Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Peruvian Cilantro Rice

How great it is to get away for awhile!  We are gearing up for an action-packed and fun summer this year and are getting excited about trips to Branson and Cape Cod among others.

Setting summer fun into motion before it's official start, we took a quick 5 day trip to the Los Angeles area last week to visit my brother and sister-in-law and meet my beautiful new niece, Sophia, but also wanted to just hang out and soak in some of that slower-paced California vibe for a few days.  We managed a few dips in the pool, killer Mexican food, and lots of relaxation.  When we weren't swooning over the new baby, we also managed to hit the Long Beach farmer's market, a classic LA-style swap meet, and a day in West Hollywood with friends.

We ate so much delicious stuff that I just don't see in NYC.  The farmer's market had fat and bursting tamales available in 9 flavors!  At the swap meet, I had crisp and fresh fish tacos from a taco truck and Will and I split Mexican donuts for dessert (one, a cinnamon and sugar combo and the other, a cinnamon and chocolate-glazed bun still warm--mmmm.).  We enjoyed beautiful, fresh, and local cherries, mango, and watermelon and I grabbed a bite of my sister-in-law's churro.  It was AMAZING and had I gotten my own, I would have eaten every bite.

Our last night in town, we went to a place serving up what we believe to be authentic Peruvian eats (not sure, though--never been to Peru.).  We enjoyed the Yuca for an appetizer and it was absolutely divine.  My entree may well be the best thing I have eaten in many, many months.  I had Arroz con Mariscos, which was fresh and tender shrimp, scallop, octopus, and langoustine sauteed and served over the ultimate, most flavorful, and tasty cilantro rice in existence. Seriously.

Other dishes at the table were the house-roasted chicken, which can only be described as lacquered with a salty citrus glaze and was very good,  Talarin Saltado which looked like hibachi tossed with French fries, and fried rice that was very Chinese in influence, but had some Latin notes.

For a first try at a new cuisine, I must admit that I am smitten.  Peruvian cuisine is a diverse fare with Asian, Latin, and American influences with seemingly equal weight.  If we had more time in California, I would have requested more Peruvian. For now, though, the search is on for good Peruvian in NYC.  Any suggestions are welcome, dear readers.

Here is the first try at a recipe for the cilantro rice, which would be perfect for a summertime barbecued fish/meat meal, especially grilled seafood or to accompany a vegetable saute.  Give it a try and fall in love  with this cuisine!

Peruvian Cilantro Rice

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 cups broth (chicken is traditional, vegetable works, too)
1/4 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/4 cup frozen peas (optional)
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked white rice

In a food processor or blender, puree cilantro with 1/2 cup water.

Heat oil in a saucepan and cook garlic until lightly browned. Pour in 2 cups of the cooking liquid and stir in the cilantro puree, carrots, peas, cumin and rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then cover; cook on low heat until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.


Dan said...

aww shucks you are too kind to us and our food choices!

Catherine Barker Hoffman said...

I'm not kidding--I'm still thinking about that rice. My dinner was really good. Maybe I will perfect it and make it the next time we see you.

Maritza said...

So glad you liked that restaurant. helps that you are so easy to please! We'll start thinking of new places to take you and Will on your next trip to LA.

Catherine Barker Hoffman said...

Or we could just do Peruvian...did you try my dinner? Next time you go, you should get it. It wasn't spicy, just pure awesomeness.