GREEN TEA RICE WITH EDAMAME & BUTTERNUT SQUASH

I drink tea every evening and often incorporate it in my cooking (and baking). Any green tea will work well for this recipe, but I used a very special kind, that goes by the beautiful name Thunder Dragon. I did not know, but that’s how people of Bhutan call their country… Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon. Isn’t that beautiful? The tea they produce is rarely exported, but not too long ago was available for sale by “In Pursuit of Tea”, and I got some. First time I made this dish, I brewed some tea and used it to cook the rice later, but if you don’t have a problem with the tea leaves staying around… this method is easier and delivers the same flavor.

GREEN TEA RICE WITH EDAMAME AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the rice:
1 cup Basmati rice, rinse and drained
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tsp, or to taste)
2 cups water
2 tsp green tea leaves (loose)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup shelled edamame (frozen works great)

for the butternut squash:
1/2 butternut squash, cut in 1-inch pieces
olive oil to coat
salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Start by roasting the butternut squash. Heat the oven to 420F. Coat the pieces of squash with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and paprika. Place as a single layer on a baking dish lined with aluminum foil, sprinkle a bit of water (a tablespoon or so), and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes, remove the cover and roast for 20 more minutes uncovered while you prepare the rice.

If using frozen edamame, remove it from the freezer and place on a baking dish to defrost while you make the rice. Heat the grapeseed oil in a saucepan, add the ginger, saute for a few seconds, and add the rice. Season with salt, and saute for a minute, until all grains are well coated with oil. Add the water, tea, and bring to a gently boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Place the edamame on top of the rice and cover the pan again. Leave for 10 minutes undisturbed, and when the butternut squash is ready, fluff the rice, mix the edamame with it, and serve with the squash around it.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The rice can stand on its own as a side dish, but the color, texture and taste of the roasted squash was surprisingly good with it. I often do a very similar approach using frozen corn kernels instead of edamame. The residual steam as the rice is ready and waiting is enough to warm up the corn and it retains a very nice texture. If you ever want to perk your rice up, it’s a pretty easy way to do it. I might do a double feature next time, edamame and corn together, green and yellow, the colors of Brazil!

ONE YEAR AGO: Santa Hat Mini-Mousse Cakes

TWO YEARS AGO: Fun with Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: Pasteis de Nata

FOUR YEARS AGO: New Mexico Pork Chile, Crockpot Version

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chocolate on Chocolate

SIX YEARS AGO: Double Chocolate and Mint Cookies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: The Story of my first Creme Brulle’

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Sourdough Mini-rolls

NINE YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

TEN YEARS AGO: Mediterranean Skewers

ELEVEN YEARS AGO Fettuccine with Shrimp, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: OCTOBER 2020

It’s been a while since I shared with you recipes that are super simple but tasty enough to justify being featured on a blog post.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1
EGGS WITH ZA’ATAR AND LEMON

This very simple “recipe” is from a wonderful cookbook called “Falastin.”  Gently boil as many eggs as you want, but just for 6 minutes. The idea is to get the yolk still pretty creamy. Now in a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and za’tar. Peel the eggs, and chop them coarsely, drizzle your little sauce and sprinkle salt on top. Amounts are totally flexible, I usually go with 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil and then improvise.  I don’t know how many times I’ve called this lunch, with Ak-Mak crackers or a slice of sourdough bread. So good!

 

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2
SMOKY CHICKPEAS

Inspiration for this recipe came from Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea (I adore it). You will need some smoked tea (Lapsang Souchong), but it is totally worth it to get some and keep in your pantry, even if you don’t enjoy it as a regular tea. I use it in chocolate ganache and quite often in cooking. It gives the food a very nice, subtle smoky flavor.

Slice open one bag of smoked tea, mix its contents with some cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Open a can of chickpeas, drain and rinse well. Add into a bowl, drizzle some grape seed oil all over it, add the dry spice mixture and mix.  Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and roast in a 400F oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.  Once again, amounts can be totally eye-balled, no need for precision here. Relax and have fun with it.

