Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mexican Food

We are not celebrating cinco de mayo this year for a couple of reasons, but we did make Mexican food this weekend.  I grew up in a Hispanic community and I loved visiting friends homes that had a very rich culture.  Food was a big part of that culture.  I really enjoy recreating some of those flavors and scents in my kitchen.  But I also love to experiment with my own take on the traditional flavors and dishes of Mexico.

So, this past weekend, I grabbed the kids and headed for my own kitchen to play around.  We made up a recipe for shrimp tacos and tried a Rachel Ray recipe for a jicama slaw.  But one thing we always make sure to have on the menu with Mexican food is my cumin rice.  Cumin rice is so nutty, so flavorful and very easy to make.  Cumin rice is a staple on our plate. For a few simple ingredients, you get a wonderful side dish that we just love. 

I already have to report a mistake.  I would not recommend making this dish with brown rice.  You can use brown, but the longer cooking time of the brown rice causes the dish to loose some of it's nutty flavor.  I am a big fan of brown rice, but when I make this dish, I use white rice.      

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. 

Add your chopped onion,



and stir to combine. 

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to caramelize.  This is going to give you lots of good flavor.    

When the onion is browning nicely, add the rice.  Stir the rice into the onion and oil mixture so each grain of rice is coated in oil.

Next in goes a tablespoon of cumin.  Stir the cumin into the rice to combine.  Let the rice and cumin cook for a bit so they get slightly toasted. 

Finally add chicken stock. 

Stir everything in the pan. 

Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat up to high.

When the liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer.  Cook the rice, covered, until the rice is to your liking.  We like wet sticky rice so we add a touch more liquid than the box recommends.  If you like fluffy rice, follow the box instructions to make fluffy rice. 

The aroma is amazing.  The taste is not overpowering, but so satisfying.  The onion melts away and turns into pure flavor. 

My son was so impatient to eat once the food hit the table. 

We made shrimp tacos, corn and avocado salade, cumin rice, and a jicama slaw.  It was such a yummy dinner.

Here is the centerpiece we put together for fun.  I love it. The vase is a painted buttermilk container that my son painted.  

To dress up our shrimp tacos we had a pepper salsa, lime wedges, green and red onions, and some crema to drizzle on the spicy shrimp.  

Cumin Rice


1 1/4 Cups White Rice
3/4 Cups Diced Onion
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock


1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, salt and pepper. Cook the onion until caramelized slightly, stirring often.

2. Add the rice to the saucepan and stir well to coat the rice. Add cumin and cook for five minutes stirring often to toast the cumin and rice.

3. Add chicken stock to the pan and turn the heat to high. Cover the pan and wait for the liquid to come to a boil. When the liquid is boiling, turn the heat down so the liquid is simmering. Cook the rice, covered, for the suggested time on the rice package. Fluff with a fork or stir with a spoon and serve. Makes 5 1/2 cup servings.

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