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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Rice/Beans/Grains/Seeds

TIP OF THE DAY: Paella On The Grill

We love paella and don’t make it often enough. So when Fagor wrote to us about their paella pan and included a recipe to make it on the grill, our ears perked up.

PAELLA HISTORY

Paella (pronounced pie-AY-ya) originated in Valencia, a region on the Mediterranean (east) coast of Spain. It was originally a peasant dish, made by agricultural laborers who cooked a mixture of rice, snails and vegetables in the fields. Cooked in a pan over an open fire. it was a communal dish, eaten directly from the pan with wooden spoons.

Valencianos who lived closer to the coast added local eel plus butter beans (lima beans). Paella is the type of dish that lends itself to adding whatever you have on hand, so can change seasonally. Recipes thus evolved in many directions.
 
MODERN PAELLA

The paella we know today—saffron rice mixed with chorizo, chicken and seafood—did not evolve until the late 18th century century, when living standards rose affording the use of more expensive ingredients—especially saffron, the world’s costliest spice.

It’s easy to vary the ingredients to create any type of paella, including vegetarian and vegan recipes. But three main styles developed in the 19th century:

  • Paella Valenciana combines rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), snails, beans and seasoning
  • Paella de marisco, a seafood paella that replaces meat and snails with seafood, and omits the beans and green vegetables
  • Paella mixta, a freestyle combination of meat, seafood and vegetables. Note that in the U.S., dishes called “Paella Valenciana” are actually paella mixta, the combination of ingredients preferred by most people.
  •    

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/paella on grill acouplecooks. 230

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/fagor paella pan 230

    Above, paella on the grill; photo courtesy A Couple Cooks. Underneath, the Fagor paella pan; photo courtesy Fagor America.

     

    By the mid-1800s, paella included short-grain white rice and a mix of proteins: chicken, duck, rabbit and snails (less affluent people often made do with snails alone). The dish was actually a “rice and beans” dish, with a mix of butter beans, Great Northern beans (white beans) and runner beans (green beans). Artichokes and tomatoes replaced runner beans in the winter. Spices included garlic, pimentòn (sweet paprika), rosemary, saffron and salt. The dish was cooked in olive oil.

    The recipe continued to evolve as chorizo, green peas, olives and roasted red pepper found their way into the dish. We’ve seen recipes with chopped chard or escarole, eggplant, fennel, mushrooms, oives, onion, piquillo chiles, red or green bell pepper, snow peas, tomatoes (fresh diced or roasted) and seasonal (spring asparagus and winter squash, e.g.). Some cooks garnish the top of the paella with sliced hard-boiled eggs and lemon wheels.

    The cook’s favorite ingredients were sure to be included. The chef at Soccorat, Soccarat, a group of tapas and paella restaurants in New York City, devised a paella menu that includes:

  • Arroz negro (black rice): calamari, fish, scallops, piquillo peppers and shrimp with squid ink rice.
  • Carne (meat): chicken, chorizo, mushroom sofrito, short ribs and snow peas.
  • De la huerta (from the orchard, i.e., vegetarian*): artichokes, cauliflower, eggplant, snow peas and tomatoes.
  • Fideuà† de mar y montana (ingredients from the sea and mountains): Brussels sprouts, chicken thighs, cuttlefish and shrimp, with noodles instead of rice
  • Langosta (crustacean): lobster, roasted peppers, scallops, shrimp and squid.
  • Pescados y mariscos (fish and seafood): cockles, English peas, mussels, scallops, shrimp, squid and white fish.
  • Socarrat‡ (house signature recipe): beef, chicken, cockles, cuttlefish, fava beans, mussels, shrimp and white fish.
  • Valenciana: asparagus, pork ribs, rabbit, scallions and snails.
  •  
    *The word vegetariano does exist in Spanish, but there is some poetic license involved with the orchard reference.
     
