Tag Archives: rice

Halloween!

1 Nov

Hooray! Yesterday was Halloween! And today I am sad because I have to wait a whole year for it to happen again.

We started our celebrations early by heading to Rochester last weekend to visit friends and have fun. It was great! We got to hang out with friends, sleep in (!!!!!!), go to a museum, eat sorbet/frozen yogurt with ENDLESS TOPPINGS, and drink lots of cider with whiskey.

Before we left on our journey, I made a tasty dinner:

 

This is yet another meal from Appetite for Reduction, Unfried Fried Rice and Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu.  I’ve made the tofu before, and it is one of my favorite things.  The rice was new.  It came out perfect!  I cooked the rice earlier in the day so it had some time to cool down before I unfried it, and it was wonderful.  To bulk it up a little, I added some steamed carrots and butternut squash cubes.  The butternut squash was a random thing and I wasn’t sure how it would taste.  It worked, though!  It gave a little bit of sweet, and the added sriracha added heat.  So good.

We were back in New Hampshire for real Halloween, and I celebrated during the day by doing a Zombies, Run! mission on my lunch break.  I had sore legs from weight training the day before, but I managed to evade the zombies anyway.

Paul and I both had crummy days at work, so I wasn’t sure we wanted to do anything for Halloween night.  But we managed to put our grumps away for a while, and headed out to Portsmouth.  It was our first time there, but I had heard that they know how to do Halloween right.  And they do!  There was a Halloween parade going on, but we missed most of it.  No worries, though, we had other plans.

We headed for a quick bite to eat at The Friendly Toast, a diner-style restaurant that my friend Colleen had raved about.  They have a decent selection of vegan-friendly foods, good beers available, and the most wonderful, kitschy decor.  It wasn’t very crowded, thanks to people being too busy cavorting in the streets, so our food came quickly.  We both had the Vegan Valhalla – a burrito filled with brown rice, portobello mushrooms, and tofu.  I had mine with home fries, which I was so glad to hear were not cooked using butter!  Yay!  Paul had sweet potato fries, and they were fantastic.

It was also nice that they had soy milk for the coffee.  Yeah, it’s such a small thing.  But Concord seems to not know that soy milk or any non-dairy milk drink is a thing.

Anyway, our main plan for the night was to go see Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the Portsmouth Music Hall Loft.  One of my favorite movies, and one Paul had never seen before.  The crowd was small and full of friendly people, and they had special cocktails available for the night (you can even bring them right into the theater – holy crap I love this place!)

We both had a drink called the Massacre:

 

It was made of vodka, tequila, and ginger ale.  Whaaaat?  Tequila and ginger ale?  I know ginger ale (or beer) goes well with a lot of liquors, but I’d never tried it with tequila.  And well, it worked.  Now, to make them at home.

We had a lot of fun at the movie, people were really into it and I left feeling happier than I have in a while.  Thanks, Portsmouth!

Spicy Spiced Parsnip Soup

22 Jan

Bret forgot I was making soup and got all cranky about what he should eat for dinner last night.

1/21/2009 – Spicy Parsnip Soup.  Never forget.

I’ve been in love with parsnips for a very long time.  My nannie used to cook them and I couldn’t get enough.  As part of a soup, parsnips can be pretty overwhelming.  But this soup is supposed to taste like parsnips.  And it does!

This recipe came from Jane Spice, and I took a few liberties to make it into a full meal in a bowl.  Bret wanted brown rice with dinner instead of bread.  I love rice, and I love my rice cooker so we were on.  I also felt like the soup was more of a spiced parsnip soup than a spicy one, so we added sriracha.  Mmm, sriracha.  Here’s the recipe as I made it:

Spicy Spiced Parsnip Soup

Ingredients!

1 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced thinly

4 cups water

2 veggie bouillon cubes

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp.  ground coriander

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 Tbsp. canola oil

cooked rice and sriracha

Directions!

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook until softened.  Add the garlic cloves and spices and cook until fragrant.  Then add the parsnips, water, and bouillon cubes.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for about fifteen minutes, until the parsnips are soft.  Blend in batches or with an immersion blender.

Put some rice in a serving bowl, if you like.  Top with soup and mix.  Add sriracha to taste!  I like less, Bret likes LOTS.

Yum yum yum.  We both ate one bowl and were sufficiently stuffed.

– Ellen

Vegan Enchiladas and Cilantro and Lime Rice

15 Jan

Ellen and I haven’t had a lot of luck with enchiladas in the past. The last time we tried it, it ended up tasting like tin can. This time was a bit better. We used Paul McCartney’s vegan enchilada recipe (well, the filling part anyway) and I also made lime and cilantro rice that is apparently served at a restaurant I’ve never heard of called Chipotle’s. I’d like to make the enchiladas again with refried beans on top and maybe find some way to firm up the tofu before putting it in the filling, but it was all good. Oh, and the rice is great. I am supersensitive to cilantro and it’s easy to turn me off to a dish by adding too much, but the amount in this is just right.

