Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo is a GREAT excuse to eat some tasty Mexican-inspired fare. Unfortunately, margaritas weren't magically waiting for me when I got home.

But in VERY exciting news, I received a package today at work! I was walking past the front desk to my office and saw two large boxes by the reception desk. I peered at them and one said "Z GALLERIE" - I literally said out loud "Wow, who is the lucky person?" And ... it was me!! I didn't even believe it at first. My wonderful husband got me a glass stingray for our six month wedding anniversary, which was yesterday. We love aquariums, and we especially love stingrays (I half-joked during wedding planning that we were having a "Predators of the Sea" themed wedding). It is very special - what a thoughtful husband! I am a very lucky girl.

But on to the Mexican fiesta! I am planning to belatedly celebrate with a margarita or two on Friday, but tonight we had what I called "Chipotle-inspired" burritos.

I prepared a number of separate components to add to the burritos: sauteed black beans, Mexican rice, and charred bell peppers and onion, along with the usual fixings: salsa, taco sauce, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and store-bought guacamole. Fun fact: I HATE guacamole, so I can't make it. I never have! I wouldn't know what to do ...

Here's how I made each of the components:

Mexican Rice
Adapted from All Recipes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup long grain white rice (I used white basmati, rinsed)
1 onion, chopped (I used two of the spring onions from this week's box)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups veggie broth (I used homemade broth)

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the rice and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, until onion begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cumin and salt to taste. Add the tomato sauce and veggie broth and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to low, cooking for 25 to 30 minutes. When rice is tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed, fluff with a fork. You can let this sit on the stove, covered, for a bit until the rest of the meal is ready.

Charred Bell Pepper & Onion

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together on a cooking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until roasted and charred in places.

Black Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup veggie broth
Juice of 1/2 a lime

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the black beans, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Add the veggie broth and cook for a bit longer, until the broth has almost entirely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add the lime and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can keep this on the burner, over warm heat, until the rest of the components are ready.

To assemble burritos: Heat large tortillas one at a time over medium heat in a pan. Fill each tortilla with rice, beans, veggies, cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and taco sauce. Delicioso!

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