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I Join The Gourd Society By Accident And We Eat Green Poblano Rice

I’ve mentioned that it relaxes me to swim in cumbersome pantaloons.  The problem is that swimming is seasonal.  I need stress relief that I can do year-round in my living room.

Enter GOURD ART.

Last week I saw an announcement for a class on how to make a “Valentine’s-Theme Gourd Bowl.”  It was scheduled for one week after Valentine’s Day.

One of two things had to be going on Either the classes before February 14th were sold out because gourd bowls are in such high demand, or the participants are so into gourd art that they just don’t care what day it is. 

Either way, the class was money.  I signed up.

And I’ll tell you what, y’all.  There are two types of people in this world.  The first kind talks about vegetable crafts.  The other is retired ladies who get together and make it rain decorative squash.

I don’t remember the class very well for two reasons:

  1. I was in a state of intense concentration– like a professional athlete.
  2. The class was 4 hours long and I inhaled paint fumes and decoupage glue the entire time.   I think this causes brain damage equivalent to working at a nail salon for three years or getting locked in a duty-free perfume shop overnight.

Thankfully, I documented the event.  For example, this is me going to town on my gourd with a hairdryer for some reason.

And this is the inside of my gourd after the lady sitting to my left was done with it.  She had competed in national gourd art shows, as you can tell from the Class A butterfly situation going on in there.

I am really proud of it– so proud that while I was high on glitter fumes, I told the ladies I’d join the American Gourd Society.

As I’ve explained to Scott, this means I get discounts on all sorts of gourd classes.  By the end of 2012, we’ll have decorated our living room practically for free.

He was not as enthusiastic as I thought he would be.

The only thing to do now is make him love the gourd.  I’m going to make the gourd an indispensable part of his daily life so he’ll realize we need many more.

This is what I’m thinking.

SCOTT:     Hmmm. . . I wonder where my toothbrush and my razor are.

WASSUP, BATHROOM GOURD.

SCOTT:     I wish I had one place where I could put all my ties.

YO.  WHY DON’T YOU ORGANIZE THEM IN YOUR CLOSET GOURD?

SCOTT:     Have you. . . seen the remote?

WHY YES I HAVE: CONVENIENTLY STORED IN THE AUDIOVISUAL GOURD.

SCOTT:     Man, I could go for a cold beer.

WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY, SIR? YOU NEED A HANDY BEER GOURD? BLAMMO.

SCOTT:     Where are my keys? I had them when I came inside.

NEVER LOSE YOUR KEYS OR PHONE AGAIN WITH THIS LOVELY TWO-PIECE FOYER GOURD.

The only thing the gourd is not good at is storing food.  The ladies made it very clear that food would mess up its fly interior.  So I am stuck trying to make this green poblano rice look pretty in a regular bowl.

I was not a rice person until I made this a few weeks ago.  I rarely ate rice outside of a sushi roll.  But this is special rice.  It’s fluffy and tastes like it has absorbed all the flavors of a savory soup.  And it kind of has: you puree chicken broth and poblano peppers, and that’s what you cook the rice and onions in.

The result is a versatile dish: you can serve it with any Mexican meal, or you can serve it with chicken or fish on top.  It’s also great tossed with roasted vegetables or chunks of fresh tomato and goat cheese.

The recipe is straight out of Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen, reworded a little by me.

Rick Bayless’s Green Poblano Rice {Download & Print Recipe}

Ingredients:

1 2/3 c. chicken broth or water

2 fresh poblano chiles

12 sprigs cilantro (you could try parsley if you’re not a fan)

salt

1 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil

1 c. white rice (preferably medium-grain)

1 small white onion

5 cloves garlic

Directions:

Remove the stems and seeds from the poblanos and chop them roughly.

In a 2 quart saucepan (or thereabouts-I used a big Le Creuset), combine the broth and the poblanos. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer gently over medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the poblanos are very soft.

Pour the poblano mixture into a food processor and add the cilantro, stems and all. Process into a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh* strainer into a bowl. Be sure to scrape the puree on the outside bottom of the strainer into the bowl.

