Welcome to the repeated series from 2014 – Cook from Scratch. Please do contact me if you have a family recipe or a favourite family meal you would like to share and the details can be found in the link at the end of the post. I will now hand over to this week’s guest, M.C.V Egan, who has a tried and tested method of preparing rice and some terrific fresh ingredients to complete the dish.
Brought up on Fusion Foods with M.C.V. Egan
I know people who spent most of their life in one area, one country. They tend to have such distinct repertoires for the meals that make them feel comfort and the feeling of security that only the smells and tastes of our first family homes can provide.
My family was always a bit different; I even dare say that in some ways my mom may have been one of the first to espouse the whole idea of fusion foods. There was such a diversity in our meals and international foods were easily combined with great success.
I am originally from Mexico City, Mexico; a city and country that has always boasted great restaurants and a wide variety of not just Mexican but a nice diversity of international foods.
My friends growing up however did seem to have far more singularly focused foods in their homes. Some were traditional and strictly Mexican; tacos, tortillas, mole and the rest of the Mexican foods that have taken the world by storm. Others families ate either very Spanish fare; Chorizo and Paella, or that of the country of their ancestry, Italian, Lebanese, French.
My parents both came from families that in different ways were very influenced by a wide variety of cultures and as such it reflected in our daily meals. There is a real advantage to that as that safe, homey comfort is easily triggered by a wide array of tastes and smells.
I am one of eight children and all of us are great cooks; female and male alike, which is unusual for such a machismo culture. The love and care that went into every meal was passed on to our generation, I am not sure any of us have succeeded to do the same. Every one of my siblings cooks and we all have our very distinct and unique dishes. At one point in the late 70s early 80s we were scattered in so many countries; I was a student in France, some in the UK , one in Sweden, USA, Mexico, Italy. Fortunately we were all young enough to return to our parents’ home adding great ideas and flavors to our international meals.
As varied and wonderful as all our food was, rice was a sort of foundation staple for many of our meals. Served in a wide variety of ways, not your run of the mill boiled with a touch of salt rice, Chinese fried rice or ‘arroz con pollo’ but almost a vegetarian Paella, a rice with a nice mix of veggie (whatever was fresh and seasonal), some rustic and everyday to be served with just a fried egg on top and others very elegant simmered in white wine (always a dry one).
The no fail steps to the perfect fluffy rice are:
– Use pan with a good cover, preferably Teflon or other non-stick. Mine is 10” in diameter and 2 ½” deep.
– ALWAYS use long grain rice.
– Sauté rice until translucent.
– Additional ingredients added either hot or at room temp.
– Allow it to come to a boil, lower heat and let rice simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Per one cup of long-grain rice prepare to use three cups of liquid, always keep it hot and handy. (Any ingredients preferably hot or at room temp). Whether it be oil, margarine or butter first sauté the raw rice before cooking. This is done until the rice becomes translucent (and it happens fast!) you can sauté the rice on medium high heat with very finely chopped onions to infuse the taste and a little salt.
Once the rice is that translucent color add the rest of your veggies, potatoes, even pasta if you wish (thin or small to insure even cooking) then if you wish to go for a spicy red rice, add a jar of your favorite salsa; mine is Herdez Casera (http://www.herdeztraditions.com/products/salsas-and-guacamole/traditional-salsa/herdez-salsa-casera/)
Add the rest of your liquids, if the salsa is watery add only two cups of boiling water. Lower heat to medium low, cover the pan and let your rice simmer covered for 20 minutes, perfect every time.
I cup Long grain Rice
3 Cups boiling water, or chicken bouillon (If you use a cup of salsa use less of the water maybe 2½ cups better less and add slowly after 15 minutes of simmering than too much).
1 Medium finely chopped onion
A handful of parsley or Cilantro whichever you prefer
2 cloves of garlic chopped or whole
1 cup of chopped fresh veggies (anything you like)
A handful of frozen corn kernels
A handful of frozen peas
Season to taste and have fun, add a handful of small pasta, diced potatoes, and the possibilities are endless. You can exclude the salsa to make a white rice or use Salsa Verde for a nice green one. I have made all three and served them side by side representing the colors of the Mexican flag for a Cinco the Mayo meal.
As an elegant alternative my mother always made this white wine variant which we called risotto but it is not at all the same rice or texture; ours is always fluffy and not runny.
