Arroz a la Mexicana

March14

Whenever we come home from a vacation, we try to keep the memories alive by maintaining holiday routines and eating and drinking favourite treats from the trip.  In all honesty, we even do this when we come home from an extended time at the cottage.  When we arrived from Italy, D went out to pick up some milk and fruit but found himself in De Luca’s -throwing salami, olives and capers into his shopping basket.

We asked Daughter #1 whom accompanied us to Isla Mujeres, what she was missing most.  We were expecting the warmth, the turquoise ocean or the friendly Mayan people, but true to form, her reply was-the food!  So when we assembled for mandatory Sunday supper I did my best to recreate the flavours.

D put big thick pork chops onto the barbeque flavoured with mango/chipolte seasoning.  It wasn’t the same as eating Fredy’s prok chops on the sidewalk on Hidalgo-but they were really good.  We are completely out of groceries but I did find a bag of cole slaw in the fridge that was the basis for an Isla Slaw with a sour cream/orange & lime juice dressing.  But the big hit was Mexican Rice.  On Isla, a version of this is even served at “fast food” windows like Tino’s Ribs and Rotisserie Chicken.

Last family trip to Isla

I found this in “Cocina Islena” a fund-raising cook book for PEACE(Protection, Education, Animals, Culture & Environment) -a name for people interested in working together for a better Isla Mujeres. 

1 1/2 c rice

1/3 c oil (I used butter)

1 large chopped tomato (8 oz.)

4 oz. chopped onion

1 chopped garlic clove

3 1/2 c chicken broth

Heat oil in rice pot.  Stir in rice until all grains are well covered, then saute, stirring constantly,  until a light golden colour.  This should take about 5-10 minutes. 

In a blender, blend the tomato, onion and garlic until smooth.  Add to the rice and continue to cook while stirring and scraping the bottom until the mixture is dry.  Add the broth and reduce to a medium heat, uncovered until the liquid has absorbed and small air holes appear in the rice.  Remove from heat and cover tightly, so that no steam can escape, for about 20 minutes and the rice continues to cook in its own steam. I wanted to visit my guests so I put a lid on after I added the chicken stock and simmered on a low heat for 20 minutes.

Kath’s quote: “Rice is a beautiful food.  It is beautiful when it grows, precision rows of sparkling green stalks shooting up to reach the hot summer sun. It is beautiful when harvested, autumn gold sheaves piled on diked, patchwork paddies. It is beautiful when, once threshed, it enters granary bins like a (flood) of tiny seed-pearls. It is beautiful when cooked by a practiced hand.”-Shizuo Tsuji


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