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Michelle's Recipes

Here are a few recipes from Chef, Michelle Bernstein that showcase her take on traditional Florida cuisine.



-¼ pound smoked bacon, cut into 1/8 inch pieces
-2 cups yellow onion, cut into 1/8 inch pieces
-6 garlic cloves, chopped fine
-2 red peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/8 inch diced pieces
-1 cup peeled, chopped tomatoes
-2 Datil peppers seeded and chopped fine, (or 1 scotch bonnet, seeded and chopped)
-1 bay leaf
-1 cup Valencia rice
-18 ounces shrimp broth or chicken broth
-1 bottle of beer, pilsner style
-1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (16/20 size)
-¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

In a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium heat, render the bacon. Stirring, add the onions and garlic and cook over very low heat, stirring, for 10-15 minutes. Add the red pepper and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes. The vegetables should start to break down and become soft but not brown.

Add the tomatoes, Datil pepper and bay leaf and continue cooking, stirring, for 20 minutes. Add rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the beer and broth, cover and cook over low heat for 18 minutes. Add the shrimp and parsley, recover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Check for seasoning.


Michelle’s “Cocido”

-1 teaspoon olive oil
-3 ounces Mexican style ground chorizo
-1 cup garbanzos (cooked ahead or canned and drained)
-½ cup kale, chopped fine
-10 ounces chicken stock
-5 ounces Queso Blanco or Queso Fresco*
-1 ½ tablespoons butter
-1 teaspoon paprika
-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
-Pinch kosher salt
-Pinch black pepper

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes. Add the garbanzos, shaking the pan, add the chicken stock and spices and raise the heat to high. Cook, shaking the pan, and allow the broth to reduce by half. Add the kale, cook for 1 minute. Add the cheese and butter, shaking the pan to mix. Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot. *If substituting Queso Fresco, simply sprinkle the cheese on top of the finished dish before serving.

cuban sandwich

‘Not Your Typical’ Cuban Sandwich

-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
-½ cup thinly sliced Spanish onion (do not halve onion before slicing; you want rings)
-2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeños
-1 loaf Cuban bread or seedless Italian Bread
-2 tablespoons of your favorite mayonnaise
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-2 large kosher dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise
-1 pound thinly sliced leftover or store-bought roasted pork (preferably marinated or cooked with mojo)
-1 pound thinly sliced honey-smoked ham
-¼ pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
-¼ pound thinly sliced gruyere cheese

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the pickled jalapeños and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Set aside. Carefully wipe out the pan and return it to the stovetop over low heat.

Cut the bread loaf in half horizontally, then crosswise, into 8-inch pieces. Spread the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard onto the cut side of the bread slices. Build the sandwiches, by putting the pickles, ham, pork, the Swiss cheese, the gruyere cheese and the spicy onion mixture, in that order, on the bottom layer of bread. Set the tops of the bread in place.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the sauté pan over medium heat. Place the sandwiches, in batches if necessary, in the pan and weight with a clean, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) to compress the sandwiches. Cook until golden on one side, about 3 minutes, then remove the skillet, turn the sandwiches over, replace the skillet, and cook until golden on the other side, about 3 more minutes. Remove the sandwiches from the pan, slice each sandwich in half diagonally, and serve hot.


Mixed Seafood Ceviche

-½ pound fresh, skinless snapper, cut into 1/2-inch dice (or any fresh white fleshy fish)
-8 shrimp (size 16/20), cooked, deveined and peeled
-1 cup calamari, bodies only, julienne very, very fine
-2 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
-½ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
-4 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
-½ red onion, julienne very fine
-1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
-1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
-1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-Kosher salt

In a medium size stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, calamari, 1/2 teaspoon salt and peppers. Place in a cooler for about 20 minutes. Add the lime juice, orange juice and onion. Allow to marinate for one hour or as desired. Mix in the cilantro, avocado and olive oil. Season with salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Restaurant Recipes

Here are a few recipes from restaurants and chefs that were featured in the documentary.

