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Carol’s Beans and Chips

15 Aug

Beans and Chips 002

As we grew up, my house became a magnet for my brothers’ and my friends in large part because of my mom’s cooking. While I am sure that our gregariousness has attracted multitudes over time, my bros and I know that behind it all lurked the desire for my mom’s lasagna, burritos, pizza, and these here beans and chips. She always made enough and it was always that goddamn good.

For the past few years on Facebook, I’ve posted a picture of a little tradition we have at my house. On my mom’s birthday in March, we set up a mini “Carol feast” with her picture as an effigy, complete with Lipton’s Instant Iced Tea and a pack of Parliament Light cigarettes from the last carton she owned before she passed away (her actual last half-smoked pack of grits is in her coffin alongside a jar of Lipton’s, fyi). This little celebration always features potato chips and onion dip, brie with almonds and honey, and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne to round it all out. She served this to guests 90% of the time she entertained after we all had grown up. Rather than cry, we toast a great woman and try to imitate her cackling laugh as closely as we can.

Inevitably when I post a picture of this, a few of my friends will comment on the post with “dude, Carol’s beans and chips. Best thing ever,” or similar sentiments. The beans and chips, so simple to make, were a staple for me and my friends at least twice a week during my teenage years. The key to their beauty is in the homemade chips; it can neither be fathomed nor appreciated using a suitcase o’ Mission tortilla strips or rounds. You have to fry corn tortilla triangles in oil, salt ’em hot, and dip ’em into seasoned refried beans while warm. Nothing like it.

Another component of this dish involves a Southern California institution: Del Taco. We call it either “Del” or “the Del,” and the chain evolved from another beautiful SoCal institution, Naugles (one can still be found in Fullerton, I believe). I am pretty sure that most truly old-school OC natives will tell Taco Bell to take a flying fuck over the Del, to be honest. We all have our routines when we eat there, too, and can readily identify our friends’ Del routines without batting an eye. For example, Jimmy and Griz always put fries in their burritos. My brother Chris’s go-to is a large red burrito with sour cream. Here’s Griz representing:

Griz

One of the most crucial parts of experiencing Del is the Mild Sauce they serve in packets. I am convinced that they have never bottled it so people will still indulge in their Del addictions. People might kill for this sauce. For example, one of my best friends got a box o’ Del Mild Sauce packets, a whole box, for his birthday and he’d be hard pressed to tell you of a better present. One of my most egregious fouls had to be when I stopped a friend from filling a large bag of Mild Sauce to take back east to college because I thought we’d get in trouble. I now realize that I was being a large pussy, but I have since apologized to him profusely.

Why do I bring this up? Well, that Mild Sauce is the perfect seasoning for the canned refried beans needed for this recipe. And yes, you have to rip open and squirt all 15 or more packets into the beans: it connects you to them. It reminds you of Del’s beauty and singularity. It’s both euphoric and sublime. Still you can use any hot sauce you like and it’ll work; I just wanted to pontificate about the Del for awhile and make this post longer because the recipe itself is short and basic.

Carol’s Bean and Chips

Serves 4 normal people or 2 teenagers.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 cans of refried beans, any type you like

15 packets (or more) of Del Taco Mild Sauce or 1/3 cup of hot sauce of your liking

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup or more vegetable oil for frying

1 package of corn tortillas, cut into triangles

salt to taste

love

Makin’ ‘Em:

In a medium sauce pan, add the refried beans, Del or hot sauce, sour cream, and 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese. Heat this over low to medium low heat, stirring fairly often to mix it all up and to keep it from burning on the bottom and sides. Keep this going as you fry the chips.

In a large skillet, add the oil and heat it over medium-high heat. When a drop of water cracks in the oil, it’s ready. Working in batches, fry about 6 to 9 chips at a time, turning them as needed to get a golden brown. Be careful doing this as the oil is muy dangerous. I use a fork and tongs for the flipping and removing. When they’re golden, remove them from the oil and drain them on paper towels. Salt them while they’re hot (it melts onto them) and then add another layer of triangles to the oil. Do this until you’ve fried them all. I usually remove the done chips to a serving basket to keep them warm.

