Obligations – Schmobligations.

The Breyley (Former Apartment)
Corner of Sunset Point Rd and Keene Rd
Clearwater, FL

In these ‘Economic Times’ I feel it’s an obligation to push out a couple of pauper-esque reviews.  We have daily reminders of our recessed economy in the news, our television programs (What’s that? Dunder Mifflin is declaring bankruptcy?! Oh you sneaky writers for ‘The Office’, making your show so topical), and our daily life.  I am thankful that I do have a job and I can afford to run a semi-comical website that bitches about and praises food.  So, in that vein, a review about a meal had at home!

On a juicy Thursday in September  (it just doesn’t seem to cool down in Tampa until December), my old lady and I decided to cook a hearty homecooked meal.  We chose to create a veritable ‘smörgåsbord’ of Mexican food.  I made ‘Mexican Rice’ on the suggestion from my brother.  Sia made Carne Asada with a side of fresh lettuce, sliced avacados, tomatos, and sauteed onions/garlic/mushrooms.  We also prepared some Pinto beans dressed with finely chopped and sauteed Galric and Onions.

Here you can see a video of my idiotic-ass attempting to take a picture of the ‘Mexican Rice’, I managed to engage the video instead.

List of ingredients in the Rice:
2 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
1 white Onion
½ Jalapeno (I kept the seeds in)
2 cups Rice (browned in Oil prior to cooking with water)

Season to your likening with:
Ground Cumin
Fresh Tomatos

Preparation steps:
Sautee onions, garlic and jalapeno for 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups of rice to the mixture.
Brown the rice without burning it.
After the rice has browned, add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and let sit for roughly 20 minutes.

I did find a recipe that follows the same guidelines and outlines exactly what to do fairly well; you can see that here.  A rule of thumb when cooking rice is typically 1:2, 1 part rice to 2 parts water.  You do need to modify this relationship as you increase the amount of rice you’re cooking.  So when I cook 2 cups of rice I use 3 cups of water.  If I’m cooking 3 cups of rice I’ll use 4 ½ cups of water.  The rice came out fairly well, but I felt it was a little too moist.  I likely needed to brown the rice more prior to introducing the water.

01 - Mexican Rice

The Pinto beans with Onions and Garlic was fairly easy to prepare.  Sia heated up a sauce pan with a bit of Olive Oil and sauteed the Garlic and Onions.  Next, I turned the heat to low and poured a can of Pinto beans into the pan (I rinsed the beans first). You can focus on the other parts of the meal while this comes to heat.  Prior to serving, I topped the Pinto beans with a bit of Parsley and Cilantro.  The Pinto beans went very well with the Mexican Rice they had a considerable kick from the garlic.

02 - Pinto Beans with garlic and onion

At this point, you could stop and make this a vegetarian day.  The Pinto beans would give you enough protein (as well as flavor) and all I would introduce would be freshly cut veggies as a side.  If you are a ‘Meatatarian’ then you should gladly proceed with making the Carne Asada. I did find a much more complicated version of what Sia did here (the recipe in the link has you add Cilantro and Sugar). We only let the Flank Steak marinate for 45 minutes or so.

1 or 2 packages of Flank Steak
Salt and freshly Ground Pepper
4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 Jalapenos (kept the seeds in and minced)
1 tsp gound Cumin
3 Limes juiced
½ cup Olive Oil

Score the Steaks lightly with a fork and then put them in a ziplock bag.  Next, add the remainder of the ingredients and give it a couple of good shakes to get everything mixed together.  Make sure to try and remove any excess air in the bag before sealing.  Rest in the refridgerator for 1-2 hours if you have the time.

In a non-stick pan, with a splash of oil, bring the heat to medium-high and cook each side of the steak for a few minutes (until brown).  If you like your meat well down clearly let it cook a bit longer.  Cut and serve.

03 - Carne Asada with lettuce and avacado

(you can see our terrible dog hoping for some scraps to fall through the glass to him)

As you can see, the result came out very well.  The marinade helped make the Flank Steak much tenderer as well as infused a whopping amount of flavor.  Each bite had a citrus punch that was refreshing.

04 - Clean plate shot

Everything went very well together and I would suggest that anyone with some time and a taste for some spice try making this.  If I had a chance to do this meal over I would marinate the Flank Steak a bit longer and make the Pinto Bean dish from dried Pinto Beans.

The meal merited Rating: ★★★★½.

-Matt in Tampa

Author: Matt

I now live in Clearwater, FL and from here the food shall be reviewed.

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