Ginger Rice

ginger-rice-1

We’ve all had those moments when you look in the refrigerator and say, “how did I end up with so much ______?” With me it was ginger. I had what seemed like tons of the stuff. So what to do with it? I decided to prepare a ginger-flavored rice to go with a few of the Asian dishes I had planned for the week. We eat a lot of Asian food, probably because it can be prepared relatively quickly, aside from what my husband refers to as “choppy choppy.” Translated that means chopping vegetables and other ingredients for a recipe. The rice turned out great and really complemented the stir fry and the curry I prepared later.

ginger-2

For such a gnarly and, dare I say ugly, tuber, ginger packs a huge wallop of flavor. I fell in love with ginger in Santa Fe, New Mexico, of all places. I went to Café Pasqual’s for breakfast and had a glass for fresh pineapple juice flavored with ginger, and I’ve never forgotten it. Yes, I’m one of those people that remember aspects of a certain meal decades later. Hmmm.

ginger-rice-4

 

Plain white rice certainly has its place in the food world. Many cultures have been eating it for centuries. However, when it starts to seem a little ho-hum, try flavoring it with some ginger to wake up those taste buds.

 

ginger-rice-3

Ginger Rice

6 Servings

I recommend you grate the ginger with a Microplane-type grater. If you don’t have one, you might want to consider getting one – it’s one of the most useful kitchen tools there is. However, you can also chop the ginger very finely with a knife. Feel free to cook this with stock or even coconut milk instead of water for extra flavor. You could also use brown rice, but you will need to increase the water to 2 1/2 cups and the cooking time to 45 minutes.  Some finely sliced scallions or some toasted sesame seeds (or both) would be a nice garnish.

2-inch piece fresh ginger

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup white rice

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel and grate the ginger. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat the grains with butter and ginger bits. Quickly add the water to avoid burning the ginger; then add the salt. Stir to blend.

Raise the heat to high and bring the rice mixture to a boil. Then lower so that the rice is barely simmering, cover and cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes.

 

 

Serious Comfort Food: No-Boil Macaroni and Cheese

Mac Post header

Okay, I surrender. I’ve had enough! Bring on Spring. I promise I won’t even complain when the heat and humidity of July roll around. It’s cold and gray, which wouldn’t be so bad if we had some snow coming down. Snow day! But so far, winter has been one long drawn out gloomy stretch of 20-30-degree days, some rain or sleet spitting out of the sky occasionally, usually during morning rush hour, and not much else.

Mac Fork

Days like this call for drastic measures. It’s time to get out the gardening books and dream of nicer days to come…flowers, fruits and vegetables, green leaves, and birds singing.

Mac one dish

It’s also time for some serious comfort food. Macaroni and cheese comes to mind, and this recipe does not disappoint. Rather than preparing the sauce and boiling the macaroni separately, the hot sauce is poured over the dry macaroni and baked. It couldn’t be easier and the result is delicious. The macaroni still has a nice bite to it, and the sauce cooks up perfectly creamy and cheesy.

Mac Recipe Header

No Boil Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6

You could easily vary the type of cheese used to add some variety. When making the sauce, adding a little of the liquid at a time, 2-3 times and whisking between each addition before adding the remaining milk/water, will make a smoother sauce and prevent it from breaking.  

Mac 2 Dish Side 

4 ounces (1/2 cup or 1 stick) butter, divided

1/4 cup flour

3 cups milk

3 cups water

1 tablespoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more for seasoning

1 pound elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt half of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until a paste forms, about 1 minute. Slowly add the milk a little at a time, whisking between each addition before adding the remaining milk and 3 cups of water. Bring saucepan contents to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently until mixture thickens to a thin glossy sauce, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat.

Toss the pasta and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in a 9×13 or other 3-quart baking dish. Pour the sauce over the pasta, submerging the pasta. Do not stir. Cover the dish with foil, place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Or you can do what I did and just wipe out the saucepan and use that to avoid dirtying up another pan. Add garlic, Panko, and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Take the dish out of the oven and remove the foil. The pasta will be almost tender, but there will still be a lot of liquid. Don’t worry it will cook. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and the Panko mixture. Place the pan back in the oven (without the foil) and bake until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow pasta to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Mac Full Casserole

Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2013

 

 

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Walnuts

Cauli 1

Cauliflower the week before Thanksgiving? Really, Jeannine?

I had a great time on Feedly with my morning coffee today, catching up on my blog reading, checking out all the wonderful Thanksgiving recipes on the internet…the turkeys, the stuffing, the potato recipes, the pies. I absolutely love Thanksgiving and this year is no different. But thinking ahead, I still have to get dinner on the table, and in light of the huge cooking and eating event on the calendar, I’d like those dinners before and after to be relatively healthy, oh…and really easy to prepare.

Cauli 2

Today’s recipe goes with anything; fish, chicken, you name it. It’s super easy, requires only a few ingredients, and it’s delicious.

Cauli 4

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Walnuts

4 Servings

You can replace the walnut pieces with pecans, hazelnuts, or even pistachios.

1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnut pieces

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

3 tablespoons walnut oil or olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Toast the walnut pieces by placing them in a small frying pan over medium heat until you begin to smell them and they start turning brown. Remove the walnuts from the hot pan to a clean plate and set aside.

Place the cauliflower in a clean sheet pan, toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast the cauliflower for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until it begins to char in places.

Cauli 3

Whisk the remaining oil with the lemon juice, mustard, and half and half in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower to the boil, scraping any brown bits and remaining oil from the sheet pan into the bowl as well. Toss the cauliflower with the dressing, add the walnuts and toss again. Check the seasoning and serve warm.

Adapted from Lose Weight the Smart Low Carb Way by David Joachim and Bettina Newman