Add the warm beans to a serving dish and sprinkle it with the rest of the cheddar cheese. Serve it warm with the chips and thank me (and Carol) later. You’ll get this:

Beans and Chips 006

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

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Mexican Lasagna

16 Jul

Tortilla and Black Bean Casserole 008

I got this recipe out of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and tweaked it a bit. The authors call this a casserole, but I heartily disagree. This is a lasagna, except that corn tortillas are substituted for lasagne and the fillers are Mexican-based frivolities. So I will call it Mexican Lasagna whether anyone likes it or not.

For the umpteenth time in the last few years, I have decided to seriously engage in the old Weight Watchers system (PointsPlus and 360° can fuck off thither).  I am excited about this because I really want to expand on the good dishes I can make…dishes that are good for you and fill you up. I thought about changing the name of this blog to “Thinner with Jonny,” but I would feel like a cock for doing that, so no.

The idea in Weight Watchers is to try to get as much bang for your buck, but in this case, bang for your POINTS. They have the “filling foods” concept, which is the list of foods with little or no caloric value but will fill you up, duh. Also, fiber is a good thing. This lasagna, for instance, has 8 grams of fiber per serving, so while it has 300 calories a serving and 8 grams of fat, the point value isn’t so high because of the fiber: it’s a 6, and this baby is a brick o’ food. I get 36 points a day, so this still leaves me with 30 points….not too shabby.

Furthermore, the leftover portions can be frozen and serve as a quick lunch or dinner. It’s quite easy to make and a crowd pleaser. If you want more protein, add a layer of shredded chicken or Mexi-meat, but it will change the points value, of course.

Mexican Lasagna

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 bell pepper, seeded, membranes removed, and chopped

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

3/4 cup Pico Pica or taco sauce or something similar

2 tsp. ground cumin

3 cloves minced garlic (or more if you’re hardcore)

2 15 oz. can beans, drained and rinsed (kidney, black, pinto, whatever works)

12 6-inch corn tortillas

2 cups cheddar or jack cheese

Assorted toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, sliced black olives, green onions, sour cream

Makin’ It:

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the chopped onions and bell pepper. Saute this for 5 minutes until they’re soft. Next, add in the tomatoes, taco sauce, cumin, and garlic. Get this boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer it uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in the beans.

In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, spread 1/3 of the bean mixture on the bottom. Layer 6 tortillas on top of this, overlapping when needed. Top with 1 cup of the cheese. Add another 1/3 of the bean mixture, the remaining tortillas, and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Bake this for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice it into 8 pieces and serve. Top it with the fixin’s if you’re hip to it.

Fusion food at it’s finest.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Chipotle Spanish Rice

29 Jun

Chipotle Spanish Rice Top

Chipotle peppers have made quite a name for themselves over the last few decades or so. The eponymous restaurant chain has obviously spread the name a bit, but even before it, these little smokey chiles began popping up all over the place in recipes. Have you ever had Subway’s chipotle mayo? Do so. It kicks ass.

Over ten years ago, I remember reading recipes in Bon Appetit that called for “canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.” So I bought a can and looked/ marveled at it for some time, wondering what to do with it. Until then, I thought that the “chipotle” was the area that everyone else calls the “taint” on the human body. I guess I was out of the loop on this. Personally, I like chipotle better, you know: it imparts more of a spicy flavor profile, if you catch my drift. The taint, well, ’tain’t much soul there.

In any case, the first time I used these in a recipe, it was for enchiladas or something of the like, back in the early days of my learning to cook.  I remember the distinct smoky aroma as I chopped them up and I did notice a lot of seeds. “Bah,” said I, “seeds will give it more flavor. These can’t possibly be spicy.” Wrong. I can handle spice, but my wife, then my girlfriend/ roommate, looked as though her alabaster skin had been assaulted by scrub pads. Between trying to take bites and wiping her brow, she indicated that she could go on no further. While the enchiladas were great (lie), the chipotle spice had done her in, she said. I noted mentally to remove seeds from chiles and peppers thenceforward.

