Tag Archives: Rice

Warm Wild Rice Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts

Rice Stuffing

I am just going to come out and say it: I am not a fan of turkey stuffing (or dressing), and neither is my family. Whenever I make stuffing, it sits uneaten at the Thanksgiving table, before banishment to the refrigerator, labeled “leftover,” where it continues to sit for days, forlorn, neglected, and, frankly, wasteful. So, now I don’t make a stuffing for our turkey. Instead, I jam bunches of fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and sage, as well as wedges of lemon or orange in the cavity to provide aroma and moisture while the turkey roasts. For serving, I provide potatoes and a grain dish to balance and fill out the feast. This rice salad is always a hit. It’s a great gluten-free starch substitute for stuffing, and the dried fruit and nuts stud the rice like festive jewelry, providing a pretty addition to the holiday table. Feel free to mix up the fruit and nuts, substituting raisins, chopped prunes, dried figs, walnuts or hazelnuts. For a vegetarian option, substitute vegetable stock or water for the chicken stock.

Wild Rice with Dried Fruit and Pecans

Serves 6.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 ½ cups wild rice or wild rice blend
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
½ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, thyme, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the  dried fruit and pecans while fluffing the rice with a fork. Let stand, partially covered,  for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm.

Lime Marinated Shrimp Tostadas with Black Bean Salsa and Spicy Rice

Lime shrimp tostadas

This post is tricky. For my East coast readers, I want to offer you a rich and meaty stew, guaranteed to bring warmth and comfort amidst teetering snowdrifts. For my West coast friends, I am tempted to make happy south-of-the-border food in honor of the ridiculous summer weather outside. So here is a compromise: These tostadas are warming and bright, satisfying and fresh. They go equally well in front of a crackling fire with a bracing shot of tequila, or eaten grill-side with a festive shot of tequila. Each of the components are stand-alone good, and when heaped onto a crispy corn tostada shell, it’s a winter (or summer) party on a plate.

Lime Marinated Shrimp Tostadas with Black Bean Salsa and Spicy Rice

Serves 4 to 6

For the black bean salsa:
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
Corn kernels from one ear of corn (or 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful cilantro sprigs, chopped

For the rice:
1 cup long grain rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground cayenne
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
1 teaspoon salt

For the shrimp:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

Tostada shells
Lettuce leaves
Tomato salsa or hot sauce
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Lime wedges

1. Combine all of the salsa ingredients, except the cilantro, in a bowl and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop. Before serving, add the cilantro.

2. Prepare the rice: Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and cayenne and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring, to lightly toast and thoroughly coat, about 1 minute. Add the stock and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.

3. Prepare the shrimp. Whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and stir to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium high heat (or prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat). Remove the shrimp from the marinade, shaking off any excess liquid, and transfer to the skillet 0r grill. Cook the shrimp until pink on both sides and just cooked through, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

5. To assemble the tostadas, lay a lettuce leaf over a tostada (corn) shell. Spoon some of the rice over the lettuce, then some of the black bean salsa over the rice. Top with 2 to 3 shrimp. Drizzle with a little tomato salsa or hot sauce. Garnish with cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime. Serve immediately.

Chicken Fried Rice with Almonds and Broccolini

chicken rice tastefood

Whole chickens are a gift that keep on giving. I roast a chicken almost weekly. After the roast dinner, there are lots of leftovers to transform into another meal. The bones are simmered in water for homemade stock which in turn is used for soups or stock for cooking rice, quinoa or farro. And the leftover meat can easily be turned into a whole new dinner. I made this fried rice dish with leftovers from my farmer’s market chicken dinner.

Chicken Fried Rice with Broccolini and Almonds

Serves 4

1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 green onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick, white and green parts divided
1 large carrot, diced
3/4 pound broccolini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger with juices
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 to 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Combine the stock, rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork.
While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the white parts of the green onions, the carrot, broccolini. Saute until bright in color and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chili flakes and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until the chicken is heated through. Remove from heat. Add the cooked rice, the green onions and cilantro. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if desired. Sprinkle the almonds over the rice and serve warm.

Skillet Chicken with Rice and Vegetables

Chicken Rice Vegetables

“This tastes like chicken soup without the soup,” declared my daughter as she tucked into a weeknight dinner of chicken and rice.  It was cool and cloudy outside, an unusual event in Northern California, where any rain in September warrants breaking news on the television.  As many of you know, I am a New England girl at heart.  Even when I was living in Europe for nearly 2 decades, I managed to end up in countries and regions where fog, rain, and cold weather featured prominently in the weather report, and I didn’t mind at all.  I married a Dane whose country prides itself on its dismal weather 9 months of the year.  Autumn weather brings out the best in my mood.  The finicky, blustery, invigorating climate sends me outdoors for cool fresh air and the spray of rain and then back inside for cozy clothes, warm fires and comfort food.  Inclement weather, to me, is like the proverbial other shoe to drop.  It balances out the sunshine and warmth of summer, and shows off the other side of Mother Nature.

