Cooking Picadillo with Esteban a.k.a. Rice Cookers are a Crock

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve been cooking, I just haven’t been posting.  I’m lazy, I know.  And much like the San Jose Sharks only playing hard when they’re about to be eliminated from the playoffs, I’m going to finish all my old blog entries a day before they’re due!

So I met Esteban through my roommate Sean.  He would always come over for parties and such and every time he came over, he would be baking or cooking.  He made Sean a birthday cake while everyone else was partaking in alcoholic beverages.  This caught my attention so I informed Esteban that I would like to cook something with him (pre-blog) and he obliged.

Esteban has learned some cooking from his parents, although the hobby took off when he moved off to college.  In college, he started cooking as a hobby and also kept a cooking blog.  It has since been debunked, but his hobby lives on.

The meal Esteban chose to cook was Picadillo.  His parents   Got the name from how it was prepared (fried in the pan like ground beef in tacos) in Spanish.  Usually cooked with rice, used Jasmine rice.

We began the meal with two different tasks: Esteban started by browning the meat and I started by peeling and chopping the vegetables.

Like with most meals, I purchased my ingredients from Safeway, but Esteban filled me in on a helpful fact.  Costco is better meat and cheaper.  His mother used to go to a butcher that worked at an expensive supermarket and then moved from there to Costco. He said meat is same and cheaper.  You just have to buy in bulk.  Seeing as how I already have an issue with not eating all the food I buy, I shall file this habit under the “maybe” file.

The carrots were chopped into small cubes while the potatoes were slightly larger.

Post chopping, we prepared two different pots of water: one for the vegetables and one for the rice.  The temperature of the cooking is super important and that is why the vegetables are cooked separately.  I’ve always done it that way but I never knew why.

We had three different choices of rice, white, brown, and jasmine, though I’m pretty sure the jasmine rice was white rice and flavoring (don’t buy the store brand.)  did it with flavor.  onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes are choices.  We chose onions.

We started by boiling just the carrots since they cook slower than the potatoes.

And then added the potatoes.

Then we strained the potatoes vegetables and started cooking the other parts.  I began chopping the onion.  This was for the picadillo dish, and to put in the rice for flavoring.  Either way, they required chopping the same size onion deelys.

Once done with the onion, we prepared the bread for baking.  It mostly consisted of us chopping it in half and inserting butter.  Lots and lots of butter.

When chopping the cilanto, Esteban picked off about 20 leaves and then wrapped them together.  I found this to be a great way to chop lots of little leaves all at once.  I added it to my mental utility belt.

Then we started the actual cooking process.  We started with the onions and a tiny bit of oil.

Did I mention that Esteban was browning the meat while I was chopping all the vegetables?  I didn’t?  Okay, so I didn’t take pictures either, but here is the next step:  We added the meat and chopped veggies.

For the rice, we started by boiling the water and added olive oil and salt.  I’m used to cooking rice with just water, so adding flavoring was an interesting twist on what I usually do.  Once the rice was about half cooked, we mixed in some onion for the flavor.

Once all the meat and vegetables were cooking for a bit, we added ketchup for flavoring.  Esteban noted that different things can be used such as tomato sauce, but ketchup was used for the convenience factor.

Then we were pretty much done.

Of course, this is when the roommates decided to stop playing video games and casually walk into the kitchen and inquire about the meal we were making.  Yes they got to have some.  It was nice to eat with the roommates at the table.  If I remember correctly, it was the first time since the year and a half ago when we moved in together that we all sat down to eat a home cooked meal together.

Note that each roommate has their favorite sauce in front of them.  Sean: Ketchup.  Steve: La Victoria sauce.

The meal was delicious.  And afterwards, we even had time for a game of Settlers of Catan.

Side Note:  After cooking the rice, Esteban found out from Steve that I own a rice cooker.  He got upset at me for not mentioning it before.  Here is the thing: I enjoy having a rice cooker because I use it to steam vegetables every so often, but I have never used it to cook rice.  I feel that rice is pretty damn easy to cook and why a cooker is necessary has always been beyond me.  Esteban said it makes it easy so there is no guess work involved.  It pretty much takes care of itself.  Poppycock.  You put in one part rice, two parts water, and let the magic happen for 20 minutes then take it off the heat.  Easy.  I will never use a rice cooker in my own cooking.

What I learned:

I really need freezer bags.  This was the second meal in a row where I needed them.  I’ll actually need them in the next two blog entries as well.  This meal was cooked six weeks ago.  I still haven’t purchased freezer bags.

I’m buying my meat from Costco next time.

Baking is easier to share than cooking.

What I didn’t learn:

The value of rice cookers.  I have morals, I have my morals, I have my morals.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s