I posted a Spanish rice recipe a while back (https://dinnerwithjonny.com/2013/01/18/idiot-proof-spanish-rice/), and I make this regularly. But as often happens, I started thinking. I wanted some variation on it. I looked in the pantry, saw that can o’ chipotle peppers, and my mental gears started cranking noisily, like a rickety North Korean space shuttle. The recipe below is what emerged, and it blew our socks off. Like my other rice recipe, this is simple to make and quite healthful, too.

Remember, remove the seeds from the peppers as you mince them. It’s a messy job, but the appearance of the peppers isn’t important because they blend in with everything else.

Chipotle Spanish Rice

Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. oil

1 tsp. chili powder

2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup water

1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed and peppers minced, reserving some the sauce

3/4 cup uncooked, washed rice

1 cup frozen green peas, somewhat defrosted or not (not that important), or fresh, if you have them.

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

Makin’ It:

In a large skillet, heat the oil  over medium- high heat and cook the onion until tender, about 6 minutes. Add in the minced garlic during the last minute so as not to burn it. Add the chili powder and cook another minute.

Next, stir in the undrained tomatoes, rice, water, chipotle peppers, peas, salt, and pepper. Add in a tablespoon or so of the reserved adobo sauce, too. This is key to the overall flavor. Get this boiling. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer it 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the liquid it absorbed.

(Note: A good trick for checking if the liquid is absorbed is to run a wooden spoon along the bottom of the pan. If the spoon leaves a path without juice filtering onto it, you’ve nailed it.)

Add in most of the black olive slices and stir. Check for salt and pepper and adjust, if needs be. Transfer it to a serving dish and top with the remaining black olives. You’ll get this:

Chipotle Spanish Rice

‘Tis easy to make and ’tain’t bad for you or your chipotle. 3/4 cup of this is a Weight Watchers 3 on the old system (Points Plus and 360° can fuck off to an alarming depth). Top with some grilled chicken, and you have a meal unto itself.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Chicken and Chickpea Chili that’s Good for You

26 Apr

Weight Watchers Chicken and Chickpea Chili 1

Good ol’ American chili is an art-form.  I quote the famous curmudgeonly sleuth, Nero Wolfe:  “Chili is one of the great peasant foods. It is one of the few contributions America has to world cuisine. Eaten with corn bread, sweet onion, sour cream, it contains all five of the elements deemed essential by the sages of the Orient: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, and bitter.” Couldn’t have said it better me-self.

In the States, annual chili cook-offs are a tradition in which almost every American has participated at one time or another.  I don’t know any American who doesn’t love a kick-ass bowl o’ chili. To boot, any given family’s chili recipe is secret, kept hidden but to a privileged few of the succeeding generations, to be passed on thereafter in covert meetings by the stove on an autumn day to worthy kin. Chili is diverse in its content in that it can contain any meat imaginable, or no meat; lots o’ beans, or no beans; veggies galore, or simply meat and sauce.  In essence, it represents America even more than the hamburger; chili can be any color, any personality, and created by any culture or creed, and we will accept it, love it, and welcome it into our homes and our lives. That’s why I love chili, and that’s why I love that I’m American.

Funnily enough, my family doesn’t have a chili recipe.  In fact, I don’t even have a “this is my chili” recipe, which kind of bums me out.  I keep working at it, though, and when I hit on one that reflects me, I will start there, tweak and revise, and eventually post it here.  But that doesn’t mean I haven’t made some good chili along the way.  This Chicken and Chickpea Chili recipe will make the insides of your thighs tingle.  Is it you exactly?  Maybe, maybe not.  You have to make it you, of course.

