Dear Family and Friends,
Simplifying life, especially during the Lenten season!
That is what we have been attempting through our own small ways, and ne way we have been trying is through cooking. Vince and I are passionate about good food, and we love to cook and eat. Therefore we thought of trying different recipes.
Some of you may think, what does cooking have to do with simplifying your life? As some of you may be flustered with the idea of heating up a pot and then have to clean it after the fiasco - something far from simple. Well, as in a homily we heard a few Sundays ago, our world is obsessed with everything being done in an INSTANT. Even with food, we forgo the good quality home-cooked meals for instant meals such as; instant soup, microwavable meals, fast food, etc.
We want the food in front of us with just one push of a button and we want it now!
Vince and I thought, let's do less of the "instant meals" and try cooking the "long" way. Mind you, it not only helps you to slow down your life, but it also promotes health (unless you are cooking with lard and such). The idea is to use less of the pre-mixed spices, or sauces, or broths and truly make everything from scratch. You then know exactly what you put into your food. Plus it is more fun and fulfilling knowing that you prepared a dish on your own, without help from those premade spice sachets.
One of the recipes we would like to feature today is:
ARROZ A LA CUBANA - Filipino style!
One day the dish just popped into my mind and I asked Vince if he ever tried it. And to my surprise he had not heard of it, which gave me more more motivation to cook the dish so that he could try something he never had before.
Arroz a la Cubana or Arroz Cubano means Cuban-style rice. It is a Spanish dish that consists of rice, fried egg and tomato sauce.
Arroz a la Cubana is also popular in Peru and there the dish consists of rice, fried egg, fried hotdog and fried bananas.
The Filipino style is somewhat a mix of the Spanish and Peruvian style. Arroz a la Cubana in the Philippines is made up of rice, fried egg, fried bananas and minced beef sauteed in garlic, onion and tomato sauce.
As we have modified the ingredients and method, our recipe is based on the one on the following website:
(note the website's name: home cooking rocks) :-)
- Steamed or boiled rice or garlic fried rice (Vince's idea)
- 1/2 kilo ground beef (use sirloin or top round)
- 3 carrots, cubed 3 potatoes, cubed
- 1/2 c. of sweet peas
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- can of chick peas (Vince and my idea)
- 2 tbsp. of raisins (optional) we didn't add raisins (Cay doesn't like cooked raisins)
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 c. of tomato paste
- finely chopped parsley
- pinch of basil (we used fresh basil, from Vince's basil plant)
- 3 tbsp. c. of olive oil
- 1/4 c. vegetable cooking oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 eggs, fried sunny-side-up
- 8 saba bananas, each sliced diagonally into 3, fried
- Heat a heavy skillet. Add 1/4 c. of cooking oil. Heat to smoking point. Add the cubed potatoes and carrots. Once the potatoes and carrots are half way cooked, add the chick peas. Fry until the edges turn a light brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Pour out the oil from the skillet. Pour in the olive oil. Add ground beef, breaking it up. Cook over high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic, chopped onions and tomatoes, bell peppers and raisins, if using. Cook, stirring, just until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the tomato paste, salt and pepper. Stir to blend well.
Add the sweet peas. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds then put the carrots and potatoes back in. Cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the basil and parsley. Give it one last stir then turn off the heat.
- If you want garlic fried rice - Heat cooking oil in a non-stick skillet. Add minced garlic. sautee until light brown. Add cooked white rice and mix well. Add salt to taste.
- Frying the bananas - If you can get hold of Saba Bananas, then great. If not, you can use the Plantain Bananas which you can purchase at an Asian store. Make sure to buy the ones that are half way ripe. Slice the banana in half length-wise. Then slice again in half from its width. Fry the bananas in cooking oil until golden brown.
- Et voila, serve with white rice/garlic rice, an egg and fried saba/plantain bananas on the side.
Cooking time (duration): 45 minutes (including time to cook eggs and saba/plantain bananas)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: supper-----------------------------
The dish turned out quite successful, but I will allow my husband to truly rate the dish. One thing, you may want to make the minced beef more saucey, so add water and more tomato paste.
As for me, aside from eating good food, it gave me a great satisfaction. I cooked something for the first time and we did it with our own bare hands :-) Home cooking truly rocks!