Tag Archives: Rice

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers


I’m an Omnivore, I admit it.

But, just cause I’ll eat almost anything or at least try, almost anything, it doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat meat-free from time to time.

Really, I like meat-free meals.

And yesterday I hit it out of the park.   Well, I lobbed a good one.

Wait, it isn’t baseball season just yet, but with the sun and everything outside, I’m getting anxious.

Sorry, my mind wandered a little there, but I caught it before it escaped.

We, as in the Senior Center, were given a lot of Green Peppers earlier in the month.  They were lovely, and we used some in a salad, we chopped up a bunch and froze them, and then I got the bright idea of making some Stuffed Peppers for our seniors.   So we did.

But, there are some vegetarians among us who don’t eat meat, and I wanted to make sure that they were able to have a great meal as well.

So, I made a lovely filling, and stuffed them, baked them off, and served them. This was the solitary one that was left over yesterday, so I took it home and had it for breakfast.

And I have to say, OMG, they were so good, and in fact, I’m planning a repeat, soon.

But this time it will be a private party of one.   And I’m going to go for a little healthier version as well.

I plan on using some brown basmati rice.

I wish I had pictures of the process to go with this, but, I was cooking against the clock, as usual.

I took a couple of carrots, two small zucchini, an onion and a little garlic, sautéed them in a pan with some olive oil until they were soft.  Sprinkled them with a little Badia Sazon seasoning, then mixed them in with about 4 cups of cooked rice.   Stuffed them into some green peppers and they baked for about an hour, then we covered them.   They were served with a dollop of Creole Tomato Sauce.

And I’m going to try to recreate that recipe so I can share the how to’s on that, cause the flavour was out of this world good.

And maybe I’ll add a couple of chopped up mushrooms as well.

Hmmm, the possibilities…

Lime and Cilantro Rice


I used to go to a fast food place that served these massive burritos’ which included this wonderful rice.   I would order the rice just by itself, and inhale it.

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I got a craving for it this week, and decided to try my hand at making some.   And I think I got it, but of course I will probably tweak it a little more at a later date.  But for now, it’s close enough.   I liked the slight crunch that the onions gave it without them overpowering anything.

I just made enough for myself, so feel free to double or triple the amounts given here.

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1 cup cooked rice

1/2 teaspoon Lime Juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

1/4 cup raw sweet onion, chopped

1 tablespoon Herdez Verde sauce

Mix all together and serve.   Really, really simple.    And I thought very tasty.

I think next time I will use just a little fresh lime zest, and maybe even a little chopped jalapeno.  I liked the little bit of kick from the Herdez, this is something I usually have on hand, although I bet you could use any kind of green tomatillo based sauce.

And since I have some lovely grilled chicken breasts in the freezer, some pinto beans in the cupboard begging to be turned into refried beans and the rice turned out so well, I think a nice big Mission style burrito is in my near future.
I’ll share that with you when I do make it.   Well, I’ll share the how-to’s and the recipe but not the burrito, that will be all mine.

 

Pork with Plantains and Fresh Figs


You ever get a craving for a dish your mom made from time to time, but you can’t remember the name of it?   I’ve been there lately.   Mom used to make this dish, she got the recipe, such as it was, from a friend.    I think it was Dutch/West Indies in origin, but despite a few Google searches I’ve not been able to find the name of this dish.

Just cause I don’t know the name of something, does not stop me from trying to recreate it though.

I think I recreated it just fine.    Just a few tweaks needed.

I seem to remember we put Chile Sauce on top of this to eat it, but really, I have to say it tasted odd to me when I did it.   So I got out the bottle of Sweet Chili Sauce from the fridge, and that was the ticket.   Along with the Plantains and Pork and Rice, they all went together nicely.    And the fresh figs I caramelized a little weren’t bad either.    A friend handed me a bag of fresh figs the other day and as I was making this dish, I decided to throw a few into the pan with the pork.  I’m so glad I did.   They were so sweet, and caramelizing them a little brought out the sweetness very nicely.

No real recipe as such.   But since I had some lovely ripe (meaning black) Plantains, I decided that they would be perfect.

The picture is blurry, and I apologize, for some reason I didn’t take a couple of followup shots.  But this is what your ripe plantain should look like, just like a banana that’s gone totally black.

Just peel it at this point, the flesh inside will still be firm.   I cut it into slices, and placed them in a greased frying pan.   To make this a little more decadent, you can cook them in a little butter if you like.

Yesterday I was good, and used some EVOO.

Let them cook just until they start to brown a little.  Then turn them over and cook the other side.   If I was using these for dessert, I would let them get a touch browner, which just makes them sweeter.   You can add brown sugar as well if you want to serve these for dessert.  They make a great topper for vanilla ice cream.  Just sayin…

Remove to a separate plate and then cook the pork chops.  I cooked two because I wanted leftovers.  I like leftovers, they make a great breakfast.