    †Fideuà denotes the a type of cuisine from Catalonia, the northeastern part of Spain (north of Valencia). The style originated in the 1920s in the city of Gandia, when thin noodles like vermicelli (fideu in the Catalan language) were used instead of rice in the paella. The pasta is broken into short lengths and cooked in the paella pan. There are many variations of it, and it is optionally served with allioli sauce, the traditional Catalan garlic and olive oil sauce. Other examples of the cuisine: calçots—barbecued spring onions with romesco sauce—cured anchovies, embutidos y butifarras (cured meats and sausages), sparkling Cava wine and anything made with the local bolet mushrooms. Canelons, Spanish cannelloni, and Pa amb tomaquèt, bread rubbed with tomato (and sometimes with with garlic and olive oil), and Escudella de carn d’olla, is a hearty Catalan stew, round out the list of “must trys” when you’re next in Barcelona.
     
    ‡Soccorat is the hard, crunchy rice crust that develops on the bottom of the pan from its proximity to the heat. Some people particularly enjoy it.

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/chicken Wm Son paella 230

    Paella is a freestyle dish: Whatever you have on hand can go into the pan. Here, chicken legs and thighs, green beans and corn are included. Our personal favorite combination: a mixto with pimento (red bell pepper in a jar), black and green olives, artichoke hearts and green peas, plus fresh asparagus in the spring. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.com.

     

    RECIPE: PAELLA ON THE GRILL

    This recipe, sent to us by Fagor, takes about 40 minutes. Created by ACoupleCooks.com, can easily be made as a vegan dish. You can also add the traditional mixto ingredients, chicken thighs and sliced chorizo.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 15-inch paella pan or any large, shallow, flameproof pan (stainless steel or aluminum preferable)
  • 12 mussels or clams
  • 12 high-quality deveined shrimp (or substitute cooked chickpeas for a vegetarian version)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini
  • ½ head cauliflower or any vegetables of your choice (we used a classic blend of roasted red peppers [pimento], peas and olives)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup tomato purée
  • 5½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups Arborio (short grain) rice
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the grill to medium high heat. Prepare the ingredients: Scrub the mussels or clams; place them in a bowl with the shrimp. Slice the zucchini and mushrooms; chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Place the vegetables in a bowl.

    2. MINCE 4 cloves of garlic and put them in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil. In a medium bowl, place ½ cup tomato purée and 5½ cups broth; mix to combine. In a another bowl, add 2 cups arborio rice, 1 pinch saffron, 2 tablespoons pimentón, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a good amount of fresh ground pepper.

    3. ASSEMBLE the paella: Bring the bowls of ingredients and the paella pan to the grill. Prior to cooking, add about 15 briquettes to the fire to keep the temperature up. Place the pan on the grill and add the olive oil and garlic; cook for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the seafood; cook for about 2 minutes, flipping the shrimp once. Pour in the rice and spices so that they cover the pan. Add the broth and purée mixture and stir to combine.

    4. COOK the paella for 20 to 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Cook uncovered on a charcoal grill or with the cover down on a gas grill. Make sure not to stir, since this when the soccorat develops. (Editor’s note: Soccorat is the rice crust on the bottom of the pan, which some people find very exciting. We personally don’t like hard, crunchy rice).

    5. CHECK to see that the rice on the bottom does not burn; it cooks fairly quickly. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to cool.
     
    WHY BUY A PAELLA PAN?

    Why not make paella in a roasting pan or other vessel you already have?

    You can, of course; but a paella pan is specifically designed for seamless heat conduction and retention. Fagor’s, with a heavy weight and enamel-on-steel design, is a great heat conductor on the grill, oven or stovetop.

    You can buy it Fagor Paella Pan or at retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond. Be sure to get the 15-inch size. With a dish like paella, you want to make as much as you can and enjoy the leftovers.

    A paella pan is a versatile piece of cookware that can also be used to make:

  • Eggs and bacon
  • Pancakes
  • Roast chicken (the pan goes from oven to table)
  • Stir-frys (or anything you’d use a wok for)
  • Pizza: grease and flour the pan well or use nonstick spray
  •  
    And the pan easily goes from stove to table (don’t forget a trivet).
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The New Layered Salad Bowls

    What’s hot in fast-casual restaurant dining? Layered salad bowls!

