Tag Archives: garlic salt

My Favorite Mexican Food Side Dish: Creamy Poblano Rice

I feel like I should apologize for loading my blog with so many recipes lately. I usually try to spread them out, but we’ve eaten so many good things this past week, I feel like I need to share them before I forget them. Don’t laugh at me. It happens. I blame the menopause. Today, I want to share my new favorite side dish. I’m calling it Poblano Rice because I’m creative like that.

Poblano Rice - Before Baking - Inside NanaBread's Head

 

 

The Complete Package loves rice. I’ve mentioned this before. He’s addicted. I whipped this up one night to go with Mexican food, and now it’s our favorite side. It starts with poblano peppers, either canned or fresh. I’m in Texas, so I usually go for fresh.

Roasted Poblanos - Poblano Rice - Inside NanaBread's Head Blog

 

Oh, baby. Poblanos are my favorite. I could eat them every day. I roast them over an open flame on my gas stove, steam them, peel and de-seed them, then chop. Then snitch a few. Then slap my own hand, usually. For this dish, I throw them into cooked or leftover plain basmati rice and add sour cream, monterrey jack cheese, garlic salt, salt & pepper. So simple, and yet so very satisfying.

Ingredients - Poblano Rice - Inside NanaBread's Head Blog

 

NanaBread’s Creamy Poblano Rice
1 cup Texmati basmati rice, uncooked
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (or 1 tsp. regular table salt)
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 fresh poblano peppers – roasted, skinned, seeded & chopped OR 1 can of sliced poblano peppers (7.5 oz.), drained
1 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine; I even use fat-free Greek yogurt)
1 1/2 cups of grated pepper jack cheese
cayenne pepper, to sprinkle on top (optional)

In a medium size heavy-bottom pan, add the vegetable oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and heat the oil just until it starts to shimmer. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice turns chalky white and some of the grains start to brown very lightly. Carefully add the water, throw in the salt, and stir to keep the grains from sticking. When your rice begins to bubble vigorously, give it one last stir. Place a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to low (I set mine between 1 and 2 on my stove dial), and set your kitchen timer for 25 minutes. Once done, remove the lid and allow the rice to cool. TIP: this is a great way to use leftover steamed rice. Just start at the ‘stir in everything else’ portion of the recipe.

 

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, sour cream, poblano peppers, garlic salt and one cup of grated pepper jack cheese. Mix it up and give it a taste.

 

If it needs more garlic salt, regular salt or you want to throw in some cracked black pepper, now is the time to add it. Once it’s perfect, spoon it into a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed or oiled. Spread it out evenly and top with the last 1/2 cup of grated pepper jack cheese. Man, I love cheese. All the cheese. Not Limburger, but all the others.

Grated Jack Cheese - Poblano Rice - Inside NanaBread's Head Blog

If you like spice, sprinkle on a little cayenne pepper. It really kicks it up a notch. I highly recommend it. Highly.

 

Pop your baking pan, uncovered, into a hot oven (375F) for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve it with your favorite main course. This week, it was my recipe for carnitas.

Poblano Rice - Ready to Serve - Inside NanaBread's Head

 

Two weeks ago, it was fajitas. Next week, it could be fish tacos. The possibilities are endless and the world is my oyster. Hmm… poblano rice with grilled oysters, shrimp and veggies? Or poblano rice with carne asada. Or poblano rice with the Pioneer Woman’s tequila-lime chicken. Dang. Now I’m hungry. Again.

Update: On June 2, 2016, I updated the photos for this blog post. The originals were poorly lit and frankly not very appetizing. If you followed a Pinterest link to get here and the photos don’t match, don’t worry. It’s the same recipe, just with hopefully more appetizing representations of one of my favorite family recipes.  -jeanne

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Playing With Your Food, Recipe #1: Zesty Lemon-Garlic Hummus

It's okay to play with your food! Start by making hummus. You can do it!

Some recipes are so forgiving and fun, making them is more like playing with your food than following a recipe. They almost beg for experimentation. Once you get the basic formula down, you can free-style and add whatever you like. For me, hummus is one of those foods. It’s quick, easy and delicious and it’s actually good for you (but don’t let that turn you off). I make this in my food processor, but if you don’t have one you can use a blender. You’ll just have to stop more often and scrape down the sides as you go. Here’s how I like to do it.

The basic “starter” recipe:
2 cans (15-ozs. each) garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas)
½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 tablespoons of really good extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, dump in one whole can of garbanzos, juice and all; drain the other can and dump the drained beans into the processor. Add the tahini paste (a required element – trust me), the salt and garlic salt, and the olive oil. Turn on the food processor and blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Don’t remove it from the food processor just yet. Now it’s time to play with your food.

I like my hummus chock full of lemon, garlic and cayenne pepper, so at this stage I add 2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, an additional teaspoon of garlic salt and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne powder. I give it another minute in the processor to blend, and then give it a taste. I add more lemon or salt or cayenne to my liking until I think it’s perfect. Here’s a hint about the cayenne powder – it will get a little stronger as it sits, so don’t add too much. You can always sprinkle a little more on top just before serving. I also like to add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the top.

While you’re playing with hummus,
you could also add any of the following:

Extra lemon zest
chopped Kalamata olives
flat-leaf Italian parsley
coarsely ground black pepper
roasted red peppers
sun-dried tomatoes
pesto

Play around with ways to serve it. Try it on:
pita bread
toasted flour tortilla wedges (my favorite)
saltine crackers
carrot sticks
as a sandwich filling
on those toasted rye crisps I’m always stealing from the Gardetto’s bag

My point is to start with the basic recipe and then let your imagination run wild. Hummus is inexpensive and easy to make, so why not experiment and try new things? It’s also really yummy. You can eat it as a snack, as a side dish, or as your main meal. I had a bowl with toasted tortilla wedges for lunch today (pictured), and it was fabulous. You need to try it very soon. Don’t be intimidated – just get in there and be creative. Just because we’re grown-ups doesn’t mean we can’t color outside the lines from time to time. Be a rebel, experiment often, and don’t be afraid to play with your food!

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