-Bret

Spanish-Style Rice with Winter Vegetables

30 Dec

I went home for a couple of days for Christmas, and it was nice to see my family people.  The last time I was home was before Thanksgiving.  My mom, not accustomed to having someone around that doesn’t eat most animal products, only had butter and cream cheese and regular milk around for breakfast type things.  I made a crack about having to eat dry bread, which must have made her feel bad because before I came home for Christmas she let me know that she had bought me a jar of marmalade so I didn’t have to eat dry toast this time.

I appreciated it.

She also found a recipe that we could make together and take to Christmas dinner.  Ham and roast beef were on the menu, so I was pretty out of luck.  I usually make something meatless to share.  Sometimes people like it.  Sometimes it scares people, like the Three Sisters Casserole I made for some holiday.  I had topped it with a poor attempt at polenta and then tried to get it brown and crispy but it just ended up oily and gross looking.  It tasted good!  But it sure was hard to get people to try it.

Anyway, my mom said she found a recipe for a rice and vegetables dish with saffron or Spanish paprika in it.  She had looked for saffron but couldn’t find any, and I had Spanish paprika so I brought that home with me.  The recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens and it’s a Mario Batali recipe.  He’s a pretty cool guy.  Thanks to him and my mom I had some awesome vegan Christmas food.

The recipe makes a ton and is a good dish to make and share or freeze leftovers for lots of lunches.  It cooks like a risotto and ends up nice and creamy.  I’d like to try it again with saffron!  This, along with the roasted Brussels sprouts and parsnips with pecans that my mom also made were a great dinner.

I

Spanish-Style Rice with Winter Vegetables

Ingredients

1 – 2 tsp saffron threads or Spanish paprika
7 – 8 cups vegetable broth
2 cups Arborio rice
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ medium rutabaga or 1 small – medium turnip, peeled and cubed
½ small acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
¼ cup olive oil

Directions

Combine saffron or paprika and 1 cup water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and keep warm.
Put vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and keep warm.
In a large skillet combine the rice and the saffron or paprika mixture; bring to a boil over high heat.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Add the carrot, pepper, rutabaga or turnip and acorn squash along with 1 cup of the broth.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Let simmer and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed and the rice is just tender (about 5 cups of broth total).
Add the onion and zucchini and 1 cup broth.  Cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed.  Add another 1 – 2 cups of broth, stirring and simmering until each cup is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the olive oil.

The recipe above is as we made it.  The original recipe calls for mushrooms and green onions instead of a yellow or white one.  There was lots of chopping and stirring but this came together pretty quickly.

Simple Stir Fry

11 Aug

Stir fry is kind of a staple around these parts. Sometimes it might be all I make for dinner in a week. Fast! Simple! Tasty! Inexpensive! Here’s how I do it.

Ingredients!

1 tablespoon peanut oil or canola oil

a dribble of sesame oil

a dribble of chili oil

like a quarter of a block of tofu, cut into little squares

about half a dozen broccoli spears

a decent sized leaf of nappa cabbage or bok choy

1 cup brown or white rice

Directions!

Put all the oil in your wok or whatever you’re using and heat it up hot hot hot. I put it on high heat. Drop the tofu in there. Careful, this will probably splatter. Cook your tofu until it’s nice and brown and has a chewy texture. Don’t let it burn!

Turn the heat down. to about medium. Add in your broccoli and your cabbage. The broccoli should turn bright green and the cabbage should get soft. Maybe even a little slimy. Have about a cup of leftover rice in your fridge? Throw that in there too. Add soy sauce to taste while the wok is still hot.

If you just cooked some fresh rice, no big deal. Just serve the stir fry over top of it. Each time I make this, I make two cups of rice and store the other cup in the fridge. Then the next day the leftovers go into whatever I’m making.

This makes about enough for one person. Easy enough to double up or whatever.

Inspiration for this came from my friend Ben’s fried rice recipe.

-Bret

Mujadarrah

12 Jun

Remember how I said I had money now and I was going to start cooking nice things and not just living on Big Lots’ jars of pickles and whatever I’ve had in the cupboard for the last year collecting dust? Okay, that didn’t really happen. I’m in a money squeeze, who knows when I’ll get out, and I haven’t been doing the best job of assembling real meals for myself. Lunch was shredded wheat and milk. Breakfast was shredded wheat and milk. Hmm.

But I have this bag of lentils, and Jeff won’t mind if I steal one of his onions, and oh I have some brown rice too. Holy crap! I can make mujadarrah! I discovered this recipe a long time back when I was in a similar low-budget situation with some random ingredients hanging around. Now, I don’t know if the way I make it resembles at all the authentic proper way of making it, but it tastes awesome.

I’m not going to give you a proper recipe because I was just winging it and there’s only a few ingredients but here’s what I did. I cooked a cup of brown rice and boiled a cup of lentils. In another pan I used some olive oil to fry up a whole sliced onion. Now, if I had it to do over again I’d use two. I cooked them until they were good and brown and some of the onions were even burnt a little. Then I took the rice and the lentils, put it in the skillet with the onions, and mixed it all up while still frying it on medium heat. I added a little more oil at the end, stirred it, and then seasoned it with salt and pepper to taste. Whoops! I forgot the garlic. I added in a couple cloves of minced garlic at the end here and fried it for another minute to let that cook a little bit, but I probably should have added it towards the beginning after the onions were translucent.

