Category Archives: rice

Beef Biryani

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This is a fun, flavorful and colorful dish that is sure to brighten the dreariest of November days. It comes from Cuisine at Home magazine and is packed with spicy flavors that warm the stomach. The spices are quite intense, even for this spice loving gal, so if you like your food on the mild side, reduce the amount of spice. The entire dish is delicious but my favorite part (in addition to the fact that it is a one pot meal) is the variety of textures. The green beans remain crisp while the sweet potatoes are soft and mellow and the rice is a bit chewy. I think of this meal as being filled with stomach pleasing happiness in every bite so try it tonight. You are sure to love it.

BEEF BIRYANI

6 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons turmeric, divided

2 teaspoons garam masala, divided

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 pound boneless rib eye steak, sliced into thin strips

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup sliced shallots

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 cup uncooked basmati rice

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1 cup lite coconut milk

1 1/2 cups peeled & diced sweet potatoes

3/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1 cup trimmed and halved green beans

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

2 tablespoons lime juice

Sliced chili peppers, for garnish (if desired)

  • Combine 2 teaspoons of the curry powder, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, and and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the spice mixture over the steak strips.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Working in batches, cook the steak and cook until browned on all sides, approximately 2 minutes per batch.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts return it to the stove.
  • Add the shallots, ginger, and garlic and cook over medium heat  for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat it with the melted butter. Cook 1 minute.
  • Deglaze the skillet with the beef broth scraping up any browned bits.
  • Add the coconut milk, sweet potatoes, bell pepper, 4 teaspoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the green beans, lime juice and steak. Garnish with chili peppers if using and serve.

Serves 4

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Wild Mushroom Risotto

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Fall is the time for mushrooms and what better way to honor fungi than with a wild mushroom risotto. Actually, depending upon where you live and the weather, some wild mushrooms have been ripe for the picking for a couple of months now. Whether you forage for your own–as my mother did in Maine for this risotto, or you hunt them down at your local market, their earthiness makes for a risotto that is satisfying enough to serve as a stand alone entree or a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats.

For this risotto I used black trumpet mushrooms since they were readily available but you can use whatever type of mushrooms you can find. A combination of different varieties is also good.

 

WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO

3 cups wild mushrooms, picked over and roughly chopped black trumpet mushrooms

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet. When the butter has melted add in the mushrooms.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft, about 4-5 minutes. The cooking time will depend upon the variety of mushrooms you have used.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and remove the mushrooms from the melted butter. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.
  • Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved mushrooms and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan and mascarpone cheeses.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

 

Freshly foraged black trumpet mushrooms

Freshly foraged black trumpet mushrooms

Cheddar & Parsley Baked Rice

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If you are anything like me, whenever you cook up a pot of rice you inevitably make too much. No matter how many people I am serving I always end up with extra rice. Every single time. Rice is one of those grains that is difficult to reheat; the texture changes and I usually end up with a sticky mess that no one wants to eat. My solution? Repurposing the rice into a completely new side dish.

I love this baked rice dish that I adapted from Food 52. More of a method rather than an exact recipe, this dish combines your leftover rice with herbs, greens and cheese to create a tasty rice dish that is both creamy and crispy. I used green onions, parsley, and Cheddar cheese but you could easily substitute whatever aromatics and cheese you have on hand. Not only does this dish make for a great accompaniment to meat at dinner, it is a nice addition to a brunch buffet table. And if you have leftovers,  simply reheat them the next morning in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. It will taste like a crispy risotto cake. Yum!

CHEDDAR & PARSLEY BAKED RICE

4 tablespoons butter

3 bunches green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced

2 cups cooked white rice

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a round pie plate with either more butter or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large saute pan set over medium high heat.
  • Add the green onions and cook until they are soft and golden with just a bit of crispiness.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, season with salt and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the cooked rice and stir to combine. All of the rice should be coated with the butter and onion mixture.
  • Combine the eggs and milk in a medium sized bowl then add to the rice mixture, stirring to form a thick batter.
  • Add the shredded cheese and the chopped parsley, stirring well.
  • Season again with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared pie pan.
  • Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the rice has set.
  • Allow to cool slightly then slice into wedges.

