Wednesday, March 16, 2011

coconut ginger fried rice

coconut ginger fried rice

We eat a lot of coconut rice around here. Scratch that. We eat a lot of rice, period. It’s kind of a staple in our household – and while it may sound pedestrian, it tastes delightfully indulgent when instead of cooking it in water, you cook is in some coconut milk.

I got hooked on coconut rice a few years ago when I made it one night, after finding a can of coconut milk in my pantry. It occurred to me that I could use coconut milk and water instead of just water to cook my rice–and I never looked back. Granted, coconut rice isn’t exactly a novel concept – it’s a standard side at many restaurants, especially if you’re having Thai food – a side I managed to discover for myself.

herbs

But here’s what happens: you make rice, eat some of it, and then the rest of it is left languishing in your fridge until you, what, toss it out? Let’s face it – leftover rice is about as exciting as leftover scrambled eggs – there are few takers. It gets drier, compresses, and feels generally unappetizing. Some things are just better made fresh, unlike say a bowl of chili, or curried carrot soup, or stuffed cabbage. And what may seem like a duh moment to some, but was a definite “aha” moment to me.

Continue reading coconut ginger fried rice.

Friday, March 11, 2011

beer and onion braised chicken

beer braised chicken

I guess we turned the corner on the winter frost, but it’s not exactly shorts and summer dresses from here on out. I woke up this morning to see a gray scene unfolding outside my window. Trench coats, umbrellas, rain boots, temperatures in the low 40s, though I’ll take 40s any day over below freezing, especially after the snowy winter we’ve had. But I hear we’re not quite out of the forest yet – Andrew tells me there might be some snow come mid-March? If only we could pack-up that word along with all the sweaters and scarves and hats until next winter. Who’s with me?

Continue reading beer and onion braised chicken.

Friday, March 4, 2011

pelmeni

pelmeni

I’m worried that by writing about pelmeni, the famed Russian meat-filled dumplings with a cult following, I might inadvertently open the Pelmeni Pandora’s box and pandemonium will ensue. This is a dish that elicits passionate responses as there are just as many different persuasions on how to make pelmeni and how to eat them as there are Russians, probably more. And while the gist might be the same, the nuances, the proportions – will vary vastly. Whether or not you put garlic in your filling can become a central argument point of the evening. And believe me, it’ll turn into a very long evening, indeed. As far as my personal experience goes, every Russian family I’ve ever met (and I’ve met many given my background) equipped with a recipe will lay claims to making not only the best pelmeni, but also the most authentic. Authenticity is huge with Russians. The number of times I’ve heard at a dinner table, “That’s not a real [],” – I’ve officially lost count. To prevent another heated debate, I’d like to tell you, right off the bat, that this is just my family’s version. And, as expected, I like my version the best. But that’s entirely a matter of opinion.

If given the opportunity, I could wax poetic about pelmeni – I’d like to write it little haikus about how delicious they are, how they make a night of no-time-cook-dinner into a veritable feast. But then I’d be writing poems and totally forget to give you the recipe. So you’d be looking at pictures of pelmeni and how to make them without actually know how to bring this bounty to your own table.

Continue reading pelmeni.