The weather here at the beach has been so beautiful. With temperatures in the high 70s and cloudless skies, spring is already in full swing. Flowers are blooming everywhere, the beach is full of people, and everyone just looks happy that winter is over. I’m happy as hell to be able to walk outside in a tank top and flip flops.

Although fall has always been my favorite season (those beautiful colors are mesmerizing!), I’ve always loved spring because it feels like a good time to start on something new. Everything around you is sprouting up after a long winter, there are new buds on the trees…. why not start something new in your own life? It can be a fresh beginning.

Anyway, you came here for the food. For lunch today I made picadillo, a Latin American dish similar to the American hash. I stumbled across the Wikipedia article which highlighted some regional varieties of the dish, and created this recipe that combines a little from both the Domincan Republic and Puerto Rican versions.

This is an easy recipe to make, and a lot of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. This recipe is going into weekly rotation for me – I love the combination of flavors (allspice, green olives, capers, tomato) and the versatility of ways you can eat this. I served this along with brown rice, but it can be used in a wrap, as the filling for savory pastries, as stuffing or in tacos. Get creative!

The rum-soaked raisins are particularly awesome, so although you can omit the rum and just use the raisins plain, I would definitely recommend the rum. It’s delicious. The rum I used is actually from Latin America, but use whatever you have.

Here’s the recipe. If you make it let me know what you think.

Picadillo

2 cups tvp granules
1 3/4 cups water
2 Tbs tamari
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbs rum
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp allspice
1 (150z) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup capers, drained of brine
1/2 cup whole green olives, pitted
Fresh parsley, to garnish

First things first – soak the raisins in the 1 tablespoon rum and set aside. Allow to soak why you prepare and start cooking the other ingredients.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the tvp, water, and soy sauce. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and green pepper for about 7 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, tvp, and spices and saute another 3 minutes, until the tvp is browned. Stir in the tomatoes, drained raisins, capers, and olives. Lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes to heat through. Remove from heat, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

 

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