Input and Other Things

So ok I don't know what's gotten into me but I've been cooking lately. Cooking for real and not just baking! Last night I made what is called picadillo. Picadillo is a Cuban cuisine staple. I mean it's just as essential to the cuban diet as Cuban Bread and flan and arroz con frijoles. So it's kinda nuts that growing up I didn't like it! Everyone else I know though pretty much loves it including my husband whose Dominican mother also makes picadillo. Well I was searching for crockpot recipes that used ground beef cause that's all we had and I found one for ground beef and rice that I cannot find anywhere now. Anyways, I looked at it and thought- that's fine I guess. J will like it at least. I have never liked ground beef. I have very few exceptions to this rule like SOME tacos, but for the most part ground beef is a no no for me even in things like lasagna and meat sauce. But I know J likes so whatever. And as I started the recipe I said, this sounds like American picadillo— i.e. picadillo but a lot plainer. So I reached into my genetic coding and did it my way and it came out amazing. Even I liked it! And my husband swooned. He listed it as the top picadillo he's had tied with his own (which I disagree with– mine is MUCH better). So anyways, here's what I did. If any of you get adventurous and want a Cuban night I'll add at the end what else I made for sides. And for the benefit of my fellow LiveJournal girls, everything is behind the cut! Also please click through because I need some opinions for a logo for my store!

You'll need:
Ground Beef (I used just under a pound and a half)
Minced Garlic (the more the merrier, I think I may have used at least a tablespoon)
One Onion Chopped
One Green Pepper Chopped
Potato Chopped (Optional)
Cooking Oil
Garlic Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
One Can Diced Tomatoes (the ones I used had Garlic and Onion as well)
One Can Tomato Sauce
Raisins
Pimiento Stuffed Olives
Lime
Hot Sauce (Optional- my husband yes me no)

What You Do:
Ok let's get a frying pan on the oven, throw in your garlic, and heat them both. I've read this is the best way to heat garlic so it won't burn. I did this on medium high heat. When the garlic starts hissing ever so lightly, throw in the cooking oil (enough to coat the pan), your onions, and your green pepper. If you want to do the potato, this is when you do it too. I had no potato so I didn't bother. Get everything nice and going and then toss in your meat. Since this was a crockpot meal, my meat was frozen. So what I did was brown one side, flipped, scraped off the browned side and as much else off the top as I could while the bottom browned, flipped, repeat. I did this over and over until the brick was completely broken up into tiny pieces. This actually worked out great because picadillo is usually NOT chunky but really tiny little pieces. Of course thawed meat makes this process a lot easier on the arms and goes a lot faster. Once all the meat was browned so it wasn't pink, I threw everything into the crockpot right out of the pan. Whoosh! Then I liberally sprinkled garlic salt and ground some black pepper on there. Next, I dumped the can of tomatoes and tomato sauce on top. And then we added the ingredients that make picadillo Cuban- raisins and olives. How much you throw in is up to you. We love olives and raisins here so I threw in good thick handfuls. Also, a lot of recipes tell you to slice the olives. I don't think this works well. I like my olives whole. What I do though is I take my big wooden spoon and smash the crap out of a few olives while in the pot to really get the olive flavor out of them. Then you cover it all up and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

If you can't tell by now, you can make picadillo in the pan just as well. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that of the three generations (grandma, mom, and me) I am the only one who has attempted picadillo in the crock pot. But if you ask me, something cooking in really flavorful juices for 4 to 6 hours is going to really taste amazing and I think that's why my picadillo came out so yum. So if you're in a time crunch, forget the crockpot and just cook it in a pan. Maybe cover it and let it sit while you make your rice.

Rice? Of course. I served this meal with a heaping pile of white rice and black beans (arroz con frijoles). I also served it with platanos maduros (ripe plantains) out of the box. And of course, thick chunks of Cuban Bread. And some slices of lime to sprinkle on the meat when served. By the way, picadillo makes EXCELLENT party food because it's so inexpensive. A pound goes a really long way, especially if you make a salad and sides. And of course the rice always helps. Some people just eat picadillo with plain white rice and others, my family included, some times eats it all mixed up with white and rice and an over easy egg scooped up with Cuban bread, Cuban Crackers, or Saltines. I was too excited about surprising Jay with dinner to take a picture. But I did take a picture of Cuban bread this morning while I made tostada out of it. Unfortunately the camera died before my tostada was finished. 😦 And while we're on it tostada is basically a giant piece of Cuban bread, that is placed in a frying pan that is coated in butter and flattened to death. The butter gets into the middle part because of you constantly flattening it. This works really well in a um plancha. What do you call that in English? A sandwich maker? Not sure. Anyhow, it's a traditional Cuban breakfast food and goes great with a cafe con leche (coffee and milk). You can do this with French Bread and get excellent results.

So there you go. But wait! There's more! Not food though, sorry! I was at my friends' house last night and was talking with one of them and next thing you know he threw together a logo for Colorful Cute for me! YAY!! I wanted your opinions. It's not perfect (the eyes for instance, are a little off) but I want to know what you guys think. I had the idea for a house because I want to sell mainly zakka goods and those are housewares. And by the way, if any of you fab artists out there want to try a logo for me, I have NO qualms about it. Go ahead! It'll be fun! My only requirement is that it's a house. It doesn't have to have a face either- that's just an option. So talk to me people! What do you think? Also, color ideas? Fonts? I'm really redesigning everything and you guys are amazing at this stuff.

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