Firsts, But Not Lasts

I used something in the kitchen today that I don't think I've used in all the time I've lived here. It wasn't a gadget, or appliance, or even a new food... it was
A COOKBOOK! Now, the adorable wrought iron cookbook holder was a wedding gift from a fabulous friend of mine, which I also haven't used before. But how strange is it that I cook ALL the time and so rarely use a cookbook? Usually I use them to get ideas, and then go off on my own merry way, creating something new. Today though, I was completely uninspired. I rifled through one of the best cookbooks I own, Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World thinking I'd get some idea for something to make, and one of his recipes just spoke to me: Arroz con Pollo. This is a typically Caribbean dish, more specifically Puerto Rican, and is something that I've enjoyed many times. I modified the recipe a bit to make it a bit healthier and less fatty, and due to those modifications, the cooking time was vastly different than what the book said!
Arroz Con Pollo Adapted from Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman Ingredients * 2 to 3 lbs. bone-in chicken breasts * 2 medium onions, diced * 1 red bell pepper, chopped * 1/4 lb. lean/center cut bacon, cut into 1/4" dice * 5 c. chicken stock * 2 c. brown rice * 1 c. fresh or frozen peas * 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained * 1 tsp. minced garlic * 1/8 tsp. allspice * 2 bay leaves * Salt and pepper to taste Directions Put the cut up bacon in a large pan with a lid. Cook until some fat has been rendered, then add onion. Cook a few minutes until onions are translucent, then add the chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken well, then add the peppers and garlic. Stir well and cook about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the rice to the pan and cook until glossy, about 5 minutes. Add stock, tomato, peas, allspice, and bay leaves, and bring to a low simmer. Return chicken to the pan, cover and allow to cook until chicken is done and rice is cooked, about 40 minutes.
I have to say, tonight's meal was full of other firsts, besides just using a cookbook in my kitchen. I've never cooked with allspice before, nor have I made a recipe where the rice needed to be cooked somewhat before adding liquid. The smells filling my house right now are very comforting somehow... I don't exactly know how or why, but it really just smells delicious! And now, an announcement! For the second time, I'm honored to be a co-host of the Peanut Butter Exhibition, created by our friend Peanut Butter Boy!
Along with Peanut Butter Boy, myself, Scotty Snacks, and Balance. We are proud to bring the next installation of the greatest recipe roundup and competition right to your doorstep! This time we have a magnificent prize package sponsored by the famous Peanut Butter & Co.! The theme for this round of the Peanut Butter Exhibition is Delectable Duo - any recipe where the two star ingredients are peanut butter and any other ingredient. This is a wide open theme so get creative, much emphasis will be placed on the uniqueness of the second ingredient. Think of it as a Mad Lib, simply fill in the blank: "Peanut Butter and ______".
Judging Criteria: Uniqueness, Peanut Butter Weight, Presentation and Preparation Time. Rules: * Post and submit your "Delectable Duo" recipe by the deadline. * Please link to this page from your posted recipe to indicate that you are entering this contest. * Pictures are highly recommended but not required. * One (1) entry per person so choose wisely. * You may use other nut butters instead of peanut butter. * You may use any variety or type of nut butter, but please do not list brand names. Feel free to use any of the logos on this page, including the following, to link back:
Blogless? Don't worry if you don't have a blog, you can still submit your award-winning recipe. Fill out the same form below but leave the "Recipe Permalink" field blank, fill out the "Recipe" box and feel free to attach a picture to go along with the recipe! Submission: Click here to submit your recipe online. Or, email "" with "PBE #8" as the subject and include the following information:Name, Email, Recipe Title, Recipe or Recipe Permalink Prize: All recipes will be displayed but the judges will vote for the Top 3. All 3 winners receive a badge of pride to display on their site but the first place winner will receive the following prize package, courtesy of Peanut Butter & Co.: * 6 jars of PB&Co peanut butter (1 of each flavor) * 3 boxes of PB&Co peanut butter squeeze packs (1 of each flavor) * 3 boxes of PB&Co baking mixes (1 of each) * 1 signed cookbook The entire prize package retails for $99, except of course the priceless aspect of Lee Zalben's (Founder of PB&Co) signature.
It's odd for me tonight to not be at a Passover seder, but I'm making up for it by doing half of my cooking for our huge family seder tomorrow night. I'm making the same thing I've made in previous years... you'll have to wait until tomorrow (or Wednesday morning!) to find out what it is and how to make it. I'm off to enjoy a glass of wine because well, it's Spring Break and I can.
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14 Responses to Firsts, But Not Lasts

  1. I have a similar cookbook stand, but I DO use mine often! Hmm…might have to think about this PB contest…
    .-= Ally@Sweet & Savory´s last blog ..Whew…what a weekend =-.

  2. I’m the same way, I never use a cookbook or follow a recipe. I get inspired and then make it my own. There’s always something I don’t want to use in it lol.

    The Arroz con pollo came out looking delicious. Can’t wait to see your Passover dish. 🙂


  3. Lauren says:

    Okay, these pictures need to be in a cookbook!! WOW!!!! Mara, it looks fantastic! 🙂
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Kalorik 50 oz. Brushed Stainless Steel Blender Review =-.

  4. Biz says:

    Okay – too much of a coincidence!! I made potstickers using my spicy peanut butter last night!! I am going to submit that!

    Glad you liked Siegelman’s!

  5. Quix says:

    Mmmm… looks yummy! We got a cookbook as a wedding present (to go with the crock pot), and we’ve used it a few times, but it’s been forever before that. Honestly, my methodology is to look something up online, find a few recipes I like, and smash them all together (and adding stuff I think will be good too).
    .-= Quix´s last blog ..Spring Has Sprung =-.

  6. just seeing your stand makes me want one myself. any hints on the best place to get one? yours is gorgeous, as is the arroz con pollo…i LOVE that stuff!

  7. Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary says:

    That chicken dish looks SO TASTY!!! I must recreae my own verion 😉 It looks to pretty in the pan… I love all the colors.

  8. Wow – loved that recipe, girl!
    And that PB exhibition looks like an amazing idea – I wish I had a couple on creative recipes, like you!
    You´re incredibly talented, Maya. You know that, right?!
    Have a great week!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,
    .-= Gabriela (froyolover)´s last blog ..Food Photoshoot + Brigadeiro Tutorial =-.

  9. Jill Shelley says:

    This is the first recipe I’ve seen for Arroz Con Pollo that uses the brown rice rather than the white. And I’ve never seen it with bacon in it either. I’m going to try this one! Thank you!!

  10. MizFit says:

    we are so alike and so different 😉
    for me it would be StunningShockingAnEvent for there NOT TO BE a cookbook tethered to my arm.

  11. FABULOUS looking chicken! yum yum yum!

    and very exciting contest! my wheels are turning 😉

  12. Michelle says:

    Jeeeez your pictures just keep getting more and more delicious looking!! I would looove to sample some of that rice and chicken. ANyone who can make brown rice look succulent is a cooking rockstar in my book.

    I’ve never been to that vegan korean restaurant!!! Is that a must go?? I need to look it up now. 🙂 thanks so much for the recommendation!!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Hope for a Green Zebra? =-.

  13. Mara! Thank you so much for the support on the new site! I am so excited about it 🙂

    Um, I love that cookbook holder. Seriously, judging from what you’ve posted so far, you got some amazing wedding gifts!

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