A few years back,  I got the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook as a housewarming present (with a message about how my weight loss is inspiring, no less (aw shucks)), and I have used it fairly often since then. This recipe is in there. I did take a few liberties with it, of course, but not enough to alter the points.  1 1/2 cups of it is an 8 on the old Weight Watchers system (Points Plus and 360° can both fuck off profoundly).  Check out that it has cocoa powder; you’ll be surprised at how much it heightens the flavor. Moreover, it doesn’t take too long, in terms of chili. You have to find a cornbread recipe that will limit the points, of course, but the chili on its own is good enough.

Chicken and Chickpea Chili

Serves 4, 1 1/2 cups for each serving

Ingredients:

4 tsp. olive oil

1 bell pepper, any color, seeded, membranes removed, and diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium red onion, diced

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 lb. or so), diced

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 heaping tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional and dependent on your love of heat)

1 can diced green chilies

1 28 oz. can crushed tomato

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (or thereabouts)

1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium and no fat would be best for WW)

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

a few dashes o’  hot sauce, like Tabasco (optional)

1 15 oz. can (or so) chickpeas (garbanzos, drained and rinsed)

1 15 oz. can (or so) pinto beans (drained and rinsed)

Makin It:

In a dutch oven (translation: pot), heat the oil over medium to medium high heat. Add the bell pepper, celery, and onions.  Saute them until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the diced chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle this with the flour, chili powder, cocoa powder, and cayenne and stir this constantly for a minute.  Add in the chilies, tomatoes, broth, vinegar, and hot sauce, if using.  Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer it for 30 to 40 minutes uncovered, stirring fairly frequently, until it’s thickened to your liking (hehe).

Next, stir in the chickpeas and pinto beans.  Simmer until it’s heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve in bowls with corn bread or alone.  Pass the low-fat sour cream and sing the National Anthem with gusto, kiddos.

Weight Watchers Chicken and Chickpea Chili

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Carol’s Burritos

19 Mar

Mom's Burritos 012

I have written before about the recipe books that I inherited from my mom after she died.  I cannot emphasize what a gift this is.  It’s a walk through the kitchen of my youth plus a lot (and I mean A LOT) of recipes she never got around to making.  But in those recipes she never made, I see my mom clearly. I see what she loved to eat, who she was friends with, who she worked with, what she was reading, what caught her eye, or what she envisioned to make for people when they came over and received arguably the most exceptional hospitality for which one could ask.  She decked out the table whenever someone came for a meal not to impress, but simply because she was a lady, and in her generation, that’s what ladies do for guests.

The recipe books themselves are a marvel from the past.  They contain her own original recipes, some typed (not word processed) and some hand written in the uniform Catholic school-taught cursive of the 40’s and 50’s.  There are recipes from the neighbors that we had on our block that bring me back to the Fourth of July parties at the end of our cul de sac.  There are obsolete notecards with the “Recipe of the Month” on them from the local realtors who dropped by to chat or just to leave their information.  There are pages meticulously cut from Bon Appetit or Sunset or Better Homes and Gardens.  There are recipes that one would never see at a restaurant or house, but perhaps were the “in thing” 30 years ago.  Lastly, there are some recipes that are missing.

When I got the recipe book, my mom’s sister, my aunt Charlotte, who is just like my mom in the entertaining and lady department, said that I need to find her burrito recipe. Indeed, my mom’s burritos are legendary.  Since she had three boys and a husband from the old country, she knew how to feed large appetites and large amounts of people, especially considering that each one of our friends knew about my mom’s cooking by the time we each turned 12.  Her burritos went a long way, and you can’t eat just one.  They just didn’t last long at our house, and when you make them, you’ll understand why.

So I set about trying to find this recipe in those books and, lo and behold, there isn’t one.  My mom probably made these so many times and so often that she didn’t even think to write it down.  She told me once, but that was years ago and I have since forgotten the specifics.

So, my brother Chris saved the day with this one since he got the recipe some years back, and thus he gave it to me in a voice mail, which is how my mom would have done it too, come to think of it.  I thought about sprucing it up for the photos for this blog post with some sort of swirly sour creamy sort of thing, but if I did, they wouldn’t be her burritos any longer.  These photos, this is what they look like, pure and simple.  Still, mine are not exactly like my mom’s, but even if I had the recipe in her own hand, they never would be unless she made them for us.

