Life Overload & ‘Mexican’ Rice

You know that moment when you look at your calendar and you have no idea how you’re going to fit everything in? It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so utterly swamped on a Monday morning, but here we sit, and I am swamped. In a good way though–work is work and the house is the house, but I’m enrolled in a design class at the community college here which takes up my Wednesday nights (and Tuesday nights are for homework, of course–I’m 100% unable to plan ahead) and my foray into freelance photography has really heated up with a six assignments with October 1 deadlines. AND I have a photography class on Monday nights. Whew. I hate to say it, but the blog might take a little beating. But, hey, with VeganMofo coming up oh-so-soon, I’ll have a good reason to push through these hectic weeks. Can’t wait to get it started!

Along with the crazy days have come some recipes that didn’t quite pan out, recipes like this ‘Chorizo’ Stuffed Okra with ‘Mexican’ Rice. In theory, a fantastic combination, but, with my okra…not such a good plan. I don’t know if I bought the ‘wrong’ okra seed, but no matter how small I pick them, these okra are woody and inedible. All the complaints you’ve ever had about okra don’t hold water with mine. Tough, woody, unchewable, flavorless, not a lick of oozy goo. They’re just like whittled up tree trunks. A shame.

The okra plants trees, though, are gorgeous You can’t beat their purple streaked trunks, the milky flowers. I’m ok with them as decoration.

One good bit of the recipe was the ‘Mexican’ rice–something I would have normally never gravitated towards, but a side dish made central with the loss of the okra. No offense to Ree Drummond, but I’m not the biggest fan of her recipes (too meaty, too generic). Her ‘Basic Mexican Rice’ doesn’t tickle my fancy as written, but with some canned home-grown whole tomatoes, peppers from the garden, and the last of the pickled cherry tomatoes from 2011, it turned out far more exciting than I would have imagined. Tangy and rich from the tomatoes, slow simmered to a risotto consistency–it’s the kind of rice that works great in burritos or tacos or piled high with vegetables and a protein. Alright, Ree, maybe I’ll give your recipes another try (with a little twist, of course)!

‘Mexican’ Rice

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and chopped (add the 2nd pepper if you like it hot)
2 c brown basmati rice
1/2 pint pickled cherry tomatoes
1 pint whole tomatoes canned in their own juice
2 c vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh parsley (or cilantro), chopped

Warm olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet that can have a lid.

Add the onion and cook till soft, ~5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook 1 minute more until fragrant.

Reduce heat to low and add rice. Stir constantly, making sure the rice doesn’t burn. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes.

Add the pickled cherry tomatoes and whole tomatoes. Stir to combine and let cook for 2 minutes.

Finally, add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 additional minutes, until rice is al dente.

Garnish with chopped parsley (or cilantro, if that’s your thing) and serve.

Serves 6

6 Responses to “Life Overload & ‘Mexican’ Rice”
  1. I have recently been introduced into the pleasures of simpler recipes by Theresa. One of these is her mexican rice. It’s a really moreish dish somehow..? Perfect accompaniment is a seitan-chorizo too. Shame about your okra. I never like it, even in it’s true gooey unctuousness. Think I’d rather just appreciate the tree as an ornamental – sounds nicer : )

  2. FoodFeud says:

    I wish I had homegrown tomatoes to last me through the winter! This looks great.
    Sounds like things are pretty hectic by you.. I can’t believe you even signed up for mofo! Is that one of yr stuffed peppers on top?

  3. I commend you for pulling out such a delicious and hassle-free dish even on your crazy busy day. When I reach that level of insanity, it’s nothing but handfuls of cereal all day washed down the protein drinks to balance it all out. Cooking some real food would probably be better for my stress level anyway, not to mention my diet.

    • oh my god, Hannah, I am exactly the same way. It’s cereal and bananas whenever I’m rushed, and certainly not real home-cooked dinners!
      I have to say congrats on all the interesting stuff going on for you, Jes, though. Photography class must be so neat! Can I ask what kind of camera equipment you use?

      • Jes says:

        I definitely can’t wait for the class to start–need to learn how to use my camera! I use a 5-year-old Canon Rebel w/ a standard kit lens (which really isn’t all that good), but G just bought the newest Rebel with a few other lenses and I can’t believe how nice it is. Going to test it out tonight at a bar, but so far I’m super impressed with the aperature & ISO on it!!

  4. Renae says:

    You are very good about blogging despite being super busy; I admire your dedication in signing up for MoFo despite all that you have going on.

    I love that you are taking classes. You’ve inspired me to look into photography classes. I’ve been reading a lot about it, but there’s something about taking classes that’s just…better. Or maybe I just miss being a student.

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