[*Note that a fine mesh strainer is okay-- just press the puree with a spoon in a circular motion to really work the good stuff through.]

If you used salted chicken broth, add ½ tsp. salt to the bowl containing the poblano liquid. If you used water or unsalted chicken broth, add 1 tsp. salt to the bowl containing the poblano liquid.

Dice the onion. Chop the garlic.

Wipe the saucepan clean and add the oil. Heat over medium heat. Add the rice and the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer.

Add the poblano liquid to the rice pan, stir briefly, scraping down any rice kernels clinging to the side of the pan, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

Uncover and taste a little of the rice. It should be nearly cooked through. If the rice is just about ready, turn off the heat, re-cover, and let stand for 5-10 minutes longer to complete the cooking.

If the rice seems far from done, continue cooking for about 5 minutes, then test it again. Turn off the heat and let it stand a few minutes longer.

Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Yield: About 3 cups, which serves 4 people.

Variations: Rick Bayless suggests alternatively using 3-4 long green (Anaheim) chiles, or mixing the poblanos with hotter chiles, like jalapeno, manzano or habanero. He also suggests throwing in shredded roast/bbq’d pork or smoked salmon toward the end of cooking.

My notes:

  • 5 cloves seemed like a lot of garlic to me, but in the end the taste of garlic was not overpowering at all.
  • Scott hates cilantro but he didn’t notice it in the finished dish. It’s muted quite a bit by the poblano and the onion.
  • Do not try to substitute another kind of rice, like basmati, even if you’re planning to adjust the amount of chicken broth accordingly. I tried, and it just didn’t work. Your typical short-grain white rice should be fine. I easily found medium-grain white rice in my small grocery store.

~~~

I’m sorry to disappoint those who follow eggton on facebook and have seen this chocolate croissant loaf– it’s coming, I promise! I just need to test it a bit more.

~~~

In addition to the mourning doves in our hanging baskets, we’ve had a lot of birds in our trees lately.

Sometimes they’re so loud that Thunder looks up at the branches like what is going on up there?

She seems to listen for a minute.

And then she just enjoys the warmth of the sun on her face.

She chews a stick or two.

Some are tastier than others.

And just when you think she’s being serious. . .

She cracks herself up.

She’s probably laughing at how much fun it’s going to be when our house is filled with awesome gourds.

P.S. The advertisement below appeared here out of nowhere and I’m working on getting it taken down.  I think I’ve made it clear that if you’re going to by anything after reading this post, it should be a membership in your local crafts society.

55 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh man that gourd is awesome, I want one! Beer gourd, genius.
    Sweet barrel also. And the rice looks delicious, how about some green onions in there? I’m on a roll with these too!

    February 22, 2012
    • Bryan, I expect that I will be making many beer gourds in the near future. If all goes well, I will send you one.

      Green onions are a great idea– especially for people who think cilantro tastes like soap. I adore cilantro, but I know some people hate it. Green onion would probably be a great substitute.

      The barrel is my new prize possession–just got it on the cheap. It’s burned out on the inside, I guess to give Jack Daniels a smokey flavor. Putting your head in there and taking a whiff is glorious. We’re thinking of getting more and drilling holes in the bottom, filling them with dirt, and using them as planters for a couple of cherry tomato plants.

      February 23, 2012
  2. Jay #

    Aside from being Top Chef Masters champion, Rick Bayless is my culinary hero. Check out his first book Authentic Mexcican. Also, try some chorizo and roasted tomatoes in the rice.

    February 22, 2012
    • Jay #

      And props for the contents of the beer gourd. Good to see you can get Yuengling there (wow, autocorrect got fried by Yuengling)

      February 22, 2012
      • Jay, we have become a Yuengling household. Glad that it makes you proud. Do you have any other suggestions of what beers we should add to our repertoire?

        February 23, 2012
    • Aha- I don’t have that one. I have the one I used above, plus “Mexico One Plate At A Time.”

      Excellent idea, roasted tomatoes and chorizo. YUM. I love the tomato + chorizo combination– I have an awesome fish stew recipe that calls for chorizo and tomatoes. Mmm.

