Posts tagged rice
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.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

rice pudding with coconut milk

spoon!

I realize that rice pudding isn’t about to win the sexiest dessert award anytime soon. It’s dull in color, lumpy in texture, and offers no enticing shape. It’s a lump of gooey rice sitting in your bowl quietly awaiting its fate. If there was a pageant for dessert, rice pudding would lose the swimsuit and the evening gown sections of the competition. It doesn’t sparkle or wow with its looks.

unsweetened soy milk light coconut milk

But it would nail the questions category, and when asked what issue is important to its cause, the rice pudding would surely rise to the occasion. It is, without question, my favorite winter dessert, snack, comfort treat. I eat it warm after dinner, with the steam rising from the bowl; I sneak spoonfuls of it at night, cold, straight from the fridge; I could build a lunch around it with some sliced pears and bananas and a steaming cup of Ceylon tea. I could easily write odes to rice pudding, and I might as well have done so just now.

Continue reading rice pudding with coconut milk.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

brown rice with chanterelles and caramelized onions

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

My mother is a clever and resourceful woman, and that’s not a compliment – it’s a fact. Years of living in Russia trains you to be wired that way, and she is. I’m not sure how she does it, but no matter the season, mom is always prepared for the onslaught of visitors. Should anyone drop in unexpectedly, there is a slew of picked snacks (hello, Russian household), salads, Russian salamis and cheeses, not to mention various cookies, and chocolates, and fruit. Should you choose to show up at 2 o’clock at night, save for the some nasty glares, you’ll be sitting down to a full table in less than ten minutes. It’s that kind of Russian preparedness I have always admired.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

When I was visiting last month, I volunteered to cook our dinner. I wanted to play with the light in my mother’s beautifully lit kitchen as my own kitchen, lovely as it may be, lacks natural light. I quite liked the soft, diffused daylight from the cloudy day – busying myself with apple sauce, chicken with mustard, and this dish. Earlier that afternoon, I had found a bag of frozen chanterelles in my mother’s freezer and I was curious. I have a soft spot for the yellow mushroom – growing up it was my favorite, and we ate it with abandon. It’s been more difficult, and costly, to find chanterelles in the US, but according to my mother, many Russian stores now carry bags of frozen chanterelles, which is a wonderful, and affordable compromise.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

I decided to throw our old mushroom-chanterelle favorite combination together with some brown rice. We were under time constraints to eat before Yom Kippur started and I needed a quick and low-maintenance side dish. While the components were cooking, I prepared the chicken for roasting, and made a simple salad on the side. And then I curled up with a book in the living room, while our family cat decided to fall asleep at my feet, but not before kneading my soles with his. Sharp claws, is all I have to say on the matter. But the cuteness and the purring totally made up for it.

rice with caramelized onions and chanterelles

Continue reading brown rice with chanterelles and caramelized onions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

indian-spiced rice pudding

arborio rice pudding with Indian spices

I’ve never been much of a fancy girl. Were it up to me, I’d spend my days in jeans and tank tops. Don’t get me wrong, I clean up rather nicely, but I am at my happiest just hanging out. Getting dressed-up never feels natural. Even when I get my hair cut, I hate to have my hair blown-out, choosing instead my unruly mess of frizzy waves. My affinity for the informal is probably why I don’t yet own a single little black dress. Not one. That should soon be rectified: a wedding I’m in this year wants the bridesmaids in LBDs, so I will be shopping for one pretty soon. Anyhow, dresses are dresses and jeans are jeans and I will forever have a love affair with the latter and regard the former with a bit of annoyance. Pizza, beer, jeans, and a tanktop – and I’m one happy camper.

scraping vanilla beansarborio rice pudding with Indian spices

At least I’m consistent. As unfussy as I am about dress code, I like to apply the same to food. Comforting and soothing is something I’ll take any day over fancy and engineered. I’ve deep respect for fine, jacket-and-tie kind of dining, but were it up to me, were I running a restaurant, mine would be focused on soothing souls and nurturing the senses. I’d serve rice pudding for dessert and call it a night.

arborio rice pudding with Indian spices

I think that rice pudding is just about one of the loveliest things there is out there. Like cozy wool socks, or homemade marshmallows. It’s my go-to comfort dessert, and one that I welcome this time of year with open arms. It also makes your house smell deliciously divine: sweet, warm, wintry. I prefer my rice pudding slightly warmed, but a friend of mine recently confessed to having an unhealthy addiction to eating cold rice pudding early in the morning before work. A breakfast pudding, if you will. While she felt pangs of guilt about indulging her rice pudding yen in the morning, to me – nothing sounded better because I was reared in a type of morning rice pudding in Russia. Except in Russia we didn’t call it rice pudding – we called it “risovaya kasha” or kasha made of rice. Kasha, in Russian, denoted a porridge of sorts, usually eaten for breakfast and made with a whole grain. My arch-nemesis was something called “mannaya kasha” – which, I think, in the US is called farina. I still shudder at the thought.

bayleaf

Of course, as a kid I was an impossible-to-please-picky-eater; I gagged on practically everything that was milk-based. Grass-fed cows’ milk, folks. Cows that knew not what hormones or antibiotics were. Cows that spent their days in the pasture, calmly, thoughtfully (I like to think) chewing on grasses and mulling around. And I gagged on such a thing.

I grew up in a household that thought (rightly so!) that milk equaled health; and a healthy child was what the zenith of family goals should be. Thus various milk products were force-fed down my through as if I were a foie gras goose being readied for the plumping. Breakfast was almost always a hot grain cereal: sometimes buckwheat, sometimes cream of wheat, sometimes the overcooked, glue-like oatmeal my grandmother loved to serve. And sometimes, when I was lucky, it was rice pudding. Studded with raisins and impossibly rich. I ate that with more enthusiasm than other breakfast foods mostly because the raisins served as a good distraction.

arborio rice pudding with Indian spices

By the time I grew up, I kind of forgot about rice pudding and it was eating kheer at Indian restaurant a few years back that jolted my memory. After that, rice pudding was all I could think about. I made it over and over and over. I combined the Indian flavors with the more traditional pudding recipe. And added a bay leaf as it gave the rice a slightly woodsy, herbal fragrance. Sometimes, rice pudding tastes so candy-sweet, it’s almost overwhelming. I liked having a little earthiness to the smell and the bay leaf complements the sweetness rather nicely.

While I typically share my food with friends, I never shared rice pudding. It would vanish from my kitchen with lightning speed; faster than I could snap a photograph. Last year, I made this pudding, took pictures and then immediately forgot all about it. I do this a lot – forgetting to write about recipes I’ve cooked eons ago. I hope you can forgive me because this is seriously good. And comforting. And warm. And you can have it for breakfast too and not just for dessert. Wearing pajamas. Or jeans and tank tops. Or fancy black dresses. It’s totally up to you!

Continue reading indian-spiced rice pudding.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

basmati rice with yogurt and lime pickle

basmati rice, buttermilk & lime pickle

When it comes to cooking, lazy I am not. And I’m a full believer in those little details, so it’s not uncommon for me to run all over Manhattan and beyond to pick out the perfect ingredients for whatever meal I am currently making. Meat at a green market? Herring in Brighton? Locally produced milk at Fairway?

Some people, when they cook, just see what they have on hand in the kitchen and whip up something. This is how my mother and grandmother have cooked – and they’ve managed to do plenty with that approach. I, on the other hand, will clip a recipe and make sure I have every ingredient on hand for it. I’ll plan to make X on day Y and hold myself to that schedule. I can certainly cook free-style, but there’s something about following a recipe that excites me.

Continue reading basmati rice with yogurt and lime pickle.