    The bowls have a bed of salad greens, with layers of toppings such as beans, cheese, corn, dips (guacamole, hummus, salsa), grains, legumes, noodles, proteins, sour cream, tomatoes and more. Each layer of ingredients adds more flavor and texture.

    According Katie Ayoub’s article in Flavor & The Menu, Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl now surpasses its burritos in sales. Jamba Juice added five Energy Bowls to its lineup last September. Panera rolled out Broth Bowls in January and KFC launched two new Chicken & Rice Bowls. On The Border introduced Border Bowls in April. The list goes on.

    Bowls cross comfort-food and global flavors with better-for-you fresh vegetables and smaller portions of protein. They provide tastes of multiple favorites in one dish. They’re a hit.

    Make your own bowls at home with the layer-by-layer guide to ingredients below, and add your own to the list.

    A tip: If you plan your menus for a few days, you can have leftover beans, grains and proteins with which to construct your bowls.

     

    steak-bowl-gimmedelicious-230

    A homemade version of Chipotle’s Steak Burrito Bowl (hey, where’s the grated cheese?). Here’s the recipe, from GimmeDelicious.com.

     
    BASE

    Salad greens plus:

  • Grains: Quinoa, farro, oats, rice (basmati, brown, cilantro, coconut, etc.)
  • Pasta: cappellini, penne rigate, ramen, rice noodles, soba noodles, whole wheat noodles
  • Potatoes: mashed/smashed white or sweet potato, diced boiled potatoes vinaigrette
  • Pulses: beans, lentils, edamame
  •  
    PROTEIN

  • Beef: braised beef or short rib, cubed or sliced steak
  • Chicken: grilled and cubed or sliced
  • Egg: fried, hard or soft-boiled, pickled
  • Lamb: cubed or sliced
  • Meatballs: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey
  • Shrimp: habanero-mango glazed
  • Salmon: mini salmon cakes
  • Fish: grilled, pepper-crusted
  • Pork: pulled/shredded
  • Vegetarian: baked/grilled tofu or seitan, falafel, vegetarian “meatballs”
  •  

    Shrimp-Border-Bowl-OnTheBorder-Flavor-Menu-230

    From On The Border, the popular Shrimp Border Bowl, with grilled shrimp and
    Tex-Mex fixings.

     

    PRODUCE

  • Charred: beans, broccoli, carrots, greens, onions
  • Fresh: arugula, avocado, baby kale, basil, cilantro, corn, jicama, mint, mixed greens, peas/snow peas, radish, tomato, watercress, zucchini
  • Fruit: apple or pear slices, berries, cranberry sauce, grapefruit or orange segments, stone fruit slices
  • Grilled: corn, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, peaches, red onion, zucchini
  • Roasted: bell pepper, jalapeño, mushrooms, onions, shallots, squash, tomato
  •  
    FLAVOR BINDERS

  • Broth: beef, chicken, miso, roasted vegetable, seafood (add ingredients that work in a soup bowl)
  • Other: Greek yogurt, hummus, sour cream, tzatziki, vinaigrette
  • Salsa: chimichurri, pico de gallo, roasted tomatillo
  • Sauce: chipotle sauce, guacamole, pesto, red curry paste, roasted harissa, peanut sauce, tikka sauce (to drizzle)
  •  
    TOPPINGS

  • Cheese: grated cheddar or mozzarella, crumbled fresh or aged cheeses
  • Dried fruit: apricot, cherry, cranberry, dates, fig
  • Fermented produce: cabbage, cucumber, kimchi, turnip greens
  • Nuts and seeds: candied, fire-roasted, glazed, spiced, toasted
  • Pickled produce: beets, carrots, onions, peppers, radish, slaw, watermelon
  •  
    We can’t wait until lunchtime!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Quinoa Fried Rice

    Fried rice is a typically made from leftover steamed rice, stir-fried in a wok with leftover vegetables and meats. This leads to countless variations, not just in China but throughout the Pacific Rim.

    There’s American fried rice (with sliced hot dogs, popular in Thailand), curry fried rice, Filipino garlic fried rice, Indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng), kimchi fried rice and much, much more. Take a look.

