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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Mojito Cocktail

I love the Mint Julep, so I instantly fell in love with this Cuban classic, The Mojito (Moe-HE-toe), which is similar.

The Mojito

1 Tbsp Simple Syrup
4 Mint Leaves
1/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 Oz. White Rum (I use Bacardi)
4 Oz. Club Soda
Crushed Ice

In a cocktail glass Muddle the Mint leaves with the simple syrup (See Note*). Add the lime juice and the Rum, stir well. Cover with Crushed Ice, add the Club Soda, and stir gently, trying to keep the mint leaves on the bottom of the glass. Serve garnished with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

*Note - Simple Syrup is equal parts (by volume) water and sugar, cooked just until the sugar disolves. I make a 1 Cup batch and keep it in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 Cocktail.

Check out my Mint Julep Recipe at New Orleans Cuisine!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sandwich Cubano

My latest cultural cooking interest is Cuban, another fascinating melting pot of flavors. Spanish with its Arabic accents, Creole, and many wonderful tropical flavors. I started off simple with Sandwich Cubano, which I believe is more of a Miami Cuban invention. I use Pork Tenderloin in my version. This sandwich is on my list of favorites, along with the Po' Boy, Muffuletta, and the Reuben.

1 10" French or Italian Loaf (I like one a little on the lighter side for this sandwich)
1-2 Tbsp Mojo Criollo (Recipe Below)
4 oz. Roasted Pork Tenderloin (Recipe Below) Thinly sliced against the grain
4 oz. Sliced Baked Ham
Thinly Sliced Pickle Slices
4 Slices Swiss or Gruyere Cheese
2 Tbsp Creole Mustard
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature

Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Spread the mustard on the inside of both sides of the bread. On the bottom half, place the tenderloin slices, then drizzle with the Mojo. Continue the assembly with 2 slices of cheese, Ham, the remaining cheese, the pickles, and the lid. Butter both sides of the outside of the sandwich with the unsalted butter.

The pressing method: If you have a sandwich press, press until both sides are golden brown and the sandwich is warmed through.

Or do it the way I did. I have a 12" Cast Iron skillet and a 10" Cast Iron Skillet. Place these into a 400 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. When they're good and hot, lay the sandwich in the Large skillet, and place the smaller skillet on top of the Cubano. Press it down and place the whole works in the oven for about 10 minutes. The sandwich should be golden brown, crispy on the outside and warmed through. Slice it in half lengthwise, from corner to corner. Enjoy!

Makes 1 Sandwich.

My Roasted Pork Tenderloin for the Sandwich Cubano

1 Pork Tenderloin, membrane removed
1 Tbsp Cumin
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the tenderloin with the cumin and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until medium doneness. Let it rest, then chill until ready to serve (it's easier to slice thin when it's cold.)

This will make enough for few sandwiches.

Mojo Criollo

1 Garlic Clove, Minced to a paste
1 Tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt

Whisk together the garlic paste and juices. Warm the oil and whisk into the Juice mixture until well blended. Season to taste with the salt.

This makes enough for 2-3 sandwiches.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The World's First All-glass Underwater Restaurant

Underwater Dining
Originally uploaded by Danno1.
Check out this link that my brother forwarded to me. The Hilton Maldives opened this underwater restaurant with 270 degrees of panoramic underwater view. Talk about ambience! I wonder how the food is? I would sure love to find out! Here is the link. Thanks Brad!

**NEW**Here is the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant menu.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pomme Frites or Homemade French Fries

I have a tremendous backlog of recipes to get to on this blog, I've been doing some intense cooking lately, more cooking than blogging. Braised Beef Short Ribs, Sandwich Cubano, Gnocchi with Bolognese Ragu, Lasagne (last night) with left over Bolognese that I turned into more of a sauce, (also with Bechamel), Barbecued Beef Back Ribs, Pommes Frites, Celeriac Remoulade as a root recipe to my Shrimp Remoulade recipe at New Orleans Cuisine, and Chicken Saltimbocca with Sage Beurre Blanc. :0 I will get to them, I swear! I have them all handwritten. First things first, the good old American French Fry, or Pommes Frites in the French Bistro world. It always amazes me how many restaurants serve French Fries in the States, and how few places actually make them decently! Try them at home sometime, it's a bit of a process, but well worth the effort. The recipe:

Pommes Frites or French Fries

Large Russet Potatoes (about 2 per person)
Peanut Oil preferably, or Vegetable Oil alternatively (3 inch depth in a large saucepan)
Kosher Salt

Cut the Potatoes, skin on, into 1/4" thick strips, a Mandolin will save you a hell of a lot of time, Not to mention, conformity of size = even cooking! I cut mine by hand, because I don't have a Mandolin at home. Cut the potatoes in half, then in half again, then starting on the flat side, in 1/4 " slices. Stack the slices and cut into Fries. Discard any misshapen, would be Fries. Cover these in cold water. Change the water at least three times, or until the water is clear, then soak for about 1 hour.

First Frying:

The first frying is basically to cook the potatoes through. If you've ever tried to make Pommes Frites by skipping this step, you now know the necessity of the first frying. Heat the oil to 320 degrees F. Drain, then dry the Frites with paper towels, I also put mine through a salad spinner. Water will break down your frying oil (as will salt). When the oil is hot and the Frites are dry, drop them in batches, DO NOT over crowd! Fry for about 4-5 minutes or until they're cooked through, but NOT Browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve the oil. You can do these a few hours ahead, leave them, as is, at room temperature.

Second Frying:

Heat the oil to 365-375 degrees F. When you're ready to serve the Frites, drop them in batches, as in the First Frying. Fry until they're a nice Golden Brown and Crispy! Remove onto a plate or baking sheet lined with dry Paper Towels. Season liberally with Kosher Salt. Serve immediately.

**In a future post at New Orleans Cuisine, I will showcase Souffle Potatoes, which are fried Potatoes filled with air, made famous by Antoine's, Galatoire's, and a few more of the "old line" restaurants. They're wonderful, and the frying technique is similar to this one, you'll see. Coming very soon!