CLEO TV is killing the game when it comes to culture, diversity, and representation. Culture Kitchen is a new show that allows us to celebrate the culture through food, travel, and lifestyle, and specifically celebrate the upbringing in Washington, D.C. of a Cuban Chef who “eats a lot,” Bren Herrera. Premiering tonight on CLEO TV, Culture Kitchen with Bren Herrera will “inspire you to cook for yourself and or your family,” says the host.
The show offers tips to “take away fear you may have in the kitchen,” says Herrera. She teaches us techniques and ingredients learned throughout her life, whether through travel or passed down from her mom whom Herrera says, “steals the crowd when she’s on the show.” Herrera’s mother taught her to cook at an early age. Those recipes are featured on the shows; prepare for the “big, bold flavors,” says Herrera.
Chatting with Herrera taught us eight things, including a few Behind-the-Scenes secrets:
When filming, “We eat everything we cook.”
When filming, “cooking is in real time, and we never use substitutes.”
“Always start with a sofrito base to get everyone excited.”
“Garlic makes everything better.”
“If I’m cooking with it, I’m drinking it.”
“No Latina is cooking without a pressure cooker.”
“Just because I’m Latin doesn’t mean I only cook/do Latin things.”
“Comedy will always get you out of a tricky situation.”
BTW… a little birdie (CLEO TV sister and fellow foodie Julissa Bermudez) hinted Herrera has a flank steak with red wine sauce recipe that we need to acquire!
Herrera’s “why” is “to celebrate our people the way that we live our lives and how food can evoke beautiful memories.” Her work for the culture is evident and beautiful. She uses food to have conversations about “how we are the same when it comes to the culture and how we got here.” She calls it “passively educating people,” and encourages us to do the same, “as a way to offer context or anecdotes to discover how we can bridge that gap together… beautiful, elaborate conversation over food and walk away on the same page.”
You may notice a few familiar faces breaking bread and joining in on the conversation this season, as DNice who stops by to make tostones with Herrera.
The first episode features “Chef Bren” preparing a Cuban Caribbean dish, Jamaican Jerk-style Oxtail complimented by the “Perfect Black Beans and Rice”. CLEO TV says, “To complement, Chef Bren adds a side of Yuca Con Mojo and a signature Mango Mojito. This meal is a great option to spice up viewers’ dinner plans throughout the week.”
Watch Culture Kitchen live at 9 P.M. ET/8C and cook alongside Chef Bren using her recipes below:
Jamaican Style Oxtail Recipe courtesy of Bren Herrera
3 pounds oxtails
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Spanish onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 scotch bonnet pepper, sliced
2 teaspoons freshly ground allspice berries
2 fresh scallions, rough chopped
White rice for serving (recipe follows)
1. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a Dutch oven over high heat.
2. Season the oxtails with salt and pepper and sear in oil on each side until golden brown.
3. In the meantime make the brown sugar sauce in a separate small pot. Add the brown sugar to the pot over medium heat until it melts and begins to caramelize for about 2-3 minutes. It should almost caramelize into a golden brown color. Make sure it doesn’t get too dark and burn.
4. Carefully add stock to the caramel continuously stirring with a wooden spoon as it will bubble quickly. It will harden due to temperature change (cold stock to hot caramel) or you can heat the stock up prior to adding.
5. Add the brown sugar liquid to the oxtails making sure they are submerged and bring up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
6. Add the cumin, Worchestershire sauce, onion, garlic, bay leaves, ginger, honey, scotch bonnet, allspice berries, and scallions. Give it a good stir to marry the flavors. Adjust for salt to taste.
7. Continue to simmer the oxtails on the stove for about 90 minutes to 2 hours until the oxtails are tender and falling off the bone.
8. Serve the oxtails with white rice!
Yuca con Mojo Recipe courtesy of Bren Herrera
2 pounds fresh or frozen cassava root, cooked until tender
Salt for seasoning
1 ½ cups olive oil
1 Spanish onion, sliced
2 heads garlic cloves smashed, reserve paper
1 fresh lemon
- Bring salted water to a boil (it should be salty like the ocean) and cook yucca
until tender but not mushy.
- Drain and transfer yucca to your serving platter.
- Heat the oil in a medium saute pan or skillet. Once hot add in the onions and
begin to saute until onions begin to lightly brown.
- Add the garlic cloves and some of the reserved paper to the skillet along
with the onions and saute until golden brown. Adjust for salt if needed.
- Cover and smother the yucca with the garlic onion mojo
- Generously squeeze juice from one lemon.
Mango Mojito Recipe courtesy of Bren Herrera
Fresh mint leaves and sprigs
Juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons sugar + more for the rim
4 ounces white rum
¼ cup mango puree
Baby ice for serving in glasses
Lemon lime soda or club soda
Whole sugar cane for garnish optional
- In a mortar and pestle or martini shaker muddle 10-15 leaves of fresh mint.
- Add sugar and lime juice muddle again with the mint mixture.
- Add rum and mango puree to muddled mint, shake.
- Moisten the lip of your Collins glasses and dip into extra sugar.
- Add ice to your glasses and pour in your rum mixture. Top off with sprite or
club soda and garnish with mint leaves, mint sprigs, and sugar cane optional.
For more information about CLEO TV visit www.mycleo.tv and check out CLEO TV‘s YouTube Channel. Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook (@mycleotv) using the hashtag #CULTUREKITCHEN and #CLEOTV.
CORRECTION: During the red-carpet premiere of “For The Love Of Money,” W4TC Correspondent Sincerely B_B received updates from Chef Bren on the date and time change for her show. Herrera says, Culture Kitchen was moved from Saturday to Wednesday’s at primetime, 9 p.m. ET.