Mexican gumbo

When I worked at the paper, our vegetarian-in-residence would go out and pick up Qdoba for lunch about once a week. I got totally hooked on their “Mexican gumbo,” which is really just a bowl of white rice topped with black beans, tortilla soup, salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

Qdoba is great, but $6 is a lot of money for what basically amounts to a bowl of rice and beans … so I decided to take their basic concept and improvise on it in my own kitchen. This is what I came up with:

1. Make a batch of white rice and add some cilantro to it. If you don’t have one, do yourself a favor and buy a Black and Decker rice cooker. We got one last night, and it is AWESOME. You just put in your rice and water, turn it on, and ignore it. It automatically shuts itself off when it’s done cooking. It’s like a Crock-Pot, only smarter.

2. Make some black beans (I do mine overnight in the Crock-Pot, but you can just nuke some canned beans if you’re in a hurry).

3. Make a pan of tortilla soup. Here’s my recipe:

1 cube Knorr vegetable bouillon
About a pint of water
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of chopped green chiles
2 tsp. minced garlic
Chili powder to taste
Cumin to taste

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. If this were truly tortilla soup, I would cut corn tortillas into strips and fry them at this point, but since I’m just using this as a base for gumbo, I didn’t bother.

4. Put a big scoop of rice, a big scoop of beans, and a big scoop of tortilla soup in a bowl. Top with salsa, finely shredded Mexican cheese, and sour cream. If you want, add hot sauce and maybe a spritz of lime juice.

Great stuff, and very easy. I’ll probably make this next time I have a party. Vegans can skip the cheese and sour cream and still have a pretty good meal.


Folk Friday: Neil Diamond

Sorry I’ve been AWOL for a couple of days. I’ve been swamped all week, and by the time I caught my breath last night, there were storms in the area, which meant I had to unplug my Mac.

In any case, this week’s Folk Thursday should be worth the wait. This is definitely the best thing off Neil Diamond’s last album. No video — just a rather distorted still — but you don’t need a video. Close your eyes and listen to the lyrics, because this is quite possibly the best thing he’s written since 1973.

Incidentally, his new album will be out Tuesday. And tickets to his Oct. 21 concert in Tulsa just went on sale this morning. (And yes, Ron did get up this morning and order a pair for us the minute they went on sale. Thanks, Ron….)

And just for fun, here’s our boy showing the kiddie-poos on Idol what a professional looks like:

I’m carpooling with a bunch of other people on a three-hour road trip tomorrow. We’re trying to figure out who’s riding with whom. Something tells me the decision may boil down to that brilliant quote from What About Bob?

“There are two kinds of people in this world; those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t.”
— Bill Murray

Have a good weekend.