Cubano Sandwich – Florida

Oh, Cubano sandwich, you make our hearts swoon. Besides being one of the best sandwich creations of all time, the Cubano sandwich has the distinct honor of hosting two types of pork. Before we get into the specifics, a little history.

Cubano sandwich - Florida

Miamians claim that the Cubano came from Cuba as it was on restaurant menus there dating back to the 1930s, but good evidence exists that it was created 25 years earlier in Ybor City, a Latin neighborhood in Tampa, at a place called the Columbia Restaurant, which claims to be Florida’s oldest restaurant. Tampa and Miami both have versions of this winning culinary creation. In Tampa, you will find the sandwich often includes salami, lettuce, tomato and mayo and is not pressed. In Miami, no salami and the sandwich is always pressed.

Our recipe here is a Miami version which is basically a gussied up toasted ham and cheese with both pork roast, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and sliced dill pickles.  We used a bolillo which is a type of Mexican roll. Whatever roll you use, the exterior of it cannot be too hard or crunchy. Once the bread is compressed it will be too hard to chew. Also, make sure you put the cheese of both sides of the roll. When it melts, it will hold the other fillings in place. Don’t have a panini press? No problem. Just use your favorite skillet, and then take another heavy pan and place it on top of the sandwich. Press down on both with your hands to compress the sandwich by about a third.

Visitors to Miami should not miss Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a stunning waterfront mansion built by James Deering, owner of Deering McCormick-International Harvester. This Italian Renaissance villa was completed in 1916 and features the main house, beautiful gardens and a stand-alone barge once used for cocktail parties that sits in Biscayne Bay, just a few feet from the terrace.

Cubano Sandwich

  • Servings: 1 sandwich
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 soft roll (like bolillo)
  • 3 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 ounces sliced deli ham or Canadian bacon
  • 3 ounces sliced roast pork
  • Dill pickle, sliced
  • Butter


Slice open the roll and spread mustard of both slides. Lay cheese on both sides. On one side, add ham, pork and then sliced pickles. Close sandwich and butter both sides. Using a hot griddle, a plancha or panini press, toast sandwich on both sides, pressing down slightly until sandwich is compressed, cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.


Road Trip to Racine for Kringle – Wisconsin

StateEats took a road trip this past week up to Racine, Wisconsin, self-proclaimed Kringle Capital of the World. What is kringle, you ask? Wisconsin’s state pastry (so designated in 2013) is oval shaped,

butter-layered, infused with various fillings and iced on top.

Originally made in Denmark and often served during the holidays,  kringle is the town’s most famous product. Racine (sometimes called Little Copenhagen) is host to four separate bakeries that churn out this wonderful concoction all year round. We sadly didn’t have time to visit all four, so we focused on the biggest operation, O&H Danish Bakery.

O&H Danish Bakery, Racine WI

Christian Olesen began O&H in 1949. Now in its fourth generation of bakers, O&H has five locations. It takes three days to make one

O&H Danish Bakery, Racine, WI


O&H Danish Bakery, Racine WI
This is the ancient symbol of the bakers’ guild in Denmark, it is often found on exterior bakery signs in Denmark.

kringle, due to the fact that the dough must rest. Each O&H kringle is comprised of 36 layers.

And the flavors? Just take your pick because it is almost overwhelming with 30-something “everyday” flavors like pecan, blueberry, and cream cheese, as well as seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel, cranberry, or our choice, a Very Danish Christmas Kringle (pictured below) which is cherry/almond. Delish!Kringle

O&H Kringle, Racine, WI

Kringle is very time consuming and difficult to make. We know because we tried and failed miserably, so we are not posting a recipe. But the good news is that you can order kringle from here and they will ship it right to your house. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Besides picking up kringle, if you visit Racine, check out the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson Headquarters, which is free and open to the public.

Hot Tamales – Mississippi

Mississippi boasts a Hot Tamale Trail. Yes, you read that right. Tamales ― those delectable packets of corn-based dough stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, cheese or vegetables and cooked in a corn

Hot Tamales - Mississippihusk ― are usually more associated with Mexican culture. But the trail was created by the Southern Foodways Alliance to celebrate this ubiquitous dish, which finds its way from Tunica in the north, all the way to Lumberton in the south.