    Then, perusing some online photos from PF Chang’s, we found this photo of quinoa fried rice, topped with a fried egg. So today’s tip is:

    When you have leftover cooked grains of any kind, turn them into “fried rice.”

    Of course, you don’t need leftovers. You can cook the grains from scratch for the recipe. In addition to those you commonly cook, this is an opportunity to try something new from this list:

  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Farro
  • Kasha
  • Rice (black, brown, red, wild, white)
  • Quinoa
  •    

    quinoa-fried-rice-pfchangs-230

    Have “fried rice” topped with an egg for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Photo courtesy PF Changs.

     

    RECIPE: QUINOA FRIED RICE

    If you want to serve a cooked egg on top of the quinoa, you can opt to leave out the raw eggs that get scrambled into the grain at the end. We prefer using both.

    You also can add leftover corn, beans, or what-have-you. If the item is soft (cooked zucchini, e.g.), add it at the end to warm it, without cooking it further.

    And of course, dice any leftover meat or seafood and add it at the end, also to warm.

    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 2½-3 cups cooked* quinoa or other grain
  • 1½ tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • ¼ small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped and divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs, raw
  • ½ cup peas, fresh, cooked or frozen/thawed
  • Optional: 3 eggs, cooked
  •  
    *If cooking from scratch for this recipe, cool the grain to room temperature, or preferably overnight in the fridge.

     

    quinoa-methylsoy-wiki-230

    Quinoa grows in black, red and white varieties. Above, raw white quinoa seeds. Photo by Methyl Soy | Wikimedia.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX the sauce: Combine the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

    2. FRY or poach the eggs and keep warm.

    2. HEAT ½ tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté or frying pan over a high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook for two minutes.

    4. ADD 2/3 of the scallions, the garlic and the ginger to the pan. Cook for another two minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil and the quinoa. Stir-fry about two minutes.

    5. ADD the sauce and stir-fry until incorporated, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the quinoa; add the raw eggs and stir to scramble.

    6. ADD the peas and stir until they are warmed through. Top with the optional fried/poached egg, garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Canned Beans

    southwestern-parfait-FSTG-230

    Southwestern parfait with beans, yogurt or
    sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips. Photo
    courtesy Food Should Taste Good.

     

    In the process of spring cleaning, we discovered 10 cans of beans at the back of our pantry.

    It had been a New Year’s resolution to eat beans—nutritious, with plenty of fiber and protein, and affordable—at least twice a week. While best practices involve soaking dry beans overnight before cooking, we knew we were less likely to plan ahead.

    Hence, a variety of ready to eat, canned bean choices: black beans, cannellini beans, great northern beans, pinto beans, red beans. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are also an option, but we eat plenty of them each week in hummus.

    Here are ways we’ll be using the beans, along with a hint: Drain the beans in a colander and then rinse them well under cold water to remove as much of the sodium as possible. The un-healthful side of canned beans is the amount of sodium in the can.

    Check out our glossary of the different types of beans.
     
    Beans For Breakfast

  • Add beans to a breakfast burrito.
  • Fill an omelet with beans.
  • Make a breakfast tostada: beans mashed with ground cumin, heated in the microwave, spread on a tortilla and topped with scrambled eggs and salsa.
  • Include as a side with other eggs or breakfast foods.
  •  
    Beans For Lunch

  • Have bean soup with your salad or sandwich.
  • Top green salads with beans to add flavor, protein and texture.
  • Mix them into chicken salad, egg salad or tuna salad.
  • Use kidney or other red beans to add color and nutrition to potato salad or macaroni salad.
  • Have a two-bean or three-bean salad with a sandwich. Combine one can each of different beans with chopped onion, bell pepper and cilantro or parsley in a citrus vinaigrette.
  • Add beans to a wrap sandwich.
  • Make pizza: either add beans whole as a topping, or mash them spread on the crust before adding sauce. Extra nutrition points for a whole wheat pizza crust!
  • Add beans to a Greek or Niçoise salad.
  • Eat chili, with meat or with beans only (vegetarian chili).
  •  

