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Archive for the ‘Rice’ Category

One of my favorite mostly vegetarian blogs is Branny Boils Over. When I saw her blog and rave about chana masala, I knew it was something that I must try. For some reason the stars just didn’t align on this one and it took me months to finally get around to cooking it. I ended up making the chana masala on a really random night – Brandon was out of town and I had a terrible cold. But for some reason Indian food sounded like something that would warm my soul and make me feel better.

This is the perfect vegetarian dish – tons of flavor and protein and very satisfying. I served the chana masala over brown rice with naan on the side for scooping. I fed Brandon leftovers when he got back in town and even he was impressed. This dish has been added to the ever expanding list of vegetarian favorites in our house. I’ve really been cutting back on my meat consumption over the last couple years (I probably only eat meat/seafood 2-3 times per week and never for breakfast or lunch) and meals like this make it so easy to forget the meat.

One Year Ago: Fruit Skewers with Vanilla Cream Cheese Dip

Chana Masala
(Recipe adapted from Branny Boils Over and Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (juices included)
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spices for a 1-2 minutes and then add the tomatoes. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Serve over rice or with naan (or both!).

Yield: 4-6 servings

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67 Days of Gourmet: Day 58

I’m really embarrassed to admit that tonight was the first time I’ve cooked with quinoa. Bad foodie, especially given my love for all things healthy, whole grain and nutrient packed. :( And I’ve had it from the hot bar at Whole Foods and Earth Fare, just haven’t cooked with it yet.

I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for the last couple months. Every time I made homemade Mexican this was on the menu but I kept bailing on it. Every time I went to Harris Teeter I was annoyed that they were charging $5 for a small bag of quinoa. I was picking up a few things at Earth Fare this weekend and was so excited to find awesome bulk prices on all kinds of grains. I stocked up on quinoa and rolled oats.

I can’t believe I waited so long to make this. Whether you’re a quinoa lover or someone who has never tried it, this is a must try recipe. The flavors are so well balanced with the quinoa, black beans, fresh corn, bell pepper and jalapenos and the lime/oil based dressing is the perfect finish. I’m so looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunch this week topped with diced avocado and an extra squeeze of lime and know I’ll be making this many more times in the future.

BIG NEWS #1
YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REGISTERED FOR THE 35th MARINE CORPS MARATHON! I did it! I registered! I’m beyond excited. And even better news, my friend Meghan registered to run it too! This will be her first marathon. I can’t even put into words how happy I am that I won’t be running this race alone!

BIG NEWS #2
I’m launching a Healthy Living blog!!! Don’t worry, Bakin’ and Eggs isn’t going anywhere but I’ve really been conflicted over whether to continue discussing fitness/my life on this blog or whether I should start a new blog. In the end, I decided that the healthy living blog was the best way to go. The name has been selected, the domain has been registered and I’m in the process of getting it all set up. I promise that I’ll let you all know the second it goes live!

Please try this quinoa recipe and then let me know what you think!

One Year Ago: Fresh Strawberry Scones

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1994)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (I subbed a bit of ground coriander because the store did not have fresh)

FOR THE DRESSING
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve. (I attempted this step but my quinoa went right through my sieve so I skipped this step and just cooked it as is. Turned out totally fine.)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse with cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in pot occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add bell pepper, jalapenos, corn and coriander.

Let quinoa cool a bit then add to bean mixture and toss well.

FOR THE DRESSING
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt and cumin. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish

Note: I cut this recipe in half and it made plenty for 2 with lots of leftovers!

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 45

This might seem like a strange combination but just trust me on this one – it’s good. What was not good was my decision to start this risotto at 8:45 after I got home from yoga. I was so hungry I didn’t know if I’d make it through all the stirring! Risotto isn’t hard, it just requires constant attention and a block of time. I was expecting this risotto to be a simple weeknight dinner but it really surprised me. The flavors green pea and bacon flavors were great together and the addition of lemon zest and juice at the end added an unexpected brightness. I also really appreciated not having to open a bottle of wine to make this dish!

Unhappy to report that my left leg is not getting much better. After my run on Monday it was swollen and sore. Boo. I planned on running the RaceFest Half Marathon in April but that’s not looking good for me unless my leg starts feeling better. I’ve taken the rest of the week off of running but I’m going to test it out again this weekend to see how it’s feeling. The high here is 60 degrees on Saturday and Sunday and I can’t wait to get outside! It’s been such a cold and wet winter. I’m going to embrace the two days of nice weather to the fullest!

I taught BodyPump tonight and felt like pushing it a bit. Went super heavy on my weights for squats and back and hamstrings. Maybe the Olympics are inspiring me to be a better BodyPumper!? ;) (Seriously – did you see Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn win their gold medals? Amazing!)

And time for bed…up early tomorrow for my 6:30 hot vinyasa class. Can’t wait! Hope I’m not feeling too sore from BodyPump.

Risotto with Bacon and Green Peas
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2009)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 bacon slice, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced (my addition – omit if desired!)
2/3 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup frozen green peas
4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small saucepan.

In a separate heavy saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic to bacon fat in pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat.

Add 1/4 cup hot broth mixture and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Make sure each addition has been absorbed before adding the next. Rice is done when tender and creamy but al dente, about 20-22 minutes. You might not have to use all of your broth but  reserve leftover broth mixture to thin the ristotto before plating.

Add peas and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Stir in cheese, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Thin risotto with some of reserved broth mixture if desired and season with salt and pepper. Top with bacon.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 5

jeweledrice

I was tasked with bringing a starch side dish to a family dinner last weekend. Brandon was cooking a turkey breast on the Big Green Egg as our meat. I decided not to make anything potato based since Thanksgiving is coming up so soon. I found this rice recipe when I was researching recipes for 68 Days of Gourmet and thought it sounded different. Brandon isn’t the biggest fan of rice but I love it. He also isn’t the biggest fan of dried fruit but I love that too. I thought our family dinner was the perfect time to try this since I would have a larger audience who would appreciate my rice and dried fruit side dish!