      February 23, 2012
  3. I want to coddle Rick Bayless like a newborn baby. That is all…

    February 22, 2012
  4. Okay. That gourd is bitchin’. Seriously. Bitchin’. I’m thinking we should send a picture to the team over at DONDA. Oh, and you could get into developing gourd apps for iPhones and stuff. Also, I’m thinking that since Scott is kinda into cauliflower art, The Gourd Arts shouldn’t be a huge leap. I’m just sayin’…

    February 22, 2012
    • Excellent idea. I was going to apply for a National Endowment for the Arts grant for my gourd art, but getting Kanye to fund it would probably be way easier. I’m guessing their application for funding is one page long and asks you to draw a picture, in crayon, of how you imagine the future. I would win because I’d bring glitter and glue to the interview and totally blow everyone away with it. Kanye would be like DAMN, this girl is quite dope, and then we’d have a million dollars set aside for gourd art.

      Gah, this is turning out to be the best day.

      February 23, 2012
  5. (Oh, and also: that rice is bitchin’. I got totally distracted by the gourd, and forgot to mention that I’d like to shove a pot of that rice in my face.)

    February 22, 2012
  6. a #

    My friend grows his own gouds and makes them decorative. He gave me a couple. One, I attached to a key chain for a key to a common area that people kept leaving everywhere. Once the gourd was attached, they remembered to put that key back! The other was my nemesis repellant. A girl I met in training used to drive me insane. She’s a nice girl but her every view and philosophy was the polar opposite of mine. She also drove my gourd-growing friend a bit nutty. So, when she transferred from his lab to mine, he sent me the nemesis repellant gourd. It worked so well that she quit, got married, and moved to Australia. I don’t know how you get something that works better than that.

    That dog is awesome…

    February 22, 2012
    • This is awesome. The people with the key were probably like “WOAH. I do NOT want to be affiliated with this gourd situation—I need to put this back right now.”

      I am having fun imagining exactly how the nemesis gourd has its desired effect. I am guessing you didn’t have to hit her over the head with it– it just exuded its magical repellent powers from its place on your desk? Did you put googly eyes on it? I think most stationary objects become 60% funnier when they have googly eyes on them. And so I give you my favorite SNL clip of all time: Christopher Walken in Googly-Eyes Gardener.

      http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi3980001305/

      February 23, 2012
      • a #

        I should put some googly eyes on that gourd (although I fear it might reduce the magic) – I have a really large bag of googly eyes in my closet. That video was awesome!

        (Although, I have to say, I bought googly eyes to make my daughter’s Halloween costume, where she was a “spooky house.” I needed something to be peering out the windows. It’s kind of the opposite of the Googly-Eyes Gardener)

        February 26, 2012
  7. Oh, this gourd adventure was just too ridiculously funny. I’m still laughing. Although the gourd did turn out to be not only attractive but incredibly versatile. And the photos of Thunder are delightful. She seems cuter in every photo you post!

    BTW … just noticed your quote from Leonard Cohen at the bottom of the page. A) I’ve been in love with him for years, he just hasn’t noticed yet. B) I still remember the very first time I heard these lyrics, they made such an impression on me. So nice to see them on your blog!

    February 22, 2012
    • Hi there! The roasted red pepper soup you posted look taaaaasty. It reminds me that Rick Bayless’s favorite way to peel peppers is to put them in a bowl covered with a *towel* after roasting them. He says the paper bag approach winds up cooking the inside of the pepper more than he likes. You mentioned environmentally friendly attitudes toward getting them ready for peeling, so I just thought I’d pass that along, since it would mean less plastic wrap. I never would have known this myself–that’s why I love Rick Bayless cookbooks. There are so many helpful explanations in them, set out in a very readable way.