No one is really sure of the tamale’s origins in this area of the country. Some say U.S. soldiers brought them back from Mexico after the Mexican-American War which took place in the middle of the 19th century. Others think African-Americans adopted the recipe from Mexicans who labored alongside them in cotton fields early in the 20th century. Hot tamales are usually made with pork rather than beef or chicken, and are spicier than their Latin-counterparts.

Tamales are certainly labor intensive but this recipe makes a ton and they freeze beautifully. You can also make the meat on day one, and then make the dough and simmer them the following day. More hands make light work so grab a friend or two and make it a tamale party.

If a road trip to Mississippi is in your future, check out Southern Foodways Alliance Hot Tamale Trail Map.

Hot Tamales

  • Servings: approx. 36-48 tamales
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Print


For filling:

  • 7-8 lb. pork shoulder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced thickly
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3-6 cups chicken stock

For dough:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups MaSeCa brand masa harina
  • 5-6 cups reserved cooking liquid from meat

To finish:

  • 16 oz. package, dried corn husks


For the filling: Take pork shoulder and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot on medium heat, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the pork, searing on all sides until well browned. Remove the meat and set aside. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Return meat to pot, and then add enough chicken stock so that meat is covered. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until meat is very tender and falling off bone, about 2 1/2 hours.

While meat is cooking, take corn husks and separate them. Place in a large bowl. Add enough hot water so that they are completely submerged, adding another bowl on top of them if necessary to keep them underwater. Let corn husks soak for about 2 hours.

When meat is done, remove from it the pot and reserve cooking liquid, discarding skin, fat and other solids. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred meat from bone, again discarding fat and bone. Dice meat into smaller pieces. Add spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper) and stir until well coated. Set aside.

For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add baking powder, then add salt. With mixer on low, add masa harina gradually, alternating with half cups of reserved cooking liquid. To test if done, drop a pea sized ball of dough into a glass of cold water, the ball should float to the top. If it does not, add a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder and continue mixing a few minutes more to incorporate more air into the dough.

To assemble: Remove a corn husk from the water and pat until dry. Fan out so that wide part is closest to you. Take ¼ cup of dough and spread thinly in an even rectangle, leaving about an inch of space on the left side of the husk. Add 2 tablespoons of meat in center of dough rectangle. Carefully fold the husk over so that the right side of rectangle meets the left side. Gently press to seal closed and then flatten tamale slightly to ensure even cooking. Tuck the thin end over. Stack tamales on a sheet pan and continue until you run out of filling or dough.

To steam tamales: Add one or two inches of water into a large pot. Add steamer insert. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low so that water is simmering. Stack tamales vertically, open end up, folded side toward the water, making sure they are not crowded. Place a few extra corn husks on top and cover with a lid. Steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, keeping an eye on the water so that it does not evaporate. Tamales are done when they easily peel away from the husks.

Nashville Hot Chicken – Tennessee

Nashville is a fun town, boasting more than 160 live music venues, giving Music City its well-earned moniker. Hot chicken hails from these parts and was born from revenge. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Nashville Hot Chicken - Tennesseemay be the oldest establishment to make this dish, dating back to the 1930s. The story is that Thorton Prince III was a womanizer. His girlfriend found out about his philandering and added spicy cayenne pepper to his chicken to punish him. However, Prince liked it so much, he decided to open a chicken joint with it on the menu.

You can make Nashville Hot Chicken yourself with a little bit of patience as fried chicken takes a bit of time. Two tablespoons of cayenne pepper is not a typo and is unbelievably the amount called for if you want the chicken “mild.” Reduce to one tablespoon if you are really spice-adverse and increase to 6 tablespoons for “hot” ― if you dare.

Want to see the recording studio where Elvis recorded more than 250 hits? Check out Historic RCA Studio B, an unassuming beige brick building sometimes called the “Home of a Thousand Hits.” Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, and many others recorded here.

Nashville Hot Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the egg dredge:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce

For the flour dredge:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For finishing:

  • Vegetable oil (for frying), 6 cups
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup used frying oil


At least 3 hours before cooking, generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Let marinate in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, heat oil in a large pot with deep sides. Prepare egg dredge by combining eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow baking dish. In another shallow dish, prepare flour dredge by combining flour and salt. One at a time, dip chicken pieces first in egg dredge, then in flour dredge. When oil is 325 degrees, fry chicken, working in batches, frying a few pieces at a time. Turn pieces occasionally to achieve consistent color. When chicken is deep golden brown or reaches 160 degrees internally, remove to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with newspaper or paper towels. Let oil temperature return to 325 between batches.

