Oh My, Cubanna!

When there is a chill in the winter air, the kids are tucked into bed, and you have an impromptu livingroom date-night with your favorite person, binge watching your favorite show with one of these hot little Cubanna sandwiches hot if the grill (or frypan) is just what the doctor ordered.

The List

  • Soft loaf bread
  • Hard salami
  • Dill pickles
  • Grand Cru Alpine style cheese
  • Harissa sauce
  • Spicy Mayonnaise (mix a little Harissa into the mayo)
  • Yellow mustard
  • Sour cream

The Method

Butter one side of each of the bread slices (this will be the grill side). Spread the spicy mayonnaise onto the B-side (inside) of the bread. Layer on the salami, pickle slices and cheese. Then go ahead and slather on a little extra spicy mayo love on the other piece of buttered bread and slap it right on top. Grill the cubanna as you would a grilled cheese, low and slow, so that all that goodness inside gets nice and toasty warm. Once you’ve grilled both sides plate that cubanna up like a storm’s a brewin, garnish with some mustard, harissa sauce, and a small dollop of sour cream. Then, serve this hot little cubanna to your date, cuddle up next to each other and start the show… 


Classics for Comfort

When the cold sets in, living in the mid-west there seems to be this need for warm, hardy comfort food. Oven baked casseroles (or, depending on what part of the mid-west region you live in, “hot dish”), squash (with lots of butter), Etc… but don’t forget the most loved comfort food of all, the classic pot roast. You know what I’m talking about, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, and the the ingredient that keeps the cold off our bones, the roast! I’m talking about a 3 to 4 pound healthy cut of beef, slow cooked for five to seven hours, to the point that it is falling apart off the bone and melts in your mouth.

When the need for this comfort food calls your name, it is straight down to the freezer you go, to take inventory of your roasts. As you dig past the chicken legs and pork chops, smoked hams and various cuts of lamb, and finally past the ground beef, there it is, the magnificent arm roast you have been saving all summer and fall, specifically for this very crucial moment. And when you spot it, there almost seems to be a wave of warmth that hits you. Just knowing what’s to come in the next 48 hours (don’t forget thaw time) makes everything okay.


Beef Arm Roast with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Lemon Dill Carrots



Arm Roast

Beef arm roast – or cut of your choice (2-4 lbs)
Yellow onion (1 large)
Carrots (3 large)
Rosemary (2 Sprigs)
Sage leaves (3 large)
Water  (2 cups)


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes – about 2 pounds (2:1 red/gold)
Garlic (8-10 cloves)
Butter (3/4 stick)
Sour Cream (1/3 cup)


Lemon Dill Carrots

Carrots (1.5 lbs)
Butter (1.5 tbsp)
Dill (1/2 tsp)
Lemon (2 tbsp – fresh squeezed)


Now, with this dish, first thing’s first, the beautiful cut of beef. I like to dry age the arm roast in the fridge a couple days ahead of preparing this dish. Remove roast from fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat a heavy bottom skillet to a very high temperature (bring the pan up to temp slowly, on medium-high heat. let the heat really set into pan core), salt and pepper the meat on both sides.

Now comes the fun part, searing the roast! Place the meat in the (very hot) skillet and watch the magic happen. You should instantly hear the sizzle in the pan, the smoke should start to billow from the corners of the meat immediately.


Sear each side for about 2-3 minutes, so the meat has a nice blackened sear.


Sear each of the edges as well – for about a minute on each edge.


That was fun! 

(Once meat is removed from pan, deglaze pan with water and add liquid to slow cooker)


Once all sides of the meat are seared, place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add onion, carrots, rosemary, sage.


Add the water – making sure it covers the meat (if small parts of the meat are above the water, that’s OK).


Cover and cook on high for about 1-1.5 hours or until the liquid is simmering. Once the liquid is simmering turn the temperature to medium and cook for another 3-4 hours.


And now for the starch. Cut the golds in half. Boil both types of potatoes until soft.


Add garlic and butter into small skillet, cook on med-high heat until garlic is roasted. (garlic should have small blackened spots)


Drain Potatoes, return to pan, mash lightly, add butter, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper. Mash some more.


Add in roasted garlic. Mash some more…


Prepare a roux, and using the juices from the slow cooked roast mix together a gravy.


Lightly boil fresh cut carrots to al dente. Add butter, lemon, dill, and salt & pepper to taste.


And there you have it, a plate full of goodness to warm your bones…!


Stay warm!

And don’t for get to buy your beef from here:

The Bouressa Family Farm
N3775 Ritchie Rd
New London, WI 54961
(608) 228-6617

I’m on a (shrimp) boat…!

