I grew up with a dad who was born in 1907 out on a Mount Herman farm an hour and a half north of New Orleans. You didn’t have to live right in the city proper to be steeped in its deep, full, and varied food culture. His family was champion at cooking and eating together. And whatever was available just might be on that stove. Insert turn of the century poor farm folk imagination here.
While the old deck disappears and the new one is added, our summer dinner spot is gone. This seems to be a theme in our lives lately. (Change is in the air.) Outdoor tables and chairs are stored in the garage; patio candles sit awkwardly in a living room corner. Cushions and pillows are propped up next to the piano or rest at odd angles under sofa tables in the family room. We have cabin fever this year in the summer because from May – September, we do not eat indoors unless there’s a horrific storm or we’re in a restaurant. Our life, from 5:00 on — when sun is on the western side of our house — is outdoors. But not, sadly, for two weeks. Continue reading
There are some nights when dinner just doesn’t want to get made. I’m tired or the fridge seems to hold not one good thing despite the fact that it’s full. And that is occasionally because I’ve told myself I need to use up leftovers even though I’m sick of them after the holidays. Lord. Waste not… Continue reading
As summer very, very slowly wanes away, there are days when it’s cool enough to turn on the oven. My oven hasn’t been on in months with the exception of absolutely necessary baking (read birthday cakes), which is done before the sun rises lest the house take on one extra degree of warmth. Last Friday, as Dave flew in from Bogota, Columbia, I wanted to have a dinner ready for which he didn’t have to grill one single item. Enter SIMPLY MING ONE POT MEALS. (Aside: I am not in the business of selling any cookbooks except my own, but Truth in Recipes requires I note this simple dish’s provenance.)
I’ve owned this book not since in came out in 2010, but maybe since a year or two after that when a good friend mentioned she was cooking something from it. The book sounded entertaining (it is) and helpful (also true). Who doesn’t want a new spin on one-dish or one-pot meals? I made a few dishes from it and back it went on the shelf. If I’m not terribly intentional about looking at and using all of my cookbooks, they may sit a while before I drag them out to the kitchen again. The quality of the book may have nothing to do with it; I cook out of my head a lot. (Why did I leave this sit all this time?)
Something drew me to the Ming book last week, and with a few very small changes, I rustled up this one-pot meal very quickly; I think you could, too.
This plate full of goodness is based on a simple happy formula many Americans swear by: chicken and rice in the oven. Ming’s version has a bit of an Asian twist. What better, less expensive, easier dinner might you have other than sandwiches? The bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are sautéed, removed from the pan, where garlic, green onions and next rice are tossed in and cooked briefly. My pot includes a crisp, off-sweet chopped apple. Hoisin sauce is the secret weapon ingredient! Wine and broth are added; the chicken goes back in. The whole shezaam is covered and carefully stowed in the oven for just 20-30 minutes or so.
You can see and read about the recipe here. I’m not fond of printing recipes that are available in books (as Ming says–cookbook authors need to send their kids to college), but this one has been made available in several places on the internet; have at it.
Changes/additions I made were these:
- I added crushed red pepper to the seasoning of the chicken as it browned.
- With no fresh cranberries available in September here in Colorado, I substituted a peeled and diced Granny Smith apple along with a handful of dried cranberries. I didn’t want to use all dried cranberries as I thought it might sweeten the dish too much. I also knew the fresh cranberries would give off liquid and felt the apple would mimic that.
- I seasoned both the onions and garlic as well as the rice itself with a little salt and pepper.
The pot: I used a 5.5 quart covered, oven-safe sauté pan for this dish. If you don’t have such a large skillet, brown the chicken in batches in a smaller skillet. Remove the chicken, add the vegetables and rice, and then add them to a greased very large casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake as the recipe directs.
A couple of other things: A meal good enough for company, this dish contains a lot of rice. You’ll likely have rice leftover that you can take to work for lunch even if four people have already had their way with it. There are 8 thighs, so the dish will serve 4 or 6 depending on hunger.
While dishes like these are touted as a whole meal–and they are– I’m always in need of some greenery on the table and on the plate. While the chicken and rice baked, I sautéed chopped asparagus, spinach, and tomatoes in grape seed oil with minced ginger, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper.