To finish: In a small bowl, combine cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Take ½ cup of the used cooking oil, and add to bowl. Stir well. With a brush, baste pieces of chicken with hot oil mixture. Serve chicken while still warm.

The Best Cornbread – Oklahoma

Oklahoma had to be special and designate a state meal (the only other one in the country is the state meal of North Louisiana). It consists of cornbread, fried okra, barbeque pork, squash, biscuits, sausage and gravy, black eyed peas, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, and pecan pie.

Cornbread - Oklahoma

We’ll eventually get around to cooking some of these dishes but we went out of our way to try to find THE BEST cornbread recipe. We’ve been using the cornbread recipe off the back of the cornmeal canister for years with no complaints. But then we tried a few different recipes. No offense back-of-the-canister recipe, but this, recipe, whoa! The cornbread that emerged from the oven was sweet, dense, and moist. One stick of butter, two eggs and buttermilk will give you the best dang cornbread you’ve ever had.

For a completely different experience, visit Oklahoma City’s Museum of Osteology.   With over 300 skeletons on display, this privately held collection is one of the largest in the world.

Best Cornbread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick butter, melted in microwave
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk


In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda). Set aside. In a separate, larger bowl combine melted butter, sugar and honey. Add eggs and stir to combine, then add buttermilk. Gradually add dry ingredients until just incorporated into wet ingredients. Do not over-stir. Pour batter into greased 8×8 pan. Smooth top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes and top is golden brown or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Thai Basil Chicken – Nevada

We read that there are 450 Thai restaurants in Las Vegas. While we couldn’t confirm that number, it does seem that every corner, block and strip mall has a Thai eatery, no doubt the result of a sizable

Thai Basil Chicken - Nevadapopulation of Thais who have immigrated to Clark County. If you are ever in Vegas, stand outs Lemongrass on the strip or Le Thai in downtown are worth the visit.

But if you can’t make it there, you can always try making Thai Basil Chicken. Basically a stir fry, this dish whips up very quickly as stir fries do. Try to find Thai holy basil which has a peppery kick, but if you can’t, regular basil will work. You can also omit the chili peppers if you don’t like heat.

One of the first reclamation projects along the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam is a sight to behold, supplying electricity to 100,000 households. Tours of the dam take place from 9:00 to 5:00 daily.

Thai Basil Chicken

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small chili peppers (such as red fresno or jalapeno), deveined and deseeded and diced
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup Thai holy basil (can sub other basil)
  • Olive oil


In a wok or shallow sided pan, add a bit of olive oil and sauté garlic and chili peppers until fragrant, careful not to brown garlic. Add more oil, and then chicken. Sauté until chicken begins to brown. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir to combine (if mixture seems too dry, add additional oyster sauce and soy sauce by the teaspoon). Add basil and cook one minute longer, or until it begins to wilt. Serve with rice.

Moravian Sugar Cake – North Carolina

Pennsylvania to North Carolina is a damn long walk. But 15 Moravians (German speaking Protestants who were followers of

Moravian Sugar Cake - North Carolina

Czech priest and philosopher Jan Hus) took this walk in 1753 to begin their settlement of Bethabara, located where present day Winston-Salem sits. The Moravian Church continues to thrive, and this cake, often made during Christmas and Easter, is a wonderful Moravian treat.

Moravian Sugar Cake - North CarolinaDewey’s Bakery in Winston-Salem has been around for over 85 years and they make one of the finest. The fun part is poking the indentations in the dough with your finger, all the better to catch that wonderful buttery-brown sugar topping.

History comes alive at Old Salem Museum and Gardens, which presents an authentic view of early Southern life with a special emphasis on Moravians.

Dewey’s Bakery Moravian Sugar Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For dough:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mashed potatoes
  • 3 teaspoons powdered milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 4 packages dry yeast (1 oz.)
  • 3/4 cup warm water

For topping:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


For dough: In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg, shortening, salt, milk, mashed potato and sugar. With paddle attachment, mix for 4 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, then add 2 types of flour. Continue mixing. Add yeast mixture and mix another 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Grease a 12 x18 sheet cake pan with sides.  Punch dough down and roll it out so that it can fit into the pan. With a fork, poke holes into the dough. Shape into the pan, making sure the dough touches the sides of the pan.

