What to do now?
After a greuling year of campaigns, political controversy and economic despair our country is left with hope and the promise of a new day. We've lived and breathed this monumental, historic race and now new & old political junkies everywhere are left with a politics hangover. For months, I have replaced my usual web browsing with an ardent obsession with political blogs.
Where I once read perezhilton.com with my morning cup of coffee, I found myself typing poltico.com into my browser first thing each morning. I sat glued to CNN, waiting and watching to see what would happen next. The long, hard fight is not over for President-Elect Barack Obama but now that the election is over, what do I do?
Cook and bake! Now that I can pull myself away from CNN, I'll be spending more time in the kitchen. For those still glued to see what unfolds next for our new President, here's a quick and easy meal to throw together. Keep me up to date. I need a break. Here's some photos pre-oven:
I first saw this recipe for Baked Costa Rican Style Tilapia with Pineapple Black Bean Rice on Simply Delicioso, Ingrid Hoffman's cooking show. It was the first episode of hers that I'd ever seen, but I instantly knew I needed to make this tropical fish. As the name spells out, tilapia is baked with a delightfully sweet and spicy rice accented by pineapples, salsa and black beans. Pop it all in the oven and you're left with a sophisticated, yet delicious and healthy meal.
I loved the rice so much that I'd definitely consider making rice this way again to serve with other meals though next time, I'd drain some of the excess liquid from the rice, pineapple and salsa mixture before baking. If you decide to cook this, I'd make sure to chop up the pineapple very finely and use a tasty salsa with a lot of spice! I was lucky to have a jar of homemade salsa on hand thanks to a lovely gift so the salsa added a lot of good flavor.
Baked Costa Rican Style Tilapia with Tropical Rice
Adapted from Ingrid Hoffman
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used orange pineapple mango juice)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups homemade salsa
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
2 limes, thinly sliced
Combine the rice, chicken broth and a dash of salt in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 50 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. If using white rice, follow package directions.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, oil, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, the garlic, and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add the tilapia fillets to the marinade, turning to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.
Stir together the cooked rice, salsa, beans, pineapple, and remaining 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a 2 or 3-quart baking dish. If there is a lot of liquid, drain some since you'll be adding the marinade. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, reserve the marinade, and lay the fish fillets over the rice mixture, overlapping if necessary. Pour the reserved marinade over the fish. Shingle the lime slices over the fish. Bake until the fish flakes easily, is opaque, and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.