Classic Cubano - ©

Odds And Ends Of Tips And Hacks For Mains And Snacks

Time we caught up with the list I always have sitting beside my computer screen. The one where I note in passing neat hacks and tips that don’t merit a whole post to them selves, but still deserve a mention. Today, a couple of mismatched, but marvelous examples…

Scalloped Potato And Ham Burrito - © via You TubeNow… Imagine these goodies, piping hot, with a little shredded
Lettuce, all snugged up into a nice, tight Burrito…

Another leftover burrito hack

Do you take my advice and always make extra Scalloped Potatoes (SPs) (’cause one regular recipe never seems to provide the requisite seconds for everyone)? Then you should have some in the fridge or freezer, aching to be cleaned up in weird and wonderful ways.

Try this:

Rough chop 1/3 to 1/2 cup of leftover SPs (with their rich, creamy cheese sauce and any onions or ham chunks or whatever they already have in them).

Fine-dice about a tablespoon of fresh onions. Ditto, he same amount of fresh Sweet Green Pepper.

Julienne any leftover Deli Ham and/or Turkey Roll you have counting its days in the fridge. Don’t use Roast Beef. (It just doesn’t taste right, somehow.)

Shred half a cup of Cheddar cheese.

Cross-cut thinly about 1/2 cup of fresh, crisp Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce.


Layer two similarly-sized flour tortillas of your choice (Whole Wheat or Ancient Grains are both particularly good in this application), overlapping by 25-30 percent of  their circumference.

Spread the Lettuce across the centre of the lapped tortillas, straddling the overlap seam. Leave 2.5 in. / 5 to 6.5 cm clear at each side to facilitate tidy rolling and fully-closed ends on the finished burrito.

Next, spread the potatoes over the lettuce. Add salt and pepper to taste (if needed).

Sprinkle with some fresh or dried Rosemary, and lay the jullienned meats over that.

Sprinkle on the diced onions and peppers and, finally, the shredded cheese.

Roll tightly. Place on a layer of paper towels on serving plate. (This will guard against bottom of the Burrito becoming soggy.)

Microwave for 1.5 – 2 minutes, until the burritos reach at least 145-150 F in the middle.

A Cubano hack AND better Pork Chops

I was recently inspired to experiment (i.e. – reopen my Chef’s notebook) anew with the iconic Cuban Sandwich, or ‘Cubano’. The trigger was my discovery of a Netflix movie about a west coast white tablecloth Chef who rebels against his employer’s outdated menu. And ends up in Miami rebuilding a decrepit old food truck.

He reunites with some fellow kitchen slaves and co-opts his tween-aged, shared-custody son for a summer odyssey driving across the American South. His menu? Cubanos, subtly tuned for different successive market palates from Tallahassee to Taos. (See photo, top of page.)

What’s stopping me?

I thought, Why don’t I make Cubanos for lunch or supper here at home more often?

Answer: We rarely have roast Pork anymore, since meat prices started to rise. And, aside from Porchetta, which I could get any day of the week in nice thick slices from my go-to Italian deli, RP is not something that’s readily available.

But I could get centre-cut Loin Pork Chops easily enough. And wouldn’t they be great in a Cubano, after being hammered into cutlets, richly seasoned, lightly dreaded and baked, not fried.

You can get fresh-baked Cubano rolls almost any day from a supermarket Bakery Department near you.

Then all you need is some deli Ham, Mustard (and Mayo, if you like), Swiss Cheese and Pickles.

Assemble the usual way and grill on  sandwich press until crispy on the outside and hot all the way through.

Don’t sweat the little things!

Sure. There are many, many versions of of the Cubano, all claiming to have originated in Miami’s Little Havana. And all claiming to be the only ‘authentic’ one. Don’t get your apron strings in  a knot! Like all classics that originated as street foods, there is no single, exact, prescriptive recipe.

Just have fun, and experiment or improvise where necessary (for instance, on the kind of Mustard you have on hand). But DO make the pork chops à la cutlet style, to optimize the bite of this delicious filling, rib-sticking meal-on-a-bun.

Whatever else you do, DON’T let any little inconveniences or minor deviations from tradition keep you from trying this one out!

~ Maggie J.