Mexican-style Brown Rice

 Today is my birthday, so I am offering two things.Is one of the things an explanation of this weird photograph? No. Suffice it to say: we found that special item in the woods while we were camping, and our friend Jonathan defined the shape a bit with his knife, and it is called the Eegah hand. You have to stick it in your sleeve and stagger around with your arm hanging way long down by the ground, the Eegah hand almost dragging. Also, you have to say, "Eegah," in a groaning way. Did you never see this movie? It is really good.One is this book recommendation: Alice McDermott’s Child of My Heart. My God. I just finished it, and it was so perfect that I forced myself to relax and savor it, the way I will do with pear Jelly Beans nibbling each one slowly because the flavor is so intense that you don’t need to swallow giant handfuls even though you're tempted to. Plus, since it’s 10 years old, you can probably pull it right off your library’s shelf, instead of adding your name to the bottom of some endless parchment scroll, like you will have to do for her new book, Someone, which is also utterly brilliant and wonderful. Or buy Child of My Heart here from Amazon for $1.58!The other is my old Mexican Rice recipe, which seems to have been replaced online by someone’s else’s Mexican Rice recipe that has peas and corn and cumin in it. Mine does not. Mine is a little oily, a little salty, a little tomato-sweet. Whenever I make it, which is often, I eat tons and tons of it. Is that a good thing? Not really, I guess. Serve the rice with beans and cheese, or this pork, or roll it all up in tortillas, and everyone will be thrilled.

I am going to move all the recipes over here. In the meantime, look over there on the right! A recipe index of all the recipes that are here on the blog! Thank you for your patience with my Luddititude.
Mexican RiceServes 6Active time: 15 minutes; total time 1 hour +
This is a cross between a Diane Kennedy recipe and a Rick Bayless recipe, and I love that it gets finished in the oven so you don't have to worry about burning it. The brown rice version is a little tricky, in terms of getting the liquid right, as different rices will do different things. If at 45 minutes it is not cooked and already seems dry, stir in another half cup of broth before returning it to the oven.
2 cups canned tomatoes (my favorite thing to use is Hunt's sauce, but plain old diced, crushed, or whole tomatoes work fine too--just don't use a very seasoned sauce or one that is Italianly flecked with oregano or anything; homemade salsa would work great, though)1/2 an onion, coarsely chopped2 garlic cloves, peeled1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)1 scant tablespoon pickled jalapenos (optional)3 tablespoons olive oil2 cups brown rice (I used short grain)2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I love Rapunzel veggie bouillon with sea salt and NO herbs)
Heat the oven to 350.
Put the tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, and optional jalapenos in a blender, puree, and set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat in an oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the rice and fry, stirring, until the rice gets nice and toasty looking and smelling, around 5 minutes.
Add the tomato mixture to the pot--it will sputter and sear--and cook another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring, until it reduces a bit.
Add the broth to the pot, bring it to a boil, and boil, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
Put the lid on the pot, pop it into the oven, and leave it there for 45 minutes. Now check on it: there will be a dimpled layer of tomato at the top, but when you fluff the rice with a fork and taste it, it should be just about done. If it is, take it out of the oven and leave it covered for 10 minutes to steam a bit more; if it's not, pop it back in the oven to cook and check it again at 5, 10, or 15 minutes depending on how not-done it was when you checked; when it's done, take it out and leave it covered for 10 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
White rice variation:To make this with white rice (I use Uncle Ben's but I can't remember why--maybe just to exaggerate the absence of nutrients?), proceed as directed, but reduce the broth to 1 1/2 cups, and omit the initial five minute boil: simply bring it all to a simmer and stir it, then cover the pot and pop it in the oven. Check it at 25 minutes, at which point it will likely be ready to come out and steam for 10.