    Beans For Dinner

  • Add cannellini or black beans to pasta dishes.
  • Mix beans with rice.
  • Top a baked potato with beans and Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Top green salads with beans to add protein and texture.
  • As a side: cannellini or other white beans combined with sautéed bell peppers, eggplant, garlic, onion, summer squash and/or zucchini, seasoned with garlic, oregano and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • As a main: take the side above and serve over a whole grain (bulgur, brown rice, quinoa, etc.) Add steamed vegetables and another (optional) protein: chicken, fish, tofu.
  • Buy or make bean burgers (veggie burgers). Top with hummus for an extra bean hit.
  •  
    Beans For Snacking

     

    white-beans-sausage-mackenzieltd-230

    As a side, serve beans with sausage or bacon. Photo courtesy MackenzieLtd.com.

  • Bean dip with crudités, whole wheat pretzels or tortilla chips. (here’s a recipe for starters).
  • Bean and avocado dip—a bean guacamole (stir beans into the guacamole, or mash the beans with the avocado, plus cilantro).
  • Bean chips, like Beanitos.
  • Mashed with the egg yolks in deviled eggs.
  • Baked potato skins with beans.
  •  
    Have more ideas? Add them here!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Grains As A Soup Garnish

    When we have leftover cooked grains—barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, rice, etc.—we start using them the next morning in breakfast omelets. By the time lunch comes, we’re ready to make grain salad.

    If we don’t have enough for a salad, we add the grains to soup. They can make quite a handsome garnish, and most grains go with any type of soup.

    In the photo, Brazilian steakhouse chain Texas de Brazil topped a mound of rice with a shrimp garnish.

    But you can use the grain plain, with a simple sprinkling of green herbs or something equally colorful (halved cherry tomato, sliced jalapeño or bell pepper).

    Or, take the occasion to use up leftover proteins to top the grain: bacon, fish, seafood, poultry, steak. It’s a great way to repurpose small bits of leftovers you can’t do much else with.

    Vegetarians can substitute a cube of grilled tofu, a cherry tomato, olive or leftover steamed vegetables.

    And, you can use leftover beans and pulses (chickpeas, lentils, peas) instead of the grains.

    Whatever you choose, a sprig of green—shredded basil (called chiffonade) or a small basil leaf, rosemary or parsley sprig, cilantro, chives, chopped green onions (scallions) or microgreens–is the final crown on what started out as a conventional bowl of soup.

     

    lobster-bisque-rice-garnish-texasdebrazil-230

    Turn rice into a base for even more garnishes. First mound the grain in the center of the bowl, then carefully pour the soup around it. Photo courtesy Texas de Brazil.

     
    It’s a nice change from croutons.

    Here are 20+ more ways to garnish soup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Enjoy Tofu Fritters

    Some people wrinkle their noses at the suggestion of tofu. It’s bland, they say. But it’s only bland if you don’t know how to cook it. In a good recipe, tofu becomes healthy comfort food.

    So today’s tip is to try one of these recipes for tofu fritters—hot comfort food on a cold day. If you decide you like it, great: It’s an inexpensive, lower-calorie and earth-friendly source of protein.

    AGE TOFU

    Short for agedashi tofu and pronounced AH-gay DOE-foo (in transliteration, tofu is sometimes dofu), these hot tofu fritters have us hooked. Silken tofu is cut into cubes, which are lightly dusted with potato starch or cornstarch and deep fried until golden brown. The result is a crisp outside with a creamy, soft inside.

    The tofu is served with a hot tentsuyu broth (dashi, mirin and and soy sauce)—sometimes coming to the table in a pool of broth-like sauce, sometimes with the broth served on the side. The tofu arrives garnished with finely chopped green onion, grated daikon, dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and sometimes grated ginger.

    The tofu soaks up the broth, and along with the garnishes, becomes a complex layering of delicate flavors. If you like spicy, you can add shichimi togarashi, a blend of seven spices including hot red pepper (togarishi) and sansho pepper pods.

       

    agedashi-tofu-justonecookbook-230

    One of our favorite comfort foods: age tofu. Photo courtesy JustOneCookbook.com.

