This week – I was hungry for white rice and home cooking.
I made my family’s chicken adobo and added kidney beans. Trust me – it works! The kidney beans soak up the soy sauce and vinegar broth. I think it pairs nicely with the chicken that has been simmering for about an hour on the stove.
My favorite part of this dish is spooning the thin, savory broth over white rice. Yum!
My comfort food comes in all shapes, flavors and complexities. Oddly enough, memories of my lola has me heating up a bowl of white rice and smoked cheddar sausage in the microwave.
I also add pads of margarine over the rice. I know – weird right? Good thing I’m not pregnant!
Rice and margarine are not considered part of my family’s repertoire of food. When I was growing up, I was hooked on the Rice-A-Roni commercials. I craved the buttery flavors of the San Francisco treat after my parents’ steady diet of white rice.
One night, I thought my dad hit the jackpot with his homemade rice pilaf. I remember he said he fried the rice with butter. I remember savoring the delicate flavors of salt, butter and white jasmine rice, all rolling around on my tongue.
When my parents were at work, my brother and I stayed with my Lola and my cousin Jennie. We spent the first part of the morning watching ‘Transformers’, ‘Jem’, ‘She-Ra’ and other cartoons.
Next, my Lola switched the channel to ‘Little House on the Prairie’ as we used blankets and pillows to transform my Ninang’s dining table and chairs into a spaceship, Inspector Gadget’s headquarters or another fantastic location we saw on TV.
At lunchtime, I begged my Lola to make rice pilaf. I thought it was simple to do since my dad figured it out. She asked me how to make it. I told her my dad fried rice with butter.
So she warmed up some chicken adobo and she fried white rice. At the dining table, she used a butter knife to smear wads of margarine on top of the fried rice.
I remember the look of horror on the faces of my brother and cousin. I felt terrible about my food request.
Bottom line – there was no way I was going to let any of Lola’s cooking go to waste. I took a deep breathe and started shoveling spoonfuls of cold margarine and hot rice into my mouth. I also remember it didn’t taste bad. It was not my dad’s rice pilaf but I wouldn’t say ‘No’ to this flavor combo.
I finished everything on my plate.
As an adult who has dealt with dwindling supplies in the fridge, I found some inspiration with my Lola’s margarine rice.
- I add leftover white rice and margarine into a bowl. I heat everything in the microwave for 45 seconds.
- Then I add sliced smoked sausage to the bowl and return it to the microwave for another 20 seconds.
- I mix everything up and enjoy with ‘Burn Notice,’ ‘America’s Next Top Model’ or another one of my guilty pleasures on TV.