Tag Archives: cookbook

CookBook Recipes: Grandma Chavez’s Mexican Arroz, by Sarah A. Chavez

head shot 2After I had been living outside California and far from family for about five years, I started to try to make my Abuela’s recipes. My whole life, we had eaten her rice, beans, tamales, chorizo con huevos, and enchiladas during regular monthly and holiday/birthday visits. These were beloved foods, expected foods. Not once do I remember a childhood visit that did not feature her 32-quart dented, silver-colored pot half full of rice. There was always enough for my father, the person he was dating, my two uncles (the women they were dating), me, my sister, my grandpa, and a possible neighbor or unexpected friend. And then there were the leftovers. Almost as special as eating the fluffy pink rice in her warm cozy kitchen with the gauzy white half curtains that waved in the breeze of the ceiling fan was the Ziploc bag of rice you got to take home. If you were really lucky, it also came with a Ziploc bag of frijoles, some foil-wrapped tortillas, and a plastic grocery bag full of oranges or nectarines from their backyard. No one in the history of visits has ever left my Abuela’s house hungry or empty-handed.

It was summer when I asked to learn her rice recipe during one of my longer visits in from the Midwest where I was attending graduate school. This was years before the stroke that blocked a significant portion of the English she worked so hard to learn during her sixty years in the U.S., before the subdural hematoma which left a scar the circumference of a baseball stretching from the left ear back, the stitching eerily similar. And so typical for her, when the hair grew back, it was all thick salt with an edge of pepper, soon cut in the most stylish fashion. Even in the kitchen so many hours of the day, her nails were done, slacks pressed, a bright-colored blouse under her red apron. I did not inherit her sense of fashion or interest in the domestic, but I wanted to eat that rice whenever the spirit moved me.

What I didn’t know was that there was no recipe, no measurements in the way that I understood them. She didn’t use measuring cups or teaspoons.

“Sure, Mija,” she said when I asked to watch her. “You just go like this.” This became a blur of coffee mugs and eye-balled ingredients. I had a notebook with me, writing down what I thought the standard measurements might be. But two weeks later, back across the plains, my rice was somehow both oily and dry. I called her, “Grandma, how much? You know, how many teaspoons of salt?” I asked. She seemed confused by the question.

“No teaspoons,” her voice echoed from the phone speaker on the counter while I stood in the middle of the kitchen staring at my new cast iron skillet, vegetarian bullion, and long-grain rice. “Just do like I showed you.”

 

Grandma Chavez’s Mexican Arroz

Serves: ~ 8

 

Ingredients:

1 coffee mug full of rice (the inexpensive white one)

3 coffee mugs full of water

Enough oil

Half of a white onion cut into 4 wedges

2 regular spoonfuls of tomato paste (almost half of a tiny can)

Really heaping soup spoonful of caldo con sabor de pollo (the green packaging)

A cupped palm of salt

 

Directions:

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium open flame heat. Pour oil into the pan until the bottom is covered and it looks like a little too much. Rinse the mugful of rice two or three times under cold tap water, check that there are no bad grains—if you find bad ones, take out the bad ones.

Brown rice in oil until they are tanned like your brown hand (but not burned). Add spoonfuls of tomato paste and one mug of water, stir around. Add spoonful of powder pollo and another mug of water. Push the rice around in the pan with an old wooden spatula until pollo powder is dissolved. Pour the other mugful of water, maybe add a little more tomato paste, dump in the salt. Push everything around (without spilling the water) until it looks about right. Place onion wedges cut side down in the pan with the rice. Lower heat to medium-low, cover with whichever pot lid isn’t too small. Pot lids can be substituted with corning ware lids or old cookie sheets with an oversized can of something placed on top to weigh it down.

Check the rice in 20 mins. Smell it, then push around to mix, and take out a small spoonful to taste. Maybe add more water, or don’t. Put the lid back on for another 10 – 15 mins.

When rice is pink and on the verge of mushy, take pan off the heat and leave it on the stove for people to take bites of while they walk through the kitchen before transferring it to a corning dish and placing on the table for dinner.

