Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Country Cooking...Cuban Style

 Country Cooking… Cuban Style


I enjoy cooking for Mike. He is pretty receptive to me trying new recipes and kind when they don’t turn out as planned. Some of my cooking is limited because I don’t have all of the cookware I had in Ohio.


Use Mike’s cookware? I love the man, but Door Dash apparently never delivered colanders, measuring spoons, steamers…or…well, you get the idea. Mike is great at grilling hamburgers and I hear he is the family hero at frying turkeys for Thanksgiving, but the everyday stuff? Not so much. 


Still, I have to give him credit. He is not picky. And he is always open to going out to eat if that’s what I want to do. The simple truth is this: I like to cook. I like to try new things and replicate dishes we both like. Mike encourages me and doesn’t criticize my efforts at all. Even when it doesn’t turn out quite as I expected.


Breakfast is easy. He eats whatever I offer. Lunch is usually sandwiches and chips. Dinner? This is where there could be some issues. I’ll admit it. 


My biggest hits have been meatloaf, a couple of my Italian dishes and beef stroganoff. He liked the Impossible Taco Pie the second day better than the first, but then, so did I.


We both grew up with good Cuban food in Tampa. I’ve made chicken and yellow rice with black beans. I haven’t gathered all I need for Cuban sandwiches and I don’t know about making a few of the menu items I order at authentic Cuban restaurants, but I’m always willing to try.


One of Mike’s favorite Cuban dishes is Picadillo. I had never made it but a few clicks on the internet and I felt ready to give it a try. I added all I needed to my regular grocery list, which, by the way, always includes such staples as sweet tea and ice cream. I digress. Sorry about that.


Anyway, I picked up the large pitted green olives, the sazon sauce mixes, the garlic, bell pepper, and such. I always have ground beef on hand. And onions. I also had a fair stock of olive oil, tomato sauce, and spice cabinet go-to-s such as cumin, sugar, and salt. 


I wanted to surprise Mike so I chopped my onions, peppers, garlic, and olives ahead of time while he was busy outside. I put them in airtight containers and tucked them in the refrigerator. 

Grabbing ingredients!
Raisins are Optional

I had never eaten picadillo so as I cooked I wasn’t sure I was on the right track. Everything looked right and I followed the recipe exactly as it was written. I made white rice as a side and plated our meals. 

I knew Mike was pleased. 

His prayer over our meal reflected as much. But he hadn’t tasted it yet. As he prayed out loud I was silently praying it would taste good.


I liked it. So did Mike. When I asked him a day or two later about what I cook that he likes, picadillo topped the list. And after eating it, I think it could use a touch more garlic and Mike really would like more of the green olives. 


We ate most of our Cuban meal
before I remembered I should snap a picture!

I’ve been mulling over the experience. We tend to think recipes from different countries are somehow more complicated or fancier than our own leaning toward “country cooking.” 

Turns out, people all over the world pull the foods they have together the same as we do here. It is ALL Country Cooking…just different countries.




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