 

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3
AROMATIC BASMATI RICE

I found this gem of a recipe at Spice House website and made it four times in a row. That tells you how much we enjoyed it. It just turns a regular batch of rice into something special.  I made some adjustments to their recipe as I felt that the rice was turning out a bit too underdone for our taste.

AROMATIC BASMATI RICE
(adapted from Spice House)

1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed
1 Tablespoon grape seed oil (or another mild-flavored oil)
5 whole cardamom pods
2-3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste
2 cups cold water  

Add oil to a non-stick saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cardamon (you can lightly crush them if you want more flavor), cloves and cinnamon stick to saute briefly. When fragrant, add rice and salt. Saute a minute or so to coat the grains of rice with the flavored oil. Add water, but don’t put the lid on yet.

Once the water boils, turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 7 minutes. Cover the pan, and let it cook on very gently heat for 7 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the spices and fluffing the rice for serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Make sure to count how many little spice pieces you add to the pan so you can be sure to remove them all, although they are pretty visible on the cooked rice later.  There is so much flavor in this recipe, I guarantee you will be hooked on it.

.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4
BAKED SALMON WITH SOY-GINGER GLAZE

BAKED SALMON WITH SOY-GINGER GLAZE
(inspired by At Home with Natalie)

3 salmon filets
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil (do not add more, it is powerful stuff)
salt to taste
sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Place the salmon filets (skin side down) over a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil leave at room temperature while you heat the oven to 350F and reduce the sauce for glazing.

Mix the soy sauce and mirin in a small non-stick saucepan, add the ginger, brown sugar and sesame oil. Simmer gently for a few minutes, until it starts to get a little thicker.   Brush the top of the filets with some of the glaze, season very lightly with salt, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Reserve the rest of the glaze.

Remove the pan from the oven, brush with more glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds. Return to the oven, and cook until done to your liking. Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

We eat salmon every week, but usually the husband is the seafood cook in our house. I rarely venture into his department, but was tempted to try this very simple preparation. I know I’ll be making it regularly, the only key thing is to get the fish cooked to the exact point you want (which is easier to do with sous-vide, but sometimes it’s nice to simplify things further).  Probe the filet with a paring knife, and remove from the oven when it reaches your personal Nirvana level.

ONE YEAR AGO: Halloween Entremet Cake

TWO YEAR AGO: Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

THREE YEARS AGO: Kansas Corn Chowder

FOUR YEARS AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

SIX YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

EIGHT YEARS AGO: On my desk

NINE YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

TEN YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo

 

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: GREEN RICE

THREE YEARS AS A MEMBER OF THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB!

Last Monday of the month. You probably expect me to whine about the cold, but guess what?  As you read this post, I should  be far, far away in Brazil, enjoying balmy temperatures, wearing shorts, t-shirts, and recharging my batteries to face the frigid months ahead.  But the last Monday means fun, because it’s Reveal Day for The Secret Recipe Club! I was paired with the blog “A Day in the Life on the Farm“, hosted by Wendy. Her story is fascinating: she and her husband were police officers in a large city (which of course meant a ton of trouble in their hands…), but when they retired they moved to a tiny little town of 4,000 people, and bought a house on 12 acres of land.  They raise meat chickens, turkeys, and pigs, and Wendy – to fight her empty nest syndrome  –  decided to host foreign students in their place.  Now she works part-time for the World Heritage, placing students into homes for a year of schooling here in the US.  Being in academia and therefore often exposed to the troubles that foreign students face (plus, I was one myself), I know how important this type of work can be.  Please, stop by her about page and read more about their life on the farm, and how on top of everything she also takes care of her Mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She actually devotes a section in her blog to talk about it, under Life with Mom. Beautiful, touching, and at times funny.

We had so much going on this past month, that I needed to jump on my assignment right away.  The recipe I set my eyes on was a drool-inducing dessert, a Caramelized Almond Apple Upside Down Cake. But, I decided against it.  Why? With Thanksgiving saying hello, then the holidays, a lot of heavy food will be popping everywhere.  I did not want to start early with the excesses, so this cake shall wait. Sorry, folks, but better safe than sorry.  Then, I almost went with her cute Pretzel Dogs. Finally it was a tough decision between Zucchini Enchiladas, or Green Rice.  As you can see, I went green.  Green is good for you, and this was one of the most flavorful rice dishes I’ve made.

