Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Picadillo: Cuban Hash

One of my best friends, Marirae Mathis, called this afternoon to get my picadillo recipe to make for her & hubby Bob for dinner.
I feel quite honored since she is an amazing Chef and owner of Who Cooks For You? Professional Chef Services by Marirae Mathis. She introduced me to Hasenpfeffer. I'm even happier after she texted me to tell me it was delicious. 
I've been told that many times by my Cuban ex-boyfriend and other friends who are familiar with Cuban foods, but coming from her it is quite an honor.

Picadillo: Cuban Hash
Picadillo is a traditional Cuban hash, popular throughout Latin countries. It is known in The Philippines as “giniling”. It is made with ground meat (usually beef) and tomatoes or tomato sauce – I use both. Other ingredients vary by country/region incl. fried egg, chopped carrots, etc. Every household has its own variation. 

It is typically served with rice and is also be used as a filling for empanadas. Mine is a basic, traditional picadillo recipe that I hijacked from a Cuban friend and tweaked to suit my love of spicy foods (meaning peppers). I love the salty, sweet flavors of the olives & raisins. The hot peppers are the one item that makes this recipe “non-traditional”.  

Olive Oil, just enough to coat the bottom of your skillet (add more later if needed)
1.5 - 2 lbs petite red potatoes, chopped (approx. 1/2-1" cubes, be consistent so they cook evenly)
5-6 garlic cloves(more or less to taste)
1 small Spanish onion, chopped
5-6 Serrano peppers, sliced thinly (I leave in the seeds)
1 lb of ground beef (I use ground sirloin)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 TBS of ground cumin
26.5 oz box of Pomì brand chopped tomatoes (no preservatives), do not drain
8 oz (approx.) of Pomì brand tomato sauce ( no preservatives)
5.25 oz jar of sliced green olives
A couple handfuls of raisins (I use 8 oz for this recipe)
Black pepper, to taste

In a very large skillet over medium heat, sauté chopped potatoes in olive oil on medium heat until tender and slightly browned (about 20 minutes). I just cover the pan and let the heat do the work. I check it every 4-5 minutes to stir. Push potatoes to the side of the pan and add garlic, onions and peppers in the center, continue to sauté until onions are tender and the peppers burn your nasal passages (about another 5 minutes).

In a separate skillet, brown ground beef and cumin when beef is almost cooked through add wine, continue to cook a couple more minutes. Turn off the heat. Drain excess oil. Add to the potato mixture. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce and combine. Add green olives and raisins (both to taste). You can also use a little of the olive juice to add some extra saltiness.

Let simmer on low for about 20 minutes. I simmer the picadillo while making my rice (also about 20 minutes).

The key to good rice: 
Bring water and rice to a boil, reduce heat and NEVER LIFT HE LID until cooking time is through. Serve with Cuban bread (available at Publix) and fried, sweet plantains (frozen at Publix).

Now just invite over a few friends (including me) to try your dish…

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rose's Greek Potato Salad

I've decided to share some of my favorite recipes on my blog.

I love to cook & bake, but I am not so much of a fan of cooking for one person. I have taken so many cooking classes that I have lost count - knife skills, sushi, Indian, Indian street foods, French desserts, and the list goes on. I know how to make a crêpe and a tarte Tatin.  
I grew up thinking my mom made the best potato salad ever. And she did, for first 34 years of my life. I struggled for years after she passed away to recreate her version. I finally gave up and started experimenting with my own version.

Sorry mom, but you have been bumped to the #2 spot after my potato salad. Every time I make this, I get asked by 2-3 people for the recipe. I tell them that you can count the number of ingredients on one hand (salt and pepper don't count). 

This is my "go-to" recipe for large gatherings like office potlucks, picnics/cookouts and meetups with the family. The fact that it is not mayonnaise based makes it perfect for outdoor gatherings. It's easy, basic and can be made in about 20 minutes. Prep time is less than 5 minutes.

I think my mom would be proud! 

Rose's Greek Potato Salad

·         2 lbs. Red Potatoes, cubed, with skins
·         3 Shallots, chopped
·         4 oz. of feta cheese
·         1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
·         Juice of one lemon
·         Salt & Pepper

·       Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, bring back to a boil, and cook until barely soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain.

·       Combine potatoes, shallots and feta cheese in a large bowl. Mix olive oil and lemon juice and pour over potato and shallots. Mix lightly. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve immediately or chill. Potato salad may be kept in a sealed container in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.