Today we are in CUBA! I think another musical highlight is in order, don't you???
yeah! that's some beautiful funky music! now we can eat..
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have A Winner!!!!!
This "Aromatic Cuban Stew with White Beans and Pumpkin," from Madhur Jaffrey's totally wonderful book World Vegetarian, is one of my favorite new recipes ever. I used butternut squash instead of pumpkin though, cuz I'm very loyal to my friend ButterNut. The recipe called for soaking and cooking the beans, which I did, but I'm going to experiment with re-creating this meal using canned or pre-cooked beans so that it can become a weeknight staple. Other than cooking the beans, the stew came together quite quickly. The whole effect of this stew was a perfect mix of light and hearty... totally appropriate for autumn. The flavors were mild and strong all at once... a little white bean here, a blast of garlic there... Man, I am nuts for this stuff.
Previously, my only experience with Cuban food was when Mr. VE&T and I spent a week in the Florida Keys. We found our way to a remote little neighborhood Cuban spot. The service was great, and the music was great (duh!), but there weren't too many vegan options. I think I may have had fried plantains, fried yams, and mayyyyybe some greens. I recall that even the bread wasn't vegan. It was one of those times when I really wish the whole world ate vegan food, so that I could have tried more of the dishes. Everything about the friendly ambiance and the inviting menu really made me want to try more. So, at long last, I've returned to Cuban food! I look forward to hunting down more veg-friendly Cuban recipes. :)