Posts Tagged ‘whole grain’

This recipe is a great dish for a Meatless Monday or as a side dish.  I adapted it from The Gourmet Cookbook which has the rice topped with deep-fried onions.  Even though the thought of some onion rings sounded yummy, I don’t think this dish needs them.  On its own the lentils and rice make a hearty and healthy dish.  If I could figure out how to make saag paneer I think I could make my perfect vegetarian meal.  I might even become a once a week vegetarian on a regular basis.  Happy lentils!

Lentils and Curried Brown Rice

  • 1 cup lentils picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Combine lentils with cold well-salted water to cover by 2-inches in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook lentils at a bare simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain in a sieve and gently rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add curry and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook uncovered for about 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.  All the liquid should be absorbed.  Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Transfer rice to a bowl and fluff with a fork.  Add lentils and parsley and toss well.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 6 as a side dish.


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I made this rice dish as part of my husband’s birthday dinner last night and it was outstanding.  Its super simple, fresh and summery.  I doubled the recipe for 9 people and we had some leftover.  I used a mix of sweet basil and Thai basil, but it would be great with all sweet basil.  It went great with grilled filet mignon with horseradish aioli, smokin’ potato salad and savoy slaw with cilantro and mint.  I might get around to posting those recipes too.  Happy June!

Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Basil

  • 1 cup medium grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves (1 large bunch), chopped

Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil and add the rice and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Return to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed. Transfer the rice to a bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Pour over the rice. Add the tomatoes and basil. Mix well and check the seasonings. Serve at room temperature.  Makes 4 half cup servings.

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First of all, I agree that cauliflower is not a substitute for potatoes, but it is really tasty and deceptively yummy when mashed with just a tiny bit of olive oil and butter.  My kids ate it up.  My son picked most of the spinach out of his rice, but loved the tender flavorful flank steak.  I think this meal is beautiful and delicious.

I can’t guarantee that you can make this meal from start to finish in any particular time period, but if your kitchen is somewhat organized, and you have small children helping wash veggies and play with the salad spinner, you can do it in about 45 minutes.  This is the second time I made this exact meal, (I wanted to make sure the first time wasn’t just dumb luck),  and I did it in 45 minutes with a break to fold a load of laundry.  Anywho, it’s a complete meal, veggie, whole grain carb, mmmmmm yes red meat, and its super easy.

Garlic Ginger Flank Steak

  • 1 ½  lb flank steak (approximately)
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 Tb soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tb honey
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root (or really really finely chopped)
  • Juice of one lemon

Place steak in a large zip lock bag.  Combine marinade ingredients, pepper through lemon juice, and pour over steak in bag.  Mush it around a little and marinade in refrigerator 30 – 60 minutes.

Remove steak from bag, reserving marinade, and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Broil on top rack of oven for 6 minutes per side for medium.  While steak is cooking pour reserved marinade into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Boil over medium heat until reduced and slightly thickened (about 7 minutes).  When steak is done, transfer to a cutting board and pour juice from pan into the sauce pan with the marinade.  Simmer for another minute or two and remove from heat.  Let the steak rest for about 10 minutes before slicing!  Cut against the grain into thin strips and serve drizzled with sauce.

Mashed Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower (washed and florets separated from stalk)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tb unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place florets and water in a large pan with tight-fitting lid.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bring water to a boil over medium high heat.  Once the water is boiling, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for about 40 – 45 minutes.  Check after 30 minutes to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated.  Add more water, ¼ cup at a time, if necessary until cauliflower is very tender.  There should be about ¼ cup of cooking liquid left in the pan when cauliflower is done.  Remove from heat; add butter to pan and mash with a potato masher until it resembles mashed potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Brown Rice with Spinach

  • 4 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • 1 bunch or 1 bag spinach washed and dried in salad spinner
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 1 Tb sesame oil (use less if you’re not a sesame oil lover like me)
  • Drizzle of honey

Cook rice according to package directions.  Sorry I’m not much help here, my husband is Korean, we have a rice cooker, I highly recommend getting one.  Combine the hot cooked rice with the uncooked spinach in a large bowl.  Stir until all the spinach is incorporated with the rice.  Let it sit for a minute or two (slice up your steak here) and then add the soy sauce, sesame oil and honey.  Stir again and the spinach should be wilted.  TADA!

