No matter where you decide to dine in Miami, the Cuban influence is everywhere. But have you ever thought of taking your favorite menu items and propelling them to new dimensions of flavor with a few simple ingredient tweaks, add-ons and surprises you can do right at home? Some nicer restaurants have taken creative liberties on old Cuban staples and injected their modern influence by mixing-and-matching flavors, serving dishes in eye-popping plating presentations and constructing and deconstructing time-tasted favorites into contemporary deliciousness. Some have worked, some haven’t. Regardless, sometimes you just feel like staying in and feasting on your own schedule. For those times, if Cuban food is what you’re craving, think outside the box and stock up on some of your favorite pantry and fridge essentials to make sure you’re prepared when it’s time to get cooking. Collect modern cookbooks, search for creative versions of recipes to use as inspiration and let your appetite lead the way. You can’t go wrong if you’re making something you’re craving. Nothing’s more discerning than our picky bellies.
Cuban Sandwich Empanadas: Skip the lardy Cuban bread for a crispy Cuban Sandwich Empanada. Just mince the ham, pork, pickles and Swiss cheese and wrap up in empanada dough before setting in the oven. Get extra creative by making a delicious mustard-based dipping sauce with your favorite herbs and honey.
Fruity Croquetas: Regardless of the meat you prefer for the ooey-gooey inside, croquetas can make for a healthy snack day and night. Opt to bake them to crispy, low-fat perfection as opposed to frying and serve over a sweet-tooth friendly marmalade sauce for added visual (and flavor) impact.
Wow Frijoles: Make your next pot of black beans and rice one to remember by substituting white rice with brown or wild rice and adding some unconventional fruits and veggies to the mix. Start with baby spinach and a few raspberries in lieu of olives and then get a little more creative as you evolve your culinary prowess.