Thursday, July 22, 2010

Burrito Bowls

My parents hosted a sleepover for the grandkids last weekend, which meant I was on my own for lunch on Sunday (Rich was very busy watching the British Open)! I had heard rumblings that the new burrito bar at Wegmans was worthwhile so I gave it a whirl.

Ultimately, it was a lack-luster lunch. ;(

I had such high hopes. I ordered the burrito bowl thinking it would be a nice new twist on an old favorite (basically, all of the traditionally burrito fillings layered in a bowl, sans tortilla). But their beans had no flavor, their rice was boring, and the cilantro portion was far too tiny. Each bite I hoped would be better than the last. I was disappointed every time.

The recurring thought running through my mind as I ate: "I could make a much better burrito bowl!" So that was the challenge of the day. I called my mom and asked them to stay for dinner (and to be my official taste-testers) and got to work (and yes, I ate two burrito bowls in one day). No new recipes for this post (it is a great meal to use up leftovers!) I made arroz verde (tweaked it a bit this time, adding more cilantro, half of a raw poblano, and some chicken broth for more flavor), frijoles (refried beans), grilled peppers, added shredded cheese, corn, shredded chicken, poblanos, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro (of course!). My mom WILL NOT stop talking about this dinner. ;) That's always a great sign that you've had a successful dish.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grilled Portabellos

I love to grill (or I should say, I love when Rich grills). It takes me back to those hot summer days, so long ago. We'd spend most of the day in the pool (after finishing our laundry list of chores, of course!), and we'd see Daddio fire up the grill and mom begin passing him things through the kitchen window. We knew something good was in the works. Cooking outside, over coals, adds so much flavor to food and to the evening.

I like the idea of filling a mushroom with food and then grilling it. Not only do you get the great taste of the mushroom and the grill, but you have the natural benefit of portion control! We grilled these mushrooms (first cleaned, then brushed with oil, S & P), then stuffed them with everything we love (sauteed sausage, tomatoes, spinach, basil and fresh mozzarella - do I sense an Italian themed dish?!), and then grilled them again for a minute of two.

You really could fill them with anything. Make them with more traditionally Mexican ingredients (arroz verde and chorizo, perhaps!), or grill a plethora of veggies, chopped and tossed with a vinaigrette for a vegetarian version. Very versatile, very satisfying, very summer.



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Arroz Verde

On a recent trip to NYC, Tracey and I strolled through the West Village while we waited for Nan to get out of work. After walking 40+ blocks we were getting a bit hungry so we began a restaurant hunt. Of course, we hoped that we would discover a Mexican restaurant amongst the sea of potential targets. We got soooo lucky. We turned a corner in the Meat Packing District, and there before us stood a wonderful looking restaurant. There was Mexican music playing and tables outside to enjoy the beautiful night. Ofrenda did not disappoint. We opted for ordering a few apps and sides instead of entrees. This turned out to be a great choice because the food was superb and this way we were able to try many different things.

We started with some fresh chips with frijoles and guacamole. Both were pureed to a smooth, delicate texture. Out. of. this. world. We spent the entire time discussing how we would execute such deliciousness. Next came grilled zucchini with chili sauce, plantains with manchego cheese, pickled jalapeno quesadillas and a pile of arroz verde.
Stop my beating heart.
Rice enveloped in cilantro laden sauce!!!?!?! With lime!??! How did we not know about this sooner?!?! I think we slightly embarrassed ourselves with our over-exuberance for this rice (Tracey was a little less subtle when she stood on her chair and yelled "FIESTA!!" at the top of her voice).

We vowed to find a recipe when we got home.

Little did I know the recipe would find me! A food blog that I read faithfully put up a post for cilantro rice recently and I knew it was a gift from the good Lord, himself.

I made the rice last week for dinner, along with the grilled chicken, frijoles and sliced tomatoes pictured here. Nice dinner. Terrific rice. Since I made the rice I've been reading even more recipes for arroz verde, and this is going to be the next attempt. I feel like I've been given a gift, so I need to share this gift with you. If you like (LOVE) cilantro, make this rice and fight the urge to cry from the sheer joy and happiness it brings.



Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grilled Chicken and Veggies

How likely is it that twins might buy the same thing on the same day at the grocery store? Very. Lora and I were planning a quick cookout last week on a beautiful night before one of Abel's last tee ball games. We both bought chicken. But, not just any chicken. Wegmans organic thighs and drumsticks. And let me tell ya, they are the perfect thing for grilling. And you can even marinade them in the packaging and not dirty a dish. Throw those on the grill for a couple min on each side for the thighs and some veggies and you have a great, fast meal.

Chop it all up and toss with some couscous, feta, and basil. Dinner is served!