Hey! That was easy! And it was really tasty too. Some recipes add in spices at the end like cumin. I thought about it and thought it tasted just great without.

-Bret

Banana Chickpea Curry Mk. II

7 May

I had to try this recipe again. Mainly because it was awesome but also because I wanted to try a few things. One thing I didn’t get to try was cooking it with Thai chili peppers because Brenna was over for dinner and she’s a total wussface, and I also didn’t get to try any Thai basil because it wasn’t available at the grocery stores I checked. But I tried my new lemongrass tactics courtesy of Shreyas, and I tried green curry paste and some minced ginger. It turned out real great. Beyond the two lacking ingredients, the only thing I feel like this recipe missed was browning up the chickpeas before adding the coconut and the curry. But this one was mega tasty and might be close to perfect.

I felt guilty making it without Ellen around though. :/

-Bret

Black Bean Salad and Yellow (Brown) Spanish Rice

6 May

So, while I was visiting Bret, we tried to make enchiladas to celebrate an early Cinco de Mayo.  They were edible, but not something we were going to speak of again.

Still, I was determined to make something Cinco de Mayo-ish.  So I used my brains to come up with a rice and beans recipe.  My brains ended up making something that was a little more Caribbean than Tex-Mex, but it was still super tasty.

Rice Ingredients!

1 cup brown basmati rice

2 cups water

1/4 cup salsa

1 vegetable boullion cube

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 medium tomato

Rice Directions!

So mix everything except for the tomato in a pot and cook it until the rice is almost done.  At the last five minutes or so, chop up the tomato and add it in.  Set the rice aside.

Bean Salad Ingredients!

15oz. can of black beans, drained

juice from two limes

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

Bean Salad Directions!

Uh, mix everything up.  It’s probably best to let it sit in the fridge for a while to let the flavors mix, but I was hungry and ate it right away.

I mixed some pineapple with cilantro from my cilantro plant and had that with it.

After letting the salad sit for a few hours, the lime juice was a lot less jarring.  It made for a simple and quick dinner on a busy day.

If I make rice like this again I’m adding cayenne.  You might also want to add salt and pepper to it but I liked it without.

– Ellen

Layered Rice with Eggplant and Coconut (Baingan Biryani)

24 Apr

Jennifer posted the recipe for the biryani in the comments for the post. I’m reposting it here in case you missed it. Thanks Jennifer! Heart-heart! -Bret

Layered Rice with Eggplant and Coconut (Baingan Biryani)

2 cups Coconut Milk
1.25 cups Basmati Rice. (sorted and washed in 3-4 changes of water)
1.75 cups Water
.5 cup Grated Coconut
1-3 Dried Red Chile Peppers
1 Large Clove of Garlic
5 Quarter-size slices of fresh peeled Ginger
1-3 fresh Green Chile Peppers
1 Onion
1 ts ground Coriander
1 ts Garam Masala (+ .25 ts for garnish)
.5 ts ground Turmeric
3 TB Peanut Oil
1 lb of Eggplant (cut into bite size pieces)
1.25 ts salt or whatever
1 large Tomato
2 TB fresh chopped Mint Leaves
.5 cup Fresh Cilantro
2-3 TB Lemon Juice

1. Soak rice in the water for 30 minutes.

2. Place grated coconut and red chiles in skillet and dry-roast until golden and fragrant. 1-2 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to blender and process along with garlic, ginger, green chile peppers and onion until finely ground. Mix in the coriander, garam masala and turmeric and process again. Transfer to large nonstick saucepan. Add 2 TB oil and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat. About 5 minutes.

3. Add the eggplant, half the salt and .5 cup Coconut Milk. Cook over high heat about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook until eggplant is soft. 15-20 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

4. To the same pan, add 1 TB oil, tomato, mint and cilantro and cook over medium heat until most of the tomato juice evaporates. About 2 minutes. Add the rice and the water it’s soaking in along with remaining salt and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until the rice is almost fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

5. To assemble the biryani: Remove about half the rice to a bowl. Spread the cooked eggplant mixture over the rice that remains in the saucepan. Cover the eggplant mixture with the reserved rice. Drizzle the lemon juice over the rice, cover the pan, and cook over the lowest heat setting, 10-15 minutes, to blend the flavors. Sprinkle garam masala on top and serve.

Coconut Eggplant Biryani

22 Apr

I went to visit some friends in New Jersey and they forced me to cook with them. “While you stay with us you earn your keep!” and then they made me chop mint. But seriously it was a lot of fun. I love friends, and I love friends who cook, and I love friends who want to cook food with me! I got to chop things and mince things and when the spicy fumes got to be too much for Jennifer I got to take over stirring.

Russell and Jennifer cook Indian food a lot. It’s inspired me to give it a try again. They had this big huge cookbook full of Indian recipes (I think it was called 1000 Indian Recipes) and this is one they’ve made in the past. It was really great and had a nice heat to it. Jennifer also made some raitha to go on top.

Also check out their badass skelly blanket. We sat and ate and watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We had a good time laughing and Leatherfacing!

-Bret