Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mexican Rice...yiiippa yippa, andale, arriba!!!!

Hello world!!! I know it may seem like I have fallen off the face of the earth, but I am still here....I promise! I can't believe I haven't posted since March!!!! I wish I could say something awesome like "we've just been so busy!" or "The kids and I have been very active over the summer". That would be a lie, though, and I really try not to do that. The sad, honest truth is that we haven't done ANYTHING this summer. Seriously, other than a few pinterest projects and learning to crochet, I have sat around and let the summer pass me by. You see, the truth is that for the last couple of years I have been struggling with anxiety and depression. One of the reasons I began blogging was that it really helped me to combat the depression and gave me a reason to keep getting off my behind and doing something. I have been having a hard time lately just keeping up with the house and laundry, geez, I haven't even been going outside except to get groceries and tend to the garden, so I decided to start blogging again. It really gives me a sense of purpose....even if the purpose is just to share a few recipes, crafts or funny stories. It helps me feel connected in a way (especially if you leave, hint). So there, now it is out in the open, nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, just the facts. As a matter of fact, when I finish writing this blog post, I am going to sweep and mop the floor, put in the last load of laundry (well, for the next day or two anyway) and then I am going to take the kids to White Water....yay, fun!!!!! I am actually going to drive all the way to Marietta without another adult in the car and (try) not to be anxious (yes Mom, I took my Prozac this morning).

So, now, on to the goods for today!! In my last post, all the way back in March, my good friend Stephanie commented and asked me to post about how to make authentic Mexican Rice. I am ashamed to say that I actually kind of sucked at it. My husband would generally make the rice because everyone including him, the kids and my Mother told me that he made it better. However, it still wasn't just didn't taste like the rice you get at the Mexican restaurant. Since I am a responsible blogger and would never blog a recipe that isn't up to the high standards of my taste buds, I decided to do some research to find the correct way to make the rice. I wish I could credit someone here with the information I discovered, but my new improved recipe is really a mash-up of my previous recipe plus a few techniques I picked up on the net. The result is perfectly fluffy mexican rice. My whole family and even my husband has taken the rice making job away from him and restored it to me, while exclaiming how wonderful this rice is. As a matter of fact it's better than what you will get at the restaurant. So I will quit rambling now and give up the goods. 

You will need: 

Two cups of long grain rice (not instant)
Oil (whatever kind you want)
2 cubes of Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Bullion from the mex. section of the store)
2 -4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, quartered
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
water if needed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The first and most important step is to rinse the rice really well. If you don't, your rice will be gummy and sticky. I know, I know I've heard that washing it washes away the nutrients, but really.....we're using white rice, it's not that good for you anyway.

Next, you'll need to blend the tomatoes, caldo de pollo, onion, and garlic. A few words of advice, put the tomatoes in the bottom of the blender followed by the garlic, onions and caldo de pollo. If you put the onions in first it will be practically impossible to blend it to a liquid state (don't ask me how I know this). When you get it blended it will look like the following picture. You will need about 4 cups of liquid, so add tomatoes, up to 4, to get there and if you still aren't at 4 cups just add water. Set this aside for now. 

Next, using a deep pan that you can put in the oven, heat a little oil in the pan. I have found that my cast iron dutch oven works really well for this. When the oil is hot enough, add the rice. To test the heat of the oil drop 1 or 2 grains of rice into the oil, when they start to sizzle the oil is ready. Stir fry the rice until it is golden. Try not to get it too brown as it will have a burnt taste. 

 When the rice is golden, pour in your tomato mixture and stir to mix. Put the lid on the pan and put it in the oven. Let it cook for about 20 minutes. When you take it out stir it, if all of the liquid has been absorbed it's ready. If not put it on for a bit longer and cook until all liquid is absorbed. That's IT!!!! Can you believe how easy it is? When I am cooking Mexican, I generally get the rice started first so I can cook everything else while it's in the oven.

Here is a yummy looking photo of  the rice along with some fried, black bean tacos that my husband calls fritas. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or recipe requests. Enjoy your mexican restaurant style, fluffy, tasty rice!

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