The method for preparing this rice is really different. Read the recipe directions below and you’ll see what I mean. I was pretty nervous about the final product turning out but I trusted the recipe and it turned out exactly right. I was scared the crust would be a burned mess but it was perfectly golden. The butter drenched toasted almonds on top were the perfect finish.

This rice is a great side dish for richly spiced pork and chicken and complemented our turkey breast well too. The leftovers were great with the Spiced Chicken I made for dinner on Tuesday night. A note, this recipe makes a ton of rice so you may want to half it if you’re feeding a smaller crowd.

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruit
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, November 2004)

Ingredients:

3 cups basmati rice
4 quarts water
3 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup dried apricots (3 1/2 oz), quartered (I omitted these)
1/2 cup golden raisins (3 oz)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (2 oz)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup slivered unsalted roasted almonds

Directions:

Rinse rice in several changes of cold water in a large bowl until water runs clear. Drain in a large sieve.

Bring water and salt to a boil in a 6-quart heavy pot. Add rice and boil, uncovered for about 5 minutes – starting from the time the rice starts to boil. Stir occasionally. Drain in sieve.

Mix together dried fruit in a bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a cleaned and dried pot. Stir in cardamom and pepper and combine. Alternate layers of rice and dried fruit over the butter mixture, beginning and ending with rice. Mound loosely, don’t pack it in. Make 5 or 6 holes in rice to bottom of pot with round handle of a wooden spoon. Wrap lid of pot in a kitchen towel, folding edges of towel up and over the lid (keeping towel away from burner). Cook rice over low heat, undisturbed, until tender and a crust forms on bottom, about 30 to 35 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the rice is cooking. Remove from heat and let rice stand, tightly covered and undisturbed, at least 30 minutes.

While rice is resting, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat and cook almonds, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon loose rice onto a platter, then break crust into 1-inch pieces and scatter over rice. Sprinkle with almonds.

Yield: 10-12 side dish servings

Notes:
*Rice can stand off heat up to 1 hour. Just keep covered and undisturbed
* If you’re short on time, you can skip letting the rice stand after cooking. Spoon loose rice onto a platter and then dip bottom of pot into a large bowl of cold water for 30 seconds to loosen crust.

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thaibasilchicken

We visited my family in Atlanta last weekend. While we were there we stopped by the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. It’s not really a farmer’s market but it is a mecca for foodies. They have a huge and varied selection of vegetables, fruits, seafood, cheeses, meats…the list goes on and on. This was Brandon’s first trip and he was taken in by the chili selection. We ended up coming home with four or five different types of chili peppers so you’ll notice a recurring theme in my next few blog posts as I try to find inventive ways to use them.

Today I decided to use the Thai Chilies (also known as prik kee noo). I did some research this morning and landed on Spicy Thai Basil Chicken. This is a pretty basic Thai dish but I thought it’d be fun to make at home with our chilies. I ended up using a combination of two recipes and was pleased with the outcome. I was pretty scared that this dish would be over the top spicy (since I used about 8 chilies and they’re supposed to be a 9 in hotness on a 1-10 scale) but the spice was very manageable. It was a nice slow and constant burn.

If you’re a fan of Thai stir fries and like a little spice I highly recommend this recipe for an easy weeknight meal. I served it over jasmine rice.

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken
(Recipe inspired by Andrea Meyers and Thai Food and Travel)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow, green – whatever you have)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
8 Thai chilies, sliced into then rounds (can substitute serrano or jalepeno if necessary)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
15 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Jasmine rice, for serving

Directions:

Heat a large skilled over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Add garlic, shallots and peppers and saute for about 1 minute. Add chicken and chilies and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, water and basil leaves and cook for another minute or two. Stir in cornstarch/water mixture and cook for another minute, until thickened.

Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

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blackbeansrice250

Part two of last night’s delicious grilled shrimp taco dinner. This is pretty much my go-to black beans and rice recipe. I’m almost always guaranteed to have all the ingredients in my pantry and it’s simple, good and always a great side dish for Mexican night. And be warned…this recipe makes a ton!

Black Beans and Rice
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced
1 fresh pepper, seeded and diced (like jalapeno or habanero, or substitute diced canned jalapenos or red pepper flakes – use what you have!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
1 cup rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and cook for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is softened.

Stir in tomatoes, water, rice and salt. Bring mixture to a boil and then stir in black beans. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, until water absorbed and rice is tender. Don’t peak until the 20 minutes are up!

Remove from heat and let stand about 5-10 minutes (still covered) before serving.

Yield: 6-8 side dish servings

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curryyogurtchicken

I cut this recipe out of Food and Wine several months ago. I finally added it to our menu last week and all I can say is that I wish I’d have tried it sooner! The quick braising method results in very tender chicken and the flavors in this dish are great for something that comes together so quickly.

If you’re a fan of ethnic flavors, I definitely suggest you try this one out!

Curry and Yogurt Braised Chicken
(Recipe heavily adapted from Food and Wine)

Ingredients:

3-4 tablespoons canola oil
3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, minced (I used jalapeno)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder (add up to an extra tablespoon if you’re a curry lover)
1 pound tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped, or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup water
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions:

Trim chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge in flour and shake off excess. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about three minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the garlic, ginger, chile and bell pepper to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, yogurt and water and stir until smooth.

Return the chicken to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with cilantro and serve over rice.

Yield: 3-4 servings

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