Showing posts with label rice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rice. Show all posts

September 4, 2012


Paul and the kiddos have gone back to school, that Fall crispness is creeping into the air, but I'm not ready to let go of summer yet. Apples and figs are making their debut at the market, but luckily for me, summer goodness is still the show stopper. Peaches and melons continue to be super tasty and tomatoes are heaven. The piles of heirloom beauties always stop me in my tracks, yet the sweetness and pure tomatoiness of Dry Farmed Early Girls make me swoon.

In Greece earlier this summer, we ate stuffed tomatoes whenever we could and I've been wanting to make them at home. We stuffed the Early Girls with an herby risotto and I had to share with you guys...

INGREDIENTS thanks to Canal House Vol 1 by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
{printable recipe}
  • a dozen Dry Farmed Early Girls, or 8 medium tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

    Preheat oven to 400.

    Slice of 1/4 off the bottom of each tomato, and set bottoms aside. Carefully scrape out tomato flesh into a medium mixing bowl and place the hollow tomato cups on a baking tray or dish.

    Break up the tomato flesh with the back of a spoon. Mix in rice, parsley, garlic, and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scoop rice/tomato mixture back into the tomato cups and cover them with the reserved tomato bottoms. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.

    Bake in the hot oven for 40-50 minutes or until rice is tender and cooked through.

    Serve at room temp with a leafy green salad on the side. Enjoy!

    April 21, 2011


    Our time here in the world’s rice belt has shown us new rice varietals and inspired fresh recipes in our kitchen.  Today's recipe comes from our friends Johnny and Cath at Bali Eco Stay. An Italian, foodie friend of theirs introduced the rice balls to their resort kitchen and I had to bring them to yours. Using brown rice and herbs seems a healthy and modern twist on classic, Italian "Arancini," a Sicilian dish meaning "little orange" which dates back to the 10th century. I have always loved Arancini, though this is the first time I have made them myself. I adore this recipe and look forward to using it all sorts of ways. Maybe using red rice instead of brown? Different herbs, or even spinach? Mushrooms? Sun dried Tomatoes? Feta? Who knows, but the potential for deliciousness seems endless.

    Rice has been a dominant theme of our time here in Bali. We are living right on the rice fields, have watched the green plants grow, then yellow for harvest time. Now our field lies fallow. The ducks have come to work their magic. As I write this, the hum of the tractor - prepping the field for a new crop - is working its way to our doorstep.

    I do love seeing where our food comes from. Rice, just ready for harvest, is a golden delight I had to share with you and I think you'll love the rice balls!

    INGREDIENTS adapted from Bali Eco Stay
    (printable recipe)
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, still warm
    • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
    • 1/2 cup chopped basil
    • 6 large green olives, pitted and chopped
    • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 3 red chilies (medium hot), finely chopped 
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste if necessary
    • pepper, to taste
    • white rice flour
    • 2 eggs
    • brown rice flour
    • raw coconut oil or other high heat oil

    While your brown rice is cooking on the stove top, prep all ingredients. Place chopped herbs, olives, grated Parm, paprika, chilies, salt and pepper into a large bowl.

    Take hot cooked rice and add it to the bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients to integrate. Taste for seasoning. I must warn you that the mixture is so good at this point, you will be temped to stop here and have risottoesque meal and be very very happy.

    When the mixture is cool enough to handle, mold the rice into balls. Set aside.

    Set out three low bowls for dredging. One with white rice flour. One with whisked raw egg. One with brown rice flour.

    Take each rice ball and first roll it lightly in the white rice flour, then the egg, then the brown rice flour. You are ready to cook.

    Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan. You want your oil to be hot and bubbly, but not smoking. The hot coconut oil smells so good!

    Place four to five balls in the hot oil, with ample space between. Turn a few times until golden brown all over.  Remove the cooked balls from the oil and let cool a bit on paper towels, which will soak up any excess oil.

    Add a sprinkling of salt if you desire. Serve warm with a leafy green salad.


    April 5, 2011


    Being that we are spending 5 months living on the edge of a rice field, it seems appropriate to share a recipe to mark the harvest in our field. When we first arrived in Bali in January, our field was a young, deep, dewy green. We have watched stalks grow higher, eventually displaying cascades of rice.  Recently the plants yellowed as their life cycle came to an end; and, last week, the farmers harvested the plot outside our door.

    I am embarrassed to admit that these crepe-like pancakes are a daily indulgence for us here in Bali. Lilah prefers hers with a sprinkling of coconut sugar. P and I top ours with yogurt and fresh fruit. Otis takes his plain. With just a pour of palm sugar syrup - the pancakes are simply delicious...

