More or Less Bim Bop

Basically, some brown rice cooked in the rice cooker and then heated again in the oven in stone bowls to get it crispy on the bottom. On top of that went some greens (kale, I think) that I sauteed with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, raw tofu, raw chopped cucumber. Tina had picked up some dried lobster mushrooms in Chinatown, which we soaked in hot veggie broth, then sauteed with onions. Lacking kimchi, we topped it all with some mango pickle, and of course a fried egg (not pictured).


Lemongrass Rice (among other things)

In continuation of our “what to eat” series, dinner tonight was lemongrass rice with spiced lentils and onions paired with some pita and sour-cream with lemon and basil sauce and a wilted Chinese spinach and tomato salad.

We have some lemongrass growing in the garden, so I simply washed it, tied it in a knot and added it to the brown rice in the rice cooker.  For the “sauce”, I whisked together some sour-cream, lemon juice and minced basil (also from the garden) and let it chill in the fridge.  I cooked one minced onion with a bit of olive oil and broth until wilted and then added the lentils and a lot of veggie broth until they were cooked.

For the spinach and tomato salad, I washed and chopped the spinach and microwaved it for a minute.  Drained it and added chopped tomatoes, salt and lemon juice with a tiny bit of truffle oil.  Voila, awesome dinner.


Barley and Vegetable Salad

Pretty simple with nice smokey flavors due to grilling the eggplant.

Barley and Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, chopped into half-moons
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked barley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil

To Do:

  1. Heat a grill pan over high heat coated with a bit of olive oil.  Add the eggplant and grill until cooked through and slightly charred – keep turning the eggplant so it actually doesn’t burn.  You can also do this on a BBQ or roast the eggplant in the oven.  Add the scallions to the pan when the eggplant is just about done.
  2. Place the eggplant, scallions, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro and barley into a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients to make a dressing.  Pour over the contents of the bowl and mix well.
  4. Serve!

Semi-Indian Barley Tagine

I took advantage of last night’s relatively cool weather (by 8pm I think it had even gotten down into the high 70s) to do some actual cooking in the kitchen. Like, with fire. I was working on some non-food projects at the time and so I wanted something that I could leave to sit on the stove. Tagine.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have many of the classic ingredients you’d put in a tagine (couscous, chickpeas), but we had some things that were close. I ended up using barley instead of couscous and lentils instead of chickpeas. I added onions, carrots, and a couple of patty pan squash (all chopped), plus some raisins and chopped figs. We had some masala spices in the cabinet, and I figured that might go with the lentils (as opposed to cobbling together the mix of seasonings you might find in a more traditional recipe).

After cooking the barley most of the way in our homemade veggie broth, I added the seasoning, along with the lentils, veggies and fruits, a glug of olive oil, a little lemon juice, and some salt. Then I let it simmer, covered (key to the tagine), for about half an hour. I served it with a dollop of yogurt and some hot sauce on top.

Sort of halfway between Indian and Morrocan – we now have lunches for the week.


Breakfast Cous Cous

Pretty much any grain can be a breakfast grain.

Tonight is a grocery shopping night so the cupboards were a bit bare this morning. No eggs, oats, amaranth, fruit, or any other obvious breakfast choices and no time to make bread before work. What we did have was cous cous, which cooks very fast. I made up a small pot and then mixed in almonds, some maply syrup, and a bit of vanilla extract. Topped with a spoonful of raspberry jam to mix in while eating. Not bad!


Brown Rice Risotto

Since we had brown rice in the pantry and some asparagus and 1 cup of flat birthday champagne in the fridge, I decided that some non-traditional risotto would be fun and tasty.

Brown Rice Risotto w/Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pat of butter
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup champagne or white wine
  • 1 quart vegetable stock (if you don’t have a whole quart, you can mix water with stock – it will still be flavorful, but not as much)
  • 1 lb of asparagus, chopped – set the tips aside
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Do:

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot and add the onion.  Cook until onion is translucent and add the garlic and deglaze with a bit of the wine.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the rice.  Stir until the rice is evenly coated with oil and then add about a cup of stock.
  3. Continually stir until the stock is absorbed and then add the rest of the wine.  Keep stirring until the wine is absorbed.
  4. Add the rest of the stock and stir.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  5. Instead of a traditional risotto where you keep stirring and adding small increments of liquid, you can let the brown rice simmer for a while and just keep checking on every few minutes, giving it a couple of good stirs as you do so.  Once you see that the liquid has been reduced a bit, taste the rice.  If it is creamy and has a little bite to it, add the asparagus (except the tips).  Let that cook, uncovered for a few minutes and add more stock if you think the mixture is getting too dry.
  6. Then add the asparagus tips and cook for only a minute or two.  Season with salt and pepper (and, if you have it, some Parmesan would be nice) and serve.

Golden Rice

As promised from our Dinner Party post, here is the recipe for Golden Rice.  The rice cooks up beautiful and is a gorgeous golden color.  Perfect for impressing guests or to cheer yourself up on a gray day.  In fact, I wish I had some right now.  This weekend has been a complete washout.