     

    This recipe is adapted from JustOneCookbook.com, where you can see the step-by-step preparation in photos. Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

    RECIPE: AGE TOFU (AGEDASHI TOFU)

    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 1 block (14 ounces) silken tofu/soft tofu
  • 4 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  •  
    For The Sauce

  • 1 cup dashi stock (make it with dashi powder, available at Asian markets or online; use kombu dashi if vegetarian)
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  •  
    For The Toppings

  • 1″ (2.5 cm) piece daikon radish, grated
  • 1 green onion/scallion, thinly sliced
  • Dried bonito flakes or grated ginger root
  • Optional: shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)
  •  

    tofu_fritters-housefoods-230

    Alexander’s Tofu Fritters. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy House Foods

     

    Preparation

    1. DRAIN the tofu by wrapping it in 3-4 layers of paper towels and placing the block on a plate. Place a flat plate on top of the tofu for 15 minutes to squeeze the liquid out.

    2. CUT the green onion into thin slices. Peel and grate the daikon.

    3. ADD the dashi, soy sauce and mirin to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside. Remove the tofu from the paper towels and cut tofu into 8 cubes.

    4. HEAT 1½ inch of the oil in a deep fryer to 350°F (175°C). Coat the tofu with potato starch/cornstarch and deep fry until the cubes turn light brown and crispy. Remove from the fryer with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil.

    5. PLACE the cubes in a shallow individual bowls and top with the garnishes. Pour the sauce into the dish or serve on the side.

     

    RECIPE: ALEXANDER’S TOFU FRITTERS

    This recipe is from Alexander Weiss, season one winner of “MasterChef Junior,” FOX’s hit cooking competition series for kids. Alexander makes tofu fritters with a different flavor profile: smoked paprika, chili flakes and red bell peppers.

    Ingredients

  • Canola or grapeseed oil for frying
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • ½ package soft tofu, patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of smoked paprika
  • ½ cup fresh corn, stripped off the cob (or substituted drained canned/thawed frozen kernels)
  • 3 tablespoons sliced scallions, or chives
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • Optional: dipping sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT 3-4 inches of oil to 325°F in large pot or deep fryer.

    2. CHAR/BURN the skin of the peppers on all sides over a gas burner on high heat. Once done, cover the peppers in a heatproof bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to steam. Rub the peppers under cold water to remove the skin. Remove the core, seeds and white membrane and dice into small cubes. Set aside.

    3. MASH the tofu with fork in large bowl. Whisk to smooth the tofu; then mix in the baking powder and flour until well combined. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Fold in corn, peppers, scallions and chili flakes with spatula.

    4. DROP the batter into the fryer using a 1½-inch ice cream scoop or two spoons. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season as needed with more salt and pepper, and serve with a dipping sauce.

    5. DIPPING SAUCE: We whisked the recipe ingredients—chili flakes, paprika and scallions, salt and pepper—plus a spoonful of tomato paste, into plain Greek yogurt.
     
    Find many more tofu recipes at House-Foods.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Green Tea Rice

    If you like green tea, have you ever tried cooking with it? An easy way to start is with this Green Tea Rice recipe from Bee Yinn Low of Rasa Malaysia, a website that features easy Asian recipes.

    The recipe illustrates how green tea is not just for drinking but for adding flavor and nutritional benefits (antioxidants!) to everyday dishes.

    Bee Yinn Low uses Oi Ocha brand’s shincha tea in her cookng. Shincha is the year’s first harvest of green tea, which begins in early April. The young leaves used to brew shincha tea has even more benefits than other green teas, the result of wintertime dormancy. They deliver smooth umami flavor plus four times the amount of the amino acid L-theanine, higher concentrations of catechin antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s also lower in caffeine than regular green tea, with a subtle sweetness attributed to the higher content of L-theanine and the lower content of caffeine.

    In Japanese, “shin” means new and “cha” means tea. The tea is available for only a few months a year, but is still available on Amazon.com and from the manufacturer, Itoen.com. Think it as the summer ale or Beaujolais Nouveau of green tea.

       

    green_tea_rice-rasamalaysia-230

    Green tea rice. Photo courtesy Rasa Malaysia.

     

    oi-ocha-shincha-green-tea-itoen-230

    Shincha green tea. Photo courtesy Oi-Ocha |
    Itoen.

