Today in Austin, it didn’t quite reach 90 degrees. And although 90 degrees is still hot, relatively speaking it marks the nearing end of summer. The end of summer is a wonderful time, time for a refreshing change. Change in routine, weather, clothes, and cuisine. As the weather gets cooler, we get to dust off some old recipes for chili, pot pie, lasagna, etc. But one thing my family and I get especially excited about is the beginning of football season. Both my wife, Kazmira, and I went to the University of Miami, and going back to school after the school year began meant football on Saturdays.
I will try to explore lots of Saturday traditions this year, especially now that we live in Austin, TX, needless to say, a football town on Saturdays. But the tradition that Kazmira and I are so familiar with is eating Cuban food, outside of the, then Orange bowl, before and after the game.
Outside of the stadium, there were always arepa carts, which if you haven’t had an arepa, you need to. My best description for an arepa is a sweet corn pancake with mozzarella cheese in the middle.
We would always follow the game with a trip to Versailles, this was best after a night game. I only seem to remember the 1:00am visits. We would always start out with the Mariquitas with Mojo and I remember the Braised Beef Tongue and the Ropa Vieja afterwards.
It is not easy to find Cuban like that outside of Little Havana, but I am going to show you how we recreate the magic in our kitchen. And although this doesn’t guarantee a successful Saturday, at least you know one thing will go right.
Blend up some garlic, lime, orange, and cilantro for your very own homemade Mojo. Pick out a nice inexpensive pork shoulder and marinate it over night.
The next day, roast that gorgeous piece of meat, and what comes out is the main ingredient. You will have to do your best to get your hands on some Cuban bread, but if you can not locate such a thing, just make sure the bread is very soft, so that you can successfully press it later on.
Slice up the pork, not to thin, and you are ready to build your sandwich in this order:
Finally, butter the outside of the bread, press on a hot skillet, and enjoy!
Now, its time for some Tres Leches or Flan!