French Cuban Sandwiches

French Cuban Sandwiches

Recipes in this Post

When I first came to work in Glendale, California, I was introduced to two things I came to love, Porto’s Bakery, and their Cuban sandwiches.

What is a Cuban sandwich you may ask. Well, a Cuban sandwich has roast pork, ham, cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread, which is similar to a submarine bread, but it is pressed in something similar to a Panini press without the ridges. If you have never had one, please find a Cuban bakery or sandwich shop and get one. You, too, will fall in love.

My mother used to make Monte Cristo sandwiches when I was particularly well-behaved, or turned in a really good report card. Monte Cristo’s are an older kind of sandwich, basically a ham and cheese sandwich that has been dipped in an egg wash, pan grilled and is served with currant jelly. They can be on any kind of bread, and very good.

When ever I have left over pork roast, I always try to make Cuban sandwiches. But, this time when I had left over pork, I had sour dough bread, which I also love. I decided to combine the two, and have a French Cuban Sandwich.

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Crab Bisque

Recipes in this PostCrab Bisque

I am so happy that it is finally getting cooler in Southern California. As a matter of fact, there was thick cloud cover this morning, and I had to wear a sweater. It was a good day for soup.

After making Crab Salad with Thousand Island Dressing, I had a half a package of crab left over. I also had some cream left over from making something else. I knew I needed to use that crab, I needed to use the cream, and I wanted something warm. I have always liked crab bisque, so I decided to make that.

I had this brilliant idea when looking in my pantry and spying a can of Great Northern white beans. I didn’t have that much cream, and I really wanted the soup to be filling. To compensate for not using real crab, or real crab stock, I added a little anchovy paste for flavor. Both additions worked beautifully. Honestly, if you wanted to, you could omit the cream completely, as the beans do a fine job of thickening without all those calories.

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Hot Dogs Covered with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese

Recipes in this PostHot Dogs Covered with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese

This is Spane’s favorite dinner, bar none. I think it’s because I use very good hot dogs, either uncured New York style, or Kosher dogs. I use hot dogs with excellent flavor, and I use sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

This is an old recipe. My best friend Marissa‘s mother used to make these, and I loved them. Marissa told me she was surprised to find that her finance’s mother also made these. Shortly thereafter, when Spane was about 2, I found a very old 1950’s advertisement that had the recipe. I wish I had kept it, just for fun.

A lot of people make this with left over mashed potatoes. I suppose that would be okay, but potatoes lose their airiness when they are chilled, and it’s difficult to make them fluffy again. I always use freshly mashed potatoes, and make them like I would regular mashed potatoes, with plenty of butter and milk.

Please don’t use yellow mustard when making this dish. There are so many different mustards available, and a little experimentation is good for you. If you don’t like very strong mustard, try a brown mustard, or a stone ground mustard. Be adventurous!
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Jambalaya in the Nesco

Recipes in this PostJambalaya

In the midst of the last move, I forgot to close out the old gas bill. When I called to turn on the gas in the new place, no one mentioned it, and I still didn’t think about it. Then, I get this nasty letter from the gas company saying that they are going to turn off my gas in the new place if I don’t immediately pay the old bill, and that I have to call a certain phone number when I make the payment. To make sure that the payment is properly recorded, I went to the local gas company on July 2, 2013 and paid the bill in person. Then I called the special number at about 3:30pm and got a recorded message that the gas company was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm. I figured all the lines were busy, so I waited a few minutes and called again, and still got the same recording. I figured that in the information age, the payment would be recorded and all would be well.

I was wrong. When I got home yesterday, Monday, July 8, 2013, Spane and I were hungry, so I started dinner early, at 4:30. I chopped the vegetables, cut the meat, put butter in the pan, turned the knob – and ……. nothing. No gas. I called the gas company, the special number and again was told that the office was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm, a full 45 minutes before the office was supposed to close. When calling the regular number, I got a nice woman who I kept on apologizing to because I was so mad, and she said the gas would be turned back on tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 between 8:00am and 5:00pm, and to make sure that all pets were secure and gates open. I chuckled and said, “Humph, you didn’t seem to have any problems turning it off, did you?”

That meant that today, I don’t have gas. I have been on the phone with them, and have asked for a supervisor. I’m still waiting for a call back, but I’m not waiting anymore to make dinner. I have a small Nesco, and I’m going to make my Jambalaya in it. This is one of the reasons I have this wonderful roaster oven, so I can cook no matter what.

My recipe for Jambalaya follows, I have more recipes for foods perfect for the Nesco.

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Chicken and Rice Paprika Inspired By Hieronymus Bosch

Recipes in this PostChicken and Rice Paprika

Lately I have been reading a lot of books by Michael Connelly, and I just got through reading Trunk Music, one of the Los Angeles detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch series of books. I really liked this one, and there was even a part where Harry cooked dinner for this friend, Eleanor Wish.

It’s getting a little colder, even though we just had the Summer Solstice, but that’s LA for you. What Harry and Eleanor has for dinner sounded really good, and I had most of the same ingredients.

This will remind you a lot of jambalaya, and Spane thought it was at first. I just said it was chicken and rice and what ever we had in the pantry. It was good, we had seconds.

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Chinese Feast of Roast Pork, Asian Wings, Asian Coleslaw and Fried Rice

Recipes in this Post
Golden Dragon Parade 2013

Two weeks ago, I was asked if I would cook for Ascencia again, and I said yes, what day? The date was the same as my birthday, February 16, 2013, and also the same day as the Golden Dragon Parade in downtown Los Angeles. What a perfect thing! Birthday, Parade and Cooking – all in one day!

Since I was going to the parade, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the Chinese New Year by making Asian food for the folks at Ascencia. I knew there were two large pork roasts and a mess of chicken wings already in the freezer, and lots of rice. No problem, all I needed was the stuff to make fried rice, and an Asian coleslaw to go with it.

The secret to good fried rice is that the rice has to be a day old. Why? Because freshly cooked rice is already full of moisture and will not absorb the flavored oil in which it is fried. What can you do if you don’t have day old rice, and you’re just going to die if you don’t have fried rice? Well, you can get a package of precooked rice that you would heat up the microwave, and use that instead. It’s not quite the same, but will do in a pinch.

You will find the recipes for the Asian Chicken Wings and Asian Coleslaw in other posts, but I’ll put the Asian Roast Pork and Asian Fried Rice recipes here.

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