I'm so happy to have Misa Ramirez (aka Melissa Bourbon) in the Kitchen today. Misa lives just down the road in Argyle, Texas, with her amazing husband and five wildly talented children. Honestly, they're the most gorgeous family you've ever seen. Misa manages to keep her bustling household intact while writing fabulous books: the Lola Cruz Mysteries, a series of romantic suspense novels based on Mexican legends, and a new Magical Dressmaking cozy mystery series (as Melissa Bourbon). Oh, and she's also a fantastic friend. In short, she's my hero!
Since I have a thing for all things Mexican--starting with my husband--it was a logical leap for me to include food in my books. My Lola Cruz Mystery series, as well as the brand new A Deadly Curse (A Mexican Legend Romantic Suspense), feature food fairly prominently. In the Lola books, the family owns a Mexican restaurant. In A Deadly Curse, and the soon-to-be-released A Deadly Sacrifice, the Vargas brothers own a bar/restaurant, cook, and so much happens in the kitchen.
The kitchen is the heart of the home... and often the heart of my books. In my personal life (in relation to cooking), I always know I’ve hit a homerun with a recipe when mi esposo so eloquently says, “Man, this is better than my mom’s.”
That’s my gauge. If I can make my MIL’s recipes better than she can, then, oh yeah, I’m golden. I silently gloat.
Okay, maybe not so silently. I soak up the praise and revel in it.
And the thing is, my recipes are way...I mean, WAY... easier than hers! How can that be when they’re her recipes? Maybe my husband’s senses have dulled after 20 years. It’s possible. But really, I think it’s because I make the food with love.
Everybody say, “Awwwww....”
All kidding aside, here’s an example. She makes classic Spanish rice, like, everyday. It requires her own canned tomatoes pureed with fresh onions and garlic. In a blender. Forget about the days of canning during the summer (not to mention the gardening involved in actually growing enough tomatoes to can 100 + jars). I have five kids. And the afore-mentioned husband. Plus, you know, a job (as a writer, which means I’m at home a lot, but still, I’m in front of my computer, not in front of a blender). And I teach on the side. So simplification has become my middle name.
MY Spanish rice recipe does not require gardening, canning, slicing, chopping, or appliances. And it’s good! “Better than my mom’s,” says my husband, and he’s not under duress.
So here is the Lola Cruz Spanish rice recipe for your everyday enjoyment. Easy, schmeasy. No blender required.