Carol’s Burritos

Makes about 10 burritos

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. oil

1 lb. ground beef

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. chili powder

1 16 oz. can refried beans

1 4 oz. can diced green chilies

1/4 cup vegetable oil

10 burritos-size flour tortillas

Makin’ It:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion.  Cook them until they’re soft, about 5 minutes.  Add in the ground beef and get it brown, making sure to break it apart as it browns.  Once it’s brown, drain off the fat. Add the paprika, cumin, salt,, and chili powder.  Mix it well.

Add in the refried beans and the chilies.  Mix this well and warm it through.  Remove it from the heat and set aside.

To make the burritos, take a tortilla and put about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the filling at one end of the tortilla.  fold the sides in and roll it up, making sure that the ends stay closed.  Repeat this until you run out of filling (you might make more or less burritos depending on how heavy your hand is with the filling).

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until a drop of water pops back at you (that’s when it’s ready).  Carefully put in two burritos and fry them, turning them once or twice to get them a golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  They’ll cook faster as you make them, so be careful to watch the coloring of the tortillas so as not to burn them.

Drain them on paper towels and serve either alone or with some hot sauce or salsa or sour cream or whatever.  These taste even better cold, in my opinion.

Mom's Burritos 007

I might suggest doubling this if you have more than three or four people because they’ll get devoured quickly.  Thanks Carol!

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Chilaquiles

11 Feb

Chilaquiles 005

Chilaquiles 015

I used to call this dish “Chili-killies” until I was instructed about the error in my pronunciation by some pretentious bastard, I’m sure.  But my relationship with chilaquiles has been fraught with problems over the years.  It wasn’t until recently that all became copacetic between me and this delectable breakfast or dinner treat.

The main problem I had with chilaquiles had nothing to do with the dish itself. Rather, it was a profound fuck up in the kitchen, one that dictated the direction of an entire Saturday, that scared me away from them so I wouldn’t have to relive that experience.  Let me explain in a more narrative voice…

It was a brisk Saturday morning and I, in my shorts and T-shirt, decided that I wanted to make something special for me and my lady for brekkie.  The idea of breakfast nachos appealed to me for whatever reason, so I reminisced about chilaquiles, a dish comprised of tortilla chips immersed in enchilada sauce, topped with cheese and eggs and all sorts o’ stuff.  This was my direction that morning.  I would make this happen.

So as I scoured the pantry in our 888 square-foot house, I noticed that I was out of a few items.  I needed pinto beans and tomato sauce, which required a quick trip to the store.  I made it there and back with no problem, and I proceeded to make the sauce.  Of course, the first time one makes anything, it always takes a bit longer, and I was in no hurry.  I then realized that, like a jackass, I forgot the tortilla chips.  So, in the car I went again down to the store and got some chips.  I admit, I was annoyed, which will make me hurry more than normal, which is bad news in the kitchen.

By this time, which was about an hour and half after I initially had decided on making this damn breakfast, my wifey woke up, rubbing her eyes because she doesn’t have balls to scratch.  She was as excited as I was about the prospect of chilaquiles that morning, and I was putting the finishing touches on this monster of a dish, laden with chips and beans and sauce and sour cream and cheese and you name it.  The oven was set at 350° and it was time for them to bake.

I believe my exact words to my wife were, “Look at this goddamn beautiful thing!”  The oven door was open and two racks were in there.  As I thrust the baking dish into the oven, its side hit the middle of the bottom rack.  Since I wasn’t expecting it, I fumbled with it.  The whole dish flipped forward, and with a giant whoosh and an ensuing sizzle, the entire mess of chilaquiles covered the racks, bottom, and sides of that piping hot oven.

