July 29: 1800 Tequila Coconut

I am not a drinker. I barely qualify as a social drinker. The taste of alcohol is really, really unappealing. And because I never acquired a taste for alcohol, I’m not even a lightweight; I’m a featherweight. I feel a sense of intoxication just smelling alcohol. I don’t even know if it is biochemically possible to get a buzz from smelling alcohol lol but I do!…Okay, so my cousin had a housewarming party yesterday. The bar filled up rather quickly with wine and spirits. One particular bottle caught my eye: the 1800 Coconut. Jose Cuervo does an excellent job of branding. Not only is their name instantly recognizable,but the shape of the one liter bottle is really distinctive. I was particularly drawn to the coconut part because I love love love coconut. Coconut milk, coconut pie, coconut cake, macaroons, magic bars, coconut water, coconut meat. I must have been from a tropical locale in my last life because pineapple and coconut are two of my favorite things. I actually like them more than chocolate, which is saying quite a lot. And all three together? Don’t get me started!

Anywhoo, so I tasted the tequila and was instantly hooked. It’s smooth with a robust, but not overpowering, coconut flavor. A little bite on the back of the tongue was the only cue that I was drinking alcohol. My cousin didn’t have pineapple juice, so I mixed half-of-a-shot-if-that with about 6 oz of ginger ale and garnished with a sliver of lime. I had three 6 oz cups before the night was over! We had to hide the bottle of 1800 halfway through the party because guests were like me lol.

Yes, I will be buying a bottle of 1800 with my first paycheck at the end of August. And when I go to happy hour (metro D.C. is like the land of happy hour), I know what I’m ordering! I feel quite cosmopolitan now having the beginnings of a signature drink *smile*

July 26: Chipotle Vegetarian Bowl–the at home edition known as Fauxpotle Vegetarian Bowl

It’s been a minute since I posted about anything new. I would tell you about the wonderful adventure of trying to move twice in three weeks (OH to GA, GA to DC), but I’ll give you the bottom line now: Don’t do it! lol Just don’t do that to yourself. Ever. Life in D.C. is quite different as a working professional, who’s technically unemployed until Wednesday, than it was as a free-spirited undergraduate. I found the basic establishments: grocers, Metro, gas station, and the Chemistry department where I’ll be working.

I can’t say I’ve tried many new things since May when I last posted. Relocating and some much needed R&R were priorities. Now that I have some semblance of normalcy in my life again, it’s time to try new things! Yay! Okay, so first up, what I’m calling Fauxpotle vegetarian bowl. My first weekend in the city, I went with a friend to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to see a special exhibit related to Black American life. We had lunch at the Chipotle on the next block and I ordered the vegetarian bowl.

I’m always looking for recipe ideas, and the vegetarian bowl seemed quite simple if only I could figure out the seasonings in the rice. I plan to save the mild sauce for another attempt. Baby steps. Search engines are a beautiful thing. I found this recipe that claims to be sources from Chipotle’s executive chef. I have my doubts, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. I made my grocery list and picked up ingredients.

Notice the recipe says to stir the rice in lime juice. The mere fact there was not a volume should have been a red flag. But hey, I’m just going with it. The fragrance of the lime juice reducing was wonderful. I cooked the rice without cilantro (I really need to start my herb garden because I will waste a bunch of cilantro), and after what seemed like forever, my rice was still wet, not as in water, but wet with sugar. The lime juice reduced to its sugar. Yes, yuck.

As my rice was messing up, I sauteed sliced green pepper (one large) and slices of half of a large red onion in chicken broth on high heat in a skillet. I liberally seasoned the vegetables with Cajun seasoning before cooking. In the microwave, I cooked half a bag of frozen sweet corn (about 2.5 cups). I added the corn to a pan of rinsed, canned black beans that were heating on low. Since I did not add liquid, I just warmed them.

In a large glass bowl, I mixed all the ingredients — including the gummy rice, which tasted surprisingly good, if not a little “lime-y”. Despite the texture and appearance, the Fauxpotle vegetarian bowl was quite tasty. And super cheap. I was able to make four servings (~1.5 cups per serving) for less than $5 total. I think that’s the cheapest meal I’ve made to date!

So, bottom line, the Fauxpotle vegetarian bowl is a keeper. In fact, I stocked up on black beans lol. After the epic fail on the rice, I went back to re-read the recipe to make sure I wasn’t crazy, and I saw a second recipe below. That one seems much more promising. It calls for the rice to be stirred in oil and cooked as usual. Then the lime juice is added. For you carnivores, adding meat and choice of sauce will make the dish more Chipotle-like. I like that this recipe is a basic recipe that can be tweaked with different seasoning, rice, beans, and vegetables. One of these days, I’ll try it with some thick white fish (like cod) and made a wrap. Perfect for lunch! The recipe written together is below.

Fauxpotle Vegetarian Bowl

Ingredients

1 large bell pepper

1 medium red onion

Chicken broth, enough to cover the bottom of a 10 in skillet about 1/4 inch

Your choice of seasoning. I used a store-bought Cajun blend

1 can of black beans, rinsed

2.5 cups frozen, sweet corn, cooked

4 cups of jasmine rice, cooked. Any kind of rice will do.

Directions:

Heat broth to boiling. Cook vegetables on high until desired tenderness.

Microwave the corn per manufacturer’s directions. Add to warmed black beans.

For the rice, follow Ramya Maddela’s recipe (Recipe#2).

Stir all ingredients together and enjoy! Happy cooking!