Aaron and I made a Mexican feast the other night. He created the "star" of the night, an amazing Chicken Mole. I don't eat chicken but I benefited greatly from the sauce, because it was fantastic on top of this rice, and the beans I also made.
I'll admit it. Rice scares me. I've screwed it up several times in my life and in the past it's been stressful to serve at dinner parties because I don't trust myself. And there is nothing worse than lumpy rice. But, I really think this is one of those recipes that you can't screw up if you follow the directions. Frankly, at one point I did screw up. I had accidentally set the heat too high and was distracted by the other stuff I was doing, so it was boiling much longer than it should have been, so I just shut off the heat completely, and let it steam with the lid on. It was perfect!
This is a recipe (see the link included above) for which each and every ingredient can be found at Trader Joe's:
It's unbelievably easy to make -- very fast for the amount of flavor and beauty (it's green speckled lily white -- so springy!) you get. To manage the timing of the dinner party, I did the first step of the recipe in the morning, which is to sautee the garlic and rice in olive oil. If you do this hours in advance, it really steeps the rice in the garlic flavor. Then, when you are re-heating everything, and doing the finishing touches for your dinner to get it to the table, you add the rest of the ingredients and it's done in 15 minutes!!!! How LAZY is that?
By the way, this rice does not only go with Mexican food. It would go with ANYTHING -- even roasted chicken and a side of asparagus, or a grilled piece of fish and a salad. It would go really well with Indian food too. But, hey Cinco de Mayo is around the corner and this is a very festive, lovely side dish for any celebration!