Tag Archives: pickles

Thousand Island Dressing

30 Apr

This is another of the recipes related to my Foodbuzz’s 24,24,24 April event A Very Veggie Experiment…  where I fixed dinner to my finicky friend Mariví and her 4 oldest kids – Ignacio, Diego, Kamila and Daniel.  The littlest one, Sergio, who’s just 3 months old, was spared of our experiment this time… 

I knew giving a side salad as part of dinner to Mariví’s kids was going to be the most difficult one to “sell”.  They are just not used to eating salad. But I had to give it a try…  I remember reading in the book Deceptively Delicious that even when you “sneak in” vegetables and other goodies into kid’s meals, it is important for them to learn that eating salads is key to good nutrition. 

I used organic romaine lettuce and organic cucumbers.  I bought mini cherry tomatoes and told them these were tomatoes specially made for kids.

                                                        c2ad6ae1c305402c1             1007288_cherry_tomatoes

I made them a Thousand Island Dressing to go along with the salad.  That used to be the only dressing I liked when I was a kid, so I figured they might prefer that to any vinaigrette I could make.  I started with a Mayo Ketchup base and added some sweet pickles.




½ cup eggless mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
4-5 sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish
About ¼ tsp Garlic Salt


  1. In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup and garlic salt.  Add the pickle relish and if using larger slices of pickles, just chop them up as small as you can.
  2. Serve on top of your favorite salad… iceberg lettuce seems to work very well with this creamy dressing.


Some of the kids tried the tomatoes only but they were not impressed.  I can’t believe it because in my household, a sliced tomato was considered enough salad for a typical weekday meal when I was growing up.

It was so sad to see all the salads left almost intact…  I was the only one who really ate the salad.  Everyone else, including the mom, left salad on their plates. 

This was the real challenge… but I will not give up.  I will make them eat salad if it’s the last thing I do for that family…

Veggie Cuban Sandwich

5 Mar

I grew up eating Cuban Sandwiches… being the daughter of a Cuban, it was something I ate at least a few times a month.  My dad would take us to La España or La Ceiba – two bakeries here in Puerto Rico where the best Cuban sandwiches were made back then… now the same can be said for Kasalta too. 

Cuban sandwiches are now becoming very popular among US chefs – Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, among others have all sung the praises of the Cuban sandwiches.  Traditionally they’re made with roasted pork, sliced cooked ham, crusty white criollo bread, mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese.  There is a smaller version called Media Noche – same ingredients as the Cuban, but in a smaller sweet bread.  This is the kind my sister and I had when we were growing up… and when the Media Noche is too small for your more adult appetite, you graduate to the Cuban.

Now that I am vegetarian, traditional Cuban sandwiches are not an option… so I have come up with my veggie version.  I order these at any panadería in PR or Miami.  And even though I prefer whole wheat, whole grain breads in my sandwiches, Cubans traditional or veggie versions taste better in regular white criollo bread.  The crunch it has compared to a whole wheat version can’t be beat.



Criollo Bread
Swiss Cheese
Lettuce and Tomato
  1.  When you go out an order, say you want a grilled cheese on criollo bread with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mustard.

If you want to prepare it yourself…

  1. Slice a 1/3 pound of criollo bread “baguette”.  Slather the insides with yellow mustard.  Place Swiss cheese on one side, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles on the other.
  2. Place in a pannini press or a George Foreman grill and press the sandwich so the bread toasts and the sandwich flattens a bit. 
  3. You could press without the lettuce sand tomato and add them afterwards, but sometimes the cheese melts so much that it’s difficult to reopen to add the salad.


To me, the best way to wash down your Veggie Cuban sandwich is with a malta or a batido de mamey.  No other drink makes it justice…

One final note… be wary of Cuban breads out there (Pan Cubano – as they are called in Miami) you need to order Puerto Rican bread.  Why??? Cuban bread usually is made with lard.  You run no such risk in PR as “pan de agua” or “pan criollo” is made with vegetable shortening.  Something to watch out…

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