Sofrito is the base of many typically Cuban recipes. It is the aromatic preparation of fresh vegetables and herbs lightly fried together. It isn't the flavor itself but about building layers of flavor. In our home in Cuba, they used to chop all the ingredients(with exception of the bay leaf) in a blender and store in a jar with olive oil on the top. It lasts up to a week, and would be doled out as needed and then the bay leaf would be added; sautéed and simmered as directed. The secret to a good sofrito is to let it simmer a while so that all the tastes can marry. Many times when there was no saffron to add we would use "bijol" which can be found in Latin grocery stores or where Goya spices are sold.