Cuban Sandwiches

I’m the worst blogger ever. Life has kept me busy. Work has kept me busy. I would say I promise to be better, but that might just end being another lie. I don’t mean to be a liar . . . But it probably wouldn’t be the truth.

But I did participate in this month Food ‘n Flix! Are you proud of me?

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This month’s movie, Chef, was hosted by Culinary Adventures by Camilla. I had been intending to watch this movie for some time, but it took Food ‘n Flix to kick me in gear.

Chef is a movie for any foodie. A chef, Carl Casper, loses his job and tries to put his stuff back together – to find his drive. And what does he do? He opens a food truck, featuring Cuban Sandwiches!

There was a ton of choices in this movie. My list includes andouille sausage sandwiches, french onion soup, noodles of some sort, try to make something relating to Twitter, breakfast . . . There were a ton of choices.

But I decided to go the sandwich route, the Cuban sandwich route, in honor of the food truck.

The sandwich was delicious. I have so much pork now though, I’ll be eating pork for a week.

And this wasn’t the greatest picture . . . but I tried. I at least tried.

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Cuban Sandwiches

Ingredients
roast pork
several slices of deli ham
mayonnaise
mustard
sliced pickles
sandwich rolls
butter

Directions

1. Heat butter in a cast iron skillet.

2. Prepare the sandwiches. Spread mayonnaise and mustard on the bun. Layer with the ham, pork, and mustard on the roll.

3. Place in the skillet in the melted butter. Toast until golden brown on both sides of the bread.

Roast Pork

Ingredients
1 head garlic, minced
2 tbsp salt
6 cups orange juice
3 cups lemon juice
3 cups lime juice
2 onions, diced
1 tbsp oregano
3 cups olive oil
7 lbs pork shoulder

Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients except the pork. Place the pork in the marinade and let marinate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 325. Cook for 3 1/2 hours (or 30 minutes per pound of pork.)

FoodnFlix

Wiener Schnitzel

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I’ve been the worst about updating lately. But if anything can draw me back in, it’s Food ‘n Flix. It helps that I was hosting this month, it gave me incentive to think about it early. It may still have taken me ALL month to make the dish, but at least I finally did it.

I expect to participate in next month’s movie too – you all better hold me to it.

This month’s movie, that yours truly hosted, was Lady and the Tramp! I haven’t seen this movie in forever, so I had forgotten how much actual food references there are besides the spaghetti and meatballs. We all know that scene. And frankly, I was expecting that I was going to make spaghetti and meatballs. But then I watched the movie . . . and I didn’t. Because Tramp mentioned wiener schnitzel and my heart couldn’t say no.

Tramp tells Lady about all the food he gets from around the neighborhood. The Schultzes feed him wiener schnitzel on Mondays, The O’Briens give him corned beef on Tuesdays. Doggy sure eats well!

Now to add some sadness to my post.

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I would have made dog treats.

As I was watching this movie that kept jumping into my head: I SHOULD MAKE MOZART DOG TREATS!
Mozart, my 11 year old beagle died in January after a several month battle with bladder cancer. He was my first ‘real’ pet, if you exclude the finches, the goldfish, and the hamsters we had. He was the first pet not in a cage that could cuddle with me in bed. He was such a good dog and a good friend and it’s weird in a world where there is no Mozart the beagle.

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Had Mozart not died, I would have made him dog treats and tried to find a way to tie them into the spaghetti and meatballs of the movie.

Alas, there is no dog to make treats for anymore. And my cats don’t really eat treats (though it would have been fun to pick up on the Siamese cats from the movie!)

In the end, I made wiener schnitzel. There used to be a wonderful wiener schnitzel restaurant in San Francisco that I loved to go to (called Schnitzel Haus.) At one point the ownership changed and wasn’t quite as good – I’m not sure if the place even still exists now. I love wiener schnitzel. I could eat it all day every day for the rest of my life. If I had to pick a last meal, it would be wiener schnitzel.

And Mozart would eat anything off my plate, so he definitely had his share of wiener schnitzel!

Wiener Schnitzel
(source)

Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
juice from one lemon
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 cup bread crumbs
4 pork cutlets
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. In one shallow pan, fill it with the flour. In another shallow pan, mix together lemon juice, eggs, and heavy cream. In a final shallow pan, fill with the bread crumbs.

2. Season the pork with salt and pepper on both sides. Using tongs, dredge the pork in the flour. Then dunk the pork in the egg mixture. Let the mixture drip off. Finally, cover with the bread crumbs. Place on a sheet covered in parchment paper for 15 minutes to let dry out.

3. In a cast iron skillet heat up your oil. To see if your oil is hot enough, drip some water in it. If it sizzles, you’re ready to go! Place your pork in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Once it’s cooked on both sides, remove to a plate covered in paper towels to let the grease soak off.

* serves 4

FoodnFlix

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix movie of the month is a double feature: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and it’s sequel hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. When I first saw this movie, a few years back, I loved it. My boyfriend and I even adopted the way they kiss.

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Anyway, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was originally a child’s book. I never experienced the children’s book though, so the movie has been my sole experience with the story.

