June 1, 2012

Coconut Wild Rice with Cilantro and Toasted Almonds1/2 cup Wild Rice3/4 cup Coconut Milk2 Tbsp Slivered Almonds1 Tbsp Shredded CoconutFresh CilantroPreheat oven to 350 degrees. In a pan, toast almonds until light brown. Remove from oven and toast shredded coconut until light brown. Remove from oven and set aside. In a sauce pan, bring 1/2 cup of rice to a boil with about 2 cups of water. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is al dente. Remove any excess liquid. Pour coconut milk over the rice, stir and continue to simmer until coconut milk reduces to the consistency you like. Remove from heat. Chop cilantro (as much or as little as you’d like) and toss into rice. Toss in most of the almonds. Garnish with toasted coconut, remaining almonds and cilantro. Serve hot.
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June 14, 2010

Every once in a while, when dining at a restaurant, I’ll pull out a pen and paper (oh fine, I pull out my iPhone) and jot down the ingredients of whatever delicious thing I’m eating so that I can recreate it at home.  I’ve done this twice in the last couple of weeks – once at Rick Bayless’(!) Frontera Grill in Chicago, and then again at Back Forty in the East Village.  My homemade version is usually not exact, but I like getting inspired by other people’s food.
I hadn’t had a Sunday night dinner in a while, so I invited over Kasey, Noel, Mads and Bjorn tonight to help me test these recipes out.  Then we watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and tried not to fall into a food coma.  Success!

Jicama Salad (inspired by Frontera Grill)Jicama is insanely difficult to find in New York.  I looked at three grocery stores before giving up and going to the Whole Foods.  Bjorn was able to find one at C-town, so now I have enough Jicama to last me through the summer.  Or at least the next two weeks.
1 Jicama rootJuice of 2-3 limes (I used a lemon too, cause my limes weren’t being as juicy as I wanted.)chopped cilantrosalt to taste
Peel the Jicama and julienne.  Toss with lime juice, cilanto and salt.

Homemade Foccacia CroutonsFoccacia bread, cubed (I bought a small chunk from Whole Foods for less than $2)2 tbls buttergarlic salt
Melt butter in a saute pan and add bread, tossing to coat.  Let bread begin to brown and crisp, and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Chilled Pea Soup (inspired by Back Forty)The soup I had at Back Forty was mind-blowingly good and I must accept the fact that I will never be able to recreate it.
2 bags of frozen peas4 cups of vegetable stock2 1/2 cups of plain yogurt1/2 cup scallions, choppedolive oilsalt and pepper to tastewhite truffle oil (just a drizzle!)In a large saute pan, combine peas and stock and heat on medium.  In a small pan, saute scallions in olive oil until soft.  Transfer peas, stock and scallions to a food processor, add yogurt and blend until smooth.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I garnished with the croutons and mache lettuce, which I bought on a whim today.

Spaghetti with Artichokes, Lemon and Ricotta (via Paris and Back)
1 lemon, halved 1 can or jar of artichoke hearts 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, chopped salt and pepper to taste 1/2 pound of spaghetti (I used whole wheat) 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley1 cup ricotta cheese (homemade perhaps?) 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Bring pasta to a boil
Place the oil and garlic in a large skillet.  Drain artichokes and pat dry.  Add to pan.  Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the artichokes begin to crisp and lightly brown.  About half way through, add the juice from both lemon halves over the browning artichokes. Before draining your cooked pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water in case you need a little moisture later.  Drain the pasta when it reaches al dente, but do not rinse. Once the artichokes are browned, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the pasta with the artichokes and parsley, adding the reserved pasta water as needed.  Serve immediately with a heaping spoonful of the ricotta on top or other grated cheese as you like.
(I only loosely followed this recipe.)
Kasey made a watermelon and feta salad that was super delicious, which I failed to photograph.  So refreshing! 

May 5, 2010

Despite my desperate mental need to get out-out-out of the house tonight, I’m forcing myself to at least stay in for dinner.  One issue I’ve run into while living alone is how wicked (sup, Boston) fast produce goes bad.  I’ve watched what was once a lovely red bell pepper get sort of wilted and sad in my fridge.  Solution? Roast the sucker! 
I don’t always cook with recipes (I call it free style-cooking,) so this isn’t exact.. Just go with the flow, my humble reader.  Let’s call this one:
Southwestern-Style Stuffed Peppers
Southwestern-Style Stuffed Peppers
1 large red bell pepper3/4 cup of dry polenta1 can of black beans1/2 onion (I used red), chopped1 cup of water (plus extra)1 limecilantro (if it doesn’t taste like soap to you)1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder1/2 tsp cuminsalt & pepper (to taste)olive oil
(Before I begin, I must disclose that I don’t own an oven.  Sad, I know.  Instead I have a pretty brutal convection oven that cooks everything faster.  For recipes I borrow, follow their directions; for recipes I create, you’re on your own!)
Remove seeds/stems from bell pepper and cut into 5-6 pieces lengthwise halves (I changed my mind after making this – cut in half and stuff them, instead of piling everything on top like I did.)
Coat in a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place in a metal baking pan.  Throw it in the oven at about 350 degrees.  As you cook everything else the peppers will start to roast/blacken. This is good.
In a small saute pan, heat 1 tbls of olive oil.  Add chopped onion and a bit of salt.  Saute until they start to brown/caramelize.  Remove from heat.
Rinse black beans of their odd can liquid and throw into a small sauce pan.  Squeeze the entire lime on top and mix in cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add in sauteed onion.
In the same pan you used for the onion (no need to rinse), heat water and add chile powder.  Once the water begins to boil, add in polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly.  (Be aware that polenta is super annoying to cook and you will probably have to add water and then it’ll get a little lumpy, but keep stirring and realize that these things happen)
To assemble, scoop black mixture into one side of a half of bell pepper and the polenta into the other half.  Top with cilantro. Serve immediately!
The result is a nice mixture of sweet and smokey with a bit of heat.  The lime in the beans adds a nice tang.
Question! Are there any foods that you’re scared to eat/cook because they seem intimidating? I know there’s a whole world of exotic vegetarian options that I have yet to explore, and I would like to… for your entertainment.