Green Rice

GREEN RICE
(very slightly modified from A Day in the Life on the Farm)

2 poblano chile peppers
1 green pepper (I used half a Serrano)
1 cup long grain rice
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 cups chicken stock
1/2  teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil (I used grapeseed)
1 small shallot, minced
Dry roast the peppers in a griddle pan (or on a grill), turning frequently so the skins blacken but the flesh doesn’t burn.  Place in a strong plastic bag, seal and set aside for 20 minutes
.
Put the rice in a heat proof bowl, pour in boiling water to cover and let stand 20 minutes.
.
Drain the rice, rinse well under cold water and drain again.  Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the skins.  Remove any stems, then slit the peppers and scrape out seeds with a sharp knife.
.
Put the peppers in a food processor, strip the leaves from the cilantro and parsley and add to peppers.  Pour in half the chicken stock and process until smooth.  Add remaining stock and puree again.
.
Heat oil in a saucepan, add the rice and minced shallot and fry for 5 minutes over med heat until the rice is golden and the shallot is translucent.  Add the salt, stir in the green puree, lower heat, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed  and the rice is just tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
.
ENJOY!
to print the recipe, click here
 
Comments:  Lately I’ve been quite smitten with poblano peppers.  Very little heat, but so much flavor! Our stove did a great job charring them, I don’t think I was ever able to get such a beautiful blackened skin with almost no effort.   Using a paper towel to remove the charred skin was also a great move, a tip I got from watching Marcela Valladolid in her show Mexican Made Easy.  I never liked the idea of rinsing the peppers because there’s quite a bit of flavor loss if you do that.  The paper towels removed just the skin and I could leave little bits here and there for an extra smoky flavor.   Aren’t they cute?

compositePeppers

Adding boiling water to the rice and waiting for 20 minutes was also something I had never done, and I liked the texture of the finished product.  If you are a cilantro-hater, this rice is not for you, its flavor is obviously very prominent.  You could substitute spinach.

GreenRiceServed
This was a delicious dinner!  Green rice, simple roasted carrots, and for our protein a few slices of center-cut pork chops, cooked sous-vide, and finished off on the grill.   Life is good!

Wendy, I hope you had a great time this month with your assignment!  It was wonderful to browse through your site, I read all your posts about your Mom, and am still in awe of your ability to do so much Everyday in your Life on the Farm… 

For my readers: if you want to see what my fellow Secret Friends cooked up this month, give a little click on the blue frog at the end of this post.   Normally Groups C and D would take a break in the month of December, but apparently me and Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious whined so much about withdrawal syndrome, that The Secret Recipe Club will have a little surprise reserved for both groups.  It will be awesome, so stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Potato-Crusted Italian Mini-Quiches

TWO YEARS AGO: Beetroot Sourdough for the Holidays

THREE YEARS AGO: Cod Filet with Mustard Tarragon Crust

FOUR YEARS AGO: Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy

FIVE YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread

MEXICAN RICE & SUPERNOVA

This recipe will always be special for me, because it was the first thing I cooked in our new stove.  I needed to make something simple because the kitchen was still not completely functional: the central countertop was not yet there, the cabinets and pantry were still all empty.   I actually made the prep work a couple of days earlier, as we were not sure when the stove would be installed.  Every day that week we arrived home with fingers crossed, hoping that the big box with our Blue Star would no longer be sitting in the garage.  Finally, on Friday, October 18th the box was gone, and our stove was waiting inside for us, in all its beautiful red glory! Two exact months since the beginning of our kitchen hellnovationRemember?

imageedit_2_3889379799

MEXICAN RICE
(slightly adapted from Marcela Valladolid)
.
3 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup medium-grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 whole Serrano chile
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

.
Cut the tomatoes in half, and remove the seeds. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of broth to a blender and puree. Strain into a bowl and reserve the liquid. Add enough extra broth to make 2 cups of liquid.In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrots, and celery pieces, and saute for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice and cook until slightly toasted, stirring constantly. Add the tomato broth mixture, stir and bring to boil. Add the salt, bay leaf, and the Serrano chile. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from heat. Scatter the peas over the top of the rice, cover, and let the rice stand 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
.
ENJOY!
.
to print the recipe, click here
.
tomatojuice
.

