SALVADOR AND ME


I just returned from a vacation in Cabo San Lucas.
While poolside margaritas have their appeal, I need more action than that, and what better action than cooking?
Lucky for me our villa came equipped with a kitchen and Salvador.
Salvador helped me navigate beyond my bad high school Spanish and into the mercados.
He also shared family recipes for the Mexican food I know and love but have never prepared.
We started with the rice that is usually offered as a side dish with refried beans. The refried beans tend to be high in fat, but not this:

Vegetable oil
Minced onion
Minced garlic
Chopped red pepper
One cup long grain rice
Two cups chicken stock
One tablespoon tomato paste (or more)
Minced green onion
Lime
DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oil and add garlic, onion and peppers.
After a few minutes add the rice and coat in the mixture.
Next stir in the tomato paste until the rice is well coated. Pour in the chicken stock.
Cover and simmer twenty minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
Serve garnished with green onion and a lime. You gotta have the lime!!!
P.S. If you're looking for more kick, add chili powder with the stock.

Chicken is my fleshy protein of choice. I asked Salvador to teach me a typical Mexican preparation. Although we were in the desert of San Jose, he chose chicken adobo made with a Yucatan spice, achiote:


Three pounds chicken pieces
Three cups freshly squeezed orange juice
One cup vinegar
Three tablespoons (or cubes) of adobo. More if you like it spicy.
Salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients and marinate three hours and up to over night.
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Coat chicken with a bit of vegetable oil so it won't stick to the grill.
Grill on both sides until there is a nice crust.
Finish cooking in the oven, about thirty minutes


Meeting my amigo Salvador and learning to cook in his native land was a joy.
Way better than margaritas.