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The Dish

Happy Friday, all! Throughout this week my mom and I have been trying to work through the mountain of pork we made on Sunday. (I know, poor us.) Instead of simply gorging ourselves on the same, yet delicious, pork pernil meal, we decided to try our hand at a leftovers recipe. We both love a hot cuban sandwich right off the press, and were thinking along those lines, but thought we’d come up with something a little more original. This sandwich features a tasty chipotle mayonnaise that adds a smoky, spicy kick, and rich manchego cheese that melts beautifully. It is also the perfect vehicle for consuming the rest of those pork pernil juices! Here’s the recipe:

Pork Pernil Round Two Sandwich

Tonight's dinner rocked. Leftovers are so underrated.

Tonight’s dinner rocked. Leftovers are so underrated.

  • 1 loaf of Cuban bread
  • Leftover Pork Pernil
  • Chipotle mayonnaise
  • Thinly sliced vidalia onion
  • Arugula
  • Sliced Manchego cheese
  • Leftover Pork Pernil cilantro-lime sauce for dipping
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed and minced (optional)

Cut the bread into the desired size for your sandwich(es) and then slice in half lengthwise. Remove some of the bread from the top half so you can stuff that baby with plenty of goodness! Spread a couple tablespoons of the chipotle mayo on the bottom piece of bread, add ample leftover pork, a sprinkle of jalapeno (if you wish), the onion slices, a handful of arugula, and then top it all with hearty slices of Manchego. Place the top piece of bread on the sandwich, wrap the entire thing loosely, but securely, in one layer of aluminum foil, and press on a hot pan until the bread is toasted, the cheese is melted, and everything is warmed through. Serve with a side of the leftover cilantro-lime juices for dipping and extra napkins!

I also thought it would be worth mentioning my mom’s nifty panini press that made quick work of these awesome pressed sandwiches. Yes, it is Le Creuset. Yes, it is gorgeous. Yes, we are obsessed. Our sincerest apologies. However, this square grill pan and press set is as functional as it is heavy. Though it may be difficult for me to pick up with what my mom calls my ‘noodle arms,’ the weighted press piece pretty much does all the work for you. Check it out!

*Swoon*

*Swoon*

http://www.lecreuset.com/cookware/grill-pans—griddles/grills—grill-pans/panini-set

(And if you’re like me and can’t afford your own, you can always buy a big brick from Home Depot, wash it, and wrap it in plenty of aluminum foil. It works like a charm to press sandwiches!)

Upon tasting this pernil round 2 recipe, I immediately knew that it needed a drink to go along with it. I fancy a fresh and well-made margarita, but these days so many of them are made with horribly sweet and/or sour bottled mixes. I’m not sure when bars and restaurants began forgoing fresh citrus juices for sugary synthetic replacements, but I am so not on board. After a little experimenting in the kitchen, I came up with a simple, refreshing twist on a margarita that doesn’t end up leaving me with a stomach ache.

Ashley’s Sparkling Marg

  • Juice of 1 ripe lime
  • 1 1/2 oz. blanco or silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz. of Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 tsp. agave syrup
  • Plain seltzer water

Mix the first four ingredients together in a glass. Top it off with the seltzer and some ice. Stir well and garnish with a slice of lime.

That’s all for this week’s Dish! If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to finish unpacking my clothes while sipping on a sparkly marg. Enjoy your weekend, everyone. 🙂

Ginger Breeze

Once again, summer is just around the corner. Around this time each year, as the temperatures hover in the upper 80s, I begin to regret cursing the mild and intermittent chills that we Floridians call ‘winter’. In no time at all, it will be impossible to set foot outside for even a moment without breaking into a violent sweat.

There's nothing like perfecting recipes mid-move!

There’s nothing like perfecting recipes mid-move!

Thankfully, I just completed my big move before the dog days of the season. However, it was still sweltering and unpleasant enough to prompt me to try out a new concoction meant to help ward off the oppressive summer heat. Allow me to introduce the ginger breeze. Once I’m all unpacked, I want to do nothing else but lay on the beach sipping one of these until I start my new job in two weeks.

This drink uses ginger-infused vodka and thyme simple syrup to spruce up a tried and true iced tea and lemonade beverage. Some of you may know the nonalcoholic version as an Arnold Palmer or half and half. As refreshing as the original is, however, I feel that a summery beverage definitely calls for an extra kick. Although it may sound fancy, it’s actually quite easy to make.

The original Arnold Palmer beverage is, of course, named after the renowned golfer. With 92 overall victories, 4 Masters, two PGA Player of the Year Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and many more accolades, Palmer’s legacy is far greater than a refreshing clubhouse mocktail.1 In that golf history vein, an alcoholic version of this citrusy tea drink may also be referred to as a John Daly. Another prominent golfer with a less pristine past, Daly has admitted to struggling with alcohol and gambling issues.2 The ginger breeze certainly is tasty, but hopefully it doesn’t cause anyone to start binge drinking or wearing obnoxiously loud golf pants.

I apologize for the shorter entry this week, but I am still mostly living out of boxes and without internet! If you try this recipe, I’m pretty sure you’ll forgive me:

Ginger Breeze

       Ginger-infused vodka

  • ½ cup fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 1.75 liter bottle of good vodka

       Thyme rich simple syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tea bags (black tea)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice

For the ginger-infused vodka, pour entire bottle into a pitcher with a lid. Add the chopped fresh ginger and store in a cool, dark place. Allow the mixture to infuse for at least three days, and stir or shake it a few times per day. Once the vodka is done, strain out the ginger pieces.

To make the rich simple syrup, combine two cups of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and add the sprigs of thyme. Let the syrup and herbs infuse for 10-15 minutes. Remove the thyme and store in a lidded container in the refrigerator.

Brew three cups of tea to your desired strength and let it cool. (I used Lipton original black tea*.) Combine the tea, lemon juice, 1½ cups of simple syrup, and two cups of vodka in a pitcher and serve chilled with a sprig of thyme or a slice of candied ginger.

*Note: I’m not really a tea person (aka a coffee addict) and actually over-steeped my tea and it was incredibly strong. To counteract the bitterness, I diluted my tea with water and used three cups of this mixture in the final recipe. Try not to steep your tea too long, but if you do, just try this simple fix.

Sources
  1. Arnold Palmer. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.arnoldpalmer.com/allarnie/index.aspx
  2. Murray, E. (2014, April 7). John Daly: I was young and dumb back in the 90s but I had a lot of fun. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/apr/07/john-daly-masters-golf-young-dumb-90s
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