Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Simple Meal Idea: Mexican Skillet Rice

I may have mentioned it before, but Jamey and I (along with a group of other college students from across the country) spent almost four months in Xalapa, Mexico, studying the language and culture my senior year of college.  How much of the language do I remember?  Yeah, very little.  I'm hoping to re-learn Spanish along side Sam in a year or two.

Here we were celebrating Jamey's birthday at his host mother's house.   Back row left to right: Husband and wife group leaders, my tutor (whom I adored), my host mother, a very young me, Jamey's host cousin and host aunt.  Front row: a very young Jamey and his host mother.  On the table (left to right) are pambazos, birthday cake and a stromboli Jamey and I contributed.

So, as you can imagine, I really enjoyed the food while we were there- street food, cafe food, you name it.  But it just so happens that the host mother that Jamey lived with was a cake baker and my host mother, who was well-off, was into authentic Mexican cooking with a gourmet flair (imagine that).  Her meals were amazing.  Fresh fruit (local mango, papaya, etc.) and local cheese for breakfast.  Lunch was fresh tostadas or quesadillas with fresh salsa and dinners...well, there was homemade mole, roasted chicken with fruit sauces and rice.  There were different kinds of tamales and for dessert, more fruit, rice puddings and flan.  Oh, how I wish I has photographed food back then!

 A cafe in Xalapa

I jotted down many of her recipes (in Spanish).  I never attempted any of them and I'm not exactly sure why.  Yes, some of the ingredients would be a bit of a challenge to come by (but not impossible) and I would have to translate the recipe (also not impossible).  I think I've left them alone because without being made by her and without sitting in her kitchen to eat them, they just wouldn't be the same.

Jamey and I talk of going back one day.  I don't know if we will or not.  It depends on what the Lord has planned for us- oh! to be privy to those plans!

All the history aside, this next simple recipe is not one I remember having in Mexico, but I very well could have eaten something similar.  It is an authentic Mexican recipe submitted to Extending the Table by Adriana Castillo Adame who was/is from Mexico City, Mexico.  It's super easy to prepare and actually, very tasty.  Our family enjoyed it very much.

Mexican Rice Skillet (Extending the Table)
Serves 4.  My notes are in italics.

2 tbsp. oil
1 cup uncooked rice (we used brown rice)
1 small onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup boiling water or broth (we used broth)
2 medium green peppers, cut into strips (there were some red in with my green chopped peppers)
1 cup canned or frozen corn
sour cream (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese (also optional)

In a large, heavy fry pan, heat the oil and add the uncooked rice.  Fry for 1-2 minutes.  Add the onion, garlic, 1/2 cup water and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the water is absorbed.  Add the remaining water (or broth), peppers and corn.  Cover and simmer about 20 minutes if you're using white rice, longer if you're using brown until the water is absorbed and rice is tender.  Remove from heat and serve or top with sour cream or cheese.

  Palenque, Chiapas (we went to Chiapas, Mexioco during our free travel)
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  1. Wow... I LOVE looking thru old photos... Pretty neat :)

  2. Just came across your blog. I look forward to reading more and getting to know you better. I think we might just have somethings in common.


  3. ....subbing crema (which is pretty common in stores now) makes a big difference, I think.....

    ...comparing real Mexican crema to our sour cream...oy....what a difference! I made brisket tacos a few nights ago and used tomatillo salsa and crema. crimeny...I would have drank it!

  4. Okay...I will have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing. :)

    And I *loved* the *old* photos of the *younger* you...how does life fly by soooo fast??? What a fun experience for you both. :)


  5. I truly can't wait to try this one. I meant to send you a two thumbs up comment on the lemon bars you posted over the holidays. I made them several times at my husbands request. They were so yummy.


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