Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Kitchen My World -- Cuba

The country of the week for My Kitchen My World is Cuba! I was not sure off the top of my head what recipes to try, but after doing a few internet searches on Cuban dishes, I knew one of them had to be Cuban black beans and rice. Many of the recipe for this dish that I looked over called for dried beans cooked in a pressure cooker -- perfect! I got a Cook's Essentials 5 quart electric pressure cooker right before Christmas and this was my first time using it. I was nervous at first, a pressure cooker is kind of intimidating, but I figured I'd just give it a try with these beans and not be too worried about the end result, if they were great, wonderful, if they weren't, well it is probably because I've never used a pressure cooker before.

Many of the Cuban bean pressure cooker recipes called for the beans to be soaked overnight -- but I didn't. I was just going with the "try it out and see" method, wondering if the beans could be done without soaking, which I know is supposed to make them more digestable, but I was more concerned with texture and flavor. So I just rinsed and picked through a bag of dried black beans, plopped them in the pressure cooker, added water and hoped they would turn out. I completely guessed at the time, 15 minutes at high pressure, and guess what? They turned out!

I served them over rice with some cheese, sour cream, and salsa. I am really impressed with how fast the cooked in the pressure! Can't wait to try out some more bean recipes in there :) If anyone knows of any great meatless pressure cooker recipes, please let me know. I'll be sure to post more pressure cooker recipes as soon I do some more trial and error.

While searching for Cuban recipe I came across this website with a recipe for Cuban Pastelitos that was really simple and sounded yummy. What caught my eye was the guava filling, and guess what I picked up on netgrocer a month or so ago? Guava jelly! I'm always on the lookout for jams and jellies that I can't find locally (since the kids love toast and jam) and had never tried guava jelly before! It had been sitting in the pantry and I wasn't quite sure what to expect but it was a great filling for the pastelitos with some cream cheese. They were just like mini turnovers and a fun treat to have after our Cuban beans and rice lunch.

Due to the extremely busy holidays, I missed the two MKMW countries that were picked before Cuba -- France and the Phillipines, but plan to do make-ups for them sometime soon. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, happy cooking :)


Lauren said...

the pastelitos look amazingly yummy!! I love my pressure cooker even though I use it only about once a year to cook beans- with no soaking. I'm so glad it turned out! My recipe was a bit of a cuban flop- post tomorrow. glad you're traveling with us again!

Natashya said...

I don't think you have to soak with a pressure cooker. (At least the Iron Chefs don't)
You are so brave! I want one but am a bit of a chicken.
Sorry I missed this week, I was going to make tostones last night but we ended up having to go out.
I really have to stop putting it off to the last day!
Did the kids like the beans?

Michelle Dargen said...

YUM! Your beans and rice are making me drool!

joannabug said...

Yum! Those pastelitos look amazing. My mom used to get us guava paste sometimes as kids, and I loved the taste of it. Haven't had it for years!

Anonymous said...

I love beans and rice and the pastelitos look delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Debinhawaii said...

Your black beans turned out great! Some day I will buy myself a pressure cooker. It is funny we both made and posted them. ;-) Love those pastelitos too!
Great job!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe a pressure cooks that fast! I remember as a child it seemed like HOURS before the beans were done... and it was a stovetop one too. I've never seen an electric/countertop one.


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