Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tradition, Key West and Cuban Bread

Tradition, an interesting word for me, after thinking that I didn’t grow up with any, I began to remember that we always had certain dishes at the holidays, corn bread dressing with oysters, cherry pie and sugar cookies. My mother didn’t particularly like to cook, and only did so out of necessity. My love of cooking developed much later in life. I’ve never cooked a holiday meal, but always bring dishes to the holiday table. Anyway enough of going down that path.
My current family’s tradition is going to Key West during the first part of December. MJOL and I always try to celebrate our anniversary there. We’ve missed a few years, (only 3) but have made 12. This year we continued tradition and were accompanied by MJOL’s sister and brother-in-law. It’s fun seeing our favorite place through someone else’s eyes. I’ve discovered through the years that people either love KWF or they don’t. We saw old friends that we meet there every year and of course made new friends that we hope to see there in the coming years. We did a sunset cruise, Hemingway’s house and many of the tourist things that we don’t do that often. My most vivid memories usually revolve around the friends, food, and relaxation. Grilled grouper with a Thai curry sauce over sushi rice at Seven Fish, Cuban roast pork with yellow rice, black beans and plantains at El Sibonay, and lobster fresh out of the sea at Pepe’s.

So, I decided to extrapolate our Key West tradition and attempt Cuban bread. Pan Cubano, that loaf with the creamy interior and crisp crust, pressed with meats and cheese. Yum. So, after a little research I found that “traditional” Cuban bread is made with lard..yikes! At the store, I found my little tub of lard and put it in my cart, carried it around the store and in the end, just had to put it back. I opted for using solid shortening, probably not much healthier, but it made me feel somewhat better. I thought it turned out well. Since most recipes called for a starter, I just used my sourdough. I can’t wait to make some Cuban roast pork and make my own Cuban sandwich.


Midnite Baker said...

What a fun trip & all that food, YUM!! I just made a pork roast called "Cubano Sandwich". We ate 1/2 of for supper. Am ready for more but waist isn't. Got it from the Cooking Channel. Check it out, maybe, it will go with your bread.

Guff said...

We have only been to the Keys once, and to KWF just for the day--to cross off Mile 0 from my bucket list. While we loved the seafood (Stone Crab) you missed the best part--Key Lime Pie! We must have had 6 different versions, each wonderful in its own way. I particularly remember Mangrove Mama's (MM20).
And as for Lard, Arthur Bryant, the famous BBQ King, when asked why he still fried his French fries in Lard replied "If you are going to do a job, you do a job."
Have a joyous holiday.
And the bread looks great.

Judy's Bakery & Test Kitchen said...

Looks wonderful, Elwood! Merry Christmas.

Clarice said...

I'm thinking about that sunset as I look out at my evergreens! Your bread is beautiful.

Cathy (breadexperience) said...

What a great tradition! The sunset and the bread look great! Happy New Year!

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