Sunday, March 22, 2009

Filipino Picadillo (Fililpino Ground Beef Hash?)

I'm going to submit this recipe to Joan Nova from FOODalogues "Culinary Tour Around the World" (for more details click on link "Culinary Tour Around the World" on how to participate and check Jones Nova's wonderful blog) this event is to take a "virtual" trip around the world from a culinary perspective and along the way also helping raise awareness of world hunger as we "travel" around the world "via "BloggerAid" or the "World Food Programme" and other organizations." (Joan Nova)

In this trip we visit Philippines with this simple Filipino ground beef hash.

"Picadillo" in Spanish from what I have observed is any type of sauteed ground meat. Different countries and cultures have their own variation.

I learned this version of "Picadillo" from a very humble, kind, smart, hard working and intelligent woman who is also a really good cook names "Herminia" whom is my Filipino friend's mother (Shantall) I really enjoy and love when I get the opportunity to visit them, I am treated like family and welcomed and I love to share what I know about cooking and food and vice versa :)

Anyways let's focus more on this "Filipino Picadillo" from my observations I'd have to say this is a dish that is heavily Spanish influenced (by that I mean influenced by Spain) since Philippines at some point in history was colonized by the Spaniards and it's unique cuisine features some dishes that show the Spanish influence. I think this Picadillo is one of those dishes.

Reason being is that I immediately noticed the use of "sofrito" (the combination of garlic, onion, and bell pepper in addition to tomato in this recipe, this combination is also commonly used in Cuban cooking very heavily which also has strong ties to Spanish cuisine and shares many flavors and dishes with) it was very similar to the Cuban ground beef hash as well.

... yet it manages to be unique and hold it's own ground, I really recommend to any Cuban reading this who loves a good Picadillo to try this recipe out for a variation on "the usual"

-1 1/2 lbs ground beef or pork
-salt to taste (I used around 1-2 tsp. depends)
-ground black pepper to taste (about 1/2 a tsp. I used more or less to your liking)
-1 good pinch of mono sodium glut amine about 1/4 tsp. (msg, optional I do use it)
-1/2 a red bell pepper finely minced
-1/2 an onion minced
-1/2 a head of garlic about 6 cloves finely minced
-1 can 8 oz. of tomato sauce
-2-4 medium all purpose potatoes cut into small cubes (I mean small like tiny bite sizes)
-2 carrots more or less cut into tiny cubes

Optional Ingredients (I didn't use them because I didn't have them on hand and neither did Shantalls mother Herminia when she made this)
-1 handful of frozen peas for color
-1 can of Qual Eggs drained

(1)Add ground pork or beef to a hot deep pan with no oil or anything, and add about 1 1/2- 2 cups water just enough water to slightly cover meat, bring to a rolling boil with salt, pepper, and msg. Let boil on high heat until the water evaporates. This is done so the meat will render more of it's fat and also because in some countries this is used to reduce risk of unsanitary conditions with meat.

(2)Add onions and bell peppers minced and sautee until translucent on medium high, add garlic sautee a little longer, now add tomato sauce, and about another cup of water, bring together to a rolling boil and add potatoes and carrots. Adjust salt to taste.

(3)Cover and simmer until potato and carrot is tender about 7 minutes? Just check occassionally, towards end add peas for color and fold in qual eggs . When done serve with hot white rice (goes very well with Jasmine rice) and whatever sides you wish :)


This recipe is very quick and simple to make I was able to make it in under 30-40 minutes. If you forgot to thaw the meat, like I did just throw it in the really hot pan with water and cover on high, move around occasionally and help it break down by beating it with a spoon haha. While waiting you can chop everything and do all your prep work that's what I did when I made it.

You may also be interested in seeing a "Cuban" version Picadillo I posted in my blog so click below if you want to check it out:

Picadillo Salteado Con Papas (Cuban Beef Hash)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Frituritas de Bacalao (Salted Cod Fritters)

These fritters are made from dry salted cod that has been de-salted and rehydrated. Dry salted cod is called "Bacalao" by Cubans, Spaniards, and I assume Portuguese to. Bacalao has been around for probably ages and was popular because it can last a very long time and didn't need refridgeration or anything in the old days. It is still popular in Spain and Cubans also enjoy Bacalao.

