This dish turned out miles better than I feared it would. I was hella worried that by using coconut milk as the sole liquid to cook my rice I was going to blow up my rice cooker.
I’m glad those fears were unjustified, because this rice is bomb. So bomb, I made more just so I could serve it with another ‘stepping out on a limb’ dish I’m hoping will be good enough to share with you guys in a few days (spoiler: it involves beets and stir-frying).
This rice makes a great base for simple broccolini like I’ve served here, a nice light green curry, some simple salmon, or even – strangely – some soft-scrambled eggs (or as soft as I can get them, which is not Julia Child level soft).
gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
Sesame Coconut Rice Bowl
1 cup rice (I used a Basmati/wild combination)
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. sesame oil (+more)
2 tsp. your favorite chicken bouillon (mine happens to be vegan and it’s fantastic – Ida’s is the brand and I believe it’s out of South Africa)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. tahini
Red chili flakes
Toasted sesame seeds
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch broccolini, chopped
2 tsp. neutral oil
2 tsp. ground turmeric
Set your rice, coconut milk, sesame oil and chicken bouillon in your rice cooker. Add a generous sprinkle salt and cook however you cook rice.
While the rice is going, stir-fry the broccolini and onion in the oil until browned (if you add the stalks in first and get those going until just starting to look cooked you’ll have less chance of burning the flowery bits). Whack with salt and pepper. Add the turmeric and toss. Throw in a few Tablespoons water and let cook until the water evaporates and the broccolini is done to your liking. We like browned in spots but still crisp-tender.
Stir in the tahini and lemon zest.
To serve, add 1/3 of the rice to a bowl and top with 1/3 of the broccolini. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Our little Monday night burger night needed a little kick in the pants. We’ve been doing whatever fake meats our local market has on hand (our favorites so far have been the Beyond Burgers and the Quorn Southern Fried “chicken” patties)j, and it’s been going really well. This week they happened to be out of good (non-lentil, non-bean) options, so I went for something a little different.
It was a big hit with me; with DH, not so much. He’s much more of a traditionalist when it comes to “staple” kid-friendly foods and has to be in the right mood for anything too far off the beaten path.
Indian Spiced Burgers
500g ground beef
1 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste (I used prepared)
3/4 small bunch cilantro
2 small green chilis
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. curry powder (your favorite mix)
Juice & zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. red chili powder (I used cayenne)
Mince your cilantro and chili. Add with the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Mix until combined well, but not gluey.
Divvy into 4 burger patties and fry until your desired done ness has been reached.
I served mine with Kewpie mayonnaise and a generous dollop of Bombay Sandwich Chutney on a soft bun. DH added cheese to his.
This sounds like a weird combination, but it works really well. Bonus: this side dish makes a great little flavor punch for pretty much any main component. I served mine with next week’s Indian Spiced Burgers the first night and leftovers with plain chicken in the next day’s lunch and both were flavorful and delicious.
gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan
Dilled Curry Potatoes
500g baby potatoes
1 Tbsp. curry powder (your favorite mix will do, and some fresh curry leaves would also be great here)
1 small green chili pepper
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. red chili powder (I used cayenne)
4 – 5 cloves fresh garlic (3 Tbsp. when minced)
2 Tbsp. fresh dill (or more if you have more – I would have actually liked a little extra)
Salt & pepper
Fill your largest high-sided sauté pan with water to 3/4 of the way up the sides, nestle the potatoes in, add a bunch of salt and bring to a shallow boil for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain carefully and cut into halves.
While the potatoes are cooking: mince the garlic, chop the chili pepper, assemble the dried spices, and chop the dill. Set the dill aside.
Add enough oil to your pan to cover the bottom, and heat over high/medium-high until the oil starts to shimmer. Add the potatoes, liberally salt and pepper, and give a good stir for a couple minutes until they start to color.
Add the spices and garlic and stir-fry until the potatoes are as browned as you want them to be and the garlic goes nice and crispy.
Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the dill to complete.
This was one of those providential recipes that just sort of fell together. I was craving a bright salad – where I live, cucumber/tomato salad is ubiquitous – my auto-pilot has Asian flavors on the brain – and I had half a tub of premade hummus that needed using up. And past-me was smart and put two salmon fillets in the freezer. Go, past-me. Thanks for looking out.
Hummus Salad with Relish
First, start the salmon:
1 salmon fillet per person (defrosted if frozen)
Red chili powder
Salt & pepper
Pat the salmon dry, dust with spices on both sides and pan sautee in a couple spritzes neutral oil until your desired doneness is reached. We like a nice medium.
While the salmon is working, make the relish:
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 ounce pickled ginger, minced
2 tsp. sriracha
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
Juice of 1 lime
I scallion, minced
Combine all relish ingredients and let sit.
Leftover rice cooked in chicken stock (I had a mixture of basmati and wild rice I’d made a few days before)
3-4 Tbsp. hummus per person
To assemble, line the bowl with a generous smear of hummus. Top with the rice, lay the fish on top of that and spoon some relish over the whole shebang.
This dish started with a craving for the taste of charred vegetables, lemon and the fattiness of hummus. Weird, I know, but it turned out really well and I’ll definitely be making this again the next time I have a tub of hummus chillin’ in the back of the fridge that’s in danger of going slimy.
gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
Hummus Pasta with Burnt Green Beans
1.5 cups pasta (I used a gluten-free rice/quinoa mix pasta)
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
1/4 cup hummus
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
4 cloves garlic in paper
250g green beans
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Salt & pepper
A few spritzes oil
Preheat your oven to 220C/375F and prep a baking sheet with foil or a silicone liner.
Chop the green beans into bite-sized pieces and toss with a few spritzes oil + salt & pepper. Spread on the sheet in a single layer.
Chuck the garlic cloves (still in their paper) and the lemon (halved, cut side up) on the baking sheet and bake around 25 minutes, or until the green beans have started to burn in spots.
While the beans are working, cook the pasta according to directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Return to the warm pot.
Add the green beans when done. De-paper the garlic and squish if the cloves are squishable and chop if they’re crispy. Add to the pot. Squeeze the lemon into the mix (I used a chip clip to do so because the lemon was still really hot and my tongs were in the dishwasher). Add the nutritional yeast and hummus and toss, using the reserved pasta water to thin the mixture out if it looks too dry.
Season with salt & pepper.
To serve, spritz with a pump or two of oil to add a little more moisture.
I love a good hidden veggie pasta, and this dish is no exception. Almost smoky (smoky would be awesome here), a little tart, a little silk – this one is good.
gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
Burnt Eggplant Pasta
2 small purple eggplants
Salt, pepper, neutral oil
2 Tablespoons neutral oil
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon Thai roasted red chili paste
1.5 Tablespoons tamarind paste
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1.5 cups cooked pasta
Lemon or sumac powder
Preheat your oven to 220C/400F and prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or tinfoil. Halve your eggplants lengthwise, score, dust with salt & pepper and sprinkle with neutral oil. Bake about 40 minutes, or until blackened but not turned into charcoal.
Pull and let sit to cool.
In a medium saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic (chopped) in 2 Tablespoons of oil until nicely browned. Hit with salt and pepper.
Scoop the eggplant guts into the onions and stir to combine.
Add the red chili paste, tamarind paste and pomegranate molasses. Stir to combine.
Chuck into the bowl of a food processor and whiz until mostly blended. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper if needed.
Put back into the pan with the cooked pasta.
Chop the pistachios and parsley. Fold into the pasta mixture and serve topped with the lemon or sumac powder.
