Lechon, My Lechon


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I love books of all kinds, but cookbooks and YA badass heroines are my weaknesses. Getting a new cookbook and reading it from cover to cover is always a delight. I got The Cuban Table awhile ago, but kept putting off committing to a recipe.

I can’t remember what triggered my need for Cuban food, but this pork roast instantly called to me when I was looking for a good Sunday dinner. (Cautionary tale: I skimmed the recipe and didn’t notice the overnight marination until too late…so it became a Monday dinner .)

The marinade is straightforward, but I wanted to make it a little easier so I used storebought Mojo and doctored it with the juice of one blood orange. You can substitute half orange juice/half lime juice for the blood orange, but they are becoming more common at the grocery store. (These oranges have a beautiful red interior and contribute color as well as flavor.) Made the prep very simple.

bloodorangeMonday morning, I drained the pork butt, placed it in the Dutch Oven, and put it in a 250 degree oven, and left for work (about 8 a.m.)

(For those concerned about leaving the oven on unattended, here is a detailed article on the pros and cons.)

The reveal at 6 p.m. was pretty impressive and my house smelled like citrusy porky goodness. I took of the lid and broiled the roast, which resulted in a gorgeous crackly crust on the top. I really wish I could share the smell with you. Drool!

The bone came right out, the meat was succulent and silky, the crispy top added the perfect crunch to balance the meat.

The absolute icing on the cake was the Mojo Criolla, which I made as suggested as the finishing sauce.

Fresh oregano, orange/lime/blood orange juice and garlic are combined, and then separately, lard heated up. It is very dramatic as you pour the hot lard into the juice mixture with lots of popping and bubbling as it cooks the garlic and oregano.

My black bean recipe starts by sautéeing onions, carrots and garlic, then adding two cans of rinsed black beans and enough stock to almost cover, simmer for an hour. I also like to reserve some diced onions and place them in a little lime juice to use as a topping for my beans.

This recipe was relatively simple, but really delicious. And I was lucky that blood oranges were available, they added a nice sweet/sour flavor and color.

This entire cookbook is gorgeous, and after the success of this Lechon Asado, I am looking forward to diving into the rest of the recipes.

The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez; Photography by Ellen Silverman

Easy (I Swear) English Muffins

Last year, I made it my mission to conquer bread baking. I failed massively at times and completely surprised myself at others. One of the experiments that shocked me with the ratio of low effort to maximum result was English Muffins.

The batter takes the same amount of time and work as pancakes. Throw everything in the mixer and let it go for about five minutes, until stretchy and shiny. Then let rise for 1-2 hours until very puffy.

I put my griddle on the stovetop at low heat and a sheet pan in the oven (heated to 350 degrees). I lightly scattered semolina on the griddle, placed the rings on the griddle, and scooped out palm-size globs of dough. (Technical term, lol.)

(The recipe calls for the dough to be rolled into balls, allowed to rise a bit, and then flattened, before being placed on griddle – you can try either method.)

I smooshed the globs into the rings and as they slowly toast on one side, the other rises slightly to fill the ring. Honestly, you can go without the rings as the dough doesn’t spread very much, but I love the traditional shape.

After they have good color on both sides, I put them in the oven on the sheet pan to finish for about 10 min. or when an instant read thermometer reads 200 degrees.



Prep takes about 15 minutes, rise takes 1-2 hours (unmanned), and cooking takes about 25 minutes. Really not work intensive, but you have a plan ahead to build in the proofing time. BUT THEY ARE SO SO GOOD.

Try this when you have a lazy weekend, and I promise you will be shocked at how delicious these are (and everyone else will think you worked for hours and hours on them.)

RECIPE:  English Muffins from King Arthur Flour

Getting my Shawarma on at the new (old!) Sahara Cafe


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The Sahara Greek and Lebanese restaurant (formerly on E. Lafayette Street in Tallahassee) has been a reliable option for an affordable, delicious lunch. However, the building was definitely aging, and the restaurant needed more seating and parking.

(An aside: the original building used to house a fantastic Pizza Hut when I was growing up. Sit-down Pac-Man game and a jukebox, yes!)


They recently moved into a new location, across the street, in the shopping center facing Apalachee Parkway, with New Leaf Market, Cabo’s, Ross, etc., with a lot more room and much more convenient parking.

One big change is that you now have to go to the counter to order before sitting, and they then bring your food out to your table. This change appears to have streamlined their lunch service, and worked great for me as I have been ordering the same thing for years. (Chicken Shawarma, please.)

As you can see below, the Shawarma is always a good choice.

The Chicken Shawarma features well-seasoned and charred chicken with the best tzaziki in town. The Greek salad is solid, though on the small side, and I am completely addicted to their lentil soup. They have great options if you are looking for low-carb or gluten free eating as well.

The Hubs got the gyro platter (yum!) and the hummus is very creamy with a nice garlic kick.

The new location provides more parking, added convenience and plenty of seating space. The new ordering system seemed to make the process much faster, and the staff was very attentive on drinks and making sure we knew about the new procedure. Not fancy, but a great choice for a solid lunch.



Breakfast Egg Bites (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free, Oh My!)


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My biggest challenge when attempting to eat healthier is breakfast. I don’t have time to make anything, and I don’t really get hungry until about 9 or 10.

One eggy dish that has saved me are these Breakfast Egg Bites. You can basically pick any combination of add-ins, such as toppings you like in omelets or quiches, add eggs and bake.

I tried a couple variations this time:

  • Ham, Caramelized Onions and Cheddar
  • Broccoli, Caramelized Onions and Cheddar
  • Spinach, Bacon, Caramelized Onions and Feta


I used a non-stick muffin pan, and used a generous amount of cooking spray to make sure they didn’t stick.