Salted cod fritters
are more of a Spaniard thing but also enjoyed by Cubans (many of whom are of Spaniard parentage, etc. so much of it's cooking is heavely influenced and we share some dishes of course I am talking about pre-Castro Cuba the Cuba of today is different as well as the Cuban population there migration by Spaniards came to a halt after the Communist revolution, and most of Spanish parentage fled to USA or many left to Franco's Spain at the time.)

I have seen several recipes for salted-cod fritters and the recipe I am showing you today is from my great grandfather Raymundo Gutierrez, who was born in Spain and settled in Cuba. He is my grandmother's (my Tata's) father in law. He use to have a "Bodeguita" (like a type of food store) in Habana, Cuba around the streets "Bella's Quaine" (I hope I spelled it right) and "Louie" from (or maybe "Compastela"?) 1940- 50's not sure exactly where but my grandma said it wasn't to far from "Hobras Publicas" she said it was a large business district. The name of the store my Tata tell's me was "La Bodega de Clemente" (named after my Cuban born grandfather Clemente Gutierrez)

He use to be known for his salted cod fritters, and sold them in his "Bodega" (small food grocery place), my Tata tells me he use to make big batches and keep them warm in some container and start selling them at around 8 AM and everyone loved them at the time they sold for 10 cents each fritter.

So yeah this recipe is fairly old, the last time everyone heard from Raymundo Gutierrez was in 1963, he had citizen ship in the US and as well and fought in world war 1, he left Cuba during the revolution, but he was hearing rumours of how Fidel Castro was gonna "make Cuba better" and all his false promises, he was decieved and decided to go back to Cuba, he was told he could keep his business and what not, when he left my Tata and grandfather would send him his retirement checks from here but they would get cashed and they never would hear from him, after investigating someone was cashing them but it wasn't his signature, and he never responded to letters, time passed and they didn't here from him or anything.

They passed him for dead no one knows what really happened, my Tata thinks maybe he was killed like so many where during the first 5 years of the dictatorship for having a big mouth, or he realized what he got himself into and tried to escape and probably died at sea trying to get back to US. Not sure.

So there's a little backround story for those interested :)


-1 lbs. Bacalao (dry salted cod preferebly the fillets)
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 handful about 1 bunch finely minced fresh parsley leaves
-6 cloves garlic peeled mashed to a paste
-2 large eggs, beaten
-1 1/2 cups water (or more as needed)
(1)Get the salted cod, rinse, and put in a large pot of water and bring to a boil, then when it comes to a boil drain, and put back in a pot with more water and bring to a boil again let it boil until salted cod can be flaked with a fork a bit, taste if it's salty if so, you need to drain it and bring to a boil again with more water (yeah I know time consuming but it's my grandmothers method she doesn't like to prepare in advance and soak the salted cod for several days or a day so yeah)

(2)Now get the de-salted bacalao and remove any spines or skins and flake into small bite size pieces, set aside.

(3)Now put the flour in a large bowl, and add baking soda, add eggs slowly add water until you get a pancake batter consistency, you may need more water than called for just eye ball it add a little at a time and be sure it's a loose pancake batter consistency. Mix in parsley and mashed garlic. Then fold incorporate flaked cond fish.

(4)You now have your batter, cover it all let it rest atleast 2-3 hours in the refridgerator preferably let it rest over night.

(5)When ready heat enough oil to deep or pan-fry at medium high heat for about 4-5 minutes (to test it I dip a wooden spoon and if it sizzles and or bubbles around it's ready) now get the batter and drop it by the tablespoonfuls and fry until golden on both sides you can move it around with a fork and a spoon.

(6)Do not over crowd pan, and have a large plate or whatever with papertowels or paper bags to drain them on.

(7) Enjoy while hot the batter can last a while so you can fry only what your gonna eat.

You can serve it as a appetizer, snack, or to replace the meat dish in a meal.As you can see in the picture below I was a gluttonous pig (yes I'm a sinner to I had Avocado salted, Platano Frito, Arroz Blanco, and Frijoles Negros topped with minced onion and very generous drizzles of olive oil with a sprinkle of salt yes we love olive oil)

I Apologize

I apologize to my readers for not being able to post as much as I used to.

It's just I've been more busy with my social life and school, I have had less time to cook and blog and haven't been home as much, but I will try to post atleast once a month or once a week.

Though I may have less posts I hope that people continue to enjoy my posts because I pour my heart into them :) I'll try to post something up this week.

Though I haven't had much time to visit and comment my fellow "foodies" blogs I still check in every now and then.

I'm still upset about not having my computer fixed up, but I will post from another computer.