cuban chicken This is a meal befitting a communist dictator – or you! Now that the weather is warming up, I can’t help but crave the tangy, refreshing flavors of lime, mint and cilantro. This is an easy, rewarding meal that makes you want to forfeit your civil rights and float on a door to paradise.

Serves: 2 baseball loving Yanks
Total Kitchen Time: 40 mins

Shopping List:

  • 1 whole organic, free-range, hormone-free, sustainably-farmed, middle-class, democratic chicken
  • *Special equipment: cast iron skillet or oven-proof skillet


  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in your food processor or blender. If you don’t have either, I hope you have a sharp knife and patience.
  2. Butterfly the chicken by removing the spine with kitchen shears and cracking the sternum with your hands. For more information, get Jacques Pepin’s book. I know you won’t.
  3. Marinate the chicken from 0-8 hours (really, you can just brush this stuff on) making sure both sides of the bird are nicely coated.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 and set the rack to the middle-top position. Get your skillet nice and hot and give it a minute to retain the heat.
  5. Place the bird, breast side down, in the skillet and cook about 3 minutes. Transfer the whole skillet to the oven and cook until the thickest part of the meat reads 145 on your thermometer (about 20 minutes).
  6. Flip the bird over and crank your oven up to broil. Broil 5-7 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and brown. Let stand 5-10 minutes before carving.

Candied Jalapeno

  • 5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  1. Pour the sugar and water into a small sauce pan over high heat.
  2. When the water starts to boil, add the sliced jalapeno. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook about 15 minutes. Don’t let the sugar reach the soft boil stage – it should stay slightly watery even at the end.
  3. Transfer jalapeno slaw to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Fried Plantains:

  • 4 plantains, cut into 1/2 in sections (you can substitute bananas if you want)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced plantains, brown sugar and cinnamon. Saute, flipping to coat with butter, about 15 minutes.
Reading time: 1 min

big burger These are really really big burgers. Why post a recipe so carelessly anti-cardiac? Because I’m trying to get banner ads from the American beef lobby. Anyhow, consult your doctor before starting this recipe. Or move to Texas.

Serves: 4 giant fire breathing robots
Total Kitchen Time: 40 mins

Shopping List:

  • 2 lbs ground chuck (go visit your butcher. Anything labeled “ground beef” contains parts you don’t want to know about)
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • Monterey Jack cheese (to top)
  • 1/2 lb Crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp butter
  • *Special equipment: cast iron skillet or oven-proof skillet
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  2. Preheat your skillet (preferably a well-seasoned cast iron skillet full of grandma’s bacon’s memories) over medium high heat.
  3. Combine the ground chuck, oats, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Use your hands here and don’t overwork the meat – just enough to get the oats evenly combined.
  4. Form 4 1/2 lb patties, about 4 inches in diameter. They’ll be thick (see the picture). Thick is good.
  5. Slice the mushrooms into 1/4 in slices and saute with the butter in a small skillet, about 10 mins. Reduce the heat to really really low.
  6. Add the patties to the hot skillet and cook about 2 minutes, until the outside is brown and crisp. Don’t flatten them with your spatula; it’s not cool. Flip once and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the hot oven and bake until the meat reaches 135 (if you trust your butcher).
  7. Move the burgers to a plate and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Top with cheese and mushrooms, then attempt to fit a bun around it.
  8. Make sure your will is up-to-date and your health insurance card is in your wallet. Enjoy burgers with your favorite condiments (I love mayonnaise and BBQ sauce).
Reading time: 1 min

pulled pork This is a great recipe for large groups (especially if you want to make friends). It requires a little planning, but it might be a good excuse for you to meet your neighborhood butcher.

Makes: 12 people appreciate the other white meat
Total kitchen time: 10 hours (1 hour active time)

Shopping list:

  • 6-8 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Trim the pork to remove excess fat. You’ll want to leave a small layer of fat for flavor (and the coveted pan drippings), but trim off any giant chunks of fat.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  3. Place the pork in a roasting pan and pat with the dry rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. (The next morning) Preheat your oven to 220 F. Add about 1/4 inch of hot water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover the pork shoulder and roasting pan in aluminum foil and bake for 6-8 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150F. If you have a probe thermometer, this would be a great time to use it. Make sure your roast isn’t cooking too quickly (or slowly). Adjust the oven temperature accordingly.
  5. When the pork reaches an internal temp of 150F, remove the foil and crank the heat up to 425. Cook until the pork forms a golden brown crust, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the pan drippings to a small saucepan and add the vinegar. Boil until reduced, about 20 minutes.
  7. To pull the pork, use two large forks, back to back, and pull the meat until it flakes apart. This might take up to 40 minutes for a large pork shoulder, so put on some of your favorite music before you start.
  8. When ready to serve, pour the pan sauce over the pulled pork.
Reading time: 1 min