownies" - not because I put the candy bar in them, but because I mixed shredded coconut and chopped almonds into the batter before baking. Good stuff!
Sundried Tomato Pesto pizza with roasted Portabello mushrooms and fresh mozzarella - this was my Friday night wind-down with a glass (or two) of red wine. Decompression has begun!
I just had to throw this one in too... This is my son, in classic pose alongside his dream car - an old Honda Prelude - on a used car lot in Jacksonville when we were up there last weekend. But that one... with >211,000 miles was just NOT the one!