The Habana Cafe Cookbook / Edition 1

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"Best Cuban Food"--Beach Life, 1998

"Best Cuban Food in Tampa Bay Area"--Tampa Bay Magazine, 1999-2003

"Reading this book is like sitting at the Gonzalez-Hastings kitchen table with a cup of espresso, exchanging favorite Cuban recipes with your best friend."--Pat Baldwin, retired food editor, St. Petersburg Times

The Habana Cafe's list of "Bests" began in 1997, soon after the Cuban family restaurant opened its doors on Florida's Gulf Coast and served its first steaming platters of homemade picadillo, arroz con pollo, and lechon asado--a mouth-watering dish of roasted pork seasoned with fresh garlic, oregano, white wine, and bay leaves and topped with grilled onions.

Culinary wizard and cafe owner Josefa Gonzalez-Hastings offers this extravagance of Cuban cooking as a celebration of her heritage. Many of the recipes were passed down to her from her mother and aunts; others are "nuevo Latino cuisine"--a fusion of traditional Cuban foods with modern dishes. Cuban food and preparation always has been varied, she says, flavored by the ancestry of the island, with contributions from Spanish conquistadors, African slaves, Asian laborers, and Indian natives.

Of course, she also includes Habana Cafe's standard sides of rice, black beans, and glazed golden-brown plantains. Customer favorites are all represented here in easy-to-follow recipes and colorful photographs--from appetizers and soups, seafood and vegetarian entrees, to classics (Cuban sandwiches and flan) and beverages (mojitos, sangria, cafe con leche, Cuba libre). Gonzalez-Hastings also provides a glossary explaining typical ethnic Cuban ingredients such as bijol, a condiment used to give rice a yellow color; naranja agria, the tart Seville orange often used to marinate meat and make mojo sauce; and malanga, a mild, nutty root that flavors soups and other sauces.

"In my Cuban family," she writes, "two things were always certain-- food and good times." Gonzalez-Hastings shares family stories and photographs of life in pre-Castro Cuba, re-creating the days when Havana was a dining mecca, Ernest Hemingway frequented La Floridita restaurant, and the island gave birth to the daiquiri.