If you search for “shrimp boats” on the internet you end up getting a lot of info on how shrimp boats work, used shrimp boats for sale, and lots of pictures of shrimping vessels docked in the harbor. So needless to say, there’s not a lot of recipe options out there for this type of dish. However, this dish has become, for me, as normal of tradition for Christmas as Surf-n-Turf is for New Years Eve.

“our cooking abilities amass is what it takes to prepare this dish” ~Myranda

All hands on deck…! this is what it usually takes to bring this dish together. Without the combined efforts of everyone and their amassed culinary skills I just don’t think it would turn out so fantastic each year. And let me tell you, the sweet, creamy, indulgent shrimp filling atop oven baked puff pastries (the boats) is such an amazing, certifiably delicious combination of ingredients.

Now, this is where I would usually list all the ingredients and tell you how to prepare this scrumptious and indulgent dish we call Shrimp Boats. However, it being a secret family recipe and all, you will just have join us for Christmas dinner some day. Until then, here are a few pictures of the process, which I hope entice you to join us.


UPDATE: By popular demand, with an astounding amount of requests for the recipe, I have decided to release the family secret recipe so that everyone can enjoy this shrimplicious dish. can you feel the LOVE…?!


Shrimp Boats Recipe

Supplies List:

1              Onion (yellow or sweet)

1              Green Pepper

1              Red Pepper

1              Orange Pepper

1lb          Mushrooms

2 cans    Cream of Shrimp soup

1 can      Cream of Mushroom soup


Cooked shrimp (enough to make you content)

Spices:  Thyme, Oregano, Paprika, Chipotle powder, garlic powder, salt pepper

12           Puff pastry shells (Pepperidge Farms frozen shells)




Sautee onions, peppers and mushrooms, adding the mushrooms towards the end, in olive oil. Season vegies with all the spices as they Sautee. Stir in cans of creamed soup, and add milk to reach a desired consistency. Bring up to a slow simmer, add in cooked shrimp and bring back to a slow simmer.


Follow recipe on box (I know, too easy…) make sure to remove the caps as soon as the pastries are removed from the oven.


Place two pastry boats on your favorite serving dish, fill with filling so that they are overflowing with YUMMY, Shrimp loaded goodness. Devour and dish up seconds!

















Get Your Mojo Riding…!

There is something very special about (authentic) Mexican cuisine for me. The pinnacle point for me was while vacationing in Cozumel, Mexico. It was dinner out at a little back street restaurant, La Mission. I ordered, along with my Father in-law, and by recommendation from a former co-worker, taco el pastor. They came out three tacos on the plate, two mase tortillas with minimal toppings. Against a side wall in the restaurant was a “buffet” style table with large bowls full of different salads to fill the tacos with. These three taco el pastor were, to this day, the best tacos I have ever eaten. Now maybe it can be attributed to the fact that these were my very first authentic Mexican tacos while being totally immersed in the Mexican culture for the first time. Either way, Mexican cuisine is what has really gotten me into cooking seriously and wanting to share it.

Now let’s get to the Mojo. This is an ingredient I came across and absolutely love to use in my Mexican cooking. It is basically garlic and lime infused olive oil. It is so tasty and can be used in almost any dish and adds such an incredible dynamic flavor to your dish.

Slow Roasted Garlic Mojo

Mojo de Ajo

Makes about 3 cups mojo de ajo (made with 2 cups of oil)



4 large heads garlic

OR 10 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) peeled garlic cloves

2 or 3 cups fruity olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup fresh lime juice


Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove to release the clove from its papery skin.

Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in an 8×8-inch baking pan (make sure all the garlic is submerged), slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes.

Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.  (If you’re using the larger quantity of oil, ladle off 1 cup—no garlic cloves—and store it in a cool dry place for use in salad dressing or sautéing.)

Using an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree.  Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy some deliciousness. The mojo will last for up to three months as long as the garlic stays submerged under the oil.












What a wonderful place to start. November 27, 2015 – Thanksgiving. For me it’s a time to spend with family; sharing, laughing, playing, creating, and cherishing the moment.


Food. We share food. Young or old, in different ways, we play with food. Whether it be from artistic aspirations, necessity, or just from love, we create the food we eat. When all the prep, cutting, dicing, chopping, washing, mixing, planning, rolling, basting, frying, baking, resting, and cooling is done, we cherish the flavors, ambiance, drink, feelings, and company we have, in that moment.


Whether it is new, old, fresh, broken or forgotten, the dishes we make are wonderful. Not always because they taste great, are the newest versions of old classics, or look like they belong on the front page of your favorite food mag, but because we made them together. This time spent preparing the feast, right down to peeling the potatoes, is tremendously special to me. Even when I peel 20 potatoes to the 2 that my daughter peels. The lessons learned are forever…


This brings me to the spread of Thanksgiving 2015. Mostly it was all the classics. Every last dish prepared together with love by generations of family. I will let the following pictures tell the rest of the story…