25 July 2020

Weekend Cooking: A Fast Summer Dinner

Review of The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline CampionThis hasn't been a great week for cooking, mostly because it's been hot, hot, hot in my area. Every day we expect rain: the sky gets dark, the humidity rises and then . . . nothing. Just hot, sticky, heavy air. Ugh.

The heat also seems to drain my inspiration and energy, so I turned to my trusty The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion (Thanks #AbramsDinnerParty), and looked for meals that wouldn't heat up my house. No central air = please don't turn on that oven!

One of the dinners I picked was their Faux Cubanos, which required only a minimum of heat. Though I own a sandwich press, I opted against using it and instead grilled the sandwiches in a cast-iron skillet, as per the recipe.

I did things slightly differently from the recipe in the book. I don't know if our pitas were bigger than theirs, but we needed extra cheese and ham to cover the bread. So where the recipe says two slices of cheese and ham, we used three. Also, I am not a fan of mayo so we cut the ingredients in half and used the sauce on only one sandwich. Mr. BFR said the sauce was good. The photo is scanned from the cookbook because I was just way too lazy and too hungry to set up a photo shoot.

Faux Cubanos
Serves 2 to 4 [I'd say 3 for dinner]

  • The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion1/4 scant cup) mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Siracha or to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 pitas
  • 8 slices of Swiss cheese [we needed 12 slices]
  • 8 slices of deli ham [we needed 12 slices of Black Forest ham]
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1 small dill pickle cut into 4 long slices [we used hamburger dill chips from a jar]
  • Unsalted butter for the skillet
In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, and Siracha. Season with salt and pepper. Slather two of the pitas on one side with the mayo mixture. Top with two slices of cheese, followed by two slices of ham, slather with mustard, then top with two slices of pickles followed by two slices of ham and two slices of cheese. Top with the remaining pitas to make a sandwich.

In a medium skillet or grill pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. Add one sandwich and put a heavy skillet on top to weight it down. [I just kept pressing down with the spatula.] Cook until golden brown and the cheese has started to melt, about 4 minutes.

Carefully flip the sandwich over and add 1/2 tablespoon butter to the pan, lifting the sandwich as it melts so the butter gets underneath. Top with the skillet again and cook until golden brown and heated through, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and let sit for a couple of minutes before cutting into half or thirds. [We covered the first sandwich in foil while we grilled the second one. We cut them into fourths.]

I served this with a very simple salad of mixed greens, heirloom cherry/grape tomatoes cut in half, and a variety of thinly sliced radishes. I made a lemon vinaigrette for the dressing. I got the idea from the Fresh Food Fast cookbook from Cooking Light.

Note: Recipe and scan used with permission. All rights remain with the original copyright holder.
Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker) and Super Sundays hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen


rhapsodyinbooks 7/25/20, 7:05 AM  

This sounds very good! We also don't care for mayonnaise and I am always experimenting with substitutes for sandwiches. Lately I have used spicy red pepper hummus and have had some success, depending on the sandwich. It sounds though like the subtitle of that cookbook: "A Keepers Cookbook" is exactly right!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 7/25/20, 7:35 AM  

Yes, the heat has been unbearable here too and I haven't felt much like cooking except in my Instant Pot. Your sandwich sounds like a perfect solution. Have a good week Beth.

Mae Travels 7/25/20, 7:42 AM  

I thought the cuban sandwich had pork roast, ham, and maybe another protein on it and was very meat-heavy. This sounds like a much lighter sandwich -- a good thing! Must be a different tradition from Cuba.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 7/25/20, 8:17 AM  

Too funny that I JUST wrote a comment back to you on my blog about wanting a panini press! I love the sandwich yu made. Honestly, if we didn't have AC I would never use the oven in summer. Last night I made use of the slow cooker to keep things cooler but I did make bread so...

Is it any cooler on your porch? I know a house can hold the heat and I am hoping you get a breeze.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 7/25/20, 10:02 AM  

Summers are always hot here, too (how do you do it without air conditioning?) so I love to find recipes that don't take a lot of heat. The sandwich sounds delicious.

GypsyPlate 7/25/20, 11:34 AM  

I love Cuban sandwiches and usually get them from a local Latin restaurant. Thanks for sharing!

Claudia 7/25/20, 1:54 PM  

Sandwiches are perfect hot weather food. We though love mayonnaise. Well, Bob is in the love category, and uses a lot of it. I'm more in the like camp, with some moderation.

Jackie McGuinness 7/25/20, 2:12 PM  

Also reducing the amount of mayo we use. I've been substituting yogurt in many recipes a la Jamie Oliver.

Les in Oregon 7/26/20, 12:55 PM  

I wouldn't mind a little of your heat. We've been in the low 60s forever and I really want to wear some of my summer clothes! I'd be happy to take 10-15 degrees from you anytime. :)

That sandwich sounds like something my husband would love. I'm not a fan of swiss cheese or dill pickles, but he loves everything listed in the ingredients. Maybe for mine, I could use ham and cheddar and skip the pickles.

Marg 7/27/20, 6:37 AM  

This sounds like it would make a great working from home lunch too! I laughed at your comment about not setting up a photo shoot. Maybe that's what I am doing wrong .... I just take a photo. LOL.

(Diane) bookchickdi 7/28/20, 8:11 AM  

I love a good Cubano, and I pinned this recipe.

Deb in Hawaii 8/2/20, 9:13 PM  

This looks like such a great sandwich and perfect for those hot nights when you just can't. ;-) Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. Since I had some challenges posting last week, it will be in this week's round up.

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