In my post last week, about Cuban Sandwiches, I mentioned "roast pork...seasoned with mojo". I had several people ask what I meant, so this week I'll tell you about Mojo (pronounced moho).
Mojo is a marinade/sauce made with olive oil, citrus juices and spices. I have heard that it originated in the Canary Islands, and was brought to Cuba by the many "Isleños" (Islanders) who immigrated to the Caribbean.
In modern slang the word "mojo" is also used to mean "self-confidence" and that makes me think of my father and his ancestors.
My father’s great-grandfather was one of five brothers who came from the Canary Islands to the Americas, to make their fortune. Once in the New World they went their separate ways and never saw each other again. My father told us that 3 of the brothers, (including his great-grandfather) ambitiously divided Cuba in thirds, each settling in a different area. Our great-grandfather in the central portion.
I think of those 5 brothers venturing into the New World, to create the life they wanted and I know that the same adventurous spirit and "make-it-happen" attitude was evident in my grandfather. Abuelo had little formal education and only $20 when he married Abuela. By the time I was born, through dedicated hard work, he owned a successful sugar cane plantation, a dairy farm, multiple homes and other businesses...until Fidel took it all away.
Then there was my father, (who I adore) known by most as Aldito but always Papillo to me. He was charming, the life of every party, hard-working, courageous, loved by all.....I'll tell you more about him another day.
A wonderful “criollo” marinade/sauce. You can buy it ready made, if you are fortunate enough to live near a market that sells Latin foods, but home-made is more flavorful. My mother used this as “adobo”or seasoning for meats. You can also use it to flavor Yuca (future recipe), as a dip for Chicharritas, Tostones, etc.
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice
4-5 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a food processor, until garlic is chopped very fine. Use right away or refrigerate. It will keep a few days. You can also freeze it and use later. By the way, did I mention I like garlic?
I would love to know how you use MOJO.