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Old 07-22-2021, 11:31 PM   #1
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Cubanos & Panini

Saw a movie—Chef—about a guy who loses his restaurant and gets a food truck that sells Cuban sandwiches. It does really well and helps him get his life back on track.

A Cubano is a crusty roll split and spread with mayo and mustard, and filled with sliced ham, sliced roast pork, swiss cheese, and sliced pickles. It's buttered and toasted in a panini press.

I thought the press was neat, but wasn't keen on getting yet another countertop appliance to jam up our limited space. I recalled a Le Creuset grill pan we bought years ago and haven't used much. And I dug around in a neighbor's heap of scrap steel and found some heavy bar stock to make a grill press.

The bread was from a sourdough ciabatta recipe.



Roasted a pork loin Cuban-style. Bought deli sliced ham and swiss cheese. Got the grill pan hot and heated the grill press over a gas burner, and. . .



The press weighs five pounds, so I don't need to lean on it. The grill pan leaves pretty scorchmarks.



The sandwiches have a satisfying density. The fillings can vary according to your taste. I've tried sliced peperone and soppressata with provolone and parmesan. Next, maybe lonzino, sliced red onion, provolone, and tomato. I prefer the pickles or pepperoncini on the side.

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Old 07-23-2021, 05:47 AM   #2
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I make several in the oven at the same time. Foiled sheet pan, sandwiches, another layer of foil, sheet pan on top, and a cast iron Dutch oven pan lid or frying pan on top, whichever is more handy at the time. 375 temp and 15 to 20 minutes until everything is warmed thru, cheese has melted and bread has crisped.
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:14 AM   #3
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Saw that movie awhile ago too, Bitzer.

I'm afraid I bought an appliance for panini's (Creuset, Griddle/Grill/Waffle) some time ago. I do use it but have to admit it is superfluous. May use it a bit more as I don't have a regular stove now without going 'upstairs'.

I had to 'googled' Lonzino. Sounds great! Would love to try some.
And ... I'm guessing you make your own, right? And didn't you mention you had a curing or smoke house? LOL Wish I had the ingenuity/skills/oomph to make one. Would love to try drying sausage/ham - at least once.

medtran! Great idea for multiple sandwiches!
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Old 07-23-2021, 08:39 AM   #4
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I use weights sometimes when it's called for but I also have an appliance. I have a Cuisinart Griddler. I didn't buy it for Cubanos or any other specific item but needed something all purpose. I use it for pancakes, French toast, any pressed sandwich including Cubanos. It also cooks burgers and boneless chicken very quickly since it cooks both sides at the same time.
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Old 07-23-2021, 04:35 PM   #5
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I saw and loved the movie ( especially the scene when he reams out the food critic eat the restaurant).

I have a Cuisinart Panini Press. Gets the job done, but wish I went with a more restaurant quality than home cook quality. I used it to make pressed sandwiches, along with grilled cheese sandwiches and a few other things. Slightly more than a one trick pony. I have shelves in a room off the garage which stores my few times a year appliances.
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Old 07-23-2021, 06:56 PM   #6
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I had to 'google' Lonzino. Sounds great! Would love to try some. And ... I'm guessing you make your own, right? And didn't you mention you had a curing or smoke house? LOL Wish I had the ingenuity/skills/oomph to make one. Would love to try drying sausage/ham - at least once.
Lonzino is quickie prosciutto (which can take a whole year or more to cure). It's pork loin coated with curing salt, kosher salt, and spices. Then it gets hung until it loses about one-third of the original moisture (by weight). Here's a piece just out of the box—



With scrap plastic from a greenhouse, I built a curing box for the basement (which is too cold and dry for proper curing). Added a 150W panel heater that wasn't warm enough for my dearest and a wee humidifier sold for a cigar cabinet.



Here 'tis, with (L to R) 1 pancetta, 2 peperone, and 2 soppressata. After I got the hang of it, my sweetie decided to go vegetarian. More for me, I reckon.
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:37 AM   #7
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I'm now thinking that the basement at the farm being cold and damp would have been better than the basement here which is also cold and damp but can quickly switch to hot and humid in a flash.

Yes, I remember now you posted that on another thread. Well done sir!
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:40 AM   #8
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None of the recipes I have for Cuban sandwiches call for mayo. MUSTARD ONLY!!!!

And the Tampa version calls for SALAMI and CUBAN BREAD. Most places in Miami use sweet sugar-cured BOLO HAM.
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:16 AM   #9
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I had a multi grid waffle iron, about ten inches square. It hd waffle grids, grill grids, and flat grids. It could cook chicken steaks, chops, etc, in both sides at once, made wonderful grilled cheese, again cooking both sides, of course great waffles, and using the grill grids, pressed sandwiches. Unfortunately, I left it on the floor, in a corner one day, and my kids, who were at the time too young to know better, used it for a stepping stool, and broke it. I wish I would have replaced it at the time as similar appliances are now challenging to find. If you can find one, it's an appliance worth having.