Just before the chops were cooked all the way through I got one of those AHA moments, and threw in a handful of fresh figs I’d been given.   I wanted to see what would happen to the figs and I knew they would go with the pork as well.

A little steamy there, but they cooked down nicely.
And yes, they went very well with the pork, plantains and rice.   The only seasoning I used on any of it was a little salt on the meat, and very, very little grind of salt on the plantains, just as I plated it.   Which basically just brought out their sweetness a little more.

As I said, I ate the leftovers for breakfast.    And made a totally different meal out of the leftovers.   I do love a multi purpose meal.

I sautéed the rice in a little olive oil, added some soy sauce, sesame seed oil and some scallions.     And it was good.

Curry Chicken and Rice


A long time ago, in a country far away, a little girl tasted this dish for the first time and loved it.

Sorry, couldn’t resist this.   But, it’s true.

Many years ago my older sister had a neighbor who taught her how to make this dish, and I’m sure many others as well, but this is the one my sister taught my mother to make.   And it turned out to be one of those dishes that was surprisingly portable in the era before crock pots, and one that we all liked.   I remember having this at a picnic once, the pot had been wrapped in a quilt and placed in the trunk of the car.   When we got to our picnic spot, it was still hot and yummy.   Nowadays, we’d stick it in a crock pot and bring it along, but there weren’t such niceties 30 + years ago.

In the intervening years my sisters have gone on to make many other Indian dishes, but I’ve stuck with this particular one.   It’s the one I make when I’m going to be alone for a few days, it’s my go-to curry dish, and one that one of my dogs absolutely loved.  Yes, she did, and the hotter the better.   And how do I know this?  Well, one night many years ago, I was all alone and made up some Curry for dinner.    My dog came over and was sniffing at me, and pointedly not begging.   So I let her have a taste.  I already knew she loved Chile Verde (and I only gave her a bite or two) and she liked spicy food.   So I gave her a taste of the chicken, thinking gee, she’ll spit it out and then I can eat the rest of this in peace.   No such luck, Mauli ate her bite of chicken, and then begged for more.  So we ate Curry Chicken and Rice together.  Luckily there were no after effects, other than I had to share.  From then on, every time I made it, she and I would eat our curry together.  She passed away this spring at the age of 15 1/2, which I consider a venerable age for a large dog.

I brought this to a potluck awhile back, and it all got eaten.   It’s really easy, only a few ingredients and it tastes wonderful.    You can make it as hot as you like or as mild.   Personally, I’m all for hot, but you know that, if you’ve read any of this blog before.     I usually only make Curry Chicken and Rice when I’m alone, mainly cause I’m the only one in the household who eats it.

For the Curry Chicken and Rice you need onions, chicken, curry powder, some ghee if you have it, or just some olive oil and butter.

Start by cutting the onions in half, and then slicing them again.  I like them cut like this, but you can also make them into rings.

 

Set aside for a few minutes until you can have a chance to wipe your eyes and stop the tears.   (Just kidding).

Put a heavy pot on the stove and place some butter and olive oil into it.   The olive oil will keep the butter from burning at a higher temp.   If you have some ghee made, you can skip the olive oil, if you like.   Ghee is clarified butter, and can withstand a higher heat than regular butter can.   It’s the milk solids in the butter that turn brown and can become bitter and taste burnt.
Dump the sliced onions in the pot, and cook until just translucent or a little beyond.  I do like a bit that bit of caramelization and the sweetness that the onions produce.

Add the chicken pieces and brown them a little.  You do want them to have a nice brown on them, but don’t want them too dark.     Add about a tablespoon of curry powder, 1/2 tsp. freshly ground salt and stir together.   At this point I put a lid on the pot, and let it cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about an hour.   Check the chicken, and taste a little of the onion, at this point you can add more curry powder and correct the seasonings.    I usually add more curry powder and salt here.   The chicken should be nice and tender now.   The onion will have cooked down to the point that you may not really see it, but it adds a wonderful sweetness which offsets the curry.

Measure out your rice, add it to the pot with enough water to cook it, taking into account that there is some liquid already in the pot.   Cover it and let it cook for another 20 minutes or so.   Take the lid off, give it a stir and if there is still some liquid, leave the lid off for a few minutes, and let it cook off.   Go ahead and taste again at this point, sometimes you need a little more salt and curry, OK, so I always add more curry.  Stir it at this point, if some of the chicken has stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Serve and enjoy.

Curry Chicken and Rice.

