Sunday, February 2, 2014

02 February 2014 – Super Bowl Sunday

Although it is Super Bowl Sunday, my obsession with ethnic food continues. For a genuine "wanna be" chef, this merely presents an opportunity to innovate. Last week, I had intended on cooking Cuban food for Sunday Supper, but after an overly zealous birthday celebration, I never got around to cooking. So when this week rolled around, I was torn between my traditional Super Bowl Party dishes and Cuban recipes. Therefore, I decided to merge the two concepts into what I refer to as Cuban Super Bowl Fusion. It was an interesting and fun challenge, and the results were quite good.

Speaking of a fusion approach, most of my afternoon was filled with sourcing local ingredients from a variety of sources. The excursion began at Cherokee Market where I found local grass fed ground beef, onions, cilantro and other great produce purveyed by the lovely Lisa Meyer. Of course, I could not stop at Cherokee Market without partaking in some Scott Boys BBQ for lunch! Afterward, I stopped by La Luna Bakery on Marietta Highway to purchase some fresh baked Cuban rolls. The Luna's are wonderful people, and their food is delicious! Stop by and try their Caldo de Pollo and amazing Cuban sandwiches! The next stop was down the street at Ramirez Grocery. This locally owned Latino grocery is always a delight. Here, I found some perfectly ripened avocados, limes and plantains. The final ingredients came from Publix, so even my shopping was a fusion experience.

After spending some fun time with friends in downtown Canton for the Main Street's Tailgating event, I came home to begin the meal. Jeff spent the weekend in Orlando at a conference, so I wanted to treat him to a home cooked meal upon his return. He had no idea about my eclectic concept, but he seemed to enjoy the results. Cory Wilson and John Clark came over to dine with us while we watched the Super Bowl, and they brought some delicious Brecca Old Vine Garnacha to accompany the meal. So here's what I prepared for my Cuban Super Bowl Fusion cuisine. Instead of nachos or potato skins, I made some Cuban sandwich egg rolls. They are traditional egg rolls, but I used Cuban sandwich ingredients instead of Asian fillings. The base recipe was inspired by one I found in my favorite magazine, Garden & Gun.
As a replacement for wings, I made Pollo de la Plancha – Cuban Grilled Chicken. For the guacamole substitute, I prepared a simple avocado and onion salad, and my burgers were disguised as Frita Cubanas – Cuban Hamburgers with homemade ketchup. All in all, it was an interesting and very fun spin on my Super Bowl Sunday party food!

After dinner, we enjoyed the Half Time Show, especially the impressive performance by the uber talented Bruno Mars. For me, he is a fusion performer too, a perfect cross between James Brown and Michael Jackson. Next stop, the Opening Ceremony for the Sochi Olympics. Until then, I hope your upcoming week is the perfect blend of happiness and good intention.

The Menu:

- Cuban Sandwich Egg Rolls

- Pollo de la Plancha – Grilled Cuban Chicken

- Avocado and Red Onion Salad

- Frita Cubanas – Traditional Cuban Hamburgers with
Homemade Cuban Ketchup

- Brecca Old Vine Garnacha

The Recipe – Cuban Sandwich Spring Rolls

(adapted from Garden & Gun)

1 lb. ground pork

1 cup shredded manchego cheese

¼ cup sliced dill pickles

1 package spring roll wrappers, thawed
1 lb. sliced Serrano ham (I used prosciutto instead)

4 whole eggs, beaten with a fork

Oil for frying
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup yellow mustard

In a hot pan, sauté the ground pork until completely cooked. Set aside and let cool. Then add to a food processor with half the cheese and all of the pickles and process thoroughly.

Lay out one spring roll wrapper with the point facing toward you, so that it looks like a diamond. Lay a piece of sliced Serrano on top, then add a spoonful of the pork-cheese-and-pickle mixture, and sprinkle a little bit more cheese on top of that. Brush beaten egg over the edges of the wrap. Then fold the bottom point of the wrapper over the filling so that it extends 1/3 of the way up the length of the wrapper. Fold the right and left sides of the wrapper over that and roll it up tightly. Deep fry rolls until browned on the outside and gooey on the inside, about 2 minutes. Combine mustard and mayonnaise in a small bowl and serve as a dipping sauce. Since I have an aversion to mayonnaise, I used Chinese hot mustard instead, and it worked well.
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