Mexican Rice

January 15, 2008

Arroz a la Mexicana, AKA Mexican Rice

Adapted from the recipe by Diana Kenedy


Freezes well. Thaw in the oven if possible.


    1 1/2 cups rice
    1/3 cup veg oil
    8 oz tomatoes, roughly chopped (canned acceptable, small can of tomato paste also acceptable)
    1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
    about 3 1/2 cups well-salted broth
    1 small carrot, diced (optional)
    2 tablespoons peas (optional)
    1 whole sprig of cilantro (optional)
    salt to taste


For this quantity you will need a heavy-bottomed,
flameproof pan about 4 inches deep and 9 ins across.

Pour hot water to cover the rice and let it stand for
about 5 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse well in cold
water, then shake the collander well and leave the rice
to drain for a few minutes.

Heat the oil. Give the rice a final shake and stir it into
the oil until the grains are well covered, then fry until just
turning color, stirring and turning the rice over so it
will cook evenly and will not stick to the pan. This process
should take about 10 minutes–depending, of course,
on the size of the pan–but it should be done over high
heat or the rice will become mushy in its final stage. Tip
the pan and drain off any excess oil or drain rice in
a fine strainer.

If possible, blend the tomatoes, onion, and garlic until smooth. There
should be about 1 cup. Add the puree to the fried rice,
then, continuing to cook over high heat, stir and scrape
the botom of the pan until the mixture is dry.

Add the broth, carrots, peas, and parsley. Add salt as
necessary, then stir well (do not stir again during the
cooking time.) Cook over medium heat, covered, until the
liquid has been absorbed and small air holes appear in
the rice. This will take about 10 minutes. Remove the pan
from the heat and cover the rice with a piece of terry cloth.
Cover with a tightly fitting lid so that no steam can escape
and set aside in a warm place for about 20 minutes,
so the rice can continue cooking in its own steam and
the grains will expand.

Before serving, loosen the rice with a fork from bottom.

Torta de Calabacitas

January 14, 2008

Torta de Calabacitas AKA Zucchini & Pepper Casserole


Adapted from the recipe Torta de Calabacitas by Diana Kenedy. This recipe could be made with any tender squash — zucchini or yellow summer squash.


    -1 1/2 pounds of zucchini
    -salt & pepper to taste
    -2 tablespoons finely ground bread crumbs
    -about a cup of rajas (pablano peppers & onions sauteed with tomatos) OR use one sauteed pablano pepper and tomato puree or paste mixed together
    -6 oz chihuahua, Muenster, or other creamy white cheese
    -3 large eggs
    -3 tablespoons softened butter


Clean and trim the squash and cut them into rounds
about 1/8 in thick. Put them in a large saucepan, cover
with boiling water, add salt, and cook until they are just
tender–about 3 minutes, depending on the squash. They
should not be allowed to become too soft. Drain the
squash and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter
a 2-quart soufle dish or caserole, and sprinkle it with
bread crumbs.

Make the rajas (or sautee pepper with tomato and/or onion), cool them, then slice the cheese this and cut it into small pieces.

Beat the eggs a little so they’ve got some air in them. Mix in your salt & pepper.

Put a layer of the squash over the bottom of the dish,
pour one half of the rajas over it, put one third of the
cheese onto the sauce, and cover with one third of the
beaten eggs. Dot with butter. Repeat in the same order
and finish off the torte with a layer of squash, the rest of
the beaten eggs, butter, and cheese.

Cook the torte in the top of the oven until the eggs are
firmly set–25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.