Baked Cran-Datil Brie

-14oz. Brie (remove top layer of rind)
-½ cup cran-datil jam
-chopped walnuts
-1 sheet of puff pastry
-1 beaten egg

Allow puff pastry to thaw and roll out 1 sheet to 1/8” thickness. Spoon cran-datil jam on top of Brie and sprinkle with chopped walnuts (or nuts of choice) on top of jam. Lay the pastry over the cheese and wrap ends under and seal by crimping edges together. Brush top and sides with beaten egg. Bake at 400 until golden brown. Serve with plain crackers, sliced apple or pears.


Minorcan Clam Chowder

-1/2 lb bacon
-2 medium onions, diced
-2 green peppers, diced
-2 red peppers, diced
-2 datil bell peppers, diced (remove seeds)
-1 large potato, peeled and diced
-28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
-51 ounces chopped ocean clams
-1 teaspoon dried thyme

In a large stock pot render the chopped bacon. Keep the bacon in the pan. Add the onions and red and green peppers. Saute until translucent. Add tomatoes, clams and juice, potatoes, datil peppers and thyme. Let simmer until potatoes are fork tender.

Pepe's Black Bean Soup

-1 large onion-chopped
-1 large green pepper-chopped
-1 pound ham-diced
-5 cloves garlic-minced
-1/2 pound butter
-1 #10 can (12 cups) Garcia black beans
-5 cups water
-Salt and pepper to taste

Saute first four ingredients in butter until onions are clear. Combine mixture with black beans in a 7 quart stock pot. Add 5 cups water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer at least 1/2 hour. Serve hot. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Columbia's Original "1905" Salad

-1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
-2 ripe tomatoes, cut into eighths
-1/2 cup sliced swiss cheese, cut into julienne strips
-1/2 cup sliced baked ham, cut into julienne strips (or turkey or shrimp)
-1/4 cup green Spanish olives, pitted
-2 teaspoons freshly grated romano cheese


-1/8 cup white wine vinegar
-1/2 cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Toss together all salad ingredients in a large bowl, except Romano cheese. Mix garlic, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Beat until smooth with a wire whisk. Add olive oil, gradually beating to form an emulsion. Stir in vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add dressing to salad and toss well. Add Romano cheese and toss one more time.

Mofongo from Jimmy'Z Kitchen

-boneless, skinless chicken breast - 2 pounds cut in julienne strips
-olive oil - 3 tablespoons
-salt and pepper - To taste
-ground garlic - 1 1/2 tablespoon
-salsa Criolla (recipe below) - 4-5 cups
-mofongo (recipe below) - 4 mofongo balls

To make chicken mofongo: Cut chicken breast in 1/2-inch strips. Preheat sauté pan and add olive oil. Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Add chicken strips to preheated pan with olive oil. Cook until golden. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add salsa criolla and cook for 6 minutes over medium heat. Place chicken with salsa criolla on a plate and top with mofongo ball. Brush top of mofongo with olive oil and ground garlic.

-canola oil used to deep fry 8 plantains
-plantains - 8 green plantains
-salt and pepper - to taste
-ground garlic - 1 tablespoon
-pork rinds - 1 cup
-olive oil - 2-3 tablespoons

To make mofongo: Preheat the canola oil to 370 degrees. Peel plantains and cut into 1/2-to 3/4-inch pieces. Fry plantains until fully cooked. Using a mortar and pestle, combine the fried plantains, salt, pepper, ground garlic, pork rinds, and olive oil and mash coarsely. Shape mofongo into a ball and set aside.

-olive oil - 1/4 cup
-green peppers - 2 julienne cut
-red peppers - 2 julienne cut
-yellow onions - 3 large ones julienne cut
-ground garlic - 1 1/2 tablespoon
-tomato paste - 3 tablespoon
-whole peeled tomato - 5 cups
-culantro (close relative of cilantro, and an herb widely used in Latin American cooking) - 1 tablespoon
-cilantro - 2 tablespoon
-whole bay leaves - 3 each
-salt and pepper - To taste

To make salsa criolla: In a saucepan, sauté onions and peppers in olive oil over medium heat until cooked through. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add peeled tomato and crush with spoon. Add chopped culantro, cilantro, and whole bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring once in a while to make sure it does not stick in the bottom of saucepan.

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