 


Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the poetry collections, Hands That Break & Scar (Sundress Publications, 2017) and All Day, Talking (dancing girl press, 2014), selections of which were awarded the Susan Atefat Peckham Fellowship. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in the anthologies Xicanx: Mexican American Writers of the 21st Century and Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzalduan Borderlands as well as the journals Brevity, North American ReviewPretty Owl Poetry, Atticus Review, and The Fourth River Tributaries Series, among others. She recently joined the faculty at the University of Washington Tacoma where she teaches creative writing and Latinx/Chicanx-focused courses. She serves as the poetry coordinator for the Best of the Net Anthology, is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, and is a ravenous consumer of all manner of carbohydrate.

Sarah Chavez’s Hands that Break and Scar

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New CookBook Episode: Donuts with Karen Craigo!

craigoblueheadshotSundress Publications is pleased to announce the latest episode of CookBook, featuring poet and editor, Karen Craigo, AWP style! This episode, as well as all previous episodes, can be found on our website.

CookBook is a video series brought to you by SAFTA, and hosted by poet and food-enthusiast Darren C. Demaree. Each episode features Demaree and guest as they prepare food (recipe provided by the guest) and have a conversation about anything and everything. Guests on CookBook range from writers, artists, musicians, publishers, and community members, and come from all corners of the world.

This episode takes place at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Washington, D.C. and features the very appropriate pairing of donuts and Karen’s poetry collection, No More Milk.

Darren C. Demaree is living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. He is the author of five poetry collections, and is the recipient of six Pushcart Prize nominations. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of the
Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

Karen Craigo is the author of the poetry collection No More Milk (Sundress, 2016) and the forthcoming collection Passing Through Humansville (ELJ, 2017). She maintains Better View of the Moon, a daily blog on writing, editing, and creativity, and she teaches writing in Springfield, Missouri. She is the nonfiction editor and former editor-in-chief of Mid-American Review, the reviews editor of SmokeLong Quarterly, an editor of Gingko Tree Review, and the managing editor of ELJ Publications.

 

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Sundress Academy for the Arts’ CookBook, Featuring Poet and Filmmaker Nicole M. K. Eiden

CookBook, a video podcast branch of Sundress Publications, is pleased to announce the latest episode featuring poet, filmmaker, and award-winning baker Nicole M.K. Eiden. This episode, as well as all previous episodes, can be found on our website.

nicoleCookBook is a video series brought to you by SAFTA, and hosted by poet and food-enthusiast Darren C. Demaree. Each episode features Demaree and guest as they prepare food (recipe provided by the guest) and have a conversation about anything and everything. Guests on CookBook range from writers, artists, musicians, publishers, and community members, and come from all corners of the world.

Join Darren and Nicole as they prepare an amaretto pear and dried cherry leaf lattice pie and discuss her poetry, Ohio, and the challenges of baking in 90-degree weather.

Darren C. Demaree is living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. He is the author of five poetry collections, and is the recipient of six Pushcart Prize nominations. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

Nicole M. K. Eiden is an award-winning poet and filmmaker whose work captures the simple challenges and beauty of ordinary life. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she has made New Orleans her home for the last seventeen years. Nicole holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in film from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Communications degree in video production from Ohio University.

For more information regarding CookBook, check out our website, and be sure to follow us on Twitter (@SAFTAcast) and Facebook!

 

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New CookBook Features Essayist Amanda Page

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CookBook, part of of Sundress Publications, recently released the first episode of
 2016/17 season featuring teacher and essayist Amanda Page. The latest episode, as well as all episodes from the previous season, can be found on our website.

CookBook is a video series brought created by the Sundress Academy for the Arts and hosted by poet and food-enthusiast Darren C. Demaree.  Each episode features the making of some food (recipe provided by the guest) and includes a long conversation about anything and everything.  The guests—which range from an eclectic group of writers, artists, publishers, community members, musicians, and ecstatics—come from all corners of the world.

Host Darren C. Demaree brings charismatic charm that complements featured writers and their prepared dishes. Darren C. Demaree is living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.  He is the author of five poetry collections.  He is the recipient of six Pushcart Prize nominations.  Currently, he is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

Guests on CookBook offer a comprehensive range of various authors across the country. Join Darren and Amanda as they discuss Sandra Cisneros and Alabama all while cooking a delicious peach cobbler.

amandapage

Amanda Page teaches writing and humanities courses to nursing students at a single purpose institution. She earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and holds a Bachelor of Specialized Studies in Writing & Women’s History from Ohio University. She writes about personal finance, student loan debt, higher education, and the art of the personal essay for various print and online publications. Learn more about her work at amanda-page.com.

 

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