For the ham ones, I put the ham in first to make a “cup.” For the rest I just filled the tins about halfway with toppings. (I steamed the broccoli first, but the spinach can be added raw.)

In a large bowl I whisked 7 eggs (with 2-3 tablespoons of water, you can use milk if you want) for 12 muffins, but the egg amount depends on your preferred ratio of eggs to add-ins. Remember to add salt and pepper to the egg mixture.

You can substitute egg whites for some of the whole eggs or use egg beaters, if you want to cut some calories. You can also omit the cheese if desired.

Pour in the egg to about 3/4 fullness in each cup and use a utensil (I use chopsticks for pretty much everything, very useful here) to move the ingredients around a bit and make sure the egg gets in everywhere. Do not fill to the top or they will overflow. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. (I let them cool some after baking, then used a knife to run around the edge and loosen them before taking them out.)

img_7535I keep these in the fridge and grab a couple each morning. I’ve eaten them hot or cold, you could also put them in an English Muffin if carbs aren’t a consideration.

I have to say the spinach ones were my new favorite, but all of these were good.

Here are some recipes around the web if you want to get more ideas:



Sous Vide or How I Leveled-Up My Meat Cooking


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There is a saying that “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Which is also my not-so-excusable reason for the delay on posting. (Whoops!🙃)

BUT I have been having so much fun with my new cooking toy and can’t wait to share my adventures so far. 

So here she is, my Anova Precision Cooker. In brief terms, “sous vide” is the process of cooking food sealed in plastic (vacuum-sealed or just freezer bags with the air squeezed out). 

And just FYI, I have a cool little vacuum sealer (Waring Pro Pistol Vac), which I love. Completely not necessary. (It’s so fun though!)

My first attempt was cooking 1 1/2 inch thick ribeye steaks heavily seasoned with salt/pepper and rosemary sprigs. Because I had to run around town that evening, I cooked them that morning at 129 degrees for 2 hours. (Here are some lovely charts from The Food Lab on the effect of different temps and times on steak.) That night I was able to pull them from the fridge, pat dry, and sear them quickly in a very hot pan, and have them on the table in minutes. The color was gorgeous and the texture was much more tender than when cooked with mostly high heat. 

Note: because they absorbed so much of the seasoning in the bag, there is no need to season again before searing.

After that first use, I realized that there are some serious advantages to the sous vide process.

  • Can pre-cook meats to exact desired doneness, refrigerate, and sear/serve whenever you want with 2-3 days.
  • No clean up. Just dump the water out of the plastic bin. (Nice!)
  • Easy to cook (gorgeous) chicken breasts for the week’s lunches.
  • Can put the bin and cooker on the porch or in the garage, so it doesn’t necessarily take up kitchen space.
  • Is operated via app, so you are alerted at every step (can’t overcook.)
  • No need to “rest” after searing.
  • Can completely skip defrosting, just add 30 minutes to 1 hour to the cook time (depending on six of meat).

(For cons, the only real drawback is the cost, but at about $150 it still costs less than a good blender or mixer and would potentially see much more use.)

Next up, I put frozen pork tenderloins (sealed with Greek seasoning, oregano, garlic) in the water – a few minutes before the water was fully preheated to defrost the pork a bit. (Cooked for 2 hours at 135 degrees – halfway between medium-rare and medium.) Then seared in hot skillet on all sides. Here is an article detailing the temps and any food safety considerations. Even the food safety cautious Hubs was good with the final product. This was really nice, great texture and it was easy to get a nice crust.

For an extensive look at sous vide recipes and techniques, The Food Lab over at Serious Eats has all of the information you need to get started.

I can honestly say that this has completely replaced the slow cooker for me, and has quickly become essential in my weekly meal planning, both for quick dinners and easy lunches. Let me know if you have any questions, and will keep you updated as I try new recipes.

A Lofty New Breakfast

Northeast Tallahassee has gotten some really interesting new dining options, but one that stood out was Lofty Pursuits‘ new venture into serving breakfast/brunch. They have long been a destination for spectacular ice cream, milkshakes and the lost art of candy making, so I hoped that their breakfast lived up to the quality of their other products.

Um…let me just show you first…

The least photogenic, but super tasty (and perfectly spicy) omelette

The Hubs got the Spicy Omelet with pepper jack cheese, Bradley’s sausage, fresh jalapeño peppers, green peppers and onions. This was seriously spicy, but delicious.

Nice and chunky, just how I like it

I got the Corned Beef Hash with perfectly cooked eggs over medium and a very fluffy biscuit. The texture of the Corned Beef was some of the best I have had in town very delicate and tender. It also had just the right amount of Corning spice flavor, and the potatoes, onions and green peppers were seasoned well. Lovely.

With my yummy Lucky Goat coffee with legit heavy cream, I was a happy camper.


Disclaimer: I do not have a sweet tooth, so I much prefer savory to sweet. 


The pancakes have the texture of the lightest, airiest biscuit ever, with a from-scratch strawberry topping/syrup including strawberry chunks and freshly whipped cream. 

Also, this is a HUGE portion so sharing should be considered. (I do not blame you if you want to keep these all to yourself though…😉)

You need these pancakes in your life.

Glad to have this new breakfast option, and looking forward to eating there again.

Visit Lofty Pursuits as soon as you can. (And check out their cool YouTube channel!)

Re-introduction and howdy!

Hey Y’all! I have been talking about getting back to this lovely little blog space for years…and have finally taken the plunge.

I cannot wait to share some of the lovely restaurants and recipes that I have found since I left you and, hopefully, to break some new ground. (Sous Vide! Curries! Fresh Bread!)

Would love to hear about any cooking or cuisines that you would like for me to explore, and anything else food related.

I will just leave you on this note as I try to get this thing started again.