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces,  or package of chicken already cut up.
3-4  onions, cut into slices (I like onions and wouldn’t use less than 2 in this recipe)
butter or ghee and olive oil for browning
1 cup uncooked rice (I like Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice, it holds up well).
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
Curry powder to taste, start with a teaspoon and work up.
Salt to taste.

Heat olive oil and butter and place the sliced onions in the pan, stir until the onion starts to cook a little, add the chicken, and brown it.   Turn down the heat, place a lid on the pot and let it simmer for about an hour.
Add rice and enough water to cook the rice.   Cover the pot, let cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

Carrot Pakora


I was asked to join with some other bloggers in a new place called Taste and Create.   Basically, you are paired with another blogger and make a recipe from their blog, take pictures, and blog about it.   Much like another group I’m a member of.  And since I really don’t go out into the blogosphere and look for more food blogs, I’m more a stumble upon and gee where did I see that recipe at person, being assigned a blog is great.   And I got assigned a doozy of one, and I’m so excited to explore it in more detail.

I love Indian food, the hotter the curry, the better, but I really only know a few dishes to make,  and this blog makes a lot of Tamil dishes, so I get to learn  about Tamil cooking as well.  And I’m also trying to eat more meat free dishes as well, so being assigned this blog Veg Nation was serendipitous.  I love that word, anyway.

And gee, guess what, we’re having Tapas this week so I get to try a recipe out on a bunch of people.    My only problem, there are too many good ones on her blog I want to try.    I want to try some of these, Corn Cheese Balls, and then there was this one, Carrot Pakora.  ,And as soon as I can locate finish making some Gram Flour, I’m making these for Tapas Night.

Roasted some canned chickpeas til they dried out.

I then put them in my spice grinder to make the meal.

Also had to make some rice flour.

Which was interesting, and even though I didn’t get it as fine as maybe it should be, I tried.

Finally I was ready to make the Carrot Pakora’s.
Grated up the carrots, and chopped the onion.

Added them to the rice and gram flour.   Mixed it together with the spices, tasted it, and added more chili powder and some cumin.  Just felt it needed it.   However, I did need to add a fair amount of water.   I didn’t measure it, but the whole mixture was so dry, that when I tried to make it into balls and fry it, they just fell apart in the oil.   And I really think I should have added even more water, cause I lost a lot of the carrot in the oil.
Since we were entertaining last night, I wanted to make these as part of our Tapas Night.
So I made the balls, and set them aside.

And fried them up a little later on, and they were very tasty, different, but tasty.   I am going to try and buy some real rice flour and real gram flour and make these again.    I liked them a lot.

These were served with a mango chutney, which I happened to buy a while ago and had no idea what I was going to use it for.  Just wanted it, in the pantry, just in case.

Here’s Veena’s recipe

2 grated Carrots
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup gram flour
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp Asafoetida  (I didn’t have any of this)
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp. cut coriander

Wash and peel the carrots. Grate them and transfer it to a bowl, add the onion and coriander and then add in the flours and the spices.   (Veena says that the moisture in the carrot is enough to mix the flours but I had to add more water).
Heat the oil in a pan or in my case, I used my Fry Daddy, ( I don’t use it often, but boy am I glad I have it.)
Make small balls of the dough and drop them in the hot oil, let them fry for about 3 minutes or until they brown up, remove from the oil and drain on some paper.

Serve warm with chutney, I used some mango chutney I had in the cupboard.

There you have it, my first recipe for Taste and Create.    And I’m so glad I was asked to join.   I got to try to make something I’d never heard of before and it was good.

Peas n’ Rice


It’s been awhile since I’ve had some Peas n’ Rice so I thought I would make some this week.    I’m lucky in that I have access to Pigeon Peas here, but if you don’t have any in your store, just use some black eyed peas.   They work very well.    And my version of this dish isn’t as totally authentic as it could be, but I make it to our taste, and we like it this way.   Most recipes call for salt pork, but we like the flavour of ham in this dish.   This is a great way to stretch a little bit of ham to feed a lot of people.

To start with, get your ham out and cut it into little bitty pieces.  Throw in a couple of slices of bacon as well, bacon goes with everything.  You want a fine dice here.    You need about 4 oz. or more.   As I said, this is a great recipe for stretching a bit of meat.   And with the rice and peas, you’re actually getting a lot of protein as well as some complex carbs.   It’s all good.
Saute it in the pan until golden brown,

stir it once in a while as you’re chopping up a green pepper, a stalk or two of celery, and an onion til they are also a fine dice.

Throw them into the pan with the sautéed meat and cook until the veggies have cooked  through, and are getting a little mushy.
When they are just a little mushy, add the tomato paste and stir in to the pan, and let it cook down for a few more minutes, stirring frequently.

And then add the can of drained Pigeon Peas,

And another couple of tablespoons of Tomato Paste, if desired.   I like my Peas n’ Rice with a fair amount of tomato paste.