Serves 6-8

 

 

Hot Plate Cooking ****Ham & Cheese Risotto w/ Asparagus****

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We lucked out and were able to move into our house a lot sooner than we had initially expected. As such, this is my final “Hot Plate Cooking” post. As much as I’ve enjoyed them, I have to say I’m relieved. So what did I make for my final hotel room meal? One of my favorite standbys for when I am short on time, or in this case space………..risotto of course!

I had some ham leftover from an earlier dinner and had planned on adding that to my risotto with a bit of parmesan cheese. But then I saw the asparagus. I love asparagus and will eat it whenever the opportunity arises. Of course, living in Albania it was impossible to find it fresh and I quickly discovered that the frozen or jarred versions are just not the same. So, with the exception of a blissful spring week in Budapest where I savored complete meals out of nothing by asparagus, I put my cravings on hold for two and a half years. Until now. So when I saw the asparagus sitting in the produce case of Carrefour, I knew I had to buy it. I think it is always good but it also pairs perfectly with the ham and cheese, resulting in a wonderful early spring (I can hope, can’t I) meal. Yum….and here’s to now having a real kitchen again!

 

HAM & CHEESE RISOTTO w/ ASPARAGUS

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

1 cup cooked ham, cut into cubes

1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces and lightly steamed

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer. Or, if you are short on burner space the way I am, heat the broth and wine mixture into a microwave safe bowl for 5 minutes or until hot.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the ham and asparagus with the last of your broth. Fold gently to combine.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Hot Plate Cooking **** Chicken & Peppers w/ Brown Rice ****

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Have you ever tried to slice a chicken breast with a steak knife–and a rather dull one at that? What about bell peppers or onions? Better yet, try mincing cloves of garlic with the tiny knife on a plastic cutting board that someone else had used as a hot pad. That was my second attempt at hotel room cooking. But where there is a will, there’s a way. I managed to slice all of my vegetables, cut up my protein and whisk up a rather tasty sauce with a fork in a drinking cup. Of course, my hotel issued saute pan was too small to cook everything at one time so I cooked it in batches, first the onions and garlic, followed by my peppers, then finally the chicken cooked with my sauce. Of course, if you have a wok, this dish would be a snap to make and those are the directions I have included below.

I served the “stir fry” over brown rice which I ended up cooking in a pot with a plate set over the top because I didn’t have a lid. I thought my results were quite tasty and can’t wait to make this meal again with a wok on a full-sized stove top (with a rice steamer as well)!

CHICKEN & PEPPERS w/ RICE

For the sauce:

1/4 low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 white onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 orange bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

Brown rice for serving

  • Place the soy sauce, honey, and chili pepper flakes in a small bowl. Using a whisk or fork stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Place the oil in a wok or a large skillet and heat until shimmering.
  • Add the garlic and onion and tossing continually, cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the peppers and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper then add to the wok. Continue tossing over high heat until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
  • Add the reserved sauce and toss well to combine.
  • Serve over hot brown rice.

Serves 2

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

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Who doesn’t love meatballs?  This recipe, adapted from Saveur Magazine is a twist on traditional Italian meatballs.  The addition of brown sugar and a bit of vinegar in the sauce turns an ordinary tomato sauce into a slightly sweet and tangy treat.  With a meat grinder it is easy and fast to grind your own beef; it also allows to you know exactly what you are eating.  If you prefer you can substitute pork, turkey, or a combination of the meats for the beef.  These meatballs turned out huge so if you prefer them smaller use a 1/4 cup measure when shaping them.

I served the meatballs with garlic mashed potatoes which were perfect for sopping up the leftover sauce.  Yum!

SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

Salt & pepper to taste

  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil then saute the minced onion over medium heat until tender and golden, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of water, the vinegar, and brown sugar to the pan.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat then remove from the heat and set aside.

For the meatballs:

2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup long grain rice, parboiled for 3 minutes

1 cup bread crumbs

1 medium onion, coarsely grated

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Put the meat in a large bowl and push it to one side.
  • Add the eggs, rice, bread crumbs, onion, salt, and pepper to the other side of the bowl and combine with a large fork.
  • Work in the meat, approximately 1/2 cup at a time until everything is fully blended.
  • Return the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
  • Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, shape meatballs and drop them gently into the sauce.  You should have approximately 8 meatballs when you are done.
  • Cover and simmer slowly for 30 minutes, gently rotating and pushing the meatballs around halfway through the cooking so that they are thoroughly coated with sauce after about 15 minutes.
  • Correct seasoning if necessary and serve hot.

Serves 4

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