Golden Rice (adapted from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown long grain rice
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2.25 cups vegetable stock (or you can use water)
  • 1.5 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • salt to taste

To Do:

  1. Rinse the rice and let it soak for 30 minutes.  TIMESAVER: I actually put the rice to soak when I left for work in the morning and proceeded with the recipe when I got home and it worked fine.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and saute the onions for 5 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.  Add the spices and stir constantly so they don’t burn.
  3. Add the stock or the water and bring to a boil.  Add the carrots, orange peel and drained rice.  Give it a good stir and let it come to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low.  Cover the pot and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste, the rice should be tender, not mushy.  If it’s too hard, let it cook (covered) for another 5 minutes or so.  Add salt as desired.
  5. Remove from heat and let sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.  Fluff the rice with a fork and eat.

Lentil Loaf

Ahh, lentil loaf.  A staple of vegetarian cooking.  When done right, it can be delicious; however, it could also be a mushy brick.  We had lentil loaf sandwiches last night and this loaf was good.  It may not look like much, but the outside was crisp and the inside flavorful.  The recipe was a mishmash of things I had in the house and in the fridge (namely some french lentil soup that we didn’t want to eat anymore and leftover brown rice from Sunday).

Lentil Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • spices (I used crushed red pepper, more garlic, some cumin and salt and pepper)
  • 2 cups cooked French lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Ketchup

To Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and add the onions, garlic and carrots.  Saute until they become tender.  Add the spices and cook for a minute or two more.
  3. Mush together all of the other ingredients (preferably with clean hands) or use a big spoon.  Add the onion mixture and mix well.  If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit of water.  If it seems to wet, brown rice or breadcrumbs should do the trick.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with some olive oil.  Spread the lentil loaf mixture evenly in the pan and top with ketchup.
  5. Cover pan with tinfoil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes – until the top looks crusty and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Serve with whatever you desire or make sandwiches.

Brown Rice, Farro, Kale and Tofu Mix-O

A simple weeknight meal made on the fly.  I cooked up some brown rice and a bit of farro in our rice cooker and then sauteed a big bunch of chopped up kale with olive oil, garlic and a bit of sake that was in the fridge.  I then marinated the tofu with a mixture of citrus juice, vinegar, soy sauce and some oil and then broiled it in the oven for a few minutes.  Layered it in a bowl and topped it with some hot sauce.  DINNER!


Guest Bloggers Sasha and Spence, check check.

Hey everyone! Sasha and Spencer here. We’re roommates who just moved to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn from Los Angeles, California (Sasha’s actually been living in NY for about 5 years now and just moved from Flatbush) and we’re really excited to sub for Thirty a Week! We are also excited to collaborate with Julie, who will be providing a whole new perspective for this blog. It will be wonderful to learn how to bring a little bit of the Vermont garden lifestyle into our own daily living. In fact, we’ve already been inspired and invested in our own little herb garden to sit by our windowsill!

Since we just moved in (literally weeks ago) our kitchen isn’t exactly what you would call “stocked”. We’re missing quite a few basics, such as spices, flours, and the wealth of canned goods that usually accumulate over the years of living in an apartment. But we’re still psyched to explore all the possibilities of simple, delicious, (cheap!) and healthy cooking that doesn’t involve all of the flair that comes with spending tons of money on a lot of extraneous ingredients.

We wanted to start with a classic: something incredibly basic but phenomenally delicious. This recipe dates back two generations and has just three ingredients: canned, whole, peeled tomatoes (not crushed or pureed), yellow onions, and butter. That’s right, butter. One of the more expensive things we’ll be purchasing on this journey, but also the most necessary. We’ve never tried it with margarine or olive oil, but we can almost guarantee it won’t be the same. Sasha’s a bit of a health freak, but after tasting this she was convinced. And if the recipe doesn’t convince you, you can go read “In Defense of Food”, or see Julie and Julia – Michael Pollen and Julia Child will tell you what’s up.

Recipe: Jane McCaffrey’s Tomato Sauce

“Pour the can of tomatoes in a medium-sized sauce pan. Thinly slice onions, but don’t chop, and add to the pan. Bring the whole thing to a low boil. Stir onions well into the tomatoes and squish or use knife to open tomatoes to free up their juice. Turn heat down to simmer. Leave uncovered, stirring to keep from sticking, until the onions are translucent, about 20-30 minutes. You might need to do this in batches, but after it’s done add the sauce to a cuisinart or blender. Slowly add butter while you’re blending. Return to pot, add a little salt and pepper to taste if you want, or fresh basil if you have it.”

Since we started this endeavor on a Tuesday, we didn’t have time to do our weekly shopping. So our “thirty a week” probably won’t start until this Sunday. However, we’d like to mention that at our local grocery store, 28 oz. cans of Sclafani and Progresso tomatoes are on sale for just $0.89! So we stalked up a bit and bought a couple. The pro-rata price of the one onion we used was $0.60. We already had butter on hand, and a healthy helping of linguine fini ready to be drenched in our sauce. Pasta can be boring, but this is elegant. Spencer made a tossed arugula salad on the side. Yum!

As we said before, we’re really looking forward to this, especially Spencer, who is an aspiring food writer. If you have any ideas, questions, comments, etc., please let us know!