Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Cuban sandwiches made a big impression on me when I was on holiday in Florida.  Like so many great discoveries it happened by accident.  My lovely wife Lesli and I got hungry while visiting the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota Florida.  They had a little restaurant with a limited menu.  I read the ingredients for this "Cuban Sandwich" and thought you can't really go wrong.  Well, OMG!  It was off the hook.  It was so good I don't remember anything else I did that day.

A quest was born.  I spent the next 2 weeks ordering Cuban Sandwiches everywhere I went.  I tried everywhere from pre-made at Publix (a Safeway type store) to fancy restaurants and little hole in the wall places.  Nothing, and I mean nothing came close to that first one.  I came back to Beautiful British Columbia and most people don't even know what they are.  I had one recommended to me at a casino that was served in a plain hot dog bun!  Yikes it wasn't even close.

I decided if I wanted one here in BC then I better get to work.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time: 4-6 hours
Grilling Time: 45-55 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice with zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice with zest
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp dried oregano 
2 tbsp fresh limb juice and zest

1 boneless pork loin roast, about 2 pounds or 1 Kg, trimmed of excess fat
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
8 french rolls
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
8 slices Swiss cheese
8 slices deli ham
24 dill pickle slices

  1. To make the marinade: In a medium bowl whisk the marinade ingredients.  
  2. Place the roast in a large plastic bag and pour in the marinade.  Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly.  Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, refrigerate for 4 - 6 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Remove the roast from the bag and discard the marinade.  Pat dry with paper towels and allow to stand at room temperature for 20 - 30 minutes before grilling.  Season with salt and pepper right before you put it on the grill, not before hand.  Sear over Direct Medium heat until well marked, about 10 minutes, turning once.  Continue grilling over Indirect Medium heat until internal temperature reaches 155F, 35 - 45 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and loosely cover with foil making a tent.  Let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Slice crosswise as thinly as possible.
  4. Just before serving , split the rolls, spread the inside of each roll with 1 tablespoon of butter, and grill them cut side down, over Direct Medium heat until toasted, about 30 seconds.  Layer each roll with Swiss cheese, ham, pickle slices, and sliced pork loin.
  5. Flatten the sandwiches on a cutting board with the palm of your hand and then grill them over Direct medium heat for 30 seconds.  Turn the sandwiches and press down firmly with a spatula (or place a cast iron skillet on top of the sandwiches) and grill for 30 seconds more.  Serve warm or at room temperature

Taken (mostly, with some slight modifications by me) from Weber's "Real Grilling" by Jamie Purviance

For a first try it was probably 75% there.  I guess I should have been speaking Spanish to my BBQ.  I had my BBQ a touch too hot and it dried the bread out.  But still tasty.

All the layers squished together.  Pretty grill marks.  First bite is with the eyes.

Served with Arugula roasted corn and pepper salad.

Day 2 of the pork loin roast.  The second day's sandwiches made on not as hot of BBQ much better- now 90%.

Back deck with friends and Cuban sandwiches.  Catherine just mentions as I'm building the sandwiches that she has a pork allergy.  Believe it or not I had to ask if "ham would be okay, that's not pork is it?" Had to whip up a toasted chicken thigh, Swiss cheese and asparagus sandwich for her.  FYI she loved it.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Welcome to Bob's Fine Foods

Image learning that you like to eat.  Food.  It tastes good.  Really GOOD!  Wow.  Even better its not that hard to make.  And not that much more to make it taste really good.  You can wow your friends and loved ones.  The secret is out.  All you have to do is follow the directions....ok, don't panic yet.  Following directions takes all the guess work out and the "why do you need that?"  Who cares why you need it, just do it.  It will taste great.

I room and boarded with a family my last year of high school and was at home alone one day and had to call my Mom across the country to ask how to boil a potato.  Somewhat embarrassing; but, there you have it.  I sucked in the kitchen.  I could grill a steak or chicken breast and make bacon and eggs, I am a man after all.  I realized help was needed.

My Mom had given me the Joy of Cooking and it made a great paper weight.  It was too much for me.  Although it does have all the references you will ever need.  The book that changed my life was "6 ingredients or less".  Water, salt, and other normal things are ingredients.  Not weird things like shallots, kale or spices.  It gave me the confidence to work up to using garlic and to chop things up myself.

Now I look for all kinds of fun looking things to make.  I just follow someone else's directions.  Occasionally I come up with my own simple recipe.  More likely I look at multiple recipes and merge them into something I think I will like.  I've come a long way from eating raw potatoes.  You can too.  Just build your confidence slowly and challenge yourself when you have the time and inclination to do so.

I hope you like my selections I will post.  Everything will be something that I have made myself.  Perhaps I might even come up with a rating system for ease, challenge and taste.  Until I do rest assured that everything was fun to make and eat.