      I love Leonard Cohen. I, too, remember the first time I heard him. I was floored. I put “Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye” and “Suzanne” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” on repeat and listened with my mouth gaping open. I’m so glad you said something about them here in your comment–lovely to know that. I’ve been changing up the quotes in that little space at the bottom of the page every week or two. I figured it’d be a fun little spot to do something with. I try to keep the blog funny, but I like having a little corner where I can put something beautiful, or sad, or something that feels really “me,” you know?

      February 23, 2012
      • Thanks for the tip from Rick Bayless. No waste with a tea towel. I’m such an admirer of his, although I’ve never read one of his cookbooks. I’ll definitely follow up on your recommendation. After all, can’t have too many cookbooks ( that’s not what the movers thought, though)! Speaking of RB, did you see him doing yoga on Top Chef Masters? My, that man is flexible!

        As for Leonard (we’re on a first name basis), I love those old songs. When I was in high school, my friends gave me a book of his poetry, Beautiful Dreamers, for my 18th or 19th birthday. I’ve been enchanted with him ever since. Saw his The Future tour in Toronto in 1993 and it was amazing. I can sing along to all the songs on that album…. Time to fire up my Leonard playlist now!

        February 28, 2012
  8. I was trying to power through a bit more work so that I might actually start tomorrow at level 0 as opposed to -3. Despite my best efforts, I could not concentrate. After about a half hour of inactivity, I was bored out of my. . . (you think I am going to say “gourd” and you are right) gourd. (I decided not to squash that Captain Obvious word play). In any event, I decided to check out the new Eggton piece. If my name was Scott, I might exclaim, “What a great post, Pumpkin!” Nonetheless,the many household uses of the gourd have inspired me. May I suggest one additional? Perhaps you could find or design one large and cozy enough for Thunder to rest in on those lazy days? Think of those nice-weather days when she might sit outside and be ‘on gourd’ for any Christmas-tree squirrels or other menaces to tranquility. The recipe looks A1A delicious and thus, I cannot wait to enjoy what Rob Van Winkle might refer to as a little Green Poblano Rice Rice Baby! Great post!

    February 22, 2012
    • O.M.G(ourd), your word plays crack me up. Crack me up like a cracked up, dried up gourd in a field. Love it.

      (This was hard to reply to, so I’ll just say have a great weekend. Don’t be a couch POTATO. Go PLANT yourself someplace nice where you can get some work done, and then go have fun. You gourdda have fun in this lifetime!)

      February 23, 2012
  9. Woah, gourd crafting and starchy recipes all in one post. This is some kind of paradise.

    re: old ladies and gourds: I had a vision of a music videos of cardigan-ed old ladies throwing gourds onto a rap star.

    We can make it. We have the technology.

    February 23, 2012
    • Wow, you’ve got some good writing up on your site. I’m glad you commented, because I had fun poking around it this morning.
      Clearly you’re going to need to go to some gourd art classes to, you know, get inspired for the music video. To make it true to life, for example, we may have to work in some smocks. The old ladies were all wearing smocks over their cardigans. The look wasn’t freaky at all, by the way.

      February 23, 2012
  10. nice gourd – did I just say that? Weird! You need to fill it with moonshine – remember?
    And by testing the croissant loaf – you mean just make and eat more without sharing, right?
    I am on to you – just keep posting the pictures and make us all hungry LOL

    February 23, 2012
    • Now that you mention it, Shelley– I have that barrel that I took the picture of the croissant loaf on. . . it’s an old half-barrel from the Jack Daniels distillery in nearby Tennessee. The inside smells AMAZING. I cannot even tell you. You can stick your head inside it and take deep breaths that will add a year of happiness onto your life, I swear. Anyway, I’m one step closer to becoming a moonshine queen now, I suppose. Horray!

      As for that croissant loaf, I’m going to experiment with the yeast to make sure that my adaptation of the recipe is necessary. Only one more time. Promise. :)

      February 23, 2012
  11. Amy #

    McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has a very fitting piece about decorative gourds. I’d post the link, but there are lots of f-bombs and “adult language.” I rather not offend anyone, but here’s the general link: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/tendency. For those who don’t mind a PG-13 short writing piece on decorative gourds, I’m sure you can do the search yourself. It. Is. Hilarious. I couldn’t help but think of it as I read this post.

