Once my teeth stop chattering I can
carry on with this post. The last 15 minutes have been spent outdoors watching one of natures wonders a lunar eclipse. As luck would have it I was speaking with my sister whose kids were outside watching the same moon at their home in Ontario thousands of miles away across the country. How fitting that I should have had Mexican food today. The ancient Mayan culture was intertwined with the moon and the lunar calendar which they devised.
Mayan women from all over the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and beyond made pilgrimages to the island of Cozumel to pay tribute to Ixhel, the goddess of fertility and the moon, at a temple erected in her honour at San Gervasio (located towards the northern end of the island). The Mayan people were settled on the island of Cozumel starting from 300 AD. In the post-classic period, Cozumel thrived as a trade centre and as a ceremonial site. When the first Spaniards, Juan de Grijalva and his men, made their way to Cozumel in 1518 there were at least 32 Mayan building sites on the island.
To the north of Cozumel , near Cancun is a much smaller island baptized by its Spanish discoverer, Hernández de Córdoba, the 'Island of Women' (Isla de las Mujeres) "because of the idols he found there of the goddesses of the country. The last time we were in this area we stayed 3 days on Isla de las Mujeres snorkelling at Garafon and sipping pina coladas in the hammocks at Buho's. The party boats from Cancun travel to the island several times a day, but if you can get away from all of that it is a very tranquil and peaceful island...better to make your own party!! My daughter, who was 13 at the time loved it there because she was able to drive...golf carts are the vehicle of choice.
This Mexican rice dish paired well with Ben's chicken from the last post. This recipe is different from the one I normally use because it is baked in the oven. Salsa, sliced avaocado and grated cheese would make worthy additional garnishes. Tortillas, beans and fried plantains would turn this rice dish into a meal in itself.
What I wouldn't give to be on the Mayan Riviera or at a seaside tavern in the fishing village of Manzanillo eating this with a side of margeritas :D I wonder if they could see the lunar eclipse in their part of the world tonight. I am sure it is much warmer there!!
A su salud mis amigos!!!!
2 cups long-grain white rice (basmati, jasmine, etc.)
¼ cup vegetable oil (olive, canola, etc.)
2 -4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 medium fresh chile (jalapeño, serrano, etc.) or 1 medium dried chile
2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and diced
1 medium onion (white or yellow), diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green or yellow pepper, diced
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 T tomato paste
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried epazote or oregano
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 lime, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear; drain excess water from rice.
In a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof pan with a lid, heat the oil. Add the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chile and cook, stirring constantly, another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, onion, red, green or yellow peppers, broth, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, and epazote or oregano.
Cover the pan and put it in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir well once; add a can of cooked beans if you wish. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Serve hot, with the cilantro and lime as garnishes.