Yesterday was Cinco De Mayo, so I decided to celebrate by going to the Davis Farmer's Market to buy one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world, a chili-cheese tamale from Pilar's Homemade Tamales. They make different types of tamales, but the chili-cheese usually sells out first. Obviously, many people share my view that it's a standout. I'm told that the owners wake up at 4 a.m. to start making the tamales from a trusted family recipe. Not a fiery tamale, it has a delightful tangy, creamy taste, with one of the best recipes for masa that I've ever tasted.
When I got home I looked into my fridge and saw a large amount of herbs, left over from the different recipes I made this week. In particular, there was quite a bit of dill left from a massive bunch I bought at the grocery store. Despite using it in two other recipes, there was still a lot left. And there were the other herbs I'd bought, resigned to their fate of becoming withered castoffs. Well, enough of that. I was determined to let them fulfill their culinary purpose by going into some sort of dish. And so, I made green rice full of cilantro, dill, parsley and watercress. It was very, very good, and all the herbs were used up.
I remembered a recipe for Green Rice in a Deborah Madison cookbook, The Savory Way, and changed that to suit my purposes. I had a large bunch of watercress and I stripped off the leaves and chopped them. Any type of greens could be used--spinach, mustard greens, etc. Then I chopped a bunch of scallions I discovered malingering in the crisper, along with large handfulls of cilantro, parsley, and dill.
Rice With Herbs
1 cup white rice (If you use brown rice, add the cilantro at the end, as long cooking destroys the flavor)
1 large bunch of watercress, leaves stripped from the stems and chopped
1/2 (heaping) cup finely chopped dill (well, as "finely chopped" as you have time)
1/2 (heaping) cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 (heaping) cup finely chopped cilantro
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 bunch scallions, chopped, with some of the green part
1 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
Heat the oil in a medium sized, heavy pan and add the garlic and saute for a minute, then add the herbs and scallions and cook for another minute or so. Then add the rice and saute, stirring until the rice turns from translucent to white. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn off the flame and let the rice set for 10 minutes with the lid on. Don't peek. After the 10 minutes, lift the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top if you wish.