Cooking With the Troops (a lo Cubano)

I've gotten the opportunity to do many cool things because of this blog. I continue to be amazed at what this particular platform has afforded me in my life.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I received an invitation that knocked the wind out of me and left me sitting on the ground weeping like the little girl I am.


Val from Babalú Blog and I have been invited to participate in an event called Cooking With the Troops.

Val & me

As you know, I am Babalú Blog's resident cook. (*takes bow*) It's there that Marta's Cuban American Kitchen was born.

Martas kitchen logo 1 copy-1

I usually cook Cuban meals for my family and friends. But the largest crowd I've ever cooked for has been about 40 people.

On July 15th, Val and I will be pulling out all the stops to provide an honest-to-goodness-Ay-Dios-mio-que-rico Cuban feast for some very special men and women in our Armed Forces.

Val: "Let's go whole hog* and put on a very Cuban Nochebuena-type feast." (*pun intended)

Me: "You get the pigs and I'll do the rest*." (*freaks out just a little bit, but that's not important right now.)

Cooking With the Troops is a not for profit organization dedicated to providing aid, comfort, and support to US and Allied military troops and their families via special culinary events throughout the country.

Val and I will be cooking this very authentic Cuban meal for over 250 wounded veterans. I can't even begin to describe the honor this is for me, personally. We look forward to giving back just a little bit to those who risk so much for the freedoms we enjoy and sometimes take for granted.

The very generous folks at La Caja China have donated two pig roasting boxes so that Val can cook two whole lechónes for those very special men and women and their families. I'll be in charge of the rest of the menu with lots of help from my new best friends, the good folks at Conchita Foods.

The menu is as follows: (Pace yourself. Your mouth will be watering uncontrollably as you read.)

  • Lechón Asado a lo Cubano
  • Arroz Blanco
  • Frijoles Negros
  • Platanos Maduros Fritos
  • Yuca con Mojo Criollo
  • Marta's Pastelitos de Guayaba® =D

Of course, I'm bringing my big, fat, Cuban family to help. Eric and the kids are totally on board.

This from our friend and event coordinator, Laughing Wolf:

Cooking with the Troops is up to something.
In our tradition (of all of one year) of doing things a bit differently, we are going to tell you what we are up to, but not where. And, we may not tell you a few other things.

What we will tell you is that we are going to feed the troops. In fact, we are going to do it for most of a day here in July. We will also say that this will be a first time doing an event at this location. With your help, it won't be the last time either.

Lunch is being done by Val Prieto of Babalu Blog, who will be roasting two whole hogs, authentic Cuban style, in roasters donated by Caja China . Marta Darby of Marta's Cuban American Kitchen will be preparing genuine Cuban sides, and we are planning on them feeding 250 at the least. If you've read Babalu Blog, then you've read about the delicious Cuban cuisine these two do. Now, we have a chance for some very special troops to get to taste it.

Dinner is being done for an estimated 150 by Ellen Adams. Ellen is a 20-year Air Force veteran who used her education benefits to attend culinary schools in the U.S. and in Italy. She has got some great ideas, and plans something a little lighter for the evening. We will have more on that soon.

Want to help? Then hit the donate button as that always helps. We want to kick out the stops on this event, and also do the same on some future events.

Don't expect us to say a lot more until we have done this. Our preference is to tell you we've done something, not hit you with a lot of "gonna do's" and such. If you want to read a lot more about what we've done, hit that donation link a time or three.

If you are a regular reader and can donate even a small amount, please do. This is an extremely worthy cause.

As for me, I am in turns excited, scared, delighted, and humbled by the enormity of the honor and the task at hand. But compared to the sacrifice these men and women have made for us and for this great country, baking 300 pastelitos de guayaba is childs play.