Homemade Sofrito And Desecrating The Scotch Ice Cube Tray

A few months ago I had the pleasure of dining at Mas Farmhouse in NYC. While every bite on the tasting menu was nearly impeccable, I walked away more impressed with their version of the cocktail El Jefe. It could have been the absinthe since the Mas version contains the anise flavored spirit and a normal one does not. But it was the ice cubes that captivated us. They were HUGE. My companions and I kept staring at our glasses and wondered aloud if they were reusing the cubes since it seemed like they weren't melting. After three--maybe four?--rounds of El Jefes during the course of the night, someone at my table snuck away to watch the bartender make the drinks.

"No, No! It's fresh ice every time they make our drinks!" He announced gleefully. At the end of the night we all went home with satisfied bellies but wondered where we could procure an ice cube tray to make our own El Jefe size ice cubes.

Oh, the things you can buy on Amazon. It turns out that with the right word search you can find--and purchase--the ice cube tray of humongous ice cubes. It's actually a Scotch ice cube tray. With one click I was the proud owner of a Scotch ice cube tray within 48 hours. But the problem with owning such a thing is that I now have the added pressure of mixing my own El Jefes or drinking Scotch, both of which are not very appealing to me. I'm not a big drinker.

What I did realize is that my Scotch ice cube tray is perfect for freezing batches of homemade sofrito. I'm not going to proclaim that my sofrito recipe is the best or the most authentic. But given the other option--namely store-bought sofrito--I think that you would find my method a bit more tasty and healthy.

5 baby bell peppers, tops cut and seeds removed
1 large onion, sliced
12 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes
1 cup of fresh cilantro

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree for 1 minute. Fill Scotch ice cube tray and place in freezer. Once the sofrito is frozen into cubes, remove cubes and store them in a sealable plastic bag. You should not leave the sofrito in the ice cube tray.

I do a lot of substituting when the need arises. Sometimes I have large bell peppers and vine tomatoes instead of baby bell peppers and grape tomatoes. Sometimes I have parsley instead of cilantro. I guess it depends on what's in my refrigerator. But these are my basic ingredients.

If you have a large food processor, you can double the amount of ingredients. I have a small food processor so the ingredients above are what fit inside it. After it's pureed, the sofrito can only fill half my Scotch ice cube tray. So doubling the ingredients can fill the entire tray.

Sofrito is used as a base for almost all Latino home cooking. But you don't have to use it just for Latino cooking. For quick stir-fry dishes, I'll pop out a frozen sofrito cube to add some flavor.

Anyway, I hope you found this useful.