So, we didn't think twice when we went about planning a casual dinner party with friends from church. The menu was to be beef and chicken fajitas with all the toppings, homemade tangy guacamole, pinto beans that slowly simmered all day and cilantro-lime rice. We live in South Texas, therefore fajitas are always a solid dinner choice, and my girls cannot get enough of the cilantro-lime rice.
That was the plan. That was the ONLY plan.
When is began to sprinkle I brushed it off. It won't last long! However, when some actual drops began to appear I decided I might want to go ahead and get all of that marinating meat on the grill early and then let it rest in the oven until dinner. So, that's just what I did. "Good idea, Melanie. You can totally outsmart Mother Nature and whatever weather plot she has to sabotage your dinner." I laughed to myself, and so did she.
Then... it poured.
The fire went out twice, the meat cooked slowly and unevenly, and I was completely soaked! I had to recruit my youngest daughter, Bethany, to come hold an umbrella over myself and the grill so I could see what I was doing. I just knew the whole dinner was a bust! But, what can you do? I did the best I could with what I had to work with.
Thankfully, when we finally sat down to dinner, it appeared that everything might have actually come together! The meat had finished cooking in the oven and the accoutrements did their job of adding bold flavors and textures to the fajita tacos. The beans had absorbed all the smoky flavor of the ham hocks and the brightness of the cilantro...the rice was nice and sticky...just like we like it!
Thinking about it now, it might have been the fajitas that brought us together with our friends around the table, but in the end, the food ended up mattering very little! (Yes, it's a real plus when it's delicious!) We had such a wonderful time talking, sharing, laughing and even singing with the guitar after dinner.
So...Rain or Shine, have your friends over for dinner--
You'll be glad you did--and so with they!
1 pound dried pinto beans, picked and washed
Cover with water.
Boil (rapid boil) for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and cover.
Soak for 1 hour.
Drain and Rinse the beans.
Add water to cover, again.
Add to the pot:
One large onion, diced
Ham Hocks, Sausage, or Salt Pork (however much you want) 1 T. Chili Powder
1t. of ALL the following: Garlic Granules, Oregano, Cumin, Salt, Pepper
Bring to a boil and then Simmer on low heat covered until beans are tender.
Add Cilantro to taste.