Thursday, June 30, 2005

Arroz Verde

I love to have friends in for dinner but with the destruction/construction going on in our house for the last 3 months, we haven't had many dinner guests. Over the weekend, I thought things are getting back in order so it was time. Well little did I know that the electrician would be coming at 5:00 PM in the evening to work until dark, or that we were in for another round of chipping dust on the stairs, or that the patio would be dug up for the sewer line. Silly me, I thought we were down to finishing touches. By the time I realized that all of this would be going on, I had invited 4 guests for dinner at 7.

But it all turned out okay. I had a mango salsa out when the guests arrived and since I had been delayed in getting the meat in the oven, everyone gathered at the bar in the kitchen and watched dinner being put together. I able to prepare a dinner of a pork loin roast, green rice, carrots with a mustard/brown sugar sauce and a mixed green salad. I hadn't made the green rice in a while but it is a really good recipe by Jim Peyton from Fine Cooking Magazine.

Arroz Verde (Green Rice)
Serves six to eight

1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantor sprigs
1 cup tightly packed fresh stemmed spinach leaves (about 1-1/2 ounces)
1-1/4 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
1-1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
I usually add 1/2 to 1 whole serrano seeded and deveined

Put the cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender and blend until the vegetables are pureed. Add the milk and salt and blend a bit more until well combined.

In a medium (3-quart) heavy-based saucepan with a lid, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the rice and saute, stirring about every 30 seconds, until it just begins to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, Add the contents of the blender, stir well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir the rice carefully to avoid crushing it, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

We finished it off with a Chocolate Pecan Chess Pie and vanilla ice cream from Santa Clara. When we are in Mexico I make the pie with the Mexican chocolate that has a bit of cinnamon and sugar in it and instead of a tablespoon of Bourbon, I add Presidente Brandy or sometimes Kalaua. It is a little different than my American version but guests seem to like it.

As usual I enjoyed all the talking and lingering at the table.

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