This dish is based on a half-remembered few bites of absolutely delicious I had in the Souq in an Iraqui? Iranian? Syrian? restaurant awhile back. No idea if the flavors are quite what I tasted, but the theory is based on a popular dish called Tahdig. Tahdig means “bottom of the pot” and from what I’ve heard is a good comfort food. I can definitely see that, and we could all use a little comfort right about now.
gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
Vaguely Persian Crispy Rice
1.5 cups leftover cooked rice (I used a long grain wild/basmati mix and I heartily suggest something along those lines)
1/2 yellow onion
2 Tablespoons mustard oil
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons butter or vegan butter substutute
1 small butternut squash, roasted with salt & pepper
Optional: leftover chicken sauteed simply with salt, pepper & oregano in a little oil
In a smallish nonstick pan, bring the mustard oil up to temperature over medium-high heat. While that’s working, mince the garlic. Add the turmeric, mustard seeds and garlic to the hot oil. Let bloom, stirring occasionally a few minutes or until the seeds just begin to pop and the air smells great.
While the spices are working, roughly chop the onion.
Add and sautee until softened.
Add the leftover rice, stir well to combine, season with salt & pepper and smash flat onto the bottom of the pan. I smashed mine with a potato masher into as thin and even a layer as possible.
Let cook undisturbed until crisped on the bottom. You will know the rice is done when the brown rice starts to pop, the air smells a bit nutty, and little bits you push from the outside of the pan to the edges look toasty. This is a nerve-wracking prospect.
When your rice is about 2/3 of the way done (or you’re at peak ‘I know it’s burnt’ anxiety), add the butter in pieces all around the pan.
While that’s working, chop and reheat the squash. Chop the scallions. Chop the parsley.
When the rice is ready, top with the squash, scallions, parsley & slivered almonds. Drizzle the pomegranate molasses over top. Serve with the chicken if you need a protein in your meal.
Have I told you guys about my obsession with the food from the Expanse/Leviathan Wakes universe? I love this book series (the show is great too), and it’s rife with enough description of common dishes to get this nerdy brain whirling.
I’m fascinated with how these dishes might taste – whose flavors would have influenced them – what technologies are possible in this universe – and what materials and ingredients would be available.
In the Expanse universe, there are three main societies: Earthers, Martians and Belters (humans who live exclusively in space; not on a planet). I could go on about the sociology, political landscape and happenings of the books – suffice it to say that these are the three main factions of import, and what I’m captivated by is the food available on ships or space stations.
So, the first question is what’s available to cook with? Humans have made farming colonies, so it’s safe to say that things like rice (maybe), peas or pea protein, soy, maybe something like kelp, mushrooms, tomatoes, probably things like bean sprouts, peppers, zucchini – other things you can grow in limited space would be available. I think most common would be soy products in all forms, mushrooms and something to make noodles with – rice or kontjac come to mind. Meat would be very scarce; same with dairy. Coffee is available, though most is terrible and I’m not sure if any is exactly what we mean by good coffee in this world. We know cheese is hella expensive and rare. Some analogues are available – mention is made to the lime and peanuts in Pad Thai, with mention that the speaker has never actually tasted the real version of either.
Now, the flavors: who likely had enough people to launch into space to populate the skies? China/Asia, India, ships are involved so Greece, mention is made of some Arabic peoples, I believe someone looking Irish is mentioned (though it could just be a character in the television show I’m thinking of), some generic Anglo Saxon people are seen – I think on the show at least I saw a blonde or two, an Islander of some description, African people of some descent (American or otherwise). The odd Russian. Pretty much everyone, but I’m thinking the majority at least at first were Asian and Indian.
What I’ve seen as the predominant food influences are a mix of those two cultures with some other comfort (lasagna for instance) thrown in for good measure, and I’m imagining the dishes including mushrooms & noodles lean vaguely Italian (at least in my mind).
There is a strong noodle culture in this universe, and hawker stalls which I’m imagining use woks. Microwaves and/or toaster ovens seem to be available on ships. Reconstituted food is also popular, though doesn’t seem at least to be preferred – especially not on space stations, where bars and restaurants are also available.
