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Archive for the ‘rice’ Category

Mushrooms, mixed

We’re still having our love affair with an Indian Summer here in TO. The evenings remind us that the season is changing, but the days are still above 20˚C. Fall is mushroom season, though, and even though it’s warm out, a nice comfort dish at night is in the calling. After all the salads and crisp fruit and veg, it was fun to eat something as soft and warm and aromatic as this. Besides, how could anyone resist such colourful, strange, beautiful and ugly looking mushrooms? Does anyone know what they are?

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto with Many Varieties

1 Tbsp Olive oil
300 g mixed mushrooms, I used shitake, chantrell, Big Orange Ones, and Some Other Wild Type
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup Arborio or other Risotto rice
4 cups veg/chicken stock
⅓ cup dry white wine
½ tsp sweet paprika
⅓ cup grated Parmesan/parmigiana

– if using Chantrell mushrooms, keep a handful aside, to add right at the end, to preserve their delicate flavour.

– roughly chop the mushrooms. Take half of them and process in the food processor until finely chopped.

– heat the oil in a large saucepan/skillet on a medium heat. Saute the shallot and garlic for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. When the mushrooms are tender, add a bit of lemon juice and taste the mushrooms to make sure they’re good.

– remove half the mushroom mixture from the pan and reserve. Add the rice to the remaining mushrooms in the pan and stir constantly. The rice will start going translucent and might pop a little.

– Now add the wine and stir until it’s all cooked off.

– Turn up the heat a little on the hob and start adding the stock, about a cup at a time, stirring until it’s absorbed. Make sure the last lot of stock is absorbed before adding the next cup. This will probably take 15 – 20 minutes.
– about half way through the stock supply, re-add the rest of the mushroom mix and continue with the stock. Add the remainder Chantrell mushrooms now, if using.

– just before serving, add the Parmesan. Serve with fresh ground black pepper and extra parmesan.

Mushrooms, mixed 2

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Bell Peppers, multicoloured

Peppers!

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. Did you ever, as a child, put an entire hard boiled egg in your mouth at a picnic, and then sit there (knowing your Mother could see you) and realise you couldn’t spit it out, abut couldn’t chew and swallow it all either? Oh the dilemma.

I was irresistibly lured to a table at Saturday’s market covered in punnets of brightly coloured sweet bell peppers. Poor Mr P already had the glazed over eyes of a pet chihuahua being dressed up in frills again, when I spotted them down the isle and uttered a wee whoop of excitement. So, to inspire a second wind of Excitement and Vigour for all things shopping, I sold the idea of buying yet more produce to have to lug home by mentioning some magic words: Stuffed Peppers, and, Minced Beef. Oh, that brought the twinkle back long enough to persuade him to help find the prettiest and shiniest peppers by far.

But now I was committed, through the Kharmic backlash of my own desire for all things shiny, to actually make the damn things. I decided against the mince in the end, simply because we’d had quite the culinary weekend and I felt like something more, well, simple really. Of course, having not made stuffed peppers in many a year, I’d forgotten just how long they take to make, the results of which were that we only ended up eating our dinner at ten last night! Well, at least it was good. And shiny.

Note on the recipe: I used 3 anchovy fillets in the recipe, but in retrospect it could have used an extra 3.

Bell Peppers Stuffed With Wild Rice, Tomatoe, Chard, Anchovy and Olives

Sweet Bell Peppers stuffed with Wild Rice and a Mediteranian Medley

Wild rice to make 1 cup when cooked (I used ⅓ cup grain)

4 medium sized bell peppers

2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, chopped
Small bunch Swiss chard, 5 or 6 stems, chopped
10 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
handful finely chopped Italian parsley
about ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
80 ml grated parmigiana or Parmesan
salt and ground black pepper to taste

about 1 cup chicken stock

– start by putting the rice on to cook and pre heating the oven to 380˚F (wild rice can take longer to cook, mine took 45mins) when done, remove from heat and set aside.

– carefully slice the tops off the peppers, keeping them intact. remove all the seeds and inner squishy stuff. Wash inside and out and put aside.

– heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add shallots and garlic. Saute until translucent.

– add tomato paste, cook stirring for a few seconds then add tomatoes and swiss chard. Allow to cook until soft, about 7 or so minutes. Remove from heat

– In a large mixing bowl, mix rice, tomato sauce and the rest of the ingredients (excluding the stock), leaving about 2 Tbsp of the cheese aside.

– season to taste.

– arrange peppers bottom down in a greased, oven proof dish. Fill with rice mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese and place tops on top.

– pour stock into the dish and bake for about 1 hour in the oven, basting with the stock every 20 mins to keep the veg moist on top.

Bell peppers

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Risotto with peas, marrows and sundried tomato

I always thought of risotto as a fussy, difficult to make dish. It was Jamie Oliver, eventually, who persuaded me to give it a go, thanks to the effortless way he makes everything seem so do-able. And he was right. The only real skill you need for risotto is patience. It’s going to take a half an hour of your time while you sit over the pan stirring, and everything else will be fine. Don’t think you can quickly do this or that while it cooks. Now I love making risotto. It’s a dish that can be both fresh and comforting. For this one I used the ingredients I’d bought earlier that day at the Organic Farmers Market at the park: peas still in the pod and two plump, shiny marrows, one yellow, one green and a very fragrant bunch of sage.

