On food

Rellenos de papa

All of my recipes so far have been vegetable-based meals because I am a firm believer that vegetables are not side items, but instead, the main dish itself. Meat is a treat for me and to be honest, ever since I’ve cut back on my red meat intake, I have felt better and stronger than ever before. I know my body is thanking me.

I look at food as a source of fuel for our bodies. Eating isn’t supposed to be a hobby, but something that we do to keep ourselves up and moving and feeling fantastic. I added in the recipe portion to my blog because I want people to understand that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. You don’t have to be miserable, eating spinach and chewing on carrots all day like you’re some kind of rabbit. The options are never-ending and no matter what your personal palate is like, there are so many things out there that each person would enjoy. All it takes is some good old fashioned trial and error.

With that being said, one of my favorite days ever are my cheat days. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a real one and it’s been even longer since I’ve cooked any red meat in this house. (Probably about a year or so.) Not saying we haven’t eaten any red meat in a year, just that I’m not cooking with it myself. We still have the occasional cookout at my mom’s and family dinners at my grandma’s at least once a month and indulge in whatever they’ve got cooking. Believe it or not, we are not vegetarians, guys.  While I do try to stay within pescatarian boundaries, we splurge every now and then. AND IT FEELS GREAT—at first. Hell, the only reason why I’m not constantly eating delicious, greasy foods all of the time is because I feel like garbage afterwards. Maybe it’s because my body isn’t used to eating like that so often, but still… my skin feels oily, I break out, I feel bloated and if it isn’t TMI- I have a hard time digesting some of this stuff. When you go on a red meat strike for so long just to have one day where you go bananas with it, you can feel your insides screaming at you. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat the stuff, guys. Moderation is the key!

My family took a vacation to Puerto Rico some years back and what I remember and enjoyed most about it was the food. Particularly, rellenos de papas! We went to a beach called Pinones where they had the BEST STREET FOOD VENDORS EVER. EVER. EVER. I can still remember the smells. The tastes. The iguanas that hung from the trees right over our heads while we ate- AH. It was perfect! I have been craving a real, authentic potato ball ever since, only to be mildly satisfied with grocery store knockoffs. I figured, maybe it was time that I try to make my own.

I’m not going to pretend like mine could even come close to touching the ones I ate in Puerto Rico, but they were pretty damn good. My family is currently talking about (they’d probably prefer me to say ‘mentioning’) the idea of us all going back to PR next year and I’m over here crossing my fingers and toes and begging and screaming because YES, PLEASE. LET’S DO THIS!!!!

I NEED THIS.

WE NEED THIS. 

If you’re reading this one, family (I know you are), try this recipe out and then let’s talk some more about this vacation. *wink, wink*

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Ingredients:
6 small russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
Vegetable oil
1 cup bread crumbs
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup parsley
1 cup picadillo (I didn’t have this. I made a lazy version that i’ll list below)
IF YOU DON’T HAVE PICADILLO, I USED:
1 lb ground beef
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp Goya Adobo seasoning
3 tbsp Goya Sazon (if you don’t have this, mix black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt, cumin, coriander, and oregano together)

 

Put potatoes in a medium pot with salted water. Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Drain water and mash potatoes until smooth. Set aside to cool. Beat yolks into potatoes, add nutmeg, parsley and salt to taste. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form. Set egg whites aside.

For my lazy picadillo- brown seasoned beef over medium heat. Once browned, mix in stewed tomatoes and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Shape 1/4 cup of the cooled potato mixture into a ball. Flatten into a small disk and put one tbsp of picadillo in the center. Pinch to close the potatoes around the meat, reshaping it into a ball. Dip ball into beaten egg whites, then into bread crumbs. Repeat process until finished.

Put oil into a deep skillet to a depth of about 1.5 inches and heat on medium-high. Fry balls in oil until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

DEVOUR AND THINK ABOUT HOW AMAZING GOING TO PUERTO RICO NEXT YEAR WOULD BE.

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Happy cheating!

XOXO,

Nando

 

 

 

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