    March 22, 2011


    Last fall in the mountains of Bali, we tasted a local delicacy that we ended up dreaming about for months: lak lak, small crumpet-like cakes made from rice flour.  P, the kids, and I were all smitten and found ourselves scarfing down these Balinese tea cakes as though we hadn't eaten in ages. When we returned to Mount Batukaru last month, we knew we had to eat more lak lak. Johnny, our ever-gracious host at Bali Eco Stay, not only plied us with daily doses of these fresh Balinese cakes topped with palm sugar syrup and shredded coconut, he arranged for Lilah and I to go and cook with the lak lak lady.

    It turns out there are lak lak all over Bali, with many regional variations, but Ibu Yoga is the lak lak goddess of Kanciana village. She makes hundreds daily to sell nearby. Being invited into a traditional Balinese kitchen was a first for me, and I was psyched. Ibu Yoga's kitchen is without fancy gadgets, electrical appliances, or even running water. Everything is cooked over a fire. I was awed by the beauty of the walls blackened with years of smoke and wondered just how many lak laks had been cooked there.


    With very little verbal communication possible, I studied Ibu Yoga's technique and tried to glean her recipe.  I watched closely as she made the batter. With her hands, she mixed only two ingredients, rice flour and very warm water, until the consistency was like watery paint. When I saw her special terracotta lak lak pan, I asked if there was somewhere I could buy one. She ended up giving me her old pan (the one used in these photos) assuring me she had a nice new pan for herself. I treasured her soot-covered ceramic pan and hoped that all its memories of lak lak-making with Ibu Yoga would lead to success in my own kitchen.

    When we got back to our little Bali kitchen, I was itching to try my luck at lak lak. I knew that cooking over a wood fire was essential to Ibu Yoga's cakes. An open fire, aside from camping, is not the norm for me - so I put Ibu's pan over the gas flame and got cooking. Like Ibu, I heated water up in a kettle, chopped candlenuts for seasoning the pan, then I mixed rice flour and warm water with my hands until the consistency looked like the Ibu Yoga's batter.

    My first few attempts at my own lak lak were not great: the cakes were too thick, chewy, or under-cooked. But after a couple of tries, I felt as though my brief training with the master paid off. Now, after school, I fire up the lak lak pan and my kids and their buddies line up panting and chanting for lak lak. Sometimes we top them with palm syrup and coconut in the traditional fashion. Otherwise we use a dollop of coconut cream and a sprinkling of coconut sugar, or even just a smear of Nutella.

    In this year of traveling mostly in the world's rice belt, I have come to see rice and rice flour as astonishingly versatile ingredients. I never would have guessed that rice flour mixed with water could be transformed into something as delicious as lak lak. Even if Ibu Yoga's ceramic lak lak pan does not survive our journey home, I am going to try a cast iron aebleskiver pan on my gas stove top in Berkeley. We cannot live without lak laks.

    March 15, 2011


    I apologize for making you wait. How could I spend all these months eating and cooking in Bali without sharing this island's signature dish?

    Before we left home last August, everyone I know who has been to Bali pleaded with me to share a black rice pudding recipe. There is something magical about this dish. Even eleven years after our first visit to Bali, I distinctly remembered the creamy, sweet satisfaction.

    Black rice pudding is served for breakfast, afternoon tea, as well as for dessert. I have yet to find a Balinese menu without it. 

    I have heard that black rice is a highly nutritious grain. In my sleuthing, I read that black rice considered a super food, is loaded with iron, and is a powerful antioxidant. Black rice has been called "forbidden rice" in China where only the emperor was allowed to eat it. I must say, this grain does seem august and I'm quite happy it isn't forbidden.

    I have tried a number of recipes for this dish. After much experimentation, I came up with this version that I hope you love as much as we do.

    February 20, 2011


    When we were in Australia last fall, I loved scouring all the wonderful cooking magazines from that part of the world. There was a freshness and enthusiasm that really resonated with me. I clipped numerous recipes and kept them folded up in my journal until we had a real kitchen. In Bali, we are cooking a lot. Our kitchen equipment is pretty limited compared to home, but it is unmatched when I think of most cooking spaces we've encountered while traveling.

    This recipe from Delicious Magazine is a new favorite at our place. The pureed lime, coconut cream, and cilantro are so fresh and tasty that I actually wanted to drink the dressing on its own. The combination of flavors and textures in the final salad is perfect - citrusy, herby, creamy, crunchy, with a hint of heat.