    Now that I’ve said that, I need to go make that rice!

    February 23, 2012
    • Amy, that piece is HYSTERICAL. Thanks for linking. As Amy said, you guys will get it if you search “McSweenys + decorative gourds.”

      I kind of have a rule that while I have been known to curse like a sailor, I want to keep this space free of adult language because my views differ from other people’s and I don’t want to alienate them over something like that. But in my view, sometimes a well-placed f-bomb, like the ones in the McSweenys article, make everything SO MUCH FUNNIER. There’s an art to it, I guess. Just like there’s an art to decorative gourds themselves.

      Speaking of the benefits of cursing, I recently read that cursing increases pain tolerance. (http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2009/07/swearing_increases_pain_tolerance.php) There’s an evolutionary reason that we want to scream expletives when we stub our toes. How interesting is that? You’ll get a funny Cracked article on it by googling “Cracked + cursing + pain tolerance.”

      February 23, 2012
  12. Wonderful! the rice recipe looks delicious and I cracked up when I saw how versatile and mobile your gourd turned out to be. When Scott asks why you’re moving it around the house, you can give him an innocent look and say, “*I* didn’t move it… it’s just trying to be helpful and friendly.” Maybe it will freak him out a bit.

    February 23, 2012
    • I know, right? WHO KNEW. I think your suggestion is a good one. Clearly, all gourds are haunted. I mean, they’ve been sitting out in a field for like a year, surrounded by scarecrows– which everybody knows are one face-paint away from clowns, which are spooky as hell.

      February 23, 2012
  13. First crying and now cracking up? That Thunder is a thespian extraordinaire. I love your gourd, art by the way. When you get a chance, go check out my blog: I have a recent post on some crafty old ladies flexing their mafia might in my neighborhood, which is CRAWLING with those craftsters. I will now be on the lookout for gourd art.

    February 23, 2012
    • Dude, that is an AWESOME post on your blog. I loved it. I’m glad you referenced it here.

      My favorite part was about the old ladies generally just displaying thuggish behavior, and this: “And, while I am just one boyfriend and a Golden Girls caftan away from being a cat lady, I’m not ready to go down the ‘collecting cat figurines’ route.”

      Have you tried scanning the bar code thingy that’s next to the cat-holding-the-rabbit-or-whatever-that-is? Maybe it links to the answer of what on Earth is going on over there. . .

      February 23, 2012
      • No, I’m too afraid. They can track you with the phone can’t they? (I’m kidding.) You’re right though, it does bear further investigation.

        February 23, 2012
  14. I’m so glad I discovered your blog the other day, I had a feeling I was in for a fun ride! I almost took a class on needle felted animals before Christmas…your gourd class sounds like so much fun I’m thinking I missed out. Love the green rice, too!

    February 23, 2012
    • Hiya Sue! Needle felted animals sound awesome, though. Ever since I saw movita beaucoup’s post on wee felt gnomes (http://movitabeaucoup.com/2010/12/23/how-to-make-wee-felt-gnomesknomes/) I’ve wanted to make them. You’d be good at them since you already know your way around some felt! Thankfully, I’ll have a place to put my felt gnomes once I make them: in my GNOME GOURD. Holla!

      February 24, 2012
  15. Amy #

    Love the gourd art. I had no idea it was such a versatile vegetable! ;) The rice looks pretty tasty too…

    February 23, 2012
  16. Now that you are getting agile with gourds you should try some homemade loofahs.. (just spelled that 4 ways on google)
    http://www.ehow.com/way_5463305_homemade-loofah-scrubbers.html

    You can get a head start on holiday gifts… sell them at fairs. It’s endless.

    You are seriously adventurous and funny. love it.
    wt

    PS – I think you’re there with the twitter thing… My wings are still covered with down.

    February 24, 2012
    • Wendy, It’s funny you mention this because according to the handy link you’ve got here, this requires going inside the gourd to get stuff out of it. Have you made these? Because the ladies at the gourd craft workshop said that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you want to crack open a gourd that hasn’t been cleaned out yet. Apparently “washing gourds,” and taking the mildewy insides out, is an Activity That Shall Not Be Named because it is so. . . icky.

