Turrónes at Christmastime

As a Cuban-American, every year my family and I look forward to Noche Buena, Christmas Eve.  I have the best memories of Noche Buena growing up. While I love my American traditions, there are things that are unique to my Cuban culture, of which I am very proud of.  You see, many Latin families make a bigger deal sometimes about Noche Buena than Christmas Day. On Noche Buena, we gather our huge families, while enjoying our traditional recipes and celebrate the holiday. However, we never want to overlook the importance of Christmas Day, so of course we meet again on the 25th after attending mass, to open gifts, celebrate the birth of Jesus and of course, eat the leftovers from the previous evening. Noche Buena meals consist of some very important staples, such as, lechon asado (roast pork), rice and beans, yuca and fried plantains. After dinner, we all drink my aunt’s Creme de Vie, a sweet Cuban version of egg nog, (I would give you the recipe but then I would have to kill you…as our family’s recipe has a secret ingredient that I have not seen in any other recipe I have come across. But here’s a similar one). And last but certainly not least, comes dessert, where some eat flan, but most eat turrónes (Pronounced TOO-RON-EHS).  What are turrónes you say? Turrón is a nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. Growing up I remember the simple ones made of almonds, nuts and egg yolk (my hubby’s favorite, yema), but nowadays there are many more varieties, from chocolate coated to fruit filled.

My turron selections on Christmas Eve

My turrón selections on Christmas Eve, accompanied by cheese and guava paste slices.

Guava paste slices, cheese and a selection of turrónes, all musts for a Cuban Christmas.

Here are my family’s favorite turrónes for the holidays!

Some of our favorites.

Some of our favorites.

Have you ever tried turrón? If you have, I would love to know which one you liked most…

My Signature

Advertisements

Summer Entertaining

Well the summer is flying by and I’ve been so busy in the month of June that I haven’t had too much time to blog lately. We’ve taken several short trips and had a few important family celebrations which I’ve had to plan as well.  The summer is off to a great start and now I have some time to blog again, before our big trip next month.  I am, what some folks call, a summer baby (my birthday is in August) and summer has always been my absolute favorite season and time of year.  I love that kids are off from school, so I get to thoroughly enjoy my daughter, without having to worry if homework and assignments are done (although there is that blasted summer reading list).  Lucky for me, I live in Miami…yes, it gets incredibly hot, but I love to hang out in my pool and go to the beach pretty regularly.  As part of my summer routines, I also enjoy having friends and family over and that of course, means yummy, refreshing summer meals.

So, when I was recently contacted by the folks at Paperless Post, inviting me to participate in a link-up about summertime entertaining, I thought it would be right up my alley. Paperless Post, an online invitation website that I have used many times, provides both virtual and printed invitations and other stationary as well.  They truly have beautiful invitations, announcements and greeting cards.  Take a look at some of their summer themed invitations:

Photo courtesy of Paperless Post.

Photo courtesy of Paperless Post.

Photo courtesy of Paperless Post.

Photo courtesy of Paperless Post.

Photo courtesy of Paperless Post.

Photo courtesy of Paperless Post.

So, I decided to create my inspiration board with all of the items that I think would look amazing and fun for an outdoor pool or beach party.  I always feel good food is the ticket to satisfying guests and making an event memorable.  Browsing through Pinterest I found some amazingly delicious and easy recipes. And you always need to keep the kids in mind, so they are entertained as well.  Here’s what I came up with:

entertaining

1) Individual Frozen Key Lime Pies | 2) Pottery Barn Mini Lantern String Lights | 3) Beach Buckets with Shovels for Snacks | 4) Bucket of Water Balloons | 5) Ginormous Burger & Brown Bag Chips | 6) Sunscreen & Bug Spray Station | 7) Shrimp & Chorizo Bites  | 8) Strawberry Shortcake Skewers  | 9) Watermelon Refresher

Do you  enjoy summertime entertaining?  I’d love to hear your ideas…

My Signature