Neat-O Stuff and Spanish Rice

Hey, it’s Friday! Yay! Here’s a couple of cool things that happened or are about to happen:

1. I was included in the Austin Gastronomist’s list of Austin’s Influential Foodies Under 35! I’m really flattered to have been included with some of the top chefs, restauranteurs, and writers in Austin. I’ll be doing an interview with her soon, too, and I’ll post the link here when that comes out.
Spanish Rice
2. I’m teaching a free live cooking class tonight at 6pm CST! Not sure if you’re on Google Plus yet or if you’ve heard about this G+Cooking School, but it is a REALLY cool idea. I’m making my fish tacos and Spanish rice on the show tonight and the creator, Lee Allison, will be making pico de gallo and sopapillas to go with the meal. The hangout session is probably filled (only 10 spots available) but it will be STREAMING LIVE at 6pm CST at

If you miss the live stream, here’s my post and video on Fish Tacos from last year.

And here’s my Spanish Rice Recipe so you can still participate and have what I’m having for dinner tonight!


Spanish Rice

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  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • Ingredients
  • 2 T oil or butter
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly into half-rings
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper, each


  1. Rinse the rice in a colander and shake well to remove as much water as possible.
  2. Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the rice. Stir until the grains are coated in oil and looking shiny.
  3. Add the onion and garlic.
  4. Continue stirring until some of the grains are lightly toasted.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, water and seasonings.
  6. Bring to boil, stir, then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat but leave the lid on and let the rice chillax for 5-10 minutes before fluffing it up.

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We’ll also be enjoying some margaritas, BTW. Here’s my recipe!


  1. Randy on August 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I know what I be having for dinner tonight! Along with the bacalao veracruzano (or is it abadejo veracruzano? Is bacalao salted cod?). I need to find a substitute for red snapper. I think I’ll double the recipe for Spanish rice, since I buy tomato sauce in 15 oz. cans and freeze chicken stock in 2 cup portions.

    I need to find a Google+ for Dummies book.

    • Hilah on August 12, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Yes! Bacalao is salted cod. I’ve only ever had it in bacalaitos – fritters – when I was in Puerto Rico.

      I think I’ve used black drum as a snapper substitute? Don’t quote me on that., though. Seafood is an area I need to work on.

  2. Brady Hamilton on August 12, 2011 at 11:53 am

    So nice and simple 🙂 I always throw in a can of Ro-Tel with my Spanish rice to kick it up a few notches.

    • Hilah on August 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Yum! Great suggestion, Brady!

  3. Great Stone Face on August 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    If I want to be lazy and make it in my rice cooker, how would you adjust the recipe?

    • Hilah on August 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Alright, the laziest thing I can think of would be to just throw it all in there. Second laziest would be to saute the onions and then throw it all in there. Third laziest would be saute the onions and toast the rice and THEN throw it all in there. Take your pick!

  4. Patrick Soltis on August 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    (Tuesday, August 16)

    Hey, Hilah,

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on making the list of 35 most influential foodies under 35.

    Last Friday was my birthday, so I spent most of the day having people buy me lunch and drinks. But I made my own dinner: sausage lecsó, which is one of the national dishes of Hungary and has very vague affinities with Spanish rice. I’ll send a recipe if you like.

    I saw the Pimm’s Cup recipe. Right now I’m trying to decide whether I want to invest in a fifth of Pimm’s No. 1.

    • Hilah on August 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Pat!

      Thank you! And happy belated birthday! Sounds like you spent it in the best way possible. I would be very interested in your recipe. I’ve never heard of that. If you’d like, you can post it in the comments here for everyone to see.

      I know that a bottle of Pimm’s seems like a lot, but we discovered that it is also delightful with just some soda and a squeeze of lime, so at least there’s a couple variations for your bottle!

      • Patrick Soltis on August 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm


        (This recipe is based on one by Kálmán Kalla in the Gundel New Hungarian Cookbook, which I bought in Budapest in 1999.)

        ingredients, per serving:

        1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
        1 slice thick bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
        1 small onion, sliced into thin half-rings
        1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and cut into half-inch dice
        1 large yellow bell pepper, stem, seeds, and veins removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
        1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
        2 or 3 ounces smoked Hungarian sausage, sliced 3/4 inch thick (see note)
        1 cup cooked long-grain rice

        (Note: Cleveland has a large Hungarian-American community. The Hungarian sausage that I get here is artisanal, mildly spiced and heavily smoked. Kielbasa is probably the closest substitute, but commercial brands can be quite salty.)


        Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until it is wilted and beginning to brown, but don’t let it get crisp. Add the onion and brown it thoroughly. Reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining ingredients except for the rice, stir thoroughly, cover the pan tightly, and simmer for 8 to 12 minutes or until the pepper is done to your liking — after 8 minutes it will still be a little bit crunchy. Add salt per your preference. Serve over cooked rice.

        This recipe makes a sweet, fragrant lecsó. You can make it spicier by using different peppers. Many people use what we midwesterners call “Italian frying peppers”. Green “New Mexico” or “Anaheim” peppers are other possibilities.

        Old-time Hungarians would have made this with lard rather than vegetable oil.

        • Hilah on August 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm

          YUM! Thank you for sharing this! I love recipes that require so few ingredients but you can tell it’s going to taste good!

          I bet this would be good over egg noodles, too!

          • Patrick Soltis on August 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

            In Hungary and Hungarian restaurants in Cleveland the alternative to rice is “tarhonya”. The word is usually translated into English as “egg barley”. Yes, they are very small, irregularly shaped egg pasta. I’ve also seen lecsó served over spätzle, which of course are another variant of pasta.

          • Hilah on August 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

            Sounds like orzo. I love finding similarities in cuisines across cultures.

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