The movie is about Flint Lockwood, an aspiring scientist. His newest creation is a machine that can transform water into food. But, it backfires and it begins raining food, meatballs included. Both the first movie and its sequel, both feature a ton of food (and even food monsters!)

 

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I could have been more creative and made something else from the movie, but alas, I chose the meatballs for the movie’s namesake. My boyfriend has the palette of a little boy and loves spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs I made have hunks of cheese in them, pieces of bacon, and were just all around delicious.

Anyway, you still have time to participate in this month’s movie! Check it out here.

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

Ingredients
4 pieces bacon
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 oz mozzarella, cut into chunks
1 tbsp chicken broth
14 oz marinara sauce
4 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, until crisp. Set aside and let cool. Cut into pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the bacon, ground beef, onion powder, paprika, bread crumbs, pepper, mozzarella, and chicken broth together with your hands. Shape the meat into balls (like ping pong balls.) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes.)

3. Cook the noodles per the box directions and heat up the marinara.

4. When the meatballs are done, put them in the marinara sauce. Serve on top of spaghetti noodles.

* serves 2

FoodnFlix* Besides Food ‘n Flix, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking

 

 

 

Stir-Fried Beef with Mint

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This month for Cooking with Herbs, I opted to make a stir-fry. For February we were challenged to make something either romantic (for Valentine’s Day) or Chinese for Chinese New Year. I decided to make a stir-fry to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I grew up in San Francisco and went to a predominantly Chinese school. I loved Chinese New Year, for the red envelopes filled with money. I really could use one of those now . . . Filled with lots of money!

Anyway, this stir-fry features beef, mint, garlic, and onion. I love stir-fry for their simplicity and quickness. A meal ready in under 20 minutes is always nice.

Stir-Fried Beef with Mint

Ingredients
1 lb skirt steak, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp crushed red chili peppers
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped

Directions

1. Put the red chili, garlic, and onion together in a cup. Mush together to make something resembling a paste.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. Once hot, add the onion mixture. Cook the mixture until it turns golden brown.

3. Add the beef. Cook the beef until it’s no longer pink.

4. Add the fish sauce, sugar, water, and mint. Cook for several minutes, stirring consistently, until the liquid becomes thick.

5. Serve over rice.

* serves 4
* besides Cooking with Herbs, this recipe is being shared with #FoodieFriday Foodie Friday, & Tasty Tuesdays

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

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This month’s Pasta Please theme is GARLIC hosted over at The Spicy Pear. I love garlic. When a recipe calls for garlic, I most always double the amount of it I actually use in my dish because I love it. It helps that Matt loves it too, because that would make me sad.

To make a garlic pasta dish? YES PLEASE! I feel like garlic gives any dish (or okay, most dishes) a nice element. Please don’t put it in my chocolate cake though.

Anyway – I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been cooking too much due to interviews and work. This dish was easy to make after a Friday at work and tasted delicious. The sun-dried tomatoes definitely helped with that too.

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Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
(source)

Ingredients
12 oz noodles in any shape you want
6 slices bacon
1 lb chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta. Once al dente, drain and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Once crispy remove to a plate covered in paper towels. Add the chicken to the bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Saute artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes with the chicken for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add garlic and then saute for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook for 1 minute, whisking until smooth.  Slowly poor in the milk and chicken broth, whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir, cooking for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to become bubbly and thick. Add the garlic powder and stir.

4. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Combine the pasta, bacon, chicken mixture, and sauce. Toss to combine.

* serves 6
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with  Weekend Cooking

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Yesterday I posted about restraint and how I love to indulge, but how I need to not indulge in unhealthy things. And then today I made bacon chocolate chip cookies and ate six of them. *sigh*

Cookies are my downfall. My weakness. My kryptonite. Chocolate chip cookies make it even worse.

But I ignored my better thinking and made these bacon chocolate chip cookies for this month’s We Should Cocoa. This month’s theme is New Year, New Ingredient and is hosted at Lancashire Food. Basically, this month’s chocolate recipe was to pick an ingredient to pair with chocolate that we’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t yet.

The chocolate-bacon craze has intrigued me. About a year ago (I think) I had chocolate bacon gelato. It was delicious. But I’ve been hesitant for whatever reason of actually including bacon with my chocolate. I shouldn’t have been, but perhaps I should have made only 1/2 a batch of cookies so I wouldn’t have devoured so many.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
(source)

Ingredients
8 strips bacon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

1. In a skillet fry up the bacon. Once it’s cooked crisp, place it on a plate covered in paper towels to let drain. Once the bacon has cooled cut it into small pieces. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamed together. Then add the egg and vanilla and beat together.

3. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and flour to the mixing bowl. Mix together well.

4. Add the chocolate chips and bacon. Using a big spoon, mix the bacon and chocolate into the dough.

5. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place 1 tbsp sized balls of the cookie dough. Leave enough room between the cookies so they can expand a little bit.

6. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.

