Recipes From The Heart No. 3

The upcoming Super Bowl will highlight some of the spectacular cuisine of Tampa. My first visit was during my freshman year at FSU when a nice, lovely classmate invited me to visit her home there, allowing a pilgrim from Georgia to enjoy a tour into the wonders of Ybor City, the Cuban-Spanish district of Tampa where great restaurants and Flamenco flourished. The experience was transformational.

The city still showcases Old and New World influences. For me, the food, particularly Cuban, holds much of the charm.

Why not add a little Tampa flavor to your Super Bowl feast? Here are just a few good recipes.

Cuban Salad

Serve salad with fresh Cuban bread.

Lettuce, red leaf or blend
3 large, ripe avocados, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium red onion, halved and cut into thin slices
4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled

Garlic Lime Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
6 garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


Arrange a layer of lettuce on serving dish, with tomatoes, avocados and onions on top of it. Crumble the Feta cheese and drizzle garlic lime-infused vinaigrette to finish it.
Make vinaigrette by combining vinegar, lime juice and mashed garlic together and whisking olive oil slowly so that they are well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with warm fresh Cuban bread.

Cuban Pork Roast

Cuban Pork has so much Flavor.


For the Mojo:
8 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons (8g) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (8g) freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (about 1 small handful) minced fresh oregano leaves1/2 cup (120ml) fresh juice from 1 to 2 oranges (see note)
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh juice from 3 to 4 limes (see note)
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

For the Pork and to Finish:
1 (6- to 8-pound; 3 to 3.5kg) boneless pork shoulder roast, rind removed
1/4 cup (about 1 small handful) finely chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons (about 3 very large pinches) finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
Lime wedges, for serving

Steamed rice, black beans, and maduros, for serving

For the Mojo: Combine garlic, cumin, pepper, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil in a large bowl and whisk. Season to taste generously with salt. Transfer half of mojo to a sealed container and reserve in the refrigerator. Add pork to remaining mojo and turn to coat. If desired, transfer pork and marinade to a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight before continuing.

For the Pork and to Finish: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place pork and juices on top and fold up foil, crimping to seal loosely but making sure that there is room for air to circulate inside. Place in oven and roast for 3 hours. Fold back foil, increase oven temperature to 325°F, and continue roasting, basting pork with pan juices occasionally, until pork shows almost no resistance when a metal skewer or knife is inserted into it and the surface is crackly and brown, 2 to 3 hours longer. Remove pork from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour accumulated pork juices into a bowl and discard all except 1 cup. Add reserved mojo to pork drippings, along with fresh chopped mint and oregano. Whisk together and season to taste with salt.

Serve pork by slicing or shredding, passing mint mojo and lime wedges on the side. Serve rice and plantains on the side. Reserve any leftovers for sandwiches.

Arroz con Leche

A delicious Cuban Dessert with a Festive touch.

1 cup rice (short grain)
2 1/2 cups water
a pinch of salt
1 cinnamon stick
3 strips of lemon peel (or zest)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar
grated cinnamon and or cinnamon stick for garnish

Wash the rice – this gets rid of much of the starch. To wash, place the rice in a large saucepan, cover with water and swirl around. The water will get cloudy. Pour out the cloudy water, use a strainer to keep the rice in the pot. Repeat 3 or 4 times until the water is clear.

In the same saucepan, over high heat, mix the following ingredients: rinsed rice, 2 1/2 cups water, cinnamon stick, lemon peel and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is mostly absorbed and rice is tender. About 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove cinnamon and lemon.

While the rice is cooking whisk together the condensed milk, evaporated milk and the vanilla.

Stir the milk mixture into the cooked rice.

Cook uncovered over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until liquid is mostly absorbed and you begin to see the texture of the rice as the liquid becomes absorbed. The mixture will take on a slightly caramel color. Stir in sugar.

Remove from heat and spoon into individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chill for about an hour before serving.

Sir Vede’s Wine Suggestions. White wines will pair well. An Albariño from Spain,  Chenin Blanc from Dry Creek or Pinot Gris from Oregon’s King Estate. Cocktails: Mojito’s!

 Stay safe. Bonne dégustation. Love one another.

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