Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who's Got Cabin Fever?

OK Peeps, who out there isn't feeling just a tad bit "doughy" lately... with all this blustery weather, darkness, blah blah blah??? I for one, am feeling it for sure! I just want to wear a big sweater, socks and slippers until say... April. (along with a warm cup of herb tea and a hot water bottle......C'mon, you KNOW that sounds GOOD!) But that may not be a viable option...

 So anywhoo, my Plan B is to think positive, enthusiastic, and festive thoughts! Let's have a Cuban Dinner Party!!!

Many years ago when I had my first Mojito....it was in South Beach Miami, Florida, where you can easily find authentic Cuban cuisine. Ever since then, (when I also fell in love with the Traditional Cuban Sandwich,) I have been experimenting, and putting together a foolproof menu for an awesome Cuban dinner. It's a great way to feel "warm & tropical" in the dead of winter. It makes a very nice Superbowl menu, too! Ricky Ricardo would be proud.

Cuban Sandwiches
Cuban Salad
Black Beans & Rice
Garlic Plantain Chips 
Tres Leches Cake
For Cuban Sandwiches:
1 lb. deli ham, sliced thick
1 lb. roast pork, sliced thick (You can roast & slice it yourself if you cant find it at your deli)
1 lb. Munster cheese
8 submarine rolls, split
Jar of Dijonnaise mustard
Dill pickles, sliced lengthwise (you can usually find them jarred this way in the grocery store)
Butter, softened

Butter both sides of submarine rolls, then put mustard on one side of each roll. Layer Ham, Pork, Cheese and Pickle slices onto rolls. Then top with the other half of the roll.

Cuban sandwiches can be cooked using a Panini/Grill Press, a George Foreman Grill, or even just a skillet.

If you are using a skillet, butter the bottom of the skillet and place sandwiches into skillet. Then weigh it down with another skillet (cast iron if you have it). Rolls should be golden brown and cheese should be melted. Let cool for one minute, slice and transfer to serving platter.

Easy Cuban Salad:
Baby Lettuce Greens
Avocado slices
Thin red or yellow onion slices
olive oil
lime juice
Arrange a bed of lettuce leaves, slice on avocado, onion, salt, olive oil, and a squeeze of lime juice. All these ingredients are to taste, so you can flavor it up or down to your liking.

Tres Leches Cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, separated
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 14 oz can evaporated milk
2 tablespoons light rum
Spray bottle of whipped cream
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Maraschino cherries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 13 baking dish. Stir flour, baking powder and salt together.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the whites until very foamy and frothy. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, cream the sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. Continue mixing and slowly add the milk. Then start adding the flour mixture, a little at a time until all the flour is incorporated and and the batter is smooth. Finally, use a spatula to gently add the beaten egg whites until completely mixed.
Pour batter into floured and greased baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Then invert the cake onto a baking tray with a raised side, (something to catch the syrup.) Repeatedly pierce the top of the cake with a fork.

Milk Syrup: Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, and rum in a bowl until well blended. Pour syrup over cake a little at a time, until it soaks through the cake. Use your fork to enable the syrup to seep into the cake. There will probably still be a pool of syrup around the bottom of the cake, but it will gradually soak in. Cover the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
When it's time to serve, slice a square piece of cake, spray with whipped cream, sprinkle with cinnamon, and top with a cherry (optional). You will not believe how good this cake tastes.

 As for the rest of the menu, it's all stuff you can purchase! You can also eliminate an item or two if you would rather do a little less work. Here are some tips: I buy canned Black Bean soup, heat it up, and drain off the excess liquid for my black beans.I serve it in a bowl alongside some white or brown rice. They are side dishes that compliment the sandwiches perfectly.  Goya makes fabulous plantain chips, plain or with garlic flavor. Then cook your favorite rice, mix up your favorite Mojito recipe (a must), plus have some beer on hand,  and you are all set! Light some candles, play some Cuban music, and let the yum begin!!

Look how happy we made Ricky! Aww...


  1. I hope I'm invited, I'd like to plant my face into that cake.

  2. Tres Leches is SO delicious! The longer you let the milk soak in, the more scrumptious it gets!

  3. Now your talking my language mama fifi!!!! Those sandwiches look really good!!!!

  4. I love this post because it has two things I like: Ricky from I Love Lucy and Mojitos. And you know, I've always heard of Tres Leches cake but never actually tried it. Your pictures are making me hungry.

    One more thing, for someone who doesn't like ham or pork, can chicken or turkey be substituted?

  5. Thanks, Jahnavi! Yes you most certainly can substitute chicken or turkey! The ham and pork are in a traditional cuban sandwich, but trying new things is what makes cooking (and eating) so fun!