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Food with a Florida flair.

With the large Hispanic population in Florida, there are many interesting and flavorful dishes. Being born and raised there gave me 30 years to sample this cuisine from many places throughout Florida.
Cuban sandwich
(a personal favorite)

1 1/2 loaves Cuban bread
Mustard and butter
3/4 pound thinly sliced ham
1/2 pound barbecued or roast pork
1/4 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced
Italian salami
Lengthwise slices of dill pickle
Shredded lettuce and thinly sliced
tomatoes (optional)

Cut Cuban bread into six 8-inch long pieces. Split lengthwise and spread mustard on one piece, butter on the other. Layer meats, cheese and pickle equally on the sandwiches. Wrap each sandwich in a paper napkin and secure with a toothpick. Flavor is improved by warming in oven before serving.

Cuban bread is a yard long, crusty beige on the outside and fluffy white delicious on the inside. A century ago, Cuban bread was delivered in a horse-drawn bakery wagon. The delivery man, swinging the loaf like a bat, would impale it to a nail hammered to the side of the customer's house.

Although that tradition has long since vanished, the method of making it has not. I'm not sure of the precise ingredients, but once the loaves were made, they were wrapped in palm fronds, placed in a large pan and slid into a brick oven and baked until golden brown and crusty. If I can ever find the exact ingredients for this wonderful bread, I will certainly pass it on. It tastes similar to a fresh French loaf.

You're not likely to find Cuban bread anywhere but central and southern Florida. With that in mind, these sandwiches can be made with French bread, but the taste just isn't as excellent as it could be.

Looking for a salad dressing that's as delicious as it is different? Try these two recipes.

From the summer chef of the late
King Alfonso of Spain

1 pint mayonnaise
1 1/3 cup catsup
1 cup drained beets,
finely chopped
1/2 cup dill relish
1/2 cup green pepper,
finely chopped
Onion juice to taste
1 large hard-boiled egg,
chopped fine

Mix all ingredients and blend well with a fork. Some people add one tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of paprika as a matter of taste. Yields one quart.
Green goddess dressing

1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon drymustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons anchovy paste
3 tablespoons tarragon
wine vinegar
3 tablespoons snipped chives
1/3 cup snipped parsley
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Early in the day or the day before, combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate. Use on green salads or as a dip. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

Florida offers many flavors of soup, including oyster stew, Greek lemon soup and grouper or fish chowder. One of our favorites is Spanish bean soup.
Spanish bean soup

1/2 pound garbanzo beans
1 tablespoon salt
1 beef bone
1 ham bone
2 quarts water
4 ounces white bacon or
regular bacon
1 onion, cut in small pieces
2 ounces lard
1 pound potatoes
1 pinch saffron
Salt; paprika
1 chorizo sausage

Soak beans overnight with a tablespoon of salt in sufficient water to cover the beans. When ready to cook, drain salted water from beans and place them with the beef and ham bones in two quarts of water. Cook for 45 minutes over a slow fire.

Fry bacon with paprika and onion in the lard. Add to the beans. Also add quartered potatoes, saffron and salt to taste. When potatoes are done, remove from fire and add thinly sliced chorizo. Serves 4. My mother used to double this recipe, as the flavors improved each time we warmed it up. Keeps for about a week in the fridge.

Whether it's a Greek salad, a new way to cook fish or a tempting dessert, Florida offers many diverse and wonderful food recipes.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 1999
Previous Article:The subject of homemade yeast rises again.
Next Article:Home cooking from rural Pennsylvania.

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