Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Picadillo - Cuban (ish) style

I think I've shared that we are in a Meat CSA.  Have I said that I am now the CSA coordinator for said CSA? Yes! I am the first ever Meadow Haven CSA coordinator.  whoohoo!  Of course the CSA only started out about six months ago, so it's not like there was a lot of coordinating going on.

Anyway, in our meat share we get a lot of ground beef.  No complaints, I love ground beef because it is so versatile and there are so many ways to cook it.  And, you can get a flavor of a country just by adding spices or other ingredients to create a whole new dish.  We've had South African, Italian, Spanish, Indian and so on. Aside from the not so basic burgers that the BF makes for us, as he makes great burgers.

Picadillo is a fairly common name for a Latin American and Filipino dish made up with (usually) ground beef .  The dish comes with a variety of flavors based on the country of origin.  I even found one in a Tex-Mex cookbook but it looked so boring compared with this version that I didn't even write it down or try it.  But, once you have a great recipe it is very hard to muck around with a blander version.   The dish is usually served with rice or as the filling in a taco - but we just eat it straight from a bowl. Best of all, if you double the quantity, it reheats great for work.

Another good thing is that you can add almost anything to it to meet your tastes.  The idea is a sweet, salty, beefy combo.  The BF likes cashews and we added that for a bonus crunch.  The original recipe is from Three Guys From Miami who also have a cookbook that has some great recipes.


1 cup diced onion
1 cup seeded and finely chopped bell pepper
butter/fat for sautéing
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lbs. ground beef or ground round
1 1/2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or one can of chopped tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup chopped olives  (optional - green or black)
1/6 cup raisins
Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup raw cashews (optional)

Melt butter/fat in a large frying pan. Sauté onion and green pepper for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and ground beef. Cook until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and oregano. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  If you don't want any sauce, cook it uncovered.  You may still have to simmer it longer to reduce the liquids if you used canned tomatoes.

Add olives and raisins and simmer 5 minutes longer. Salt and pepper to taste.

While the olives and raisins are cooking.  Heat up a frying pan with butter, toss in the cashews and stirring constantly wait until lightly brown.  Then toss them into the pan.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chocolate Peanutbutter balls

The BF's mum makes this Christmas "cookie" that she calls goofballs. I do not know if this a official cookie or not but Google did find a lot of recipes. Not quite like the recipe from the BF's mum but similar.

The only problem is that her cookie recipe has graham cracker crumbs in it and well, we try not to eat wheat.  So, I have been creative with her recipe and came up with this "finalized" version.

Now, you can make it vegan by using coconut oil instead of butter, which I have done in the past and it is very good. But, I like the creaminess of butter. :)

Just note, because this version doesn't have graham cracker crumbs nor parafin (edible wax which keeps the chocolate solid in warmer conditions) you have to keep this in the fridge and eat them pretty quick once you have them out. However, it hasn't been a problem in our house.

Chocolate Peanut Butter balls or Goofballs 2

2 sticks butter, softened (1 cup)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 package chocolate bars (I used 90% Lindt chocolate)
2 cups cocoa powder (optional)

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar until well incorporated.  Add peanut butter and vanilla, mix some more.   Remove from mixer - as the nuts tend to get more crushed by the mixer than actually mixed (at least for me)

Add in coconut and nuts and stir with a spoon.  Place the bowl into fridge and let it get cold.  About 45 min to a hour in the fridge.

Set up a cookie sheet with parchment paper to put the peanut butter balls on.  Pull out and make peanut butter into balls, approximately a inch or so in diameter.  Once all the dough is shaped into balls, cover with plastic and place in the freezer (if you have space) or fridge.  You want them to be solid so that when you place the balls into the melted chocolate, they do not loose shape or turn into a mucky mess.

Once balls are solid. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or however you melt chocolate).  Drop one or two peanut butter balls into the chocolate.  Once coated (and this is really quick) pull out and place on parchment paper to cool.  You can coat it in cocoa powder at this point if you want - which makes it even richer.  

Store in fridge.  It lasts about 2 weeks (depending on the chocolate fiends in your house - ours it lasts about 1/2 a week. *grin*)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Asian inspired ground beef

I've been on a hunt for ground beef recipes because our CSA provides a lot of ground beef and one can eat chili and burgers so many times.

It's probably just me. :)  I really have trouble eating the same dish multiple times and if I've made it once, unless it's requested again I probably will forget about the dish. I know, it is very odd.  But, I like to make new things and try new flavors - hence the blog.  So, that I can recall a really good dish and do it up again.  And, you thought I was writing for you. uh?

Ok. I was writing for anyone who is willing to put up with my random moments of writing. And for the people I love who really don't need to hear about me going on and on and on about food. ;)

The thing I love about this dish is that you can add any veggie you want to it and I had some cabbage and spinach.  So, I tossed it in.  The original recipe is from This Primal Life which I haven't tried anything but this recipe.  It looks cool and I'm hoping to wander around her site some more.

Asian Ground Beef

1 lb. ground beef
3 tablespoons butter/ghee
1 bell pepper, sliced - red/yellow/orange - something to make it pretty
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup cabbage, shredded (optional)
1/2 cup spinach, chopped (optional) 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

3 tablespoons almond butter or peanut butter
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Mix the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

In a warm skillet, melt some butter/ghee.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Add garlic and ginger, cook about a minute or so.  Add ground beef and cook until browned.

Once the beef has browned, add veggies (carrots, spinach, peppers, etc).   Once the veggies are cooked to your taste, I like it a bit on the al dente side so there is a crunch.  Add the sauce. Give a quick stir.  Turn off the stove, add the cilantro.  Serve.


Notes on the recipe:

  •  I cook my onion as I don't like the sharp bite of onion. You do not have to do so. And, in the original recipe it is not cooked early. 
  •  If using cabbage, you can put it in with the ground beef depending on how much you like cabbage. The earlier you put it in, the less the cabbage flavor will show through in the dish. Since the BF isn't a big fan of cabbage, I chopped it up into tiny bits and cooked it earlier in the process.
  • While I say use "pretty" peppers, this really isn't that attractive of a dish. Yummy! but not pretty. But, I figure taste wins! And, as long as I don't do this up for company... we're all good, right? 
  • Now, you can put these in lettuce leaves and serve. I'd suggest Boston or even the dreaded Iceburg which both have nice big leaves. But, we just ate it up right from the bowl.