Comments: The popularity of electric rice cookers is a clear statement of how tricky cooking rice can be.  During the past year, I attempted to make rice pilaf once on “Poltergeist“, our old electric stove.  Results were just as expected from its nickname:  scary. 👿  I was obviously very anxious to see how the Blue Star would behave, and it did pass with flying colors!  Perfectly cooked rice, not a single bit burned at the bottom, control of the flame was smooth and precise.   As it’s been happening often in the past few days, I did a happy dance around the kitchen, much to the amusement of Oscar, who immediately jumps up and joins me. That little mutt  is super cute, and a great dance partner…
.

composite1

The recipe, shown recently at Marcela’s show “Mexican Made Easy – Man Food” on FoodTV is simple but delivers a ton of flavor.  In the website they suggest using tomato paste in addition to fresh tomatoes if you want a deeper, more intense red color.  I didn’t. In my opinion, using tomato paste adds a harshness that can only be balanced by long cooking.  Rice cooks too fast, I prefer to have the brighter, lighter flavor of the fresh tomato, even if the resulting red color will be less dramatic. And, speaking of red, our gorgeous Blue Star adds enough red to our culinary environment.  In fact, we named it “Supernova”.   😉

As Marcela mentioned in her show, the Serrano pepper sitting on top of the rice is a real delicacy. Offer it to your guest of honor, or if you are having dinner with your partner, fight hard for it,  cut it in half so that you can both enjoy it.
.

Phil’s remark at the end of the meal:  “This was the best Mexican rice I’ve ever had!“.

I could say thank you, but I think all credit should go to Marcela instead… 😉

Before I leave you, here is a link to Blue Star site, where you can dream about and customize your own Supernova stove….

.

ONE YEAR AGO: Jumping on the Biscoff Bandwagon

TWO YEARS AGO:  A Soup with Memories of Los Angeles

THREE YEARS AGO: Sabu’s Spicy Coconut Chicken

FOUR YEARS AGO: Poolish Baguettes

AN ORANGE FRAME OF MIND

Orange food seems to be on everybody’s mind these days, perhaps to match the color of the leaves, with their beautiful shades of red and gold.  Most maple trees in town are already completely red, but from my office’s window on campus, I see a very special tree, one that gets a few more red leaves each day. I like to think it is putting up a special show for me, a newcomer to the Little Apple…  😉   Let me share with you a few recipes to celebrate the season, the first is a new one, and the others come from the Bewitching archives.  An array of golden dishes to hopefully inspire you…

RICE PILAF WITH CARROTS AND PARLSEY
(adapted from  Martha Rose Shulman)

2 tablespoons  olive oil
1 fennel bulb, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 cup basmati rice
a pinch of saffron
1  cup water
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Rinse the rice well to remove excess starch. Drain well, and reserve.  Heat the water and stock together in a microwave until very hot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide, heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add the carrots, fennel, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the rice and the saffron.  Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are well coated with oil and beginning to crackle. Add the hot water and stock and bring to a boil. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust salt if necessary. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Uncover the rice and place a clean towel over the top of the pan, but don’t let it touch the rice.  Put the lid back, and let the rice sit for 10 minutes.  Add the parsley, fluffy the rice with a fork, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This pilaf is extremely delicious and good for you, a combination that is always welcome at our table. Fennel and saffron were not in the original recipe, but I think they worked better with the other flavors than onions would.  Feel free to include onions and garlic,  Phil and I are part of the minority who uses those ingredients quite sparingly.

For some more orange glow on your table….
(click on the title for the original post)

CARROT AND SWEET POTATO PUREE

CARAMELIZED CARROT SOUP

KURI SQUASH SOUP

CHICKPEA SALAD

CARROT NIB ORZO

SWEET ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND GREENS OVER PASTA

PEACH PIE

ONE YEAR AGO:  San Francisco Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: A Real Oscar Winner (two years with the sweetest dog in the world!)

THREE YEARS AGO: Pane Siciliano