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I hope all of you out there can chuckle at my silly pun on “truth and lies.” Let’s just say that titles have never been my forte.

Moving on, it was just announced that Brazil would be forming a truth commission that would investigate human rights abuses that occurred between 1946 and 1988. This gives victims’ families the opportunity to finally get the truth. Sadly that’s all the truth commission can really offer to these families.  There will be no trials or prosecutions because of a military era issued amnesty in 1979, which was upheld when it was challenged in 2010. Another limitation is that this truth commission is only given 2 years to investigate crimes that occurred over a 40 year span.  In addition, retired officers are forming their own parallel commission in order to dispute unfavorable allegations that the truth commission might dig up (1).  Even though this commission seems like a positive move, I’m interested to see how much they can accomplish.

I applaud Brazil for taking this baby step towards helping victims and their families find answers, but unfortunately for them, they are surrounded by other Latin American countries that have done more to provide justice to those who were wronged. In October 2011, Uruguay revoked amnesty for crimes against humanity committed during their Dirty War dictatorship from 1973 to 1985 (2). Within the same month Argentina sentenced 12 ex-military officers and policemen to jail for crimes committed during their Dirty War (1976-1983) including ex Navy spy Alfredo Astiz, who is known as the “Angel of Death” and was a symbol of many of the atrocities committed during this time (3). Maybe continued examples from neighboring countries and the facts found during the truth commission’s research will lead to the revocation of amnesty in Brazil.

There is one thing that I can not argue with Brazil about and that is their way of preparing rice.  I know, rice sounds so simple, what could they do that’s so special? Trust me, this rice recipe can rock your world.

Now I got this recipe from watching my Brazilian dance teacher make it during a party. I’ll admit I might have been a couple of glasses of vino in when I was trying to observe the craziness that he was doing to the rice, but after soberly confirming what he did in an odd mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, and English I can safely say that I got this recipe down.

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 an onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups hot water (or 2 cups broth and 2 cups water-this is the way I do it)
  1. Place the rice in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water; set aside.**
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion in the oil for about a  minute. Stir in the garlic and cook until the garlic is golden brown. Add the rice and salt and cook and stir until the rice begins to brown. Yes, you toast the rice as if it was a risotto
  3. Pour hot water or your broth and water mix over the rice and stir. Reduce heat to low, cover the saucepan, and allow to simmer until the water has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.

** I’ve never quite figured out why the rice needs to be washed, but he was very specific about washing the rice, so I’ve kept it in the recipe.

This preparation just steps up regular old white rice to a new level.  I’ve played with the flavorings a bit and sometimes add ginger and soy…other times I’ll add orange juice to give it a tropical flavor.  This is great on the side with some salmon. In a pinch I’ve put a can of red beans on top of this and it really helps when you don’t have time to make beans from scratch, you can at least have some jazzed up rice.

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