More than a favorite comfort food, I have a type of food I love above all others and that is Mexican food. I grew up in southern California where good Mexican food was everywhere. My childhood neighborhood was predominantly Mexican-American families and I loved that every holiday we received homemade tamales instead of cookies. They were seriously the best.
As for the Mexican food I cook now….I use the term “Mexican” lightly as I am sure authentic cooks would be offended by the type of ingredients I use and equate to Mexican food. The thing about comfort food I have found is it is often the type of food that you are not picky about. I’ll eat bad, cheap Mexican food or fresh, authentic stuff any day. I would even still eat Taco Bell bean burritos if I actually trusted them when they say their beans are vegetarian, but that’s a different kind of food post.
When I thought about Mexican food I make for myself I realized I didn’t have any worth while recipes, so into the kitchen I went. I’m really happy with what emerged.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Zest of one lime
1.5 cups uncooked Arborio rice
2 cloves garlic
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
2.5 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1) Preheat oven to 400F. Rub olive oil and lime zest on bottom of 8×8-inch baking dish
2) Saute onion until translucent. See step 4 to be doing at the same time.
3) Add the arborio rice and toast for two minutes.
4) Do this step while also doing step 2. Crush two cloves of garlic and begin to cook in sauce pan. Add can of tomato. Simmer for a few minutes. Add salt to taste.
5) Stir in the tomato sauce and the broth with rice and onion. Bring to a simmer. Stir in cheese. Taste broth, adjust seasoning as needed
6) Transfer to the prepared baking dish, cover with foil, poke a few slits in the foil, and bake for about 45 minutes or until the grains are cooked through. You can uncover in the last few minutes to get a bit of color on the top of the farro.
7) Serve sprinkled fresh cilantro and a squeezed lime wedge over each serving.
I’m in love with this rice dish, something about cooked onions, cheese and rice that I am a sucker for. I have been eating Heidi’s version all winter and I like that by just switching the lemon for lime and oregano for cilantro it works as a great side for a Mexican meal. I opted to not add a lot of cheese as I think there are other dishes that have plenty of added cheese, but you could easily grate lots of sharp cheddar or whatever floats your boat and add it to the dish.
Slightly Adapted from Simply Recipes
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 dash crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 large diced onion
2 minced garlic clove
2 cans black beans, no salt added
Cilantro (optional at the end)
1) Add the cayenne pepper, crushed red peppers chili powder, and cumin to a heat frying pan with a little olive oil. If you want less heat skip the cayenne pepper and crushed pepper and of course if you are looking for more keep adding. After about 10 seconds, add the diced onion and cook until transparent. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.
2) Add canned black beans, with their liquid. Use potato masher. fork, or whatever other utilize you can get your hands on to mash up those beans while they slowly simmer. Add more water if you are looking for a more liquid-y bean dish and keep simmering if you want a thicker version. Add more seasoning as you see fit.
As for assembly, well that is up to you. I think this bean and rice dish would make a mean burrito. Actually what the heck IS a mean anything in regards to food? Is it a bully of a food? Does it leave you in pain? I guess if you added lots of hot sauce and really filled this burrito with all the fixings, it would be the kind of thing you would eat and not forget. Your stomach might hurt from over eating and your eyes might water from the hot sauce. Yep, you could actually make a mean burrito with these recipes.
Me, I went tostado style this time. Frying up corn tortillas on the skillet with a little oil and Lawry’s seasoning. Then it was about all the layers: fresh salsa, AND cherry tomatoes because I really like to pack it on, plus a sprinkle feta cheese, which works surprising well when you don’t have cotija cheese, plain Greek yogurt, because I can never justify buying an entire container of sour cream in a single person household, and avocados to top it off, guacamole is fantastic (duh!), but I think slices of avocado work just as well. Wow, that’s a lot of alterations to a typically thought of Mexican-American dish, but I guess that’s what can happen to a comfort food, you make it work just for you.