Let’s talk about what is really important first. Our second oldest daughter is back from a three week trip to India. She’s tired and trying to readjust to life as usual around here but she is full of cool ideas and beautiful images and new words and concepts. She told us last night that she understands that she won’t learn big things if she stays in her comfort zone. She is excited to be an explorer of the world. She is excited to share that perspective with her brothers and sisters. It is great to have her home.
Next to an adventure in India, last night’s food was just plain boring. But if you don’t have someone in your family returning from a life-changing adventure, and you want a little culinary adventure, you should make this entire meal. Sit outside, pour yourself a little something cold to drink, turn on some Cuban music, and enjoy some fine food.
Let’s start with the pork chops. My husband picked out this recipe and when I went to make the grocery list, I thought he had lost his mind. Where was I going to find bitter orange marinade? Wouldn’t you know it, my local grocer actually carries it. And they had adobo all-purpose seasoning (another stumper) in the bulk section. What luck! I made the marinade the night before and let the pork chops season overnight. This marinade recipe calls for a lot of garlic – a whole head – but it is delicious. Be careful not to overcook the chops. Ours were a bit overdone but the flavor was still fantastic. If you can prepare your marinade the night before, this makes an easy weeknight meal.
The rice. I am a huge fan of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. I realize it is fast food. I realize it is a chain. And I still eat there every time I am in Los Angeles. I've even tried to talk my husband into opening a Wahoo's franchise in Idaho. The biggest draw? The rice. That rice is like crack. I want it all the time. How do I make it? Can someone please tell me? This looked like it might fit the bill, so I gave it a try. It was not as good as Wahoo’s, but it was good. My kids thought it was the best rice ever. All three teens had seconds. The secret? Parsley during cooking and cilantro after cooking. This was no more difficult than making a regular old pot of rice, it just had a couple more ingredients. Until I can master the Wahoo's rice, this will be my go-to rice recipe for Mexican/Cuban/Latin nights.
The beans. I’ll admit that I just kind of was winging it here. If you can find a black bean recipe that tastes as good as Wahoo’s, please send it my way. I really, really want it.
Last but not least, I served our pork chops, rice, and beans with diced mango and avocado, both of which made the meal. Live on the edge. Serve fruit with dinner. Your kids will love you for it.