Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Southwest Rice Bowls

I was craving margaritas this Friday. Tequila, limes, salt….So that we wouldn’t just sit around the house and drink, I made Southwest Rice Bowls to complement our adult beverages. This was so good and that isn’t the tequila talking. The flavors melded perfectly and the dish was sumptuous looking. I am going to serve this at a dinner party soon.

I realize that at first glance this recipe appears daunting. 17 ingredients? However, this is actually a recipe for 4 dishes: beans, rice, peppers and onions, and steak. The way I have given these instructions, you are cooking everything at the same time. If you aren’t there yet in your cooking skills, you can cook everything separately and keep the individual components warm. I would cook the onions and peppers first, then the beans, then the rice and meat.

This is a complete dish. You don’t need any sides. The squeeze of lime before eating is necessary for a splash of acid and brightness. The next day, there were a few leftovers. I put everything but the steak in a sauce pot with chicken broth, tomato paste, and leftover chicken. I stirred in chili powder and dropped in a bay leaf. That soup was delicious, too.

Servings: 6-8
Time:  Active time 30 minutes; Cook: 30 Minutes, Rice bowls in about 40 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a gallon Ziploc bag, 2 deep skillets, a large sauce pot, a small sauce pot, a strainer, a plate, a can opener, tongs, many wooden spoons and serving bowls

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1-15 ounce can of black beans
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1-12-ounce steam-in-the-bag, frozen, super sweet corn
  • 1 large onion-at least 8 ounces
  • 1 large green pepper-at least 8 ounces
  • Cooking spray
  • Oil to fill your large skillet half way
  • 1½ pounds top round cut into thin strips
  • 1 + 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Sour cream, salsa and ¼ lime for garnish, optional-slices of avocado and pickled jalapeño

Southwest Rice Bowl

  1. Put the chicken stock and chopped cilantro on to boil. As soon as the stock begins to boil, add the rice. Boil for 20 minutes and strain. Taste and adjust the salt.
  2. While the rice is boiling, slice the onions into rings. Don’t slice them too thin or they will burn rather than caramelize. Slice the green pepper into long then strips. Spray one pan liberally with cooking spray. Add the onions and peppers and cook over medium. Keep an eye on them and toss when necessary to keep from burning. When they have cooked to the texture you prefer, remove them to the plate. Keep them warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
  3. Put the black beans and oregano in the small sauce pot to warm
  4. Microwave the corn using the package directions
  5. Salt and pepper the steak. Also, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cumin over it and rub it in.
  6. Place the cornstarch, corn meal, the rest of the cumin, the cayenne pepper, and ½ teaspoon of salt in the plastic bag. Seal and shake. Then add the steak and shake. Make sure all the steak is coated. 
  7. Fill the other skillet half way with oil and heat on high. When the oil is very hot, shake as much cornstarch off as possible. Drop the steak into the hot oil. Do not crowd the meat. You may need to cook it in batches. The oil should be hot enough that the meat crisps up immediately. You should cook each slice for no more than two minutes. Extra thick pieces may take another minute, but no more. As you finish, remove the meat to the plate with the onions and peppers. Beware, this method splatters.
  8. To create the rice bowls, fill each bowl with rice. Then visually divide the bowl into quarters. Fill one quarter with beans, one with corn, the 3rd with peppers and onions and the 4th with meat. Place a tablespoon of sour cream and a tablespoon of salsa in the center. Give each guest a quarter of a lime to squeeze over their entire bowl.

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