I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at that. Suffice it to say, I’ve do men a lot of pondering on the subject 😁
A warning here for my texture issues people. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is bouncy, chewy and a bit rubbery. If that bothers you as much as it does my DH, this dish is not for you. Though, from what I’ve heard, finer bits of the stuff make a nice substitution for beef when making a vegetarian version of Taco Bell’s meat.
This recipe is based off the one from the Fan site The Slow Zone. I upped the spice quantity quite a bit from their original suggestion. I may also go back and rework the TVP some day, substituting in red bean paste if I can figure out how to get that to fry up how I need it to (this dish is supposed to look like dog food – kibble is a derogatory term). I went with TVP because it was used in this recipe and I believe it would be available in the universe.
gluten-free (if you use gf flour), vegetarian, vegan
8 ounces textured vegetable protein or soya chunks (TVP)
1 Tablespoon flour (gf or all purpose)
1 Tablespoon oat milk (the original recipe called for yogurt, but I didn’t have a good nondairy substitute available – you could probably omit)
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons neutral oil
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil. Once it’s boiling, cut the heat and add the TVP and salt and let soak 30 minutes to rehydrate. Once plump, drain well and press as much water out as possible.
Toss in a large bowl with the rest of the Kibble ingredients but the oil.
Put the clean saucepan back over medium heat. Add the sauce ingredients, bring up to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 15 – 20 minutes, adding salt and pepper as needed. More heat if you want that, too.
In your largest frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the drained and squeezed TVP and fry, moving frequently so it doesn’t stick, until browned.
Toss the fried kibble with the sauce and serve – I prefer mine with some super al dente rice pasta.
Well, given recent global events, it seems my ‘I need to cook down my pantry’ jones of a few weeks ago was right on target.
In this time of quarantine, I think many of you are feeling the same (whether out of physical or mental necessity) and I’m curious to see what’s in y’all’s pantries! Some friends have gone the fresh food route; in my house, if you ask an ex Navy guy and a (semi) Southern girl to stock up, we’re grabbing natural disaster food. Barracks food. Things you can survive on with little to no access to electricity. If you can boil water, bam, there’s dinner.
As such, the state of our pantry is kind of hilarious and definitely looks like 2 kids live in the house (hey, we both reverted to the last time either of us really *needed* to do a hurricane/barracks shop). 2 kids who love chips, macaroni & cheese, pot noodles, whiskey (#adultpriorities), beef jerky and tuna. Dinner tuna, snack tuna – you name it, we have protein for 2 weeks.
Luckily, grownup-me also grabbed some frozen veggies, rice and pasta. Yay for adulting. Let’s not emerge from quarantine 9-bigillion pounds.
Aside from the teenager house party food, we’ve been (attempting to) eat fairly well (ish. There was extra Ramdon, and pot noodles were had last weekend. See also: chips).
Fried rice with a little quinoa thrown in for extra protein
Our normal Monday “burger” night featuring Beyond Burgers and whatever weirdo combination of toppings I can think of (last week was a semi-spicy semi-sweet mustard with sauerkraut and a fried egg and it was glorious)
Pasta with a quick sauce of thinned-out tomato paste and a bunch of spices + chili tuna + frozen edamame and spinach + nutritional yeast and lots of pepper
Pot noodles with garlic powder drenched steak nibbles and frozen spinach
A huge batch of Japanese curry with potatoes, onions and carrots
Popcorn with nutritional yeast, furikake or masala spice & spritzes of garlic oil to make the toppings stick better
Bread! Bread always makes DH happy, so I started experimenting with that
Breakfast eggy tortillas
Pasta with chili tuna, zucchini sautéed in garlic butter, a crapton of red chili flakes & black pepper, and nutritional yeast
A riff on a recipe for Belter Red Kibble I found to knock out a pantry hanger-on (recipe coming!)