Posted in Comfort Food, Date Night, Dinner, Family Friendly, Lunch, Make Ahead, Pork, Sandwiches, Slow Cooker, Summer, Vacation Food

Key West State of Mind -Cuban Sandwiches

I have a confession to make.  Some days I just want to run away and be a starving artist in some place beautiful and inspiring.

This feeling usually hits me about mid-week when I’m bogged down with work and life and Friday is just out of reach.  I especially feel this way when it’s the middle of May and dreary and chilly (less than 60 degrees, in May, in the South, what?! Remind me that I was complaining about this when it’s sweltering in August).

On days like today I dream of warm places, filled with culture, interesting people, and of course great food.

Five years ago we visited Key West for the wedding of some very dear friends and absolutely fell in love with the laid back atmosphere.  I often dream of warm, lazy days sitting on the porch, drinking, rum, and reading Hemingway with my pet cat.

Speaking of Hemingway, I’ve become slightly (okay maybe not so slightly) obsessed with him and his time in Key West since we visited there.  After visiting his home and his stomping grounds I am completely fascinated with that time and way of island life.

My husband and I often talk about the day when we win the lottery and run away to Key West.  We have a dream of opening a restaurant, cocktail lounge, and cigar bar combo that has just the right amount of class but still that not a care in the world vibe that would be the place that discerning “tourists” and locals would call home (or home away from home).  This all means a lot of rum, international flavors, and all things Cuban of course.

A girl can dream, right?!

So when I’m missing Key West, I make myself a good Cuban Sandwich, shake up a classic daiquiri, and get lost in the world of The Old Man and the Sea.  Maybe one day we’ll call that world home. 🙂

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Cuban Sandwiches
(makes 4-6 sandwiches)

 

Mojo Pork:
1-2 pound pork roast or boneless pork ribs
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, chopped
Salt & pepper

 

Cuban rolls
½ pound deli ham
Mojo Pork
Swiss cheese
Yellow mustard
Bread & butter pickles (I prefer homemade but your favorite store bought is great too!)
Butter

 

For the pork: Put all of the ingredients for the pork in the bowl of a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the pork for sandwiches. (Any leftover pork you have is great served over rice, with black beans, and some fried plantains!)

 

To assemble sandwiches:

Butter the outside of the Cuban rolls. Spread mustard on each half. Top one half with swiss cheese, a couple slices of ham, a good amount of pork (not too much or everything will fall out when you press it), and pickles. Top with the other half of the roll.

Press sandwiches on a panini press (or in a cast iron skillet topped with another heavy skillet) for 3-4 minutes until toasty and the cheese is melty.

 

Source: Ruth’s Table

 

Posted in Chicken, Comfort Food, Dinner, Lunch, Mexican, One Pot Meals, Refreshing, Restuarant Knock-off, Soup, Vacation Food

San Antonio Comfort Food

Have you ever visited someplace that had the most profound effect on you that its difficult to put into words?  Someplace where the people, places and cultures  seep into your very being and fill the crevices left behind when the place keeps a piece of you when you leave?  San Antonio is one of those places for me.

My husband and I visited San Antonio for our 10th anniversary a couple of years ago and had the time of our lives.  I could go on and on about the amazing places we visited, the people we met, the food we ate but I don’t think I could really do it justice.  That’s what happens when someplace affects you so deeply.  No words I write would ever express the feelings that we had while we were there.

There are days when I’m sitting at work and things are crazy or at home staring at a pile of laundry and my mind wanders to warm breezes that carry the smell of homemade tortillas to my nose and the sound of a classical guitar to my ears that transport me back to the River Walk.  My heart yearns for that some days.

We know the next time we are there, the city will open it’s arms and welcome us in like an old friend.

SACollage

As I’ve said before, one of the ways we like to reminisce is to recreate the meals we enjoyed on a special vacation.  In this case I’m craving the Tortilla Soup from Casa Rio on the River Walk.  We went here several times while we were in San Antonio for authentic Mexican comfort food.  After much trial and error this recipe is as close as I’m going to get.  Now if I just had rainbow umbrellas and a lazy river I’d be all set!

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San Antonio Tortilla Soup

  • 8 cups chicken stock (homemade is preferable but store-bought is fine)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup tequila
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo (optional)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garnishes: diced avocado, cilantro, Cotija cheese, tortilla chips, lime wedges

In a large soup pot, bring 4 cups of chicken stock, cumin, chili, garlic powder, bay leaf and tequila to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add chicken breasts and cook 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from stock and let cool and shred.  Add remaining chicken stock, diced tomatoes and chipotle pepper (if using) to the pot.  Bring to a boil and season with salt & pepper.  Let simmer 5 minutes.

To serve, place shredded chicken, avocado, cilantro and Cotija cheese in a bowl.  Squeeze lime over everything and put the wedge in the bowl.  Ladle hot broth over.  Top with tortilla strips.

Serves 6.

Source: Ruth’s Table

We will be back dear friend.

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Casa Rio Tortilla Soup


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