This is Chef Tino aka my father-in-law. The man can cook. On more than one occasion, I’ve spotted him walking westward toward my home, balancing two bags — like that scale icon used in law — while I’m headed eastward, with the same end in sight. (If two trains traveling at…) In those bags: vittles I ALWAYS care for. When he graces us with carnitas, carne asada, fresh tortillas or albondigas soup, it’s enough to turn a full-fledged vegan. Scout’s honor.
‘Quick! What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant or taco shop in San Diego?’ I’m often asked. My response is consistant: I have my favorites, but none of their food compares to my father-in-law’s. (Did I mention the man can COOK?)
A few days ago, Chef Tino arrived, bags balanced and filled with vegetables. He’d been busy with work and otherwise for weeks and, thus, the hubby and I were needing some Tino (aka Papa) time. We handed him a package of humanely-raised ground beef and the necessary spices from our cupboard in anticipation of Heaven’s Cauldron of Deliciousness and Spanish rice. Hyperbole? No, sir-ma’am. Mmmm. For those who don’t know, albondigas is a hearty Mexican meatball and veggie soup.
Chef Tino is efficient and swift in the kitchen — and he didn’t want to miss his telenova, which was only an hour from airing. So, he quickly formed the meatballs.
Oh, you couldn’t help but notice those perfectly formed meatballs above? Yeah, no kidding. Puts me to shame EVERY TIME. Now, full disclosure: If you came here looking for an albondigas recipe to replicate at home…*womp womp*. Disappointment, my friends. Chef Tino only shares his recipes with family and I will not be the one to breach that long-standing code.
Homemade Spanish rice. SUPER easy to make and so good. Look at that lovely melange of rice, vegetables and fairy tears. *sigh* Your disdain for me — and our mafioso-like family — is growing, isn’t it? I’m sorry. This is simply out of my hands.
There she is. Lovely, isn’t she? Imagine the taste (I suppose you kind of have to, since this snarky blogger isn’t even hinting at the recipe. Oh, hey! You can see some of the fine ingredients in there! You’re welcome.
The soup + the rice. No lime slices pictured, but a squeeze of lime juice is a pleasant addition. Serve with fresh tortillas and you’ve got yourself a meal. More like ten, actually. Leftovers can be frozen, but chances are they won’t be around long enough for that harsh move.
Stay tuned for an upcoming “soups of San Diego post”. We’re calling them “transitional soups” as they’ll help you make the culinary leap from summer to fall.