1 cup long grain rice
1 Medium onion finely chopped (chopped not minced)
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper or less and salt to taste (remember your bacon will add salt)
1 ½ cups dry white wine (remember if you can’t drink it don’t cook with it, make sure it has great taste, I personally like Santa Margerita Pinot Grigio for this)
5 slices of bacon cut in ¼ inch chunks
½ stick of butter (or margarine)
1 ½ cup of mushrooms, if canned drained if fresh you MUST sauté first alone and drain all liquid.
Just as with the rice above sauté the cup of rice until translucent and do this with the onion and bacon using all of your butter, once this is done add mushrooms for a very quick sauté and then your 1 ½ cup of wine and lower the heat to a medium uncovered, let the alcohol burn out of the wine add, the boiling hot water or bouillon (I cheat sometimes and use Knorr chicken Bouillon but love having homemade broth), cover heat to a medium low and in 18 to 20 minutes it will be perfect , serve with nice parmesan cheese over it.
A brief introduction to our guest today and you will find much more information if you follow the links to her sites.
M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan the author of The Bridge of Deaths. Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico. Her family moved to Washington DC in the early 1970’s. Catalina is fluent in She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish. She celebrated her 52nd birthday on July 2nd 2011 and gave herself self-publishing The Bridge of Deaths as a gift. This has been followed by two further novels Defined by Others and Death of a Sculptor.
About Death of a Sculptor
Color coded love stories and revealing female anatomies lead to the murder of world renowned sculptor, Bruce Jones.
In life, the artist loved women, almost as much as women loved him. Adored for his art and colorful personality, Bruce is mourned by the world at large. The tale is launched with the multifaceted perspectives of four ex-wives, the current wife, and his new love interest and their children.
Mary , Bruce’s wealthy first love, is always in perfect pink; the color of love. Mother of Clair the famous actress and Aaron the corporate lawyer.
Leslie The Second’s color is yellow for her sunny nature as much as for her fears and insecurities. Her only son Bobby is vulnerable and lost. Mourning his father’s death, he finds himself.
Petra The Third, is outstanding in orange, representing not only her native Holland but also her love of the fruit. Cherished her freedom and had no children of her own.
Toni The Fourth is a vibrant passionate Italian red and part of the eventual glue that creates and solidifies this dysfunctional Jones family. Her teenage daughters Tina and Isa are as different as night and day.
Brooke The Fifth a gold-digger. Green, her color, reflects the color of money and envy. Her young son’s Kyle and Caleb are too young to understand why their world has been turned upside-down.
Mara, as blue as the ocean was the last woman to steal Bruce’s heart. Mother to newborn Baby Peter is the unexpected gift and surprise.
Bruce Jones’ eight children speak out, too. They are as distinctive as the women he loved, their mothers.
Loose ends are tied up by the insights of Sylvia, Aaron’s wife and a trusted keeper of secrets; Scott, the private investigator and family friend; Nona, the quintessential grandmother everyone loves.
One of the recent reviews of Death of a Sculptor
What a bizarrely functional dysfunctional family this is now that Bruce is gone. The story starts with his death and the gathering of his many ex-wives and children, but of course, there’s more to it. There is the question of how Bruce really died; the question of how the estranged family will cope, and the question of who is the woman with the blue hair?
I gotta say, anyone who saw this story coming is a genius. The way all the drama wrapped up at the end is still whirling in my head. I know death has been known to bring families together, but if I say any more, I’ll be spoiling it… and I definitely don’t want to do that. This story is so worth the read.
Even though this is a short read, it didn’t feel short, which is always a plus. Because the whole situation plays out like a TV crime drama, I’m still having trouble accepting some things, but that’s what makes it such a good story. I think the small handful of issues I had would probably be turn-ons to someone else. I think the movie star daughter was my favorite of the family and I kinda felt bad that the cop had a crush on her, but I was glad she got her HEA… that’s the only semi-spoiler I’m giving.
I will say, that whatever I feel about the story and or characters, I enjoyed the experience of reading this book. I’d recommend it to fans of mystery and crime dramas, and to fans of family dramas. Not suitable for pre-teens and small children.
Read all the reviews and buy M.C. V. Egan’s books:https://www.amazon.com/M.C.V.-Egan/e/B0069W9NY2
Read more reviews and follow M.C.V Egan on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5004249.M_C_V_Egan
Photographs and recipe © M.C.V. Egan
My thanks to Catalina for this delicious recipe and one I shall be trying very soon.If you would like to contribute a recipe and also promote your own project then please let me know by contacting me on firstname.lastname@example.org