Cuisine at home Forums
Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - Printable Version

+- Cuisine at home Forums (
+-- Thread: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW (/showthread.php?tid=61907)

Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - Gourmet_Mom - 08-07-2008

Yesterday, the hottest day this summer, I planned a Mexican Feast. We were to have Rick Bayless's Roasted Jalapeno-Tomato Salsa With Fresh Cilantro, Bill's Guacamole, Homemade Tortillla Chips, Ropa Vieja with Roasted Pablano Salsa, Bill's Corn, Tomato, Basil, Bean Salad and the Cheddar Corn Muffins. I also wanted to make the NY Cheesecake for DD and her BF, since they haven't had any yet and to redeem myself after the last disaster.

I got going at 9, hoping to get the roast and cheesecake going and all the salsas made before the heat got too bad. But first I had to run to the store to get my other brisket, since I had decided to double it. (The ingredients in the Braised Brisket part were so similar to the Guinness recipe, I figure...why not.)

First off, I get my ingredients organized. I realize I have a few more veggies to roast, so I get that going on the oven. Then, I started chopping and dicing the veggies...6 cups onion, 4 cups carrot....what, I don't have enough?, and two cups celery. Then William calls from the farm (He decided to work out there instead of surveying today...almost monkeyed Tuesday in the heat.). The tractor won't crank and he needs me to help him pull-start it. Well, heck, I need to run to the store to get the carrots anyway so here I go.

It's now 1:30, and I'm just now starting the roast. It's hotter than he[[ in the kitchen, but I press on doggedly. I get the meat seared off, pan deglazed with veggies, etc. and finally get the pot on the grill burner at 3:30! There's a lot of prep before getting THIS roast braising compared to the Guinness!

After making sure the grill was going to work, I whip up the cheesecake and get it into the oven. (I used the lifting tray that comes with those old roasters this time, and it worked like a charm!) I whir up the Bayless salsa and realize this stuff is HOT!!!!! So I gather up the ingredients for the Pablano Salsa and Jean's Salsa and head to the bedroom where the AC is working properly and sit down in the cool at the table we have there to get the other sauces going.

I'm running late, but I figure if I leave off the corn muffins, and send the WHOLE cheesecake home with DD, I'm still good. So I press on. At this point I'm working in he[['s kitchen, because the height of the table is all wrong in the bedroom. When I go to the grill to turn the roasts, it doesn't look like their going to be as tender as the Guinness, but it's only half way.

DD and her BF roll in at 6, and I've just realized I'm out of cilantro. William had checked at the local grocer and he SAID they didn't have it. So I send poor Ashley and BF to town to get that, limes, and green onions. Things are falling apart.

The cheesecake had come out and I risked it by putting it straight in the fridge, then into the freezer. The freezer is kinda packed, but I think I've got a spot where it will be safe. (I have a side by side.) I'm working on making the chips now. (I won't do that again on the same day as I need them. They're good and I like doing my own, but it was too much. I didn't have the heart to send her back to the store to buy any, so press on.) Back to chopping and mixing. When DD gets back, I finish off the salsas and set them out with the corn chips.

It's now 7! I take the pot with the roast to the kitchen...sweat pouring off my body...and lift out the roasts. I put DD and BF to work shredding while I strain the broth. That was a LOT of veggies in there. What to do with them? Had I been in a better frame of mind, I would probably have saved them, but not this time...between the repeated distractions and the heat, I was now starting to loose it. I saute ANOTHER 2 cups of onions, add the roasted tomatoes, braising broth, beef broth, shredded beef, and bring the pot to boil, add the Beurre Manie. While this is simmering, I finish up Bill's Salad. Bill, I don't know if it was all the other hysteria of the day, but I'm wondering if cilantro might be better in this. The basil just didn't "taste" right. It was good, though. I think I'll play with it. It's the first corn bean salad I've tried and we like it enough to play around with it and try thanks!

