Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Love Colorful Food

On a regular basis, I feel extremely fortunate. Not only do I have a wonderful husband and 10 year old son, I have a great mom and dad. I can talk to my dad on the phone for an hour straight about running and I can talk to my mom for an hour straight about cooking and decorating.  In fact, we do this quite often. I will admit, however, that the content of the conversation with one parent rarely crosses over to the other parent!

My mom spent the first 10 years of life in South America (Peru and Venezuela). She loves Latin food. She has been making "Yellow Rice with Peas and More" for many years and it's a favorite of mine. One of the ingredients, achiote seed, is widely used in Latin America. It's readily available in the Latin America section of the supermarket and very inexpensive. My mother told me that in South America, cooks make a batch of achiote oil with the seeds and use as needed.

I added shrimp to my mom's recipe and it turned out quite well. If you need a "meat" in your meal and don't care for shrimp,  grilled chicken on the side or even in the rice, would be tasty too. 

Yellow Rice with Peas and More

3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs achiote seed
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves
2 cups basmati or other long grain rice (I used brown basmati but allow for more time to cook)
3 1/4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
2 cans Rotele chopped tomatoes with peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 to 3/4 cup ripe olives, sliced
1/2 to 3/4 cup stuffed Spanish olives, sliced
2-3 tbs capers
2 carrots, peeled and sliced.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add achiote seeds and cook until seeds are sizzling and oil is a rich gold color, about a minute. Remove from the heat. With a spoon, scoop up and discard seeds, leaving oil in pan.

Return pan to medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and carrots. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute, or until grains begin to look a little opaque. Stir in Rotele and cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, salt and pepper. Bring rice to a vigorous boil, then turn heat to low, cover pan, and cook about 15-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Gently add peas, olives, and capers. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

*For adding shrimp: When rice is nearly cooked through and the liquid not completely absorbed, add the peas, olives, capers, and the shrimp. I placed the pot covered in a 400 degree preheated oven to continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes (until the shrimp is cooked through and the rice cooked) or you could do the same thing on the stove.

 Mango, Red Pepper, and Black Bean Salad

2 red peppers, chopped
2 mangos, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
1 stalk of green onions (scallions) chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (2 jalapenos are okay, too)
the juice of 2 limes
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 medium onion, chopped
salt to taste

Combine in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Mango, Red Pepper and Black Bean Salad

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