Celebrate Florida with Cuban Flavors

Today we celebrate the great state of Florida. Although native peoples inhabited the peninsula state as early as 14,000 years ago, European exploration began with Juan Ponce de Leon who arrived during the Easter Season of 1513. He called the lands La Pascua Florida in recognition of the verdant landscape and because Easter was known as Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers).

Did you know . . .
The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. It is also the third largest coral barrier reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef.

The Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale is popular with locals and tourists alike thanks to the underwater performances by real-life mermaids. Patrons are treated to stunning displays as they enjoy delicious meals or simple have a few cocktails.

Don’t you just love the pristine sandy beaches of Miami? Yeah, here’s the secret to those beautiful, tropical beaches. The sand is imported from Caribbean beaches. Florida spends millions each year to maintain and restore the beaches with top-notch Caribbean sand.

Central Florida is known as the lightening capital of America. The region experiences more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the country.

Extreme weather doesn’t end with lightening. The state also leads the country in tornados per year. More than Kansas. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t Oz that Dorothy found – maybe it was Florida!

Florida’s Everglades National Park is the only place in the world that is home to both Crocodiles and alligators in the wild.

In Florida, it is illegal to put a pregnant pig in a cage.

It is also against the law for an unwed woman to parachute from a plane on Sundays. Go figure.

While California is known as the tomato producing capital of America, Florida is the second-largest tomato producing state.

That said, Cuba plays a big part in shaping the culinary styles of Florida.

Floridan-Cuban Menu
Cuban Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Sweet Florida Lime Iced Tea
Key Lime Pie

Cuban Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Roast Pork Tenderloin
1 lb Pork Tenderloin
3 Navel Oranges
2 Lemons
2 Limes
5 Garlic Cloves
Handful Cilantro
1/2 tablespoons Sea Salt
1/2 tablespoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Allspice

Zest one orange, one lemon and one lime into a mixing bow. Juice all the fruits over the zest, set aside.

Peel garlic, grate cloves over the citrus juices. Finely chop cilantro, add to the mixing bowl. Season with salt, black pepper, chili powder, cumin and allspice. Whisk to blend.

Place tenderloin in a gallon-size sealable bag. Pour marinade over the pork. Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove pork from marinade and let come to room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Strain marinade, retaining as much of the seasoning as possible. Rub spices into the pork.

Place on a baking sheet. Roast in the heated oven for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest for 20 minutes before thinly slicing the pork. Wrap and refrigerate until ready to make sandwiches.

Sweet Bread Sandwiches
4 sweet Bread Rolls
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Mustard
1 lb sliced Swiss cheese
1 lb thinly sliced Deli Ham
1 lb thinly sliced Pork Tenderloin (above)
1 cup Dill Pickle Chips
2 tablespoons Butter

Split the sandwich rolls in half, and spread mustard and mayonnaise liberally onto the cut sides.

On the bottom of each each sandwich roll, place and equal amount of Swiss cheese, followed by ham and then sliced pork. Scatter a few pickles over each sandwich. Replace top of roll on each sandwich.

Melt butter, brush the tops of the rolls with butter. with melted butter.

Heat a sandwich press to medium-high heat. Place sandwiches on the press, close and cook about 6 minutes to heat through and get nice pressed grill marks.

Remove sandwiches, slice diagonally and serve hot.

Sweet Florida Lime Iced Tea
1 gallon Boiling Water
6 black Tea Bags
1-1/2 cups Sugar
4 Limes, juiced
1 Lime for garnish

Place tea bags into a gallon-size glass jar. Set aside.

Bring water to a boil. Pour boiling water over the tea bags. Allow to steep for 45 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags.

Stir in the sugar and lime juice until the sugar has dissolved. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate until cold before serving.

If desired, slice a line into half-moon rounds to garnish the glass before serving.

Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Filling
2 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened
2 (14 oz) cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
3/4 cup Key Lime Juice
1 teaspoon Lime Zest
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 (9 inch) prepared Graham Cracker Crust

In a large mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until fluffy. Add condensed milk, and lime juice. Zest lime, add zest to the mixture along with a pinch of salt.

Whip until mixture is smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

Cream Topping
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Lemon Extract
3 tablespoons Powdered Sugar

Chill heavy cream in a medium metal mixing bow. Once chilled, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add lemon extract and powdered sugar. Continue to whip until cream forms stiff peaks.

Place topping in a fine-mesh sieve and place sieve over a bowl to catch liquid that drains off. Cover topping tightly with plastic wrap and allow to drain for 2 hours.

Before serving, discard liquid that has drained from topping. Spread topping over pie.

2 Limes, divided
Whipped Cream

Zest 1 lime, scatter over topping. Thinly slice remaining lime, arrange overlapping in the center of the pie to create a lime rosette. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Slice, serve and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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