     

    RECIPE: GREEN TEA RICE

    Prep time is 5 Minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 cup cooked steamed rice (we prefer jasmine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup shincha (or other plain green tea)
  • Garnish: thinly sliced scallions
  • Garnish: 1/2 teaspoon toasted white and black sesame seeds
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING the green tea to simmer in a small sauce pan. Add the salt and turn off the heat.

    2. PLACE the steamed rice in a large shallow bowl. Top with the scallions and sesame seeds. Pour the green tea over the rice and serve immediately.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Risotto

    pumpkin-risotto-andrea-watman-230

    Pumpkin Risotto. Photo courtesy Zabars.

     

    The Italian mother of a friend always serves pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin risotto at Thanksgiving, along with the turkey. In addition to combining traditions, they offer a bonus: enticing vegetarian options for people who won’t eat the turkey.

    This pumpkin risotto recipe is from Zabars’ late, great creative director, Andrea Watman. For a vegetarian dish, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

    Andrea makes the recipe memorable by serving individual portions in scooped-out small pumpkins, but you can go the traditional route and bring the risotto to the table in one serving bowl—or scoop out one larger, prettier squash like a buttercup or kabocha (see the photo below and check out the different types of squash).

    In terms of the pumpkin cut up for the risotto, Andrea suggests that you can use a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, cheese pumpkin pumpkin or butternut squash. (But for pies and desserts, The New York Times’ Melissa Clark tested different pumpkins and squash and gave a hands-down recommendation to butternut or acorn squash. Here’s the full article.)

     

    The risotto can be made as a main course, you can add mushrooms and even sausage meat (for a non-vegetarian version). Andrea’s recipe is easy to make. “Get ready to take a bow,” says Andrea, “because this is a crowd pleaser.”

    Here’s a more complicated pumpkin risotto recipe from Pom Wonderful, which uses pomegranate juice and arils.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN RISOTTO

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 small pumpkins (for serving)
  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 cup mushrooms, sliced/diced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Garnish: 4 ounces shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Optional garnish: fresh sage leaves, whole or chiffonade
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F.

    2. NEATLY CUT the tops off of the six serving pumpkins; remove the seeds and fibrous strands. Place the serving pumpkins and the pumpkin tops on a baking sheet. Lightly coat the inner flesh with olive oil (we used olive oil spray). Bake for 15 minutes; the skin will begin to wrinkle. Don’t overbake the pumpkins or they won’t hold their shape.

    3. BRING a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut up the medium pumpkin, remove the seeds and fibrous strands and peel the outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut into cubes and add to the boiling water. Cook as you would potatoes for mashing, about 20 minutes.

    4. DRAIN well; mash with 1 stick of butter. Do not add salt or pepper.

     

    pumpkin-risotto-berlucchi-61-franciacorta-230sq

    You can use a larger squash such as kabocha (shown) as a serving bowl. Photo courtesy Berlucchi ‘61 Franciacorta.

     

    5. HEAT the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan and sauté the chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms until tender. Do not brown.

    6. ADD the rice and stir with a wood spoon until the rice is coated. Then add 1 cup of white wine and 2 cups of stock, stirring continuously (or as often as possible) until all liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining wine and 1 cup more of stock and keep stirring. Once the liquid is absorbed add 1 more cup of stock, stir until absorbed and add the remaining stock if necessary. You want the rice to be cooked but not mushy.

    7. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the mashed pumpkin. Return the pan to the heat and stir in the remaining stick of butter and Parmesan. The rice will be almost creamy. Taste, and if you need to add salt or pepper, do it now.

    8. SPOON into the small pumpkins or a serving dish. Top with pumpkin seeds and optional sage; serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Kimchi Fried Rice

    kimchi-fried-rice-eastandwest-yotelNYC-230

    Enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
    Photo courtesy Yotel New York.

     

    Kimchi or kimchee is a traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish, the most common side dish in Korean cuisine. It is also a main ingredient in many popular Korean dishes, such as kimchi stew.