While it would be lovely if posts like this appeared out of whole cloth on the day needed, unfortunately I have to work ahead. Cook ahead. Shop ahead. Think ahead. Write ahead. However you want to look at it; I rarely think of it as work–maybe you’d like to know that. I happened to make this meal on a day when the wind whipped up like “The Wizard of Oz” and the hail beat down on our house, deck, cars, and garden with a vengeance typically saved for sledge hammering a wall you need to come down. The fury and noise were enough to send the dogs and me scurrying down into the basement leaving flowers and pots and cars outdoors without further thought. Dave, just home from a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, blithely stayed upstairs.
Miss Gab’s been sick —we think an awful reaction to her Leptospirosis vaccine–but we’re still unsure. She’s getting MUCH better, but the deck full of hail and leaves was a shock to us all–Miss Gab included. Within an hour, however, the sun came out, Dave grilled the tuna for the meal on the gas grill, and we ate on the deck! Continue reading
|BTW, those are still cherry tomatoes from our garden on November 8.|
While chili is a quintessential American fall meal, it is often eaten as is. Just a bowl. Just a spoon. Just you and your chili.
|Fall in our ‘hood–tiny, dried crabapples against a St. Paul blue sky.|
The chili mostly stands alone, I guess.
Or at least just with chips, cheese, onions, sour cream….or on hot dogs or fries. Ha.
But I like chili in all kinds of ways and with lots of different things. I grew up with chili poured over a burger at the Dog ‘n Suds where I car hopped. My Mom’s “Irish Chili” was full of the quarts of tomatoes she canned each summer. It was a whole lot of tomatoes. College at Western Illinois University brought Chili Frito over at the cafeteria for Washington and Lincoln Halls. I loved it! Why hadn’t I thought of it? As years went on, my chili changed repeatedly. After all, I lived in Europe where they didn’t know from chili. I lived in San Antonio where if you knew beans about chili, you knew there were no beans in chili. (I mentioned that to some Minnesotans once. In concert, they all went, “WHAT???”) I lived with The Silver Palate Cookbook and made their “Chili for a Crowd” forever…well, actually I still it make with variations. Later I moved on to Ina’s Chicken Chili–one of my favorites. In other words, these days I make several different kinds of chili (mostly my own–whatever happens to go in the pot), but one of my favorite chili meals originated one day when there wasn’t quite enough vegan chili to go around…
So I made some brown rice and a little salad. For grins, I put it all in the bowl together. Now I do it all the time. Gives your mouth a break from the heat and provides more whole grains and greens. It also lowers the cholesterol and calories of a chili meal so I can have it more often with less guilt.
|Here’s the base for my vegan chili.|
So here’s how I made this chili with brown rice today…using the leftover Election Day Crock-Pot chili and some brown rice I let cook this morning while I walked the dogs.
|“Come on, Gab. Get the leash and let’s go, huh?”|
alyce’s brown rice and chili with spinach salad
For each serving:
1 cup fresh spinach
1 shallot, sliced
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Drizzle of Olive oil
1/2 cup lightly salted and peppered cooked brown rice mixed with 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 cup chili (I like the chili I just blogged–full of hot Italian sausage and lentils as well as beans, but use any chili you’ve got or buy some Wendy’s chili to take home if you’re stuck.)
1. In a large shallow bowl (a pasta bowl is fine), add spinach to one corner. Top with half of the sliced shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon over the greens and drizzle with oil. Add cherry tomatoes at side.
2. Add rice to one side of the bowl and chili to the other. Garnish with rest of shallots and a few tortilla chips.
brown rice– tips and info……….
|Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook at sea level, but quicker versions are available. Some markets even sell frozen cooked brown rice. You can also make brown rice in your crock-pot and freeze small portions for future use. And, yes, you can make brown rice in your microwave. You don’t save a lot of time, but a few minutes. The directions are on the rice bag.|
As our Power Foods group moves through the 38 Power Foods (click to order book), you’ll gather we’re up to brown rice this week. The main food for over two-thirds of the world’s population, rice is sacred to many people. Rice is a complex carbohydrate high in protein. Did you know Arkansas is the largest rice-producing state in the U.S.? If you were raised by southerners in the United States, you grew up eating a lot of rice. Rice and gravy (or butter), rather than potatoes and gravy, were the standard at my family table. My sister-in-law, who’s Korean, keeps a rice pot hot pretty much 24-7. If her children are hungry between meals, they know where to go without bothering her.
