Friday, September 19, 2008

Carne Guisada Con Chile y Papas

This is a delicous Mexican dish. I love it. The reason I love it lots is because it has cubed fried potatoes YUM I love potatoes and any starchy veggie and it combines it with flavorful pieces of beef cooked in what I consider a "Mexican sofrito" (chili pepper, onion, and tomato)

Every now and then I am fortunate enough to have my mother share her Mexican recipes and time with me in the kitchen. I try to learn always help her because I discover more about my Mexican heritages food, and even though I am not as knowledgable in the Mexican kitchen as I am in the Cuban I can still defend myself thanks to my mother haha.

-4 medium potatoes diced into medium cubes
-1 1/2 pounds "Beef for carne asada" cut into little bite sized pieces, good choices would be "Carne Ranchera" which I think is "beef flap meat" or "flank steak" as well as "beef sirloin steak" make sure to ask butcher to cut it thin like 1/4 inch thick. Any type of quick cooking tender cut of beef will do.
-1 medium onion minced
-2 large tomatoes diced
-1 serrano or jalapeño green chili pepper minced (if you can't get it where you live any small or medium sized spicy green colored chili will do the job)
-2-6 cloves of garlic minced (it depends how much you like garlic in my house we used 4 for this)
-1/2 a bunch of cilantro washed, stems removed and minced
-salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning (my mother uses for Mexican cooking a meat seasoner called "Chef Merito" steak seasoning that comes in a redish bottle. It's a blend of salt, sugar, oregano, cumin, star anise, paprika, monosodium glutamine, onion powder, and garlic powder)
-oil to deep-fry potatoes and cook meat dish
(1)Heat alot of oil in a large frying pan, enough to pan-fry or deep-fry the cubed potatoes on medium high heat. Add the potatoes and let them fry until golden and cooked. This takes like 20 minutes so I would do all my prep work during this.
(2)Now take potatoes out, drain, put on a plate with napkins to soak excess oil and set aside.
(3)Pour some of the oil out and leave enough to cook rest of dish. Season the meat with salt and pepper or steak seasoning. Mix well. Now add in one layer and don't touch it let it brown on high heat, now when it starts releasing it's juices, drain some of them out and set it aside (about 1/2-1 cup of it) now stir and wait until the juices evaporate this will intensify the flavor.
(4)Add minced onions and chili pepper cook until onions are translucent, add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, now add tomato and cook until tomato cooks down a bit and releases juices.
(5)At this point add fried cubed potatoes, fold in well while adding the juices you set aside that the meat released during cooking so the potatoes can soak some of the flavor, now fold in cilantro gently. Your done very simple and delicious.

Oh on seperate notice, let's move on to the AWARDS. Nuria from "Spanish Recipes" awarded me with the "I Heart You Blog" Award. I feel so good inside, I am glad that I am able to share what I love to cook and that others enjoy it thank you Nuria and anyone who enjoys my recipes and stories.

"The rules are as follow:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (as shown above).
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.So the ones that I am choosing are the ones that I read all of the time and have actually become "friends" with most of them.

And the blogs I Do Love are:"
(1)Pilar Lechuza's blog called "La Cocina de Lechuza" a blog that focuses on home style traditional Galician food all the way from Galicia, Spain. If it wasn't for that blog I would have never been motivated to start trying to make "Empanadas and Empanadillas" she is the Queen of Galician Empanadas and Empanadillas (types of meat pies)

(2)Nuria's blog called "Spanish Recipes" she cooks all sorts of Spanish food that she enjoys and I love the personality projected on the blog, she is another great Spanish cook. This is Spanish cooking all the way from Barcelona.

(3)Marilyn and her blog "My Cuban Traumas" this is Cuban food, from a Cubana living in California just like me except she is in Northern California and I am in Southern. She is really good at making desserts, makes some tastey Cuban food to and comes up with interesting twists. I am so grateful to her for sharing her "Cuban Empanada" dough recipe with me and I will be sure to make some "Cuban Empanadas" from scratch thanks to her sometime this moth or in early October.

(4)"Maangchi's Korean Cooking Blog" well the title is self explanitory. Maangchi makes Korean cooking videos. She has categories in her blog with description of ingredients and she makes her recipes as traditional as possible and from what she has learned from her family (I think grandmother) I highly suggest you check it out.

(5)Connie Veneracion a home cook who cooks for her family from "Pinoy Cook" I've never commented her blog (to be honest), but I always lurk around, she cooks a variety of stuff her main focus is Filipino food. She is not afraid to experiment and add her own twists if she feels they are needed and she is very honest about it to which I love.

(6)I also enjoy reading "My Big Fat Cuban American Family" a blog directed by Marta a Cuban American she is the cook for "Babalublog" a Cuban American blog about politics regarding Cubans. She always has interesting post, some food related, others family, and just about her life. She is also a Cuban living in California (Southern Cali). I love reading her stories full of joy and family as well as some of her cooking. I have to admit she makes one of the best Cuban "Fricassee de Pollo" I have my family recipe for it to, but I cannot compare them they are both distinct, hers is what is expected from a Cuban Fricasse it is sweet and sour and very well balanced. My families is very savory and shows some Chinese influence (I will leave that for another recipe post)

(7)Lastly I really truly wish this his blog would post recipes more frequently, his content is really high quality, he enjoys Cuban food as well and makes the BEST "Arroz Con Pollo" I have ever had, I learned my "Arroz Con Pollo" from Jose. He is a Cuban foodie from California's bay area. His blog is called "Arroz y Frijoles" probably because it's a Cuban staple (rice and beans)

(8)Another blog that I wish had more posts because I enjoy the one's they post is called "Cuban Home Cooking Keeping the Tradition Alive" they post once a month a Cuban recipe, the cool thing it's Cuban recipes from friends and family that are Cuban so it's nice to see other Cubans takes on certain dishes and so far many of the dishes have been made by the older generation of Cubans that are good cooks most of the time.

Calabasa Con Mojo de Ajo

Yet another of the many simple yet so comforting to me Cuban dishes. Mojo de Ajo sauce is used for many things in Cuban Cuisine, here is yet another way to enjoy it. It is simply steamed "Calabasa de Castilla" which is a type of winter squash that is beige on the outside and bright orange on the inside, it has a very mild flavor and is not as sweet as other squashes. If you cannot find this type of winter squash feel free to substitute it for "Kombucha" squash or "Japanese Squash" .Honestly though any type of good tasting edible winter squash may be used for this dish.

At the super market this week "Calabasa Castilla" was extremely cheap it was at 2 pounds for 1 dollar I bought a bunch, some to make with "Mojo" another piece because I am gonna make later this week "Potaje de Frijoles Colorados" how my grandmother taught me, and another piece to cook it in a sugary cinnamon infused warm syrup made from unrefined sugar cane cones or blocks.

Also before you even try to make this I MUST WARN YOU, Mojo de Ajo is extremely garlicky,acidic, sour, and pungent. Many people that aren't used to these types of foods dislike it, but in my household we love it.

-Calabasa Castilla (as much as you feel like making to eat it depends how many your serving)
-water to steam Calabasa
-Mojo de Ajo to top the Calabasa

(1)Wash Calabasa, remove seeds and clean well. Cut Calabasa into large chunks/ segments, leave peel on. Put in a large pot, add mabe 1 inch of water, bring to a boil and steam for about 30 minutes.

(2)Meanwhile prepare your Mojo de Ajo (click on the "Mojo de Ajo" link under ingredients for recipe)

(3)Put in a nice serving dish and spoon over some of the Mojo de Ajo don't use all of it up you want to have extra sauce if anyone wants to put more on their Calabasa.