Ask A South Florida Chef: Easy 4th Of July Recipes

June 24, 2014 8:00 AM


Miami is a mecca for Cuban cuisine so it’s natural that a South Florida Fourth of July would have a Cuban twist. Many chefs are professionally trained at fusing Cuban cuisine with American appetites. That is the inspiration for these three recipes that will make your Cuban-American Fourth of July taste homemade.

Raúl Musibay, Glenn Lindgren, Jorge Castillo and Neil Ruiz

In what can only be described as kismet, three brothers-in-law met in 1996, became fast friends and combined their culinary skills to form, an online resource for Cuban cuisine. Raúl Musibay and Jorge Castillo are both born-and-bred Cubans and Glenn Lindgren is Caucasian with Cuban culinary skills that would rival any Miamian. All three reside in Miami and along with their D’artagnan-esque fourth musketeer and nephew, Neil Ruiz, they create Cuban recipes that have landed them on the Travel Channel and The Food Network.

Related: Top Spots For Beachside Burgers

Coctél De Frutas Tropical (Tropical Fruit Cocktail)


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with water
  • 2 sweet oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 cups cubed, ripe mangos
  • 2 cups cubed, ripe papaya
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes


  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine juices, brown sugar and grated lemon peel. Add in cinnamon sticks.
  2. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and whisk in cornstarch/water mixture. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes. The mixture should reduce and thicken.
  3. Remove cinnamon sticks. Let sauce cool to room temperature.
  4. Cut up the delicious, ripe tropical fruit.
  5. Toss the fruit and coconut together in a large bowl. Add the room temperature sauce and toss gently.
  6. Cover and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
  7. Remove fruit cocktail from the refrigerator when completely cooled and garnish with additional coconut flakes. Makes 6-8 servings.

Fricasé de Pollo


  • 1/2 cup sour orange juice (or use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime juice)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 lbs chicken pieces, skinned
  • 1/4 cup flour for dusting chicken pieces
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup red potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup wine
  • 1/2 cup stuffed green olives
  • 1/2 raisins


  1. In a large non-metallic bowl, whisk together sour orange juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Add the skinless chicken pieces to the marinade, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade and blot on paper towels. Set aside marinade.
  4. Use a large covered frying pan. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and lightly dust with flour. Heat olive oil in pan until it starts to smoke.
  5. Quickly and carefully add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, browning on both sides, just a minute or two per side. Do this in two small batches. Remove chicken and set aside.
  6. Sauté potato cubes in the same hot oil until lightly browned on all sides. Remove potatoes and set aside.
  7. Sauté onions and green pepper until limp. Return chicken to the pan. Add the reserve marinade, tomato sauce, wine, olives, raisins and browned potatoes.
  8. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes. Don’t overcook. Serve the chicken pieces over white rice with plenty of sauce.

Guava Cake


  • 1 32-oz can guava shells
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 16 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cup flour



  1. Add the guava shells and the juice from the can to the blender. Puree until you get a smooth, thick sauce with no lumps.
  2. Blend in the lemon juice.
  3. Cook uncovered over low heat until it thickens, approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Beat in vanilla and almond extract. Gradually blend in flour.
  3. Lightly butter a 9×13″ pan.
  4. Spread a little less than half of the batter on the bottom of the pan. Spread the guava filling on top of the first layer. Top the guava filling with the rest of the cake batter. (Spoon the mixture onto the top layer for best results. Use a wet knife to spread the cake batter because it will be very sticky. Don’t worry if some of the filling breaks through to the top layer.)
  5. Bake cake for 35-45 minutes. Cake is ready when knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Related: Top Spots For Flan In South Florida

Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at

Watch & Listen LIVE