    Kimchi has always been made year-round, but in earlier times it was made in larger quantities during the winter months, when fresh vegetables were few. Like many societies pre-refrigeration, pickled vegetables were a winter mainstay. Here’s more about kimchi.

    In addition to Asian markets, you can now find kimchi at natural food stores, including chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

    This fusion recipe from East & West at Club Lounge combines Korean kimchi with Chinese fried rice with a western fried egg.

    RECIPE: KIMCHI FRIED RICE WITH FRIED EGG

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 8 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup kimchi vegetables, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 bok choy stem, chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (sambal olek)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 fried eggs, sunny side up, crispy edges, salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnish: julienned green onion
  • Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ garlic in canola oil and add rice. Stir fry rice for 2 minutes, then add kimchi.

    2. STIR fry for an additional minute; then add scallions, bok choy and sambal.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper, and portion into four individual bowls or one large serving bowl.

    4. TOP with crispy fried egg(s) and green onions and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Millet, A Gluten Free Whole Grain

    Today’s tip comes from Bob’s Red Mill, where there’s always something new and delicious to discover. Our recent discovery: millet, a gluten free, ancient whole grain.

    Easily used as a replacement for rice and bulgur wheat with millet in a salad with dates and pistachio to benefit from the whole grain, gluten free and high protein goodness. The nutty sweet flavor is an added bonus!

    Millet, an ancient grain, was first farmed some 10,000 years ago in East Asia. A staple crop in Asia and Africa—then and now—it was revered as one of five sacred crops in ancient China. It’s mentioned in the Old Testament, the writings of Herodotus and the journals of Marco Polo.

    Millet grows well in poor, droughty and infertile soils, and are more reliable than most other grain crops under these conditions.

    It fell out of fashion in the cuisines of America and Europe, but it’s always been available in health food stores. A small, round, yellow seed, you also find it in natural food stores like Whole Foods Market, and in many general grocery stores.

    Millet has a mild, sweet flavor and cooks quickly, making it a tasty, convenient whole grain for sides, salads and stir fries. Its light flavor enables it to be prepared as a sweet or savory recipe. In addition to fiber, it’s packed with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.

    The most widely cultivated species include, in order:

       

    millet-horiz-bobsredmill-230r

    Millet, a grain to discover. Photo courtesy Bob’s Red Mill.

  • Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), what you’re most likely to find in the U.S.
  • Foxtail millet (Setaria italica)
  • Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), also called broom corn millet, common millet, hog millet and white millet)
  • Finger millet (Eleusine coracana)
  •  
    Easy Ways To Enjoy Millet

  • Breakfast: Substitute millet for a bowl of oatmeal; bake raw millet seeds into breads and muffins for a healthful crunch.
  • Salad: Substitute millet in any grain salad; add a scoop as a garnish for a green salad or cooked vegetables.
  • Side: Serve millet with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh-cracked pepper and an optional sprinkle of grated Parmesan. We also enjoyed a side of millet, chopped dates and pistachio nuts.
  •  

    millet-spring-roll-salad-bobsredmill-230L

    Millet salad: Serve it as a side or top with a
    grilled protein. Photo courtesy Bob’s Red Mill.

     

    RECIPE: MILLET STIR-FRY

    Use this recipe from Bob’s Red Mill to turn a simple stir-fry into something special, replacing rice with millet. You can add an optional protein (chicken, tofu, etc.).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 5 ounces canned water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING water and salt to a boil in a pot. Add millet and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes.

    2. COMBINE soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and cornstarch. Set aside

    3. HEAT oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add broccoli, carrots and water chestnuts. Cook until vegetables are al dente to tender, depending on preference, 7-10 minutes. Add millet and cashews.

    4. POUR soy sauce mix over the stir-fry and cook until the sauce is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
     
     
    MORE MILLET RECIPES

    Here are three delicious recipes from Bob’s Red Mill:

  • Millet Salad, a combination of grain and crunchy veggies (recipe)
  • Sweet Millet Congee with apples and bacon, for breakfast (recipe)
  • Spinach and Lemon Millet Arancini, fun party fare (recipe)
  •  
    Let us know what you think of millet!

      

    Comments

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