1.00 cup (195.00 grams)
chart courtesy whole foods
Brown Rice is Healthy! As only the hull is removed off brown rice, we have a much healthier grain to eat that actually works against cholesterol in our bodies with its larger component of fiber. You can read all about it here, but you’ll see with just a little bit of research that eating foods like brown rice works toward protecting us against heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, muscle spasms, migraines, and many other things. Tryptophan? But of course. Eat turkey and brown rice and you’re much more likely to sleep well! And best of all, if you’ve ever been on Weight Watchers, you know a cup of brown rice is four points and white is five. Who wouldn’t take the brown? With a few exceptions, I use brown rice instead of white rice for nearly everything. I draw the line (usually) at fried rice, but that’s a VERY occasional meal and I sometimes even use brown rice for that.
(rice field photo courtesy producer’s rice mill)
Leftover brown rice? Make extra. Always. Rice is good food! Then you can…. Add milk and a little sugar for breakfast. Stir into some scrambled eggs with cheese and green onions. Add to a burrito. Stir up a stir fry for a topping. Warm well and add a teensy bit of butter and lots of pepper to eat with cooked squash. Make a patty, fry it up and make a hole in the middle. Crack an egg into the hole. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes. Add to soup or stew. Cook up Thai curry. In fact, there are so many ways to use brown rice that I know several people who just cook up a great batch every weekend and eat off it all week with whatever. The simplicity, cost, and health benefits of brown rice appeal greatly to those who don’t cook much and to those who cook often.
One of the favorite posts on my other blog (Dinner Place–Cooking for One) is “Help! I’ve Got Leftover Take-out Rice and Don’t Know What to Do With It.” Click and check out the recipe; it works just as well with brown rice.
Brown Rice for Breakfast in Colorado Springs:
|Smiley’s…on Tejon in Colorado Springs|
There is absolutely the very best breakfast to be had in Colorado Springs at a tiny place downtown on Tejon called SMILEY’S. Now funky, spunky Smiley’s has all kinds of breakfasts and lunches (as well as incredible baked goods–pie and homemade whole wheat bread for their toast, for instance), but each day they have specials. We’re not talking eggs and bacon. We’re talking lovingly designed, gorgeous breakfasts. One favorite in the fall is a halved acorn squash filled with a mixture of brown rice, cumin, cheese, and scrambled eggs. I’m going to try and fix it for breakfast this morning without a recipe. If I turns out, I’ll add the picture here. (I’m also working on a brown rice dessert for the soup cookbook. Be patient.) photo courtesy smiley’s
Join our blogging group!
I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients: Read more about tasty papaya this week at these sites:
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
- We’d like to have you as part of the group. Get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
|The sun shining on my brown rice.|
Hurricane Sandy Relief: Donate to Food Bank for NYC
Sing a new song,
all photos copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012 (except where noted)~please ask for permission to use~i’m likely to give it, but like to know where my pics go
|Bacon, Spinach (the “L”), and Cherry Tomato Risotto|
|Here spinach is mixed with baby kale for a powerful side.|
|Herb-Spinach Egg White Omelet|
If I don’t make an egg white omelet, I make salad or have spinach instead of lettuce on a sandwich or..
|Alyce’s Tomatoed Cod on Fennel with Sauteed Spinach|
I might pair it with fennel as a side for my fish.
Yesterday, my tomatoes (volunteers left on their own for the summer) were picked by a neighbor and deposited on my back step. She knew I’d been away; she’s a gardener.
|These were volunteers from the yard and driveway. I left them to see what’d happen over the summer. They took over the side bed.|
|Hybrids ready to eat; they were pretty tasty!|
Hot on the back porch, the tomato scent wafted dizzily through me when I reached down and picked up the container. What to do with them besides pop one (ok, three) in my mouth as is?
My larder isn’t full yet; we’ve only been home from Colorado for a couple of days. I did, however, have bacon in small packages in the freezer (one of my mainstays), rice in the pantry, and spinach (which serves as the L in BLT) in the frig. Way back in the corner was an old chunk of Parmesan our house sitter hadn’t eaten. B”L”T Risotto was born. Need I tell you this was the risotto from heaven? (Neighbor got a bowl, too.) Try it today:
b “l” t risotto
2-3 pieces bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup white wine
4-5 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves
|Set table before you begin.|
- In a heavy 4 qt saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until nearly crisp and remove to a paper-towel lined plate leaving bacon fat in pot. Set aside. Add butter and onion to the saucepan. Cook 4-5 minutes until onion is softened; add garlic and rice. Stir in crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Stir well to coat rice. Cook 1 minute or so.