* makes about 2 dozen cookies
* besides We Should Cocoa, I’m sharing these cookies with Weekend Cooking

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Christmas Dinner 2013

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Though my 12 days of cookies may have fallen into oblivion (though I do have some cookies to share in the next few days that I did end up making,) December always for me is a month of cooking. I made cookies for Matt’s family for Christmas, I made my doggy chicken jerky, and I made my dad homemade barbecue sauce in two different flavors.

What always becomes a cooking marathon though, is Christmas Day. Some families go BIG and invite everyone they know for Christmas. My family is the opposite. My parents moved to California from Ohio in the ’80s and because none of our extended family is around, we tend to keep it small. We go for fancy meals instead of meals that serve a lot of people. Christmas is always a time that my mom and I spend the whole day in the kitchen, making sure we make our meal perfect.

This was another year of perfection.

Rather than share the recipes, I’m linking you to the recipes we followed.

2013 Christmas Menu in Pictures

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The star of the show was a beautiful Beef Wellington. My mom’s made Beef Wellington in the past, but we followed a new recipe this year. It was my first time ever making one. This dish took all day, but it was worth every second it took making it. The beef tenderloin was so juicy and tender, having cooked with the pate, mushrooms, and proscuitto wrapped tightly around it. Though my taste buds would have enjoyed eating all 3-lbs of the tenderloin, this is so rich that one slice was all the rest of my body could handle.

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As a side dish we had Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding from the cookbook that can do no wrong. I gave my mom Barefoot Contessa Foolproof last year for Christmas. She cooks out of the cookbook a lot and has told me everything in it is divine and flavorful and yet, easy to make. We decided to make this bread pudding and it hit the mark.

We also made Roasted Brussels Sprouts, but I did not take a picture of those. We seasoned them with salt and pepper and tossed them in some olive oil and roasted them. Though simple, this decadent meal needed a simple veggie.

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To put an end to our Christmas meal, we had Vanilla Roasted Pears with vanilla ice cream. The fruit dessert was a great end to the meal. My aunt had sent us pears for Christmas. This was a great way to use them. They were so soft and delicious.

What did you have for Christmas this year?

* This recipe is being shared with Full Plate Thursday

Pork Chops Chinese-Style

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We truly went random this month at Dom’s Random Recipes. The random number generator told me that #8 was the cookbook to choose. #8 on my shelf was a book I got for free called Wok Cookery by Ceil Dyer. I had not used this cookbook yet – for one big reason. I do not own a wok. I really want a wok, but I have not purchased one (for no good reason.) Even sitting here, having cooked from Wok Cookery, I still do not own a wok. I just made it work with what I did own. After digging through my cooking collection I opted to use my double broiler. I’ve never thought to do meat in it before. It worked perfectly.

I did not let the pork chop marinate as long as I was instructed. I mean, I had all day. I could have. But I didn’t actually read the recipe until I was going to make it. I ended up marinating the pork for about 30 minutes. I’m sure the additional time would have made these even better, but I’m not complaining. The flavor was great. They were very tender. And served on top of a big mound of fried rice, I was pretty happy.

I’m not going to include the fried rice recipe, because.. It’s fried rice. But just in case you’re curious, it has onions, garlic, red bell pepper, corn, green onions, cashews, and soy sauce in it.

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Pork Chops Chinese-Style

Ingredients
4 boneless pork chops, trimmed
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili sauce
3/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Directions

1. Place pork chops in a shallow dish. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the pork. Turn the chops several times and pierce the pork chops with a fork. Let marinate at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours (or a half hour if you’re like me.)

2. Fill a double broiler with water. Bring to a simmer. Place the pork chops on the top part of the double broiler. Cover and steam for 1 hour.

* serves 4
* Besides Random Recipes, this is shared with Mix It Up Monday

Spaghetti Bolognese

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.

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For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday

 

Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad

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I would have figured that being done with the bar exam and having significantly more time in my life that I would have more time to cook. And that’s true – I have a lot more time to cook. But the weather has been making it really hard for me to want to. When it’s 100 degrees outside, turning on any source of flame just seems unbearable. So I’ve been eating out more than I should, so that I can pay other people to be in a kitchen that’s too hot.

Last night was an exception though. It wasn’t excruciating hot and I really did need to cook. So I made this very easy recipe.

I can’t even believe how easy it was. It was so easy. But despite being super simple, my boyfriend announced, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”

I’ll leave that credit to the very garlicky store bought hummus.

Though not pictured, we ate this with tortillas that I fried up in the leftover cumin infused oil.

Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad
(source)

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb skirt steak, cut into small strips
1 tbsp ground cumin
6 tbsp garlic hummus
2 cucumbers
1 wedge lemon
salt, to taste

Directions

1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil. Add the beef and stir fry the beef for 2 minutes.

2. Add the cumin and continue to cook the beef until no longer pink. Stir occasionally.

3. While the beef is cooking, skin the cucumber. Then shave the remaining cucumber into thin ribbons, making sure to discard the watery seeds in the middle. Place the cucumber shavings in a bowl. Toss with the juice from the lemon wedge and salt.

4. Smear 3 tbsp of hummus on each plate. Top with the beef. Arrange the cucumber salad on the side.

* serves 2