The other things I picked up were a fresh tomato, which tasted nothing like any watery, tasteless tomato I’ve ever bought here in Canada. This one was so enticingly fragrant, so delicately flavoured and sweet, that putting a slice in your mouth made you close your eyes and savour every little morsel. Then I found a quart of wild blueberries, which again are nothing like their mass grown, store bought counterparts. Like fat and pimply troll next to a delicate, pretty elf. I’ve made a blueberry pie for the weekend in the country!

Pea and Marrow Risotto with Sundried Tomatopeas-in-pod-single.jpg

1 – 2 marrows cut into thin strips
1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
Handful fresh sage, chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 or 6 sun dried tomatoes
1½ cups Arborio rice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar in ± 80 ml of water

4 cups fresh chicken stock, warmed
about 1 cup fresh peas
180 – 125ml grated Parmegiano cheese
S + P

– heat oil and butter in a large, heavy based pan. Sauté marrows with sage until tender. Remove from pan and keep warm.

– sauté onion, shallot and garlic until translucent. Add more olive oil if needed but don’t let the garlic brown (it turns bitter)

– add rice and tomato to pan and cook, stirring continuously until rice begins to turn translucent at the edges.

– add vinegar water and stir until it’s all been absored.

– add ½ cup warm stock and stir until absorbed. Keep adding stock in quantities of about 1 cup, stirring, and only adding more once the previous has been absorbed. About half an hour. Add peas with last bit of liquid.
– when all liquid has been absorbed stir in cheese, leaving some for a garnish.

peas-comp.jpg

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Lemongrass rice pudding with fresh mango and lime

The reason I’ve been a bit slow in getting the next post up is because I hit a little boulder on my road to a good dessert this week. I had this idea in my head, and the more I thought about it the better it became. It all started when I started thinking about the four banana’s I had sitting on my Kitchen counter. In my world, a banana has a very short window of opportunity for eating. One day on the early side of the window and it’s green and chewy ; one day on the other side and it’s a powdery mush. These banana’s were a day or so on the downward slope of their life. Not an unusual circumstance, but the usual solution of banana bread or banana walnut muffins just didn’t appeal. What could I do with these yummies? So the idea of a compote came into being. With what? Hmm. A rice pudding perhaps? A tropical, Thai inspired rice pudding perhaps? What about a coconut and lemongrass rice pudding, with a banana and ginger compote and fresh mango? Sounds really good, really exotic, something a slender, tan woman in a fusia and turquoise sarong would serve to you in a coconut shell while sitting on a beach in Indonesia. Mmmm.

So I diligently set about concocting a dessert which was to become possibly the worst dessert ever made in the history of man, ever. Well, I exaggerate. But the ever wonderful Mr. P stopped smiling rather abruptly after the first spoonful. And after my own first taste I realised that he hadn’t just swallowed a fly. Was it the over exuberant amount of fresh ginger I had used in the banana compote? Was the rice too sickly sweet? Too dry? Was the mango cut into too large chunks, making it difficult to eat with the rice pudding?

All of the above.

img_7766.jpg

But I’m determined to get it right and so did a
bit of thinking, a bit of reading and discovered
a thing or two about rice pudding. Firstly, ride
pudding takes a lot more liquid to make than
normal eating rice. How could I not know that?
Secondly, coconut rice pudding is known as Kheer,
though the recipe I’ve since concocted is somewhat
different. The lemongrass lifts the pudding from
a sweet comfort food for a cold rainy day to
something best eated at room temperature
(or slightly chilled) in the summer after a
light meal. Also I ditched the banana compote,
ironically seeing as that’s what got me going on
this path in the first place, as there seemed to be
so many conflicting flavours to concentrate on.
Simpler is better after all!

Lemongrass Coconut Rice Pudding with Fresh Mango and Lime

¼ cup Jasmin Thai rice img_7807.jpg
½ cup coconut milk
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
¼ cup dessicated coconut
1 stick fresh lemongrass, scored and bruised

1 fresh mango, peeled and diced into small pieces
juice and zest of one lime
2 Tbsp castor sugar
60ml water
2 full star anise

– rinse the rice under cold water

-bring the milks, coconut and lemongrass to almost a boil in a heavy based saucepan. Add rice, bring to boil and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered, 45 – 60 mins until thick and creamy. Leave to cool.

– Meanwhile, chop fruit

– put water and sugar in a small saucepan, heat gently to melt sugar. Add star anise and bring to a small simmer on a low heat. Simmer about 10 mins until syrup starts to thicken slightly. Do not caramelize.

– Allow syrup to cool slightly before adding lime juice and half the zest.

– When rice pudding is cooked and cooled, add lime syrup to mango. Remove lemongrass from rice, divide pudding between four bowls and top with mango. Garnish with remaining zest.

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