Frijoles Refritos & Mexican Rice

Here is what you do when you have your wisdom teeth pulled out:

1. Watch the entire season 4 of 30 Rock. And then watch the movie Don Juan de Marco, in which Johnny Depp is mostly shirtless for over and hour and a half.
2. Milkshakes.
3. Listen to the ever lovely and whimsical Blossom Dearie on repeat:
4. Write thank you notes and emails.
5. Make refried beans and mexican rice.

Getting my teeth out was my first surgery ever, and let me tell you what frightens me: There are gaps in my memory. I remember waking up out of the druggy stupor, but I have no idea how I made it from the surgery to my bed at home, even though I was conscious. These HOLES in my memory, they're dark and strange, and the little I can remember, it's like looking through tarnished mirror, or murky pond. The memory just isn't there, which is freaky. My mother tells me that I got to ride in a wheel chair. I've always wanted to ride in a wheel chair. AND I CAN'T REMEMBER.

I also had some spectacular daydreams. One of which was animated, like a cartoon. There were giraffes.

Today, however, I am mostly back to normal, and my mom has stopped offering to make me milkshakes, so I'm pretty certain I'm on the rebound. I made myself frijoles refritos or refried beans and mexican rice. For the uninformed, these are the "mashed potatoes" of Tex-Mex cooking, and basically accompany every main course you can think of. They are soft and comforting and delicious and hearty and my comfort food, especially when topped with a grating of cheddar cheese.

Perfect for my wisdom-toothless mouth.


Frijoles Refritos
from The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh

1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
3 cups drained cooked pinto beans, broth reserved
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 cup reserved bean broth
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Melt lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Allow to heat for another minute, then add the beans and mash them for 2 minutes with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the salt. Add the bean broth and the black pepper and continue mashing until the beans reach the desired consistency. Tex-Mex beans are generally chunky rather than soupy.
Note: If you don't have time to cook a pot of beans, start with canned pinto beans. (Two 16 oz cans are perfect for this recipe.)

Mexican Rice
from The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh

2 cups chicken broth
1 tomato coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup raw white rice
2 serrano chiles
1/2 cup minced carrots
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of black pepper

In a blender, combine the broth, tomato, and garlic. Puree and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy-lidded skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the raw rice; saute until it turns opaque without browning. Add the broth puree, chilies, carrots, cumin, and pepper. Salt to taste. Bring the rice to a boil and reduce the heat. Cover tightly and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not remove the lid during cooking. Allow to stand for 5 minutes after turning off the heat.

Note: I made this in the rice cooker. If you do this just be sure to saute the onion and carrots before adding them to the rice in the rice cooker.