Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rice and Potatoes: A Sunday Supper Chez Mouse

Dear Boo,

It was lovely to have you over for Sunday dinner chez mouse. The Boyfriend and I felt like cooking and had had the idea of making a vat of his family's famous Arroz con Pollo, which is rapidly becoming one of the comfort foods I crave. The Boyfriend likes to remind me that one of the downsides of dating a latin guy is the jealousy. I scoff at the stereotypes and remind him that the upside is the food. oh, the food. For those of you who haven't tasted it, Arroz con Pollo is sort of like a soupier paella rice, verging on a risotto, with chicken pieces on the bone (or falling off, as the case may be) in place of the seafood. Basically, it's heaven.

I first tasted this dish at the B's cousin's house. The cousin's dad (the B's uncle) is apparently the Arroz Master of the family with a secret recipe all suspect he doesn't fully divulge. I took one bite of the smoky/saucy/pea-speckled rice and it was love at first taste. I returned home armed with the recipe with visions of pollo dancing in my head. We finally attempted making one of our own, paying hysterically close attention to the recipe (which included a step 7 coming exactly 12 minutes into stirring the dish and 8 minutes before adding the next ingredient which states, "Taste the dish and say, "_______" over the pot." I can't tell you the secret incantation or I'd have to kill you). It was, you'll remember, delicious, but due to time constraints we made it the night before and reheated, which according to the Boyfriend, who acted like an expectant father the entire time, was disastrous for the delicate texture.

I look forward to trying it again, and will update you on how it goes this time. Actually, you'll probably be eating it.

This Sunday, instead, in the interest of time as you were coming over in an hour, we decided to make another family recipe for Picadillo

which means, I think, "little bits and pieces", a dish that the Boyfriend once made for me as an introduction to the Cuban foods of his childhood. Picadillo is basically ground meat (beef, or as we used, turkey) with seasonings (saffron, salt, cumin, etc), tomato sauce, wine, onions and peppers and garlic, and green olives with pimentos and raisins, Note from the Boo: I totally hate raisins, and this was delicious served over white rice, garnished with fried potatoes. Yes, that's right--rice AND potatoes. My slight alteration to the dish was substituting sweet potatoes for the sake of my own carb intake. The B was horrified so I compromised by using both.

I made a light salad to go along with the main dish, of mixed lettuces, grape tomatoes, and avocado, with a lime dressing. I love this simple but amazing salad at Pardo's, a Peruvian chicken restaurant in the West Village, and was trying in vain to recreate it. I have this new quick way of making salad dressing where I take one of my petite tupperware containers, plop all the ingredients in there--say, a dollop of dijon, some balsamic, a minced clove of garlic, a pinch of sugar and salt, and some black pepper, pour the olive oil on top, slap the lid on and shake your money maker until it's emulsified. Easy to reshake before serving, no whisk to clean, and pre-packaged for easy storage. huzzah! (or whatever that is in Spanish).

(apologies for the messy plate--I was on my second serving before I remembered to take a pic)

The Mouse

p.s. I just realized I had a dream last night that I was a guest on The View and I kept wondering where that annoying blonde girl had gone

The B's Family Recipe for Picadillo
1) Place 1-1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey in frying pan over medium high heat
2) Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.
3) Add 1 choppped onion, 1 small chopped green pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, stirring constantly.
4) Add 1/4 tsp cumin, 1 Cup tomato sauce, 1 envelope Goya Sazon con azafran, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 C white wine.
5) Add 1/2 cup salad olives (the green kind with pimentos)and 1 small box of raisins.
6) Cover and cook over medium heat for about 10 more minutes.
7) Serve over white rice with diced fried (or roasted if you're double-carb phobic like me) potatoes.

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