Josefa Gonzalez-Hastings is head chef and owner of the Habana Cafe in Gulfport, Florida.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gonzalez-Hastings, chef and owner of the popular Habana Cafe in Gulfport, Fla., aims to blend a guide to Cuban cuisine, her own emigre family lore and today's fusion Nuevo Latino cooking. Alas, her slim volume fails to deliver: Gonzalez-Hastings's personal anecdotes combine nostalgia with anger at Castro without fully evoking the world that was lost, and she presents her recipe instructions in a perfunctory style, with too many fundamentals relegated to a superficial glossary at book's end. Novice cooks will be baffled by the absence of technical explanations, while Latino cooking fans will wonder why Gonzalez-Hastings includes dishes like Salmon on Mini-Bagel Crisps but omits Cuban staples such as annatto oil, calabaza and boniato. And though immigrant cuisines are always transformed on American soil, this chef advocates the use of bottled mojo sauce, Badia spice mix and bouillon cubes without useful comparisons to homemade alternatives. Gonzalez-Hastings is on more sure footing when she ties stories about the restaurant to specific dishes (e.g., the Cuban Sandwich or Moros y Cristianos [black beans and rice]), and there are buried treasures, such as her mother's Ham Croquettes. But when it comes to Nuevo Cubano cuisine, readers would be better off with Joyce La Fray's Cuba Cocina! or Mary Urrutia Randelman's classic Memories of a Cuban Kitchen. Gonzalez-Hastings's illustrated paperback may be welcomed as a souvenir of dining in the cafe, but as a cookbook, her mojo simply lacks mojo. 20 color, 10 b&w photos. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813027371
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 6/30/2004
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 1
About Cuban Cooking 7
Saladitos Appetizers
Endive with Herbed Goat Cheese 9
Watercress Mini-Sandwiches 10
Cuban Sandwich 10
Elena Ruz 11
Finger Sandwiches 12
Anchovy and Cheese Mini-Circles 12
Salmon on Mini-Bagel Crisps 12
Short-Order Appetizer 13
Cuban Baguette 13
Mushrooms al Ajillo 13
Stuffed Mushrooms 14
Avocado Appetizer 14
Scallops Wrapped in Bacon 15
Frituras de Bacalao (Codfish Fritters) 15
Ham Croquettes 16
Bleu Cheese Dip 17
Yogurt and Cheese Dip 17
Sopas Soups
Frijoles Negros (Black Bean Soup) 18
Garbanzo Bean Soup 20
Split Pea Soup 20
Navy Bean Soup 21
Sopa de Cebolla (Onion Soup) 21
Vichyssoise 22
Cream of Cheddar Cheese Soup 22
Cheddar Cheese and Broccoli Soup 23
Ajiaco (Cuban Vegetable Soup) 24
Beef Vegetable Soup 25
Caldo Basico (Beef Consomme) 25
Rabo Encendido (Oxtail Stew) 26
Oyster Stew 26
Shrimp Bisque 27
Gazpacho 28
Strawberry Soup 28
Blueberry Soup 28
Ensaladas Salads
Spanish Salad 29
Spanish Salad (Catering) 30
Caesar Salad 30
Watercress and Endive Salad 30
Avocado Salad 31
Sliced Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese with Fresh Basil 31
Vinaigrette 31
Chicken Salad 32
Platos Principales Main Dishes
Fillet of Fish Breaded in Plantain Chips 34
Bacalao a la Vizcaina (Codfish) 35
Filetes de Pargo con Almendras (Red Snapper with Almonds) 36
Salmon with Mango Salsa 36
Lobster Thermidor 37
Shrimp Ajillo 38
Camarones Enchilados (Shrimp Creole) 38
Seafood Gumbo 39
Arroz con Calamares (Rice with Squid) 40
Picadillo 40
Ropa Vieja (Old Clothes) 41
Palomilla Steak 42
Steak Diane 42
Higado a la Italiana (Sauteed Liver, Italian Style) 43
Pot Roast 43
Boliche (Stuffed Pot Roast) 44
Boliche a la Naranjada (Pot Roast with Orange Sauce) 45
Carne con Papa (Beef Stew with Potatoes) 46
Albondigas (Meatballs) 46
Veal Stew 47
Veal Marsala 48
Ajies Rellenos (Stuffed Peppers) 48
Lamb Stew 49
Lamb Chops with Orange Glaze 50
Roast Duckling a la Naranjada (Roast Duck with Orange Sauce) 50
Pork Chops 51
Masitas de Puerco Fritas (Fried Pork Chunks) 52
Lechon Asado (Roast Pork with Mojo Sauce) 52
Frijoles Colorados con Puerco (Red Beans with Pork) 53
Patas de Puerco con Garbanzos (Pig's Feet with Garbanzo Beans) 54
Arroz con Chorizo (Rice with Chorizo) 54
Summer Dill Chicken 55
Chicken with Endive Spears 56
Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera (Chicken and Yellow Rice) 56
Arroz Relleno (Stuffed Rice) 58
Aunt Alina's Paella 58
Macarones con Pollo (Macaroni with Chicken) 60
Vegetales Vegetables & Accompaniments
Fried Sweet Plantains 62
Fufu de Platanos (Mashed Plantains) 62
Platanos en Tentacion (Baked Sweet Plantains) 79
Yuca con Mojo (Yuca with Mojo Sauce) 79
Malanga Puree 80
Arroz Blanco (White Rice) 80
Moros y Cristianos (Black Beans and Rice) 81
Mashed Butternut Squash 82
Asparagus with White Butter Sauce 82
Mushrooms with Sour Cream 83
Hollandaise Sauce 83
Potatoes au Gratin 84
Postres Desserts
Flan de Leche 85
Cream Cheese Flan 87
Ducle Griego (Pound Cake with Walnuts) 87
Guava Mousse 88
Rum Mousse 88
Strawberry Rum Mousse 89
Chocolate Mousse 89
Raspberry Mousse 90
Creme Fraiche with Raspberry Preserves 90
Strawberry Parfait 90
Strawberries Romanoff 91
Vanilla Ice Cream with Very Berry Sauce 91
Cherries Jubilee 92
Fruit Salad with Rum Dressing 92
Fruit au Gratin 93
Mango Cheesecake 93
Mango Butter 94
Peach Melba 94
Rum Balls 94
Manzanas Rellenas en Almendras (Stuffed Apples with Almonds) 95
Natilla (Vanilla Pudding) 95
Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) 96
Bread Pudding 96
Light Rum Sauce 97
Bebidas Beverages
The Home Bar 99
Cuba Libre (Free Cuba) 100
El Presidente 100
Habana Pink Rum Cocktail 100
Habana Tropical Punch 101
Blackberry Delight 101
Mojito 101
Daiquiri 103
Pineapple Daiquiri 104
Banana Daiquiri 104
Peach Daiquiri 104
Sangria 105
Rum Sangria Punch 105
Malta Shake 105
Mango Shake 106
Crema de Vie (Cream of Life) 106
Cafe con Leche (Coffee with Milk) 107
Iced Cafe con Leche 107
Glossary 109
Index 112
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2004

    Perfect for Todays Cook !

    I am 'fresh of the Boat' as us Cubans say and besides the store bought, time saving ingredients; this book has all the right dishes.A perfect blend of todays Cuban flare with American ease. Thanks Jo for sharing !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    wish there was more

    i really enjoyed reading the stories connected to the recipes. i wish the author could have talked more about the cuba she had to leave. i have tried 2 of the recipes and they both turned out just as she said they would. i hope she writes another cookbook and includes more stories.

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