So, now that I find myself living in California, otherwise known as the land of eternally blue skies and incessantly bright sunshine, I must seize my fall moments when I can.  This brings me to Chicken with Rice and Vegetables.  Due to the wild and unexpected display of crazy weather and freakish nature last week in Marin County (a.k.a. sprinkles and clouds) I embraced that other shoe, so to speak.  After taking a brisk run outside in the forest, I lit a fire in our fireplace, donned fluffy houseshoes and a fleece pullover, and proceeded to make a cozy one pot dish for a family dinner.  The result was what I would consider a compliment in the comfort food category by my daughter and an apt description of this homey skillet chicken and rice dish.  The other result was the hot flashes I experienced due to overdressing in fleece and fluff for the 10 F.  temperature drop in the air outside.

One Pot Chicken

Chicken with Rice and Vegetables
Mild and comforting, this is food that will please children and adults alike.The results will be more dry like a paella, not a stew.

Serves 4-6

4 large chicken breasts, with skin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, cut in 1/4″ slices
2 celery ribs, cut in 1/2″ slices
1 poblano pepper, or green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, cut in 1/2″ pieces
2 vine ripe tomatoes, halved, stem and seeds removed, cut in chunks
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 turkish bay leaf
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup shelled peas or frozen peas
Thyme sprigs for garnish

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken skin-side down.  Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Turn and cook 2 more minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside on plate.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet.  Add onion and sauté until tender over medium heat, 2 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté one minute.  Add carrots, celery, pepper.  Sauté until colors brighten and vegetables begin to soften slightly, 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Add rice and cook, stirring, one minute.  Add stock.  Return chicken to pot and arrange in one layer over rice and vegetables.  Cover, reduce to simmer, and cook until chicken is cooked through, 12-15 minutes.  Remove chicken from skillet.  Place on plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add peas to rice, cover and continue to cook until rice is tender, approximately 5-8 more minutes.  Add additional salt and pepper, to taste.  Fluff rice and vegetables with a fork and return chicken to skillet.  Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and serve.

A Cook’s Diary – Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

Braised chicken 005

Some people like to keep diaries.  I keep recipes and menus.  I have a big white box where I put magazine clippings, recipe printouts, and notes I have made when I am planning a dinner or a party or traveling to a new place and exploring restaurants and food specialties.  Every so often, once or twice a year at best, I will dig through my box and read my recipes and notes that span over 15 years.  I will remember parties and dinners I have held, I will remember countries I have lived in and traveled to, and I will note similarities, differences and trends in food I have used or been drawn to over time.  Since I have been seriously cooking all this time, sometimes for work and often for pleasure, this is the best way for me to remember friends, events, places, experiences and meals from long ago.

Tonight I am making a recipe I pulled out of my white box that is an adaptation of a recipe I made from Sainsbury’s Magazine, published by the U.K. supermarket giant.  This particular issue was published in January 2000, so it is a wintry, comforting dish, perfect for an autumn weeknight.  When I bought the magazine, we were living in our renovated barn in the countryside on the south coast of England.  We lived by the sea and had distant views to the Isle of Wight.  The landscape was pastoral and windswept by the weather that blew in from the English channel. In January, the weather was particularly brutal.  At night we could hear the wind as it whistled down our chimneys, while it gathered up any loose items in our garden and tossed them about like party favors, and we kept our cat in at night for fear she would be blown away like Dorothy and Toto.

Our closest neighbors lived one mile down the road from us, and in the first weeks following our move there, I was home alone with our infant daughter and toddler son, while my husband was away on a business trip. One evening the wind was blowing so hard, I wondered if we might lose our roof.  I called our neighbors, whom we had yet to meet, introduced myself and asked if this wind was normal or should I be worried.  I was assured that it was quite normal and then invited to dinner.  I arrived with my tired children in tow, put them to bed in a guest bedroom, and officially met our neighbors over a meal they cooked for me in their Aga oven.  This meal was the beginning of a long friendship.  We spent many evenings after that, sharing food and enjoying wine, cooking for eachother on our Agas (no rural English home would be complete without one) in the West Sussex countryside.  One evening when they came to our home for a casual dinner, I made a version of a recipe I had torn out of Sainsbury’s Magazine.  Tonight I will make it again and think of our friends back in  southeast England.

Braised Chicken with Porcini Mushrooms
adapted from a recipe published in Sainsbury’s Magazine, January 2000

Serves 4

8 chicken thighs with bones or 4 large chicken breasts with ribs or a combination of both
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1 1/2 lb. (approx. 700 grams) large white and chestnut mushrooms, quartered (halved if medium-sized)
1/2 oz. (15 grams) dried porcini, or 3/4 lb. (350 grams) fresh porcini, sliced
1 cup (240 ml.) dry white wine
1 cup (240 ml.) chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

Prepare:
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a deep oven-proof skillet or dutch-oven over medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper the chicken pieces.  Add chicken skin-side down in one layer in skillet (in 2 batches).  Cover skillet with a spatter-guard and sauté chicken until browned, turning once, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a plate, and repeat with remaining chicken.
Drain off fat from skillet.  Return skillet to stove and add one tablespoon olive oil and shallots.  Sauté until shallots soften, about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and fresh mushrooms.  Sauté 2 minutes.
Return chicken to skillet.  Add chicken stock, white wine, dried porcini mushrooms (if using), sage and thyme. Take care to submerge dried mushrooms in liquid.  The chicken will not be completely covered by the liquid.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for 2 minutes.  Baste tops of chicken with some of the cooking liquid.  Place pan, uncovered, in pre-heated 375 F. (190 C.) oven.  Bake, basting 1-2 times, until chicken is golden and crispy where exposed and cooked through.
Remove from oven.  Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs. Serve with rice.