In those three seconds, my entire Saturday’s course was decided for me.  There would be no picnics or wine tasting that day because I got the pleasure of cleaning the equivalent of meconium from an oven for about 4 hours.  It was such a fuck up that I couldn’t even be mad.

I hope that wasn’t too much story for little pay off. I think I just needed to reflect, and I do feel much better now.

Anyhow, these babies are easy to make as long as you don’t literally throw them in the oven as I did.  I found a recipe years ago online by someone named Jeanne Lemlin, but I have improvised with it quite a bit.   You can top them with nothing or with eggs any style.  In the pictures, those eggs are poached and there’s something about the yolk dripping over it that welcomes me.

Chilaquiles

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 cup salsa (I dig on the hot stuff myself)

2 cups canned tomato sauce (1 14-15 oz. can is fine)

1/2 cup water

1 4 oz. can diced green chiles

1 14 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed well

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. oregano

1 bag o’ plain tortilla chips, about 8 cups of them

1 cup sour cream

2 cups cheddar, Mexican blend, or jack cheese

4 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup sliced black olives

2 eggs for every serving, any style (optional)

Makin’ It:

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Combine the salsa, tomato sauce, water, chiles, beans, cumin, and oregano in a bowl and mix it well.  Pour about half of it in the bottom of a baking dish (I used a 9″x 13″ one).  Top this with half of the chips, and crush them down a bit to make an even layer. Drop spoonfuls of half of the sour cream over the chips, and then sprinkle on half of the cheese.  Top this with the remaining chips, sauce, sour cream, cheese, and all of the olives.

Bake this guy for 35 minutes until it’s hot and bubbly, like Jessica Simpson.  Remove it from the oven and cut it into squares like a lasagna.  For each square, top it with some of the green onions and the eggs, if you’re doing that.

Chilaquiles 009

If you like some heat on this, the Trader Joe’s Habanero Sauce is no joke, by the way.  Careful. (http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=140)

So now I make chilaquiles with reckless abandon without the fear of oven cleaning or mispronunciation.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Idiot-Proof Spanish Rice

18 Jan

Spanish Rice 2

There are a million recipes for Spanish rice out there.  The one I found in the New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook nails it for me, with a few variations, of course.

I think the best part about this recipe is that it is, indeed, idiot-proof.  If you know how to chop an onion and open a can, then you’ve got it.  It takes 1/2 an hour from start to finish, and everyone’s happy when they get it.  If you do Weight Watchers on the old system, it’s a 3 for 3/4 of a cup, which is a good deal because this is filling.

I serve this with any Mexican meal, from burritos to enchiladas to tostadas to whatever.  You can make this a meal unto itself; grill up some chicken or chorizo, slice it up, and put it on top of a portion of this rice, and Bob’s your uncle.

Idiot-Proof Spanish Rice

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion (use a variety, if you have them…it makes it muy sexy)

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (for whatever reason, I’m always out when I make this, so I just omit it totally and it’s just fine)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping tbsp. chili powder (heaping means a big one, wise guy)

2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained (or the equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes, of course, chopped and their juices saved)

1 cup water

3/4 cup uncooked and washed white rice

1 4 oz. can diced green chilies, undrained

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 black pepper or to taste

About 5 dashes of a vinegary hot pepper sauce, like Tabasco (not Tapatio)

1/2 cup green or black olives, sliced

Makin’ It:

In a large skillet that has a lid, get the oil hot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, peppers (if you’re using them), and garlic.  Saute these until they’re tender, about 7 to 9 minutes.  Add the chili powder.  Stir and cook it for 1 minute more.

Add the washed rice and stir it around in there for a minute; it makes the rice happy.  Then, add the rest of the ingredients except the olives.  Stir it well, turn up the heat, and get it boiling. Once it’s boiling, cover it and reduce the heat.  Simmer it like this for 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Transfer it to a serving bowl and top with the sliced olives, like this:

Spanish Rice 1

Notice that I sliced martini olives for this.  It was a school night, or those olives would have (should have) been in a martini.  Ah, the sacrifices I make…

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013