Sesame Coconut Rice Bowl

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.

Serves 3 as a light meal or side

Sundried Tomato Basil Meatballs with Walnut Pesto and Broccolini

This is a great little weeknight dinner and this pesto is something you will want to have on hand. It’s great here, as well as on chicken or beef, or when used as a mix-in for all sorts of “basic” ingredients to give a little kick. Paleo friendly and gluten-free.

A note on coconut cream: Coconut cream is easy to source. Take a can of full fat coconut milk, place into a container with a lid and chill a few hours or over night. A thick layer of cream will rise to the top and solidify. This is coconut cream and it is tasty.

_DS33024w

Sundried Tomato Basil Meatballs with Walnut Pesto and Broccolini

Based on Sun Dired Tomato Meatballs with Creamy Pesto from Everyday Paleo

For the meatballs:

2 lbs. ground beef (or a mixture of beef, veal and pork depending on your particular culinary inclinations)
4 scallions
1 big hand full basil
1/2 c. sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
Big pinch salt
Black pepper
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

For the broccolini:

1 bunch broccolini
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

For the pesto:

1 c. walnuts
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 c. basil
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes
1/2 c. coconut cream
Big pinch salt
Big pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp. white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375. While you are waiting for the oven to heat, prep your broccolini by chopping the cut ends off, placing the stalks on a cookie sheet, and drizzling with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. When your oven comes up to temperature, add the broccolini and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Bring a cup or two of water to a boil. Place the sundried tomatoes in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let reconstitute 15 minutes. If you are using oil packed tomatoes, skip this step.

While your tomatoes are reconstituting, mince the scallions, garlic and basil for the meatballs.

When your tomatoes are reconstituted, remove from the water and mince. Add the meatball portion to a large bowl along with the other meatball ingredients (minus the coconut oil).

Mix the meatball ingredients together and form into ping pong ball sized meatballs.

Heat the coconut oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large ovenproof skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown on all sides.

When your broccolini timer goes off, flip the broccolini and return to the oven and cook an additional few minutes until browned but not burnt.

When the meatballs are all browned, slide the pan (if it is ovenproof, otherwise use a cookie sheet) into the oven and bake an additional 7-10 minutes.

While the meatballs are working, make the pesto. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and whiz until smooth and pesto like. Taste and add more salt/vinegar/pepper as needed until your desired taste balance is reached. You’re looking for a bright and lively pesto – something you want to eat more of before dinner. If it is too thick, thin with a bit of the tomato water if you have any on hand, or regular water. Don’t forget to adjust your seasoning after thinning. I went for a thick sauce – more of a paste – and it was delicious.

To serve, pile meatballs on top of broccolini and top with pesto. And more pesto.

Serves 2-4 for dinner (meatballs and pesto – if you’re serving 4, double the broccolini quantity) or 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch with more pesto left over.

Duck with Broccolini & Tart Dressing

This meal makes a decadent weeknight dinner. Since duck is so rich, two people can very comfortably split one large breast. This not only saves calories, it saves cash.

20120422-085708.jpg

Duck with Broccolini & Tart Dressing

3 Tbsp. good aged balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. pomegranate molasses
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1 large boneless duck breast (skin on)
1 cup grits
2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 big handful Parmesan cheese
1 bunch broccolini, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt
White pepper

Start the sauce

In a small sauce pot over medium low heat, combine the vinegar, molasses and ginger. When the sauce comes up to a boil and becomes syrupy, turn off the heat.

Start the grits

In a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat, combine the grits, milk and water. Whisk. Continue to whisk every few minutes until grits come up to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring every minute or two, until grits are soft and liquid is absorbed. If mixture gets too dry, add water. When grits are done, remove from heat. Add cheese & salt & pepper to taste.

And now for the duck

While the grits are cooking, cook the duck. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and bring up to temp. Add the duck skin-side down – season with salt & pepper and sautée until deeply browned. Flip, season, and sautée on side 2 until deeply brown. Knock the heat back and continue to cook until medium-rare. Duck feels just like beef to the touch. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest while you cook the broccolini.

Some green veg

Drain fat. Put the pan back over the heat with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add broccolini. Sautée 7 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the duck and serve with grits, broccolini and pomegranate molasses sauce.

Serves 2 for dinner.