Posts tagged ‘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. 

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.

February 11, 2011

Simple Suppers | Hainanese Chicken Rice

This is perhaps one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever posted.  It is one that requires almost no effort when it comes to dinner time.  One that everyone in my family loves.  One that requires only a few ingredients and some spices. (Have you been building your spice cabinet?)  It has taken over as my favorite way to utilize a fresh, locally-raised speckled hen from North Market Poultry and Game.  I will suggest that you get the freshest chicken you can lay your hands on.  Pay a little bit more for the chicken than you think is reasonable.  Trust me that it will make a difference in this dish.  Because chicken rice is about two things: chicken and rice.  They need to be good.

The ease of this recipe is that the chicken is poached and then allowed to cool in the stock over several hours.  It’s also sometimes called white chicken.  Essentially, you cook it for 30 minutes in the morning and then when it’s time for dinner, make a pot of rice and gather some soy, vinegar and spices for your condiments.  Dinner can be on the table in fifteen minutes and is a symphony of Singapore flavors.

Ingredients: Ginger, whole chicken, rice, soy sauce, a green onion, vinegar, a spicy chili, coarse salt, Szechuan peppercorns, fresh cilantro.  Optional lettuce.

For the chicken:

Take a whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, and remove the giblets.  In a deep stock pot fill with enough water that will cover the chicken.  Into the water

January 11, 2011

Winter Kitchen | Roasted Chestnut Risotto with Mushrooms

When the snow is swirling outside and you feel like spending a bit of time in a warm kitchen stirring leisurely, risotto is your answer.

I have a deep love for risottos.   It is an endlessly versatile dish, perfectly at home in any season.  A stock, some aromatics, and a bit of rice transforms into a bowl of comfort.

I have taken risotto on as the meal I would most like to perfect in my life.  Ultimately, I want mine to be able to stand up next to any Italian nonna’s.  Lofty dream, I know.   But it’s a life project.

One of the things that makes me almost endlessly sad is to see recipes for “risotto” that include copious amounts of butter or oil or cream.  Risotto should not be a excessively fatty dish.  It is, as I said, essentially stock and rice.  You add at the end a bit of Parmesan if you like, or alternately, depending on the combination of ingredients, a heaping tablespoon (at most) of perhaps some marscapone cheese (across four servings) .  The creaminess of the dish is almost entirely derived from the grains of rice giving up their starch.

Today’s risotto was a combination of roasted and chopped chestnuts, dried and fresh mushrooms and a lamb stock.  This happy combination was again facilitated by The Flavor Thesaurus.   I had lamb bones in the freezer from a roasted lamb shoulder, so it was easy to toss everything in a pot to simmer a stock in the afternoon.  A bit later on, I set a metal sieve over the pot and soaked some dried chanterelles to rehydrate them and add a further bit of meatiness to the stock.

When it was time for dinner, I sauteed some fresh mushrooms (a combination of oyster, portabella, and cremini) along with the rehydrated chanterelles that I chopped in a very hot pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper, almost like duxelles.  When these were brown, I put them in a bowl for later.  I added a sliced shallot to the pan, reduced the heat to medium and soften it a bit.  Then I added about a cup and a half of rice, cooked it for a minute then deglazed the pan with vermouth.  The rest of the cooking is almost identical to the recipes here and here.  I added in the mushrooms just before the last addition of the lamb stock to rewarm them.  PK tip:  Make sure you add a generous extra ladle full or two of stock just before serving.  You want it almost a bit too loose.  It sets up so quickly as you get it to the table and you want it to be spoon-able, not stiff.  The plate was garnished with a bit of thyme (lots in the stock) and grated Parmesan.

Playlist included Writing to Reach You, by Travis.

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