Then stir it and let it cook for another couple of minutes before adding the rice, water and thyme.   If you have fresh thyme, place 4 or 5 sprigs on top after the rice is added.     Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.

Serve alongside some Bahamian Mac n’ Cheese, and enjoy with a nice cold Kalik.

Recipe

4 slices bacon, finely diced
2-4 oz. ham, finely diced
1 whole green pepper, finely diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
1-2 stalks celery, finely diced
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 15 oz. can Pigeon Peas  (or substitute Black eyed peas)
1 cup rice
2 cups water
4 sprigs fresh thyme or
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Saute the bacon and ham until they are nicely browned, add the veggies and sauté lightly, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.   Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring frequently.    Add the Pigeon Peas and continue to cook for a few more minutes.  Finally add the rice and water as well as the thyme, cover and let cook until the rice is done.    Serve alongside a grilled meat or Mac n’ Cheese.

One of my treasured cook books is this one:

And this is where I go for the recipes, of course I had to put my spin on the Peas n’ Rice.   I’ve made this the ‘proper’ way before, but really like the smoked flavour of the bacon and ham better.

Try this for a little different dish, and something you can share with your family.

Sushi, California Rolls


I was asked for this recipe the other day.   Apparently some people really liked it when I made it and served it at a couple of different parties.     Oh, I’m talking about Sushi.   At least the kind of Sushi that’s for the not so adventuresome among us.   Which would be me.   I’m leery of raw fish, unless I’m the one who’s working with it.  Which is why California Rolls are perfect for me.

It also doesn’t hurt that I like Avocado, Crab and Rice either.   Or that I like trying to make new recipes all the time, and Sushi or rather California Rolls are one of my favorites.

The Cast of Characters:

Most of the characters, at least the basic cast, without the extras.

A couple of tricks first.   Rinse the rice before cooking it, it seems to help it develop the sticky factor you need.   And do not stir the rice after adding the rice vinegar/sugar mixture.   Cut and fold it as if you were adding flour to egg whites, you don’t want to mash the rice, just make sure the rice vinegar is incorporated into the rice.   Use the bamboo paddle and make sure that the shallow bowl you put the cooked rice in is big enough that you can do the cut and fold without doing a ‘rice mash’.  It’s best to do this while the rice is still warm as it absorbs the vinegar best this way.

Toast the sesame seeds while waiting for the rice to cool enough to work with.  Set them aside.
Grate some carrots, and make some pickled carrots to serve with the sushi or put some into the sushi.
I did a fine grate and added some rice vinegar and a little freshly grated ginger.    Not very much, just enough to taste.    Set those aside.    Open a can of crab or get your fresh crab out and rinse and make sure there aren’t any nasty pieces of shells in there.   You don’t want to cut the avocado until you are ready to start rolling.   They tend to turn a nasty shade of brown.

First off, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bamboo rolling mat.   You’re going to sprinkle some sesame seeds down first and they tend to fall through the mat otherwise, and the rice grains get stuck there as well, and that makes the mat hard to clean.  Trust me on this, they are not easy to get out.   Really.

Then put a thin layer of rice on top.   Pat it down with your wet hand.

If you notice there is a bowl of water to the right of the bamboo mat, this is very important, you need to keep your hand wet, otherwise the rice sticks to everything.
Next add a sheet of Nori,

Then add your fillings, some avocado and some crab:

Roll it up using your sheet of plastic wrap.
Shape it a little so it’s nice and round and place in the refrigerator.

Take out a little later and slice.
Continue using the rest of the rice and Nori.   I alternated by putting a sheet of Nori down first, placing a thin layer of rice on that with the fillings and then rolling those up.  (I did say I forgot to take pictures, I was on a roll, did you get it?, on a roll?, umm, never mind. )
Here’s a picture of the finished platter with the wasabi, carrots and sesame seeds to go with them.  You also need some soy sauce for dipping.

California Rolls

4 cups cooked sushi rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and sprinkle over the rice, folding it over itself, so you don’t mash it.  This should be mixed together while still warm.    Set aside to cool.
1 avocado cut in strips
1 can crab or sushimi or whatever you like
3 small carrots, shredded and dressed with rice vinegar and fresh ginger
2-4 spring onions
thin strips cucumber if you like, I didn’t but that’s because so many people I know can’t tolerate cukes.
toasted sesame seeds or
black sesame seeds

Layer the rice on the nori, place a couple of pieces of avocado and some crab on there, roll it up and place in the fridge in some plastic wrap.   Continue with a roll with some spring onions and carrots, or whatever you like inside.
Slice thinly, each roll will makes about 8 slices, and serve with some wasabi, soy sauce, sesame seeds and carrots.