For topping: In a small saucepan, combine, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Heat until boiling, then remove from heat. With a finger, poke indentations into the dough, making sure not to poke all the way through to the bottom of the pan. Pour the topping all over the dough, spreading with a brush, making sure it is evenly distributed. Let dough rise again, until doubled in height, about 30 minutes.

To finish cake: Bake in a 350 degree oven. At the 10 minute mark, check for bubbles. Pop any bubbles and continue baking for another 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Pig Candy – Wyoming

Fries dipped into a milkshake. Chocolate covered pretzels. Prosciutto wrapped melon. Sweet and salty pairings may seem incongruous (see our recent Fluffernutter post) but they are actually delicious. Now comes Pig Candy (a.k.a. candied bacon) made famous

Pig Candy (aka candied bacon)


by Café Genevieve in Jackson Hole. You could order this online for princely sum, or try our recipe. Just leave out the cayenne pepper if you don’t want the heat. You can also make this on the grill if you prefer.

The National Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole is a conservation area run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its mission is to provide, preserve, restore, and manage the winter habitat for the Jackson Elk Herd. The refuge is also habitat for endangered species, birds, fish, and other big game animals.

Pig Candy

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 8 slices thick cut bacon
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup


With a fork, combine brown sugar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay bacon on slotted broiler pan with foil underneath to catch drippings. Spread half the brown sugar mixture in an even layer on the bacon, making sure there are no clumps of sugar. Place pan in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and brush on half of the maple syrup. Turn the bacon over and spread on the remaining brown sugar mixture, followed by the rest of the maple syrup. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and browned. Let cool completely before serving.

Fluffernutter – Massachusetts

October 8th is National Flutternutter Day. If you’ve never experienced the joy that is a flutternutter, let us indoctrinate you.

Marshmallow Fluff is actually celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Originally sold door to door in Somerville, Mass. by an

Fluffernutter - Massachusetts

enterprising fellow name Achibald Query, Boston candy company Durkee-Mower bought the recipe in 1917 for $500.

The sandwich dates back to WWI, when Snowflake Marshmallow Crème (an initial competitor of Durkee-Mower) began printing small brochures with the recipe, dubbing it a “Liberty Sandwich.” Durkee-Mower, however, really capitalized on the idea with a marketing campaign in the 1960s.

Catchy, right?? Even in black and white, this ad makes you want a fluffernutter RIGHT NOW. Luckily, this is a ridiculously easy sandwich to make and enjoy.

Quincy Market, which opened in 1826 in Boston, is a food-lovers mecca with over 50 restaurants and eateries, selling everything from lobster rolls to Boston cream pie.


  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 slices, favorite soft bread
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Marshmallow Fluff


Spread one piece of bread with peanut butter, the other with Marshmallow Fluff. Cement together and enjoy.



UP Pasties – Michigan

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is known for its pasties (pronounced pass-tee) which are meat pies, usually filled with potatoes, onions and carrots and sometimes rutabaga. The pasty

UP Pasties - Michigan

was brought to the UP by the Cornish who settled there to be copper miners. Much like it’s cousin, the pepperoni roll of West Virginia, the pasty was a quick, easy and filling meal that miners could pack for lunch. Bonus: it didn’t have to be heated to be delicious.

We loved this recipe, slighted adapted from one sent to us by reader Russell Primm. UP PastiesThe dough came together easily and the filling was delicious. Thanks Russ!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising hugs the shore of Lake Superior. With its dramatic sandstone cliffs and iconic sandstone feature called Miners Castle, this beautiful area offers all kinds of outdoor pursuits including hiking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

UP Pasties

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For dough:

  • 4 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 cup grated rutabaga
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups ground beef
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter


For dough:

In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the shortening and blend with a pastry blender. Add the ice water, a bit at a time until the dough comes together. Divide dough into 6 equal disks. Place between sheets of waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For filling and finishing pasties:

In the meantime, combine potatoes, onion, rutabaga and carrots in a very large bowl. Add ground beef. Stir until well combined.

Roll out each pasty dough into a 7- or 8-inch circle. Add a heaping cup of filling. Sprinkle filling with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of butter. Fold the dough over, forming a half moon. Roll the edges closed, slightly crimping with fingers, making sure the dough is sealed. Repeat with remaining dough disks. Place pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut two small slits in each pasty to vent steam. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake 20-30 more or until pasties are golden brown.

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