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Monday, August 19, 2013

Spanish Rice

Secret Recipe Club is so much fun!  This month I got Our Eating Habits.  And, I got a wonderful trip down memory lane because Jamie and her hubby, Clarke had just taken a cruise so all of their dinner photos were posted.  Made me want to grab my Royal Caribbean cookbooks and sit down and read through them again.  If only I had the time...  At any rate, Jamie and Clarke and their kids have a LOT of fun centered around food.  They live up in Canada but traipse around visiting the northwestern part of the US pretty regularly.  That's a spot I've been to twice and would love to visit again!

What to choose?  All the yummy desserts were off limits thanks to our diet.  And, there were some REALLY yummy ones there.  Gingerbread Cream Pie.  Nutella Ice Cream.  Ok, stop.  We're dieting.  Would I choose the pork and peach stir fry?  No, my peaches aren't quite ripe.  And, since I'm trying to use garden goodies, a recipe jam-packed with veggies is a great thing.  I finally settled on the Spanish Rice.  It is very much like one of my favorite recipes from years gone by - Mexican Rice.  Except that Jamie spices hers up with a bit of chili powder and hot sauce.  An opportunity to revisit an old favorite AND use up some tomatoes and peppers.  Perfect.

Here's how you hop on over and visit Jamie:  Our Eating Habits.   If you'd like to take a look at some other fabulous recipes, head on over to Secret Recipe Club.  There you'll find the recipes from all four of the groups. 

So, here's how to make Jamie's delightful Spanish Rice


1 T olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped green bell pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
3/4 c long grain rice
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 c V8 juice (Jamie's recipe called for water)
1 t sugar
1 t chili powder
several dashes hot sauce (I used Tabasco Chipotle)


In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic in the olive oil just until they're softened.  Add the rice, tomatoes (and their liquid,) V8, sugar, chili powder and hot sauce.  Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly.  The rice is ready to serve when the liquid has almost evaporated and the rice is tender - about 15-20 minutes.

adapted from Our Eating Habits.  Originally from Betty Crocker

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tomatoes and Steaks Cooked on Granite

Almost two weeks and I've not posted.  You see, a year ago I made a business decision that didn't turn out very well.  We made a big change with a group I'd been with for almost 15 years.  The new folks over promised and under delivered.  BIG time.  I finally decided I couldn't spend the next ten years of my life waking up crabby knowing I'd have to deal with all their mistakes.  I called the old guys and asked if they'd have me back.  Would they ever.  They welcomed me with open arms.  August 1st I got an email from the president saying, "Welcome home."  He may be a Yankees fan but he's a great guy :-)  And, I am SO glad to be back.  I sorely miss my buds from the old group.  It came down to doing the right thing for my clients, myself and my marriage.  Being crabby and unhappy doesn't solve anything.  Now, I can move forward and know I've made a good decision.  But, it does mean doing a LOT of paperwork.  A couple of months of explaining to my wonderful clients what's happened and why.  And, very little time to post.  Or, cook for that matter!  I've been trying to fix big batches of whatever so we've got plenty of leftovers.

Thank goodness it's the height of summer around here.  Our tomatoes and cucumbers are producing like crazy.  A couple of years ago I asked the wonderful folks at the Garden Center if they could get Black Brandywine tomatoes.  They rather looked at me like I was crazy but ordered them anyway.  Patty told me this year that I'm the only one who ever requests them but they always sell out because folks love the name.  This is the perfect tomato in my opinion.  It's not mealy or mushy.  And, the flavor is perfect tomato with the exact right balance of sweet and tart.  My beloved Sallie dog (who died in 2004) used to run to the garden and eat the Black Brandywines just as they were perfect.  The year after she died, my yard had a HUGE volunteer Black Brandywine plant.  It produced like crazy.  My guess is Sallie pooped the seeds :-)

Needless to say, I'm finding all kinds of ways to fix tomatoes.  A few days ago I made what wound up being gazpacho and served it in a cucumber boat.  Then, there were the BLT's with pesto.  Oh, my, but those were good.  And, of course we've had tomatoes and cucumbers.  And, Caprese salads.  You name it and we've had it.


Then, I picked up a Bon Appetit grilling issue and read an article about grilling steaks on slate.  Off to buy some slate.  Yeah, right.  The Stone Center was a bust.  So was Lowe's.  You name it, we tried it.  No such luck.  Then, we tried the Tile Shop.  Eureka.  How about granite instead?  Yeah, that sounds like a great idea.  Now, one of the things you need to know is that we've both been dieting.  Connie's lost more than I have but he's tried harder.  So, meat has been a side instead of the main attraction.  We've not had a steak in forever.  These slate grilled steaks sounded just too good to pass up.  And, using granite that doesn't flake sounded even better. 

What to have with our steaks?  Cucumbers and tomatoes.  Creamed corn with bacon.  I read a great recipe somewhere.  But, where?  An internet search turned up Michael Symon's recipe.  (You can find it on  Wouldn't you love to have dinner with him?  He's such a fantastic chef. 

Connie'd asked for hell grilled onions.  I kicked them up a notch with a bit of Emeril's seasoning.  

Our take?  These were good but not any better than a plain old steak cooked on the grill.  I did manage to make three full meals out of two small steaks by taking the leftover onions and tomatoes and cucumbers and tossing them with chopped steak to make fajitas.  Now, those were spectacular!