Over the years as I have grown older, my taste buds have adapted to different foods. Growing up, my sister and my father had the same tastes whereas my mother and I had the same tastes. One thing my mother and I hated? Condiments. Now, I cannot eat a cheeseburger without a dollop of ketchup or enjoy a chicken quesadilla without sour cream. And tomatoes? They’re still not my favorite but I can definitely tolerate them. This adventure in the kitchen has definitely opened my eyes to new possibilities when it comes to food.
During my Online Journalism class, Katie Bavosa, a fellow student at Rowan University, asked me if I had ever tried cooking ethnic foods. Immediately I replied no, however, I do love Spanish food and I would love to try a Spanish recipe so Bavosa suggested that I try something different for my blog. So I went to those closest to me who would have the best suggestions for a recipe to try. Jovita Salamone, whom you might remember from an earlier post and another coworker of mine, suggested that I try a Jibarito Sandwich.
I’ve been working at Walgreens for the past 4+ years and I’ve made friends with almost everyone who has come and gone. I have worked, and still work with many Spanish people who have introduced me to all different types of foods. I was very hesitant to try their food but I started small with rice and beans because of course I didn’t really like beans either. I then tried Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls, Papas Rellenas in Spanish. This dish is essentially seasoned ground beef inside a fried mashed potato ball. After this, I have only expanded my interests. I began asking my manager, Barbara Ruiz, to bring me dinner every time we work the same shift.
Ruiz, who grew up in Puerto Rico, has definitely remained true to her roots when it comes to her cooking. Chicken Gizzards certainly don’t sound appetizing and she knew that I wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole if I knew that that’s what I was eating so she withheld that information from me. I knew I needed to dive in and just try it and to my surprise, they were delicious.
So it also came as a surprise when I asked Ruiz if she had ever eaten or made a Jibarito Sandwich and she replied no. However, I will be honest, I can’t tell the difference between Puerto Rican food, Cuban food, and Mexican food. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to. Ruiz informed me that “jibarito” is a Mexican word so I was most likely making a Mexican dish. Regardless, I went ahead to my local grocery store and picked up the necessary ingredients.
- 1 Green Plantain
- 4-inch portion of Skirt Steak
- 1/2 Large Onion
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 cup Mojo Marinade
- 3/4 cup Water
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1 TBS Vinegar
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 12 Peppercorns
- 1 TBS Ketchup
- 1 TBS Mayonnaise
- Lettuce & Tomato
I will admit I was in a little over my head with this recipe. I didn’t research how to properly peel plantains so they didn’t come out as they should have. But I definitely learned from my mistake and will be able to properly do it the next time with the help of The Noshery.