At 8 pm, we are finally eating...thankfully in the cool of the bedroom around the table instead of at the bar in the heat of the kitchen. Which is TRASHED by now. (BTW, I never did get the guacamole done.) The food was okay, but NOT worth the trouble and the mess. I thought the Ropa Vieja lacked flavor, even with the pablano salsa AND one of the other salsas on top. The kids said it was good and took some home, but I was disappointed. And to think, she REALLY wanted me to make the ribs from the current issue (or the last) and would have been perfectly happy with some corn on the cob and a simple salad...LOL! Thankfully they're used to my recipe experiments! I promised them the ribs next time!

Oh, and to top it all off. While we were eating, I went to fix a drink...I needed one by now...and had to open the freezer because the ice shute was jammed. You guessed it! The cheesecake slid out and hit the floor! Amazingly, it landed top side up, but looked just like it did last time when I dropped it in the sink. I think I'm jinxed! I'm thinking now, that maybe it's a sign that I need to try BF's mother's recipe. I mean, I made this one successfully the first time. Oh well, DD gladly took the WHOLE thing home.

I don't think I've ever seen them so glad to leave...LOL! Between the heat of the kitchen and my frenzied composure, they quickly gathered leftovers, recipes I had saved from recent successes (and the guacamole), and the cheesecake and headed back to Wilmington. It took until 10 to get the kitchen back in order and stuff put away. I fixed another drink and retired to a book and the peace and cool of the bedroom. Tomorrow will be a better day!

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - cjs - 08-07-2008

O.K., now it's time for take out Chinese.....

I've got to read this again slower to take it all in. I'll be back later....

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - Gourmet_Mom - 08-07-2008

I know...LOL! I'm almost afraid to make the Fish Tacos tonight! I'm better today...and cooler. I'm gonna get my Okra Gumbo (an old recipe) and the slaw and tartar sauce for the tacos done early today. Then all I'll have to do is the fish. I can't think how that can really be bad or go wrong...but then I seem to be on a roll.

I'm REALLY looking forward to Friday and Saturday...simple steaks, shrimp, and tried and true appies...thanks to you guys!

You know, I just had a premonition...a large ice ring mold sliding out of the freezer onto my foot. I think I'll take some stuff out to the big freezer before I make that...LOL!

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - cjs - 08-07-2008

With what's happening to you latel, I think that's a darn good idea.

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - Gourmet_Mom - 08-07-2008

I've got a question. I decided to freeze what's left of the beef until I can decide how to improve upon the dish. So for lunch, I had some of which was Jean's Definitive Salsa from last night. I was so flustered last night, I didn't notice, but this was MUCH hotter than the first time I made it. I know it had a chance to get hotter over night, but I think I remember it being hot last night as well.

The only thing I did different yesterday was that I used the roasted jalapenos instead of fresh. I carefully seeded it(after roasting), but it still made it hot. I thought roasting peppers made them more mellow, not hotter. Was I wrong? Another possibility...I roasted hot AND mild peppers together. Bad idea? But on second thought, the Pablano Salsa was made with some, not all, peppers from the same roasting batch and it didn't seem very hot.

I also need to figure out how to make the chips without repeated batches getting too salty.

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - chef_Tab - 08-07-2008

I made Ropa Vieja from a recipe I got in our local newspaper once. It sounded so good. In reality, it was so-so. I thought perhaps the recipe was not a good one, but maybe Ropa Vieja just isn't wonderful. I think it translates to "old rags". That should have been a clue!

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - esgunn - 08-07-2008

Daphne - I have found that Jalapenos can very a lot in heat. Some can have very little and others can be quite spicy. Maybe you just got a hot one this time and a mild one last time.

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - Old Bay - 08-07-2008

Because basil and tomatoes marry so well it was in the original recipe, cilantro would work too and make it more southwestern. I didn't mention that beause I had already put cilantro in the guacamole and I thought the more flavors the better! But you are right it would work well.

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - Gourmet_Mom - 08-07-2008

Bill, I'm gonna try it again with the cilantro. I usually agree with basil and tomato, but this time I think the cilantro would work better. We really liked it though. Like I said, this was the first southwestern bean salad that I remember trying and liking.

Thanks for the info Erin. You think that's it? So roasted they ARE supposed to mellow...right?

Re: Ropa Vieja-REVIEW - HomeCulinarian - 08-07-2008

Oh, Daphne - what a day! Could have been an "I Love Lucy" episode.