Archive for ‘Rice’

August 19, 2012

Thinking Ahead | Avgolemono – Lemon Chicken Soup

I stood in this kitchen this morning knowing that I wanted a traditional Sunday dinner.  I was in the mood to let something cook, take a bit more time preparing something.  I pulled out one of my favorite books that I hadn’t looked at in a while: Heart of the Artichoke, by the wonderful David Tanis.  In it, the summer menus tugged at me and I decided to roast a spatchcocked chicken and make up a rice salad with some of the beautiful Carolina Gold rice some dear friends brought back from a summer vacation in South Carolina.

And, as luck would have it, none of this was actually time intensive.  I love it when I have the time to give to something and the fates tell me not to worry about it.

In addition to being a really nice guy, Mr. Tanis is such a clever chef and cook, in the book he offers numerous variations on many of his recipes, adding or omitting an ingredient or two and giving you a whole new way to enjoy a dish, transitioning from side dish to satisfying lunch in a short jump.  Really good stuff.  It’s a way to start thinking about what you have in the pantry and the fridge to re-purpose yesterday’s dinner into a wholly new meal.  It’s leftovers, elevated.

So tonight, after devouring half a lemony roast chicken and having just the teeny-ist bit of the herb rice salad leftover, I eyed the golden fond in the chicken roasting pan and remembered my favorite soup from Tasi: a lovely lemon chicken soup. 

June 4, 2012

Two Light and Easy Nights | Summer Miso Soup

This past weekend the most recent Top Chef winner Paul Qui was in town at Market District to do a demo and answer questions.  Honestly, I don’t think there has been a nicer, more unassuming winner of that crazy show.   He’s just such a humble, talented guy.  His dishes were lovely light versions of chicken rice (his with lots and lots of a lemony ponzu) and a summer miso soup.  Things, he says, are his comfort foods.  I can completely see why.

His cooking got me thinking about dishes I had made in the past but could bring together for the perfect, almost no effort summer dinner.  Granted, you’ll have Asian food a couple of days in a row, but I don’t think that ever hurt anyone.  Plus, this is the time of year that you can gather just about everything locally, aside from the kombu, katsuobushi and a couple of pantry items.

But perhaps the thing that makes me happiest about this kind of dinner is that since everybody gets to choose what to include in their bowls, it’s lots of fun for Cherub.  She amazed even me tonight by her choice of tofu, zucchini, carrots, green onion, bean sprouts and snap peas.  But she passed on the fresh sweet corn.  (What kid does that?)  And she even had seconds.

March 28, 2012

Risotto of the Week | Spring Broad Bean and Foraged Dandelion

I returned home after a lengthy trip to Texas to find spring had sprung: the daffodils were spent and the ferns unfurling.  Nestled amongst said ferns on the shady side of the porch were dandelions, just emerged, with slender leaves and nary a flower in sight.

Which of course meant they are at their peak for eating.

Tonight’s dinner involved a return to cooking with a risotto.  Included were the fruits of my garden weeding – young dandelion leaves – and broad beans, another early spring arrival.

February 13, 2012

Sharing History | Stuffed Cabbage

This is hardly even a post about cooking.

It’s a post about what what to do when you want to help.  When things happen in life and I feel like I want to hug and cry and help,  I cook.

And often, because I feel such a connection with meals, the thing to be cooked just comes to me.  This time it was the humble stuffed cabbage.

When I was little, stuffed cabbage was a comforting dish that my mom would make on Sundays.  When I was newly married and a fish out of water in New Jersey, it was the dish my mother-in-law and I connected over at Paul’s Diner in Mountain Lakes.  Turns out, she loved it, just like I did.  She grew up with her mother making them, as well as serendipitously being at a diner on the rare day the kitchen made them.  In Texas we don’t have much of a diner culture, but I really grew to love this aspect of New Jersey.

As she explained it, every diner had its own schedule of when things were made and you kind of needed to be a regular to figure it all out.  We happened to be there on a Monday, during lunch and we both decided saw and decided immediately that we’d have the cabbage.  She grew up with cabbage rolls being served with copious amounts of mashed potatoes.

This was not something my mother did. 

January 3, 2012

Variations on a Theme | Caramelized Endive and Walnut Risotto

It might strike you as esoteric, caramelized endive.  But let me assure you that it is entirely devour-able, and not in the slightest way effete.

And the New Year is a perfect time to delve into comforting vegetarian dishes.  I just know you want to ease into your new-found resolve to eat more veggies, but dammit, it should taste good and be filling.

In this risotto, the endive is left to caramelize in a separate pan, given only a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove and salt to help it achieve its golden color.  Do this and you are rewarded with what looks a whole lot like oxtail and onions, only unabashedly vegetarian.  And simmering in another pot, a simple elixir of water, parsnips (crucial sweetness, in my opinion, to balance the bitterness of the endive), onion, bay and some seeds from the summer’s past garden (corriander in this case) round out the quick stock.

Combine it all and you have yet another version of one of my favorite things to cook for my family: risotto.  It is, after all, my lifetime dish.  One of those things I want to master perfectly before I die.  After all it is resolution season.

PK Tip: This dish is entirely versatile.  Sub kale and pecans for a thoroughly American take on the dish; radicchio and chestnuts for a U.K. variation.

Caramelized Endive and Toasted Walnut Risotto; serves two to three; inspired by this recipe in the Telegraph

For the stock:
1 very large parsnip, peeled and quartered length-wise

1 small onion, unpeeled and quartered

September 23, 2011

Lowcountry Crush | Shrimp and Okra Pilau

My friends and I have been kind of fawning over Sean Brock, chef and owner of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina.  Add to that that he was a James Beard Award winner in 2010.  And Bon Appetit named Husk best new restaurant this year.  Sean lives and breathes local.  And he’s just so cute.

And he loves pugs.

I am smitten.

I was so happy to see that he was featured in September’s Southern Living and that he gave up some great recipes.  I made his Lowcountry Shrimp-and-Okra Pilau for dinner tonight.  Fabulousness in a bowl, really.  Plus, Cherub’s first experience with okra was a successful one thanks to this recipe.  I used some local Schmidt’s Bahama Mama smoked sausage as well as the okra I picked up at the Worthington Farmer’s Market.  Don’t be afraid.  Okra is delicious, even when unadorned and not fried.

While you do simmer this dish for about 30 minutes in the middle, you can use that time to clean up the kitchen.  Because who has time to cook?  You do.

Wine pairing: Chateau Bonnet 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon – Muscadelle.

Playlist included Police Dog Blues, by Hugh Laurie.

April 12, 2011

Korean Short Ribs | Galbi Jijm

I’m always honored and humbled to cook food with such proud, venerable, even ancient roots.  Korean food is no exception.  Thousands of years of refinement has led to a breathtaking marriage of flavors.  This dish is a perfect example.  The sweet of the mirin joins the depth of the soy and the earthiness of the mushrooms for a bit of kitchen alchemy.  I compulsively tasted it as it simmered away, and I struggled to remember a more delicious sauce.  It was beautiful.

Again, its a recipe that takes a while, but there’s not a lot of hands-on time.  There are some moving parts at the end, but it is so – I repeat – so worth it.  It’s comforting, traditional, and special.  Those eating with you will feel loved.

Persephone’s Galbi Jijm

2 pounds of bone-in short rib

1 medium onion, roughly sliced

1 clove of garlic, diced

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