Here are a few that look promising:
https://www.amazon.com/Removable-Aut.../dp/B07Z68QYFW

https://www.amazon.com/DECKER-Nonsti.../dp/B000063XH7

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...a6cb4b2e9da728

These were easy to find online, but aren't readily available in big box stores. I hope this post has been useful to everyone.

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Old 07-24-2021, 12:32 PM   #10
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Having spent much of my life a long way from the nearest store, I've made it a game to try to construct things from what's on hand or can be had nearby. Hence, the unused grill pan and the homebuilt press.



Building the curing box, I scouted for materials close to home— the plastic scrap, corner moldings, dowels, hinges, hooks, and the heater. Had velcro tape and used that for the door latches, rather than a 90 minute roundtrip to the hardware store. I did have to order the humidifier and the thermostat.

Thinking of it as a puzzle or game, not a hardship, makes it fun.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:12 PM   #11
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Chief, the last one (cuisinart) is the one I have - it's great! I recommend.

the middle one, meh...

the first one - LOL didn't show a price but on further investigation - at least for me...
ships from China - freight $97.17 plus price of $233.11 - a whopping $330.28

- not sure if that's US or Canadian funds but... don't think it makes a difference! LOL
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:06 PM   #12
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Found this in an old log chicken house nearby.



Looked online— cleaned up, it's worth a couple hundred smackers.

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Old 07-24-2021, 02:35 PM   #13
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I just use my George Foreman. Instant panino, both sides cooked at once.
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Found this in an old log chicken house nearby.



Looked online— cleaned up, it's worth a couple hundred smackers.

Can that be used as a skillet when it's closed up and flipped over?
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:05 PM   #15
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Saw a movie—Chef—about a guy who loses his restaurant and gets a food truck that sells Cuban sandwiches. It does really well and helps him get his life back on track...
There are very few movies I watch more than once. That said, I've probably seen "Chef" at least three times, probably more. Loved it! Favreau went to culinary school and shadowed Roy Choi. Leguizamo worked as a line cook to learn his role. Lots of LOTS went into making that little movie. I think I like it for its back stories as much as for the film itself.

I agree with cookieee on the mayo. It mutes the tang from the mustard, and a proper Cuban is a lot of "tang". We've sampled several in the Ybor section of Tampa and all they have is mustard for a condiment.

I use my Cuisinart Griddler when I make them. I use that appliance for a lot of things, but nowhere near as much/often as Katie H does. She is the Queen of the Griddler!
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:25 PM   #16
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Can that be used as a skillet when it's closed up and flipped over?
Nope. The grease would drain down the crack between the bottom iron and the stove stand.

It was made for a wood or coal range, with a burner plate off. I suspect it'll work on a gas range. Once I get it polished up, I'll give it a go, for fun.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:28 PM   #17
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Found this in an old log chicken house nearby.



Looked online— cleaned up, it's worth a couple hundred smackers.

Wow! What a find. I purchased 4 Griswold frying pans from a man whose parents had both past on. He wanted ten bucks apiece. I didn't think that was fair, and gave him 40 bucks per pan. I gave two to my chef son, and kept two for myself. I accidently dropped my ten incher onto a hard fake wood floor and broke the handle off. I was not happy. A friend who owned a Native American store knew I loved cooking. I was perusing his shop, looking for something for my wife. I came across a beautiful Griswold 1oinch pan, with the name and cross, and the ring, and asked him what he wanted for it. He asked me if I knew what the pan was. I told him what I knew of the Griswold history. He told me that I was the first person who understood the worth of the pan, and insisted on giving me the pan. We both volunteered at a native boy's youth camp, teaching the boys other things beyond video games. We became good friends.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:24 PM   #18
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Nope. The grease would drain down the crack between the bottom iron and the stove stand.

It was made for a wood or coal range, with a burner plate off. I suspect it'll work on a gas range. Once I get it polished up, I'll give it a go, for fun.
I think I understand about the grease. Do you mind posting a picture of the concave side of that pan, the side that gets heated?
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:02 AM   #19
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Here are my cast irons... worth diddly-pop because I broke the round hinge.

In pictures 2 and 6 you can see there is only half a hinge. Don't know how it got broken. Was never touched and in the basement for 20 years til I went to pack for the move and saw it broken.
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Old 07-25-2021, 11:10 AM   #20
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Now I understand how that old waffle iron works. Sorry to read about the broken ring, Dragn.
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