- Add white wine; raise heat a bit. Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until wine is absorbed.
- Add 2 cups warm chicken stock and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed. Repeat. Add last cup of broth (if rice is still too hard to eat–you want it between al dente and fall-apart tender.) Please relax about constantly stirring the risotto. Pour a glass of wine, turn on the music, and stir only as necessary.
- Stir in tomatoes, Parmesan, spinach, and reserved bacon. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Serve hot with steamed green beans or asparagus. (See below.) Pass black pepper at table.
I liked a crisp grassy Sancerre with this, but I like a crisp grassy Sancerre with almost anything. Chardonnay, which is lovely with creamy dishes, would also drink.
Note re seasonings: The heat of the crushed red pepper is one that will build in your mouth as you eat the risotto; be careful not to add too much black pepper at the end.
Cook’s Note: For ease of preparation, here’s how I do the asparagus or beans in the microwave while the last cup of broth is cooking away in the risotto pan:
Just 2 minutes for rinsed (no more water) asparagus on high:
Beans will take a couple of extra minutes unless they’re haricots verts. Add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of pepper.
Sing a new song; eat risotto, too,
Big bunch of bacon. (This is good. I’m married to someone who eats anything with bacon.) Next: tons of onions. Rice. Lots of shrimp, ahhh. All cooked together in one lovely mess called a bog. For those of us with no real connection to the south-eastern coastal states, a bog brings to mind cranberries in Maine or Wisconsin, even. Or being stuck at work, as in: “I’m all bogged down writing that article.” But this bog, this “Sullivan’s Island Shrimp Bog,” is just what it sounds like: mounds of steamed shrimp mixed up on top of a velvety oh-so-thick tomatoed, oniony, spicy rice–perfect for brunch or a lunch bunch. If the words “comfort food” weren’t so over-used and so inappropriate (comfort food being food you had a gazillion times as a kid…), I’d call this comfort food extraordinaire. Comfort food x100.
Just for fun, here’s the wikipedia definition of a bog: A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens.
Food for thought, I’d say. Read on:
From Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Food-Changers, #32 Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian (of the Edible Communities magazines fame) comes this jambalaya or sopa seca-like dish that will be one of your go-tos for days like Super Bowl or Book Club Supper. Or make it just for you; halved it was a beautiful supper for two with lovely lunch leftovers.
Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian published the book Edible, A Celebration of Local Foods in 2010 after a long and successful career designing, writing, and publishing locavore food magazines…. (as well as lots of other impressive things) Local peeps are familiar with the free edible TWIN CITIES.
In Tracey’s own words….
Then, in 2002, we decided to launch our first magazine, Edible Ojai, which was very well received. From 2002 to 2004, we worked on a plan to expand and have multiple magazines, calling it Edible Communities. In the early stages of that plan, we thought we would do the additional magazines ourselves, perhaps up and down the California coast. Then, in January of 2004, Saveur magazine included Edible Ojai in their “Top 100” for the year and within a week of that issue hitting newsstands, we had calls from over 400 people asking us for an Edible magazine in their community. That is when we decided it would be better to change the model so that each magazine could be locally owned and operated by people in the communities we published in.
Edible Communities officially started in May 2004, with the launch of Edible Cape Cod. (courtesy dailygreen.com — Read more) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hence the eventual cookbook and hence our sweet bog recipe. Buy the stuff; make it soon!
|by the way: sullivan’s island is near charleston, south carolina|
sullivan’s island shrimp bog : 6 servings
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1/2 pound sliced bacon, finely chopped
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, plus more if needed
- 2 1/4 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds medium shrimp (40 count), shelled and deveined I used cooked shrimp in shells
- 1/4 cup very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
- In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse the rice well under cold running water. Drain well; set aside.
Sue – The View from Great Island
Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan – The Spice Garden
Heather – girlichef
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney
Mary – One Perfect Bite
Barbara – Movable Feasts
Jeanette – Healthy Living
Linda – Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A – There and Back Again
Martha – Lines from Linderhof
Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits,
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen
Annie – Lovely Things
Nancy – Picadillo
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood return next post,friends. But while the pups are off, listen to a great young singer I’m listening to tonight… Jeremy Anderson. His new album is out (click on his name) and he does all the tracks himself. Sometimes 12!! He’s got some music on itunes, too.