      I actually really do want to sell stuff at the farmer’s market this spring, but it requires a lot of paperwork that I need to figure out. And I don’t know what I would make. . . granola, for example, has ingredients that are too expensive (like the nuts). Thoughts?

      February 24, 2012
  17. I’m probably going to be saying, “WASSSSUP Bathroom Gourd” all freaking day and cracking myself up.

    February 24, 2012
    • It does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it, Jennifer? So much better than “toothbrush holder.” I mean, COME ON. I have never wanted to say WASSUP to a TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER. Snooze.

      February 24, 2012
  18. Sonia #

    Oh my gourd!

    February 25, 2012
    • Sonia, “Oh my gourd” was an immediate hit at our house. One of these days, I’m going to say it in front of a third-party by accident. I’m not looking forward to that moment.

      February 25, 2012
  19. Your gourd is so much prettier than the one on the American Gourd Society’s website. (Oh, I hope that doesn’t sound creepy! Stranger shows up, “nice gourd…”) Anyway, I like your blog.

    February 25, 2012
    • Thanks, Betsy! Some of the ones on their website are WEIRD. Apparently you can manipulate them as they’re growing, so that they form some crazy shapes. For example, if you turn them every day, you can make them grow into the shape of a picture frame. Some of those gourds go for hundreds of dollars.

      That’s a couple years down the road for me, I think. Hee hee.

      February 25, 2012
  20. I laughed out loud while reading this post. I’m a retired lady who joined a quilt guild a year and a half ago. Quite an adjustment to be surrounded by women my own age. Truthfully, I have been wildly curious about how to do gourd art. I’ll be visiting the American Gourd Society’s website right after I post this comment.

    February 25, 2012
    • Hello there! I wish we lived in the same town, because I’d love a gourd class buddy! Darn. I saw your crochet, though, and it looks lovely. Perhaps I should take it up– a lot of my friends are having babies, and it’d be nice to know how to make scarves for the little ones like you’ve done.

      Also, I’m jealous of your kitchen scale. I must get one!

      February 25, 2012
  21. Amy #

    I love your site so much. I adore Thunder. That last photo of her cracking herself up cracks me up. I finally had to put it on my desktop image rotation, every 30 minutes she comes back and cracks me up again.

    February 26, 2012
    • Oh Amy, this makes me happy. I’m so glad to share the Thunder magic. She’s feels too good to keep to myself.

      February 29, 2012
  22. I had no idea gourds were so popular! I don’t even think I knew what a gourd was until I read this post. Clearly I need some storage gourds for my house.

    February 26, 2012
    • WHO KNEW, RIGHT? It’s amazing the things I’ve discovered through the “events” section of the local paper. Sometimes I think it must be weirder than the personals section. Then I get to thinking how hilarious it would be to combine speed dating and gourd decorating, and my head explodes.

      February 29, 2012
      • HAHA!! I can’t think of anything more uncomfortable… “I really enjoyed meeting you. You have a beautiful gourd.”

        February 29, 2012
  23. Must. Make. Chocolate. Croissant. Loaf. Stop teasing me!!

    February 28, 2012
    • Ahh, I am a terrible person! I must post that soon, that’s the truth. It’s just so rich and awesome that I wanted to give us a week off of eating croissant EVERY DAY. But it’s been a week so I can make it again and confirm one thing about the yeast. Then it’ll be go time– Whoohooo!

      February 29, 2012
  24. I can’t believe you went to this class. I don’t know how to respond; I am speechless (thank goodness for keyboards).

    March 4, 2012
    • You know what, Denise? I can’t believe it either. I really can’t. And yet I’m looking at this big freaking gourd across the living room, right now, weeks later.

      Life is weird.

      March 25, 2012

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  1. What’s Been Happenin’ In The Cocina ~ 3/3/12 | Juanita's Cocina
  2. What A Swell Party This Turned Out To Be | eggton
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