For tips on when to start what so its all ready at the same time, send me a comment.  Thanks!

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I have wavered back and forth on the issue of whole wheat pasta for the last 10 years or so.  You didn’t know it was an issue?  I’m making it one.  Years ago I decided I liked it because I frequently made a pasta dish with lots of olive oil, basil, crushed red pepper, and a ridiculous amount of parmesan cheese.  Sometimes I added kalamata olives.  This concoction would make sardines taste super yummy, so I can’t use this as my guide.  More recently I placed whole wheat pasta in the super gross category because Ragu didn’t cover the flavor very well and I just didn’t like the texture.  After having kids I have had to rethink yet again because my kids love pasta, and I don’t want to deprive them of pasta.  We eat everything else in its whole grain version, whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, so why not whole wheat pasta?  The answer is….build up, build up….wait for it, wait for it….

its Super Gross!

Actually, I do only use whole wheat pasta.  After some experimentation and trial and error, I have decided that it can be yum.  My kids don’t seem to care, they eat it like its yum, and who am I to argue with them?

First, buy the skinny pasta, the small fat varieties makes the texture more prominent.  I only use spaghetti.  Macaroni or rotini are too fat.  Second, cook it for one minute less than the shorter cooking time listed on the box.  I cook  spaghetti for 8 minutes.  Third, drain it – do not rinse it!  Fourth, cook or heat whatever sauce you’re using in a pan large enough to accommodate all the sauce and the cooked spaghetti.  After you have drained the pasta add it to the pan with the sauce.  I learned from the Sopranos, you know the episode where Ralph explains to Rosalie the secret of cooking good “Macaroni and Gravy”, the hot pasta absorbs a little bit of the sauce adding flavor.  That is also the reason you cook it one minute less because it will be absorbing more water.  Unless you like your pasta mushy then by all means cook it longer.  Back to the point.  After you stir around the pasta and sauce for a minute or two its ready to serve and already combined!  When I was a kid my parents always plopped the plain pasta on the plate then put a spoonful of sauce on the middle of it, then all the pasta in the middle was coated and the poor noodles on the edges didn’t get enough.  I had a rough childhood.  So here is a recipe that you can try at home. If you are a vegetarian obviously omit the scallops and add, hmmmm I don’t know, chopped kalamata olives and a little parmesan.  Enjoy!

 Spaghetti with Bay Scallops, Fennel and Tomatoes (adapted from bon appetit magazine) serves 4, start to finish 30 minutes if you’re really organized) Calories 457 Fat 13g Fiber 6g

8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

3 tbl extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, plus one tbl chopped fennel fronds

1 medium onion, halved, thinly sliced

1 pound bay scallops

1 6 ounce container cherry tomatoes, halved if large (I forgot to buy them, so I used chopped romas)

1 tbl Pernod, or dry vermouth works too

4 tbl chopped fresh parsley

juice of half a lemon

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.  Drain, reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbl olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium  to medium high heat.  Add sliced fennel and onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute until wilted but crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.  Using slotted spoon transfer to medium-sized bowl.

Add remaining 1 tbl of oil to skillet.  Add scallops and saute until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon transfer to bowl with fennel and onions.  Add tomatoes to skillet and saute until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Return scallops, fennel and onions to skillet.  Mix in Pernod (or vermouth).

Add drained pasta to skillet; toss to coat (use tongs), adding reserved pasta cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time if it seems dry (I added almost all of it).  Stir in parsley and fennel fronds.  Transfer to a large shallow bowl, or just leave it in the skillet if you don’t want to have to wash another large vessel.  Squeeze lemon juice all over.  Top with Parmesan if you like, the purists will never know.

a special thanks to my good friend Lindsey for declaring she hates whole wheat pasta on Facebook sometime last year, it got me thinking

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