Sing a new song, make this shrimp and listen to Jeremy,
Once I read something about lo mein being standard college fare. Nope; not for us. Standard college fare was pizza with the occasional delivered salad… and the salad was also full of cheese. I know this for a very real fact. Because I worked in the restaurant (actually there were two) that made this stuff.
But when I read about someone’s college goto being lo mein, I was jealous. I should have gone to college THEN. I adore lo mein and can even make a pretty darned good imitation. Well, since then, I’ve moved over to adoring Thai and because I’m so late-trendy, I like Basil Chicken. I seem to always miss it when things are “in.”
And I like it when Bhan Thai makes it, not me. Mine is ok. Still, knowing how much Emily also likes Thai, I started looking for easy Thai recipes with videos and I came up with Thai Food Tonight…a series of lessons and videos, etc. by Dim Geefay. Dim brings along her American-born daughter Cathy to help translate and, between the two of them, we figure it out. The videos were, I think, originally on tv, but are now free online.
Dave has always been our wokman, though I occasionally use it, too. For the Basil Chicken Fried Rice, I did the planning, research, shopping, part of the prep, table set and so on. Dave cut the chicken (he’s much better at that) and then just continued on cooking. I stood and kibitzed while drinking a lovely halb-trocken German Riesling, which suited the Thai dish to a T.
Did I say this was YUMMY TO THE MAX? And, unlike a lot of Asian food, it was nearly as good the next day. Yes!
|Set the table before you begin to cook.|
|I made the rice in the afternoon and spread it out to dry on a baking sheet.|
|Hates cooking alone.|
|Very quick, this man is.|
|Not sure we had the heat up high enough.|
|Turn off as soon as you add the basil.|
|Garnish with cilantro and lime.|
|Add pieces of cucumber for crunch and coolness.|
Basil Chicken Fried Rice by Dim Geefay Watch her video about how to make this dish.
- 4 cups already cooked rice
- 6 big cloves of garlic, crushed (together w/ peppers w/ mortar and pestle or lrg knife)
- 2-4 Thai (bird) red and green chili peppers or 1-2 Serrano peppers, crushed (I used 1/2 jalapeno*)
- 1/4 c cooking oil ( I used canola; you could also use peanut.)
- 1 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken meat (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.)
- 3T Oyster sauce
- 2T Fish Sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 medium-sized red bell pepper, julienned
- 2 c fresh sweet basil leaves, whole
- 1 cucumber, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 c cilantro leaves
- 1 lime, cut into quarters
- Heat oil in deep pan or wok over high heat.
- Wait until oil starts to smoke.
- Add crushed garlic and peppers.
- Stir quickly; don’t let them burn
- Immediately add chicken, stiring.
- Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar.
- Stir until chicken is cooked through. (no pink)
- Add already cooked rice.
- Stir quickly until sauces are blended with rice. (a couple of minutes)
*1/2 jalapeno made the dish tasty, but quite mild. Use a whole if you like some spice.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
–I’m busy packing. I hate it. Who likes it? Enough said.
-Had a perfect Valentine’s Day..God was good; my husband was home and he made reservations at Pizzeria Rustica in Old Colorado City, one of my favorite places. They had a food and wine pairing deal–lovely.
-Dogs got groomed and are hot to trot. It was almost 70 F.
If only we could just get dropped off somewhere where they threw us in first a cage, then a tub, trimmed us all up, blew us dry, tied bandanas around our necks, gave us treats, and threw us back in a cage again. (Somehow it’s just not the same when I go to the hair dresser’s, though it’s slightly reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz. I guess I’d skip the cage.)
If you’re keeping up with some of the responses to the “Deathly Letter” from within a segment of the Presbyterian Church, USA, here is another one I found intriguing:
Very well done indeed. If you are a Presbyterian in this country and wonder how we came to be likely to split, check this out–it’s the chart of which Presbyterians came when and did what:
Perhaps today isn’t so unusual after all. Pray for this church. Pray for our seminarians. I have to admit I’m a bit abashed about worshiping at the UCC (along with quite a few other Colorado Springs Presbyterians)… But it’s been a life-changing experience. Not enough words available.
Sing a new song,