    February 13, 2011


    Do you ever dream of dropping out of the rat race?  Maybe... starting a bar on a Caribbean island; living in the hills of Mexico; sailing around the globe. P, the kids, and I are taking a single precious year away, and will return to our American life this summer.  Our friends Cath, Johnny, and seven-year-old Huey have taken a profoundly deeper plunge. Their little family unit has left behind Australian life on the gorgeous and posh Sunshine Coast in order to open a small resort in the mountains of Bali. So damn bold!

    Johnny, Cath, and Huey are not vacationing - they are making a new life for themselves. They are now part of a village, very far from home. Kanciana is a small village where local kids run around, splashing in the river. Huey, too, joyously runs wild and talks eagerly of the natural world that is now his own.

    We got to spend a long weekend at Johnny and Cath's newly opened Bali Eco Stay on pristine Mount Batukaru. The stunningly serene resort is no small undertaking. There are extensive permaculture gardens, hydro power, gorgeous bungalows, a sparkling swimming hole, and an airy restaurant with views down to the sea.

    I'm not sure how many of you remember Mini, and her fabulous recipe for Cap Cay, that I shared here last September. Well, she and her husband are Johnny and Cath's local business partners at the Bali Eco Stay.  I got to go back into the kitchen with Mini while she made a sumptuous feast of Balinese duck, green beans from the garden, and local rice, of course.

    Bali Eco Stay is remarkably peaceful, blissfully off the standard tourist path; plus, the service has a level of graciousness that is rare in this world. What a delicious weekend!

    March 31, 2010

    Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

    Oh, Spring is here and I am so happy. Our Riverdog Farm box had green garlic and asparagus this week. My backyard garden is going wild with happy veggies. And trees all over town are still dripped with ripe Meyer Lemons. I love this time of year!

    I am a sucker for risotto, which is for me the ultimate comfort food. Some people avoid making risotto because of all the stirring, but I encourage you to try it at home, if you don't already. This asparagus and lemon risotto from Alice Waters is a simple and delicious taste of spring.

    I must warn you I am a fiend for asparagus these days and have an asparagus and nettle tart post coming soon. If you love asparagus as much as I do, check out these inspiring recipes at Dash and Bella and Crumpets and Cakes.

    adapted from the Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

    • 1 pound asparagus spears
    • 2 stalks of green garlic (or Waters calls for 1 small yellow onion)
    • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
    • 4-5 cups chicken broth 
    • 1 lemon
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • salt
    • Parmesan
    • Chervil or Parsley

    Risotto is thoroughly infused with the flavor of whatever broth you use. Try a homemade broth if you can - it makes all the difference.

    Wash asparagus and trim off rough ends. Slice spears at a diagonal.  Set aside.

    Zest one lemon. Squeeze juice. Set aside zest and juice.

    Pour broth into sauce pan, heat, and maintain a low simmer.

    Thinly slice green garlic. Or if you are using onion, finely chop.  

    Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 quart sauce pan. Add garlic/onion and cook until soft, but not browned. Then add Arborio and stir to coat the rice. Cook for a few minutes until the rice becomes slightly translucent. 

    Add wine and lemon zest. Stir and cook for a few more minutes until the wine is completely absorbed. 

    Use a ladle to add one cup of warmed broth to the risotto pan. Also add salt (how much salt depends on how salty your broth is already). Stir and bring mixture to a vigorous simmer. Don't let the rice absorb all the broth. Waters suggests letting the rice "thicken" with the broth, then to add another 1/2 cup.  (My original risotto guru, Patricia Wells, suggests keeping at least a "thin veil" covering the cooking rice at all times.) Continue to add 1/2 cup of broth at a time and stir rice frequently.

    About 10 minutes after you first added began to add broth, toss the asparagus into the cooking rice. Continue to stir and add broth as before until the rice is tender with a slight bite in the center.

    When risotto is just done, add 1/2 of the lemon juice, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir vigorously to incorporate ingredients, then let it rest for a minute or two. At this point add more salt and/or lemon juice if necessary, and freshly ground pepper to taste. 

    Serve in a heaping mound and top with freshly chopped parsley or chervil. Enjoy!

    March 15, 2010

    Warm Rice Salad with Chard, Feta, Walnuts, and Blood Orange

    You may have noticed.... I have greens on my mind. After converting our backyard to a vegetable plot nearly two years ago and watching the successes and failures of varying crops, I have come to see greens as the gems of the garden. Mustard inspired my last post, and for today's recipe I harvested rainbow chard and beet greens.

    This recipe was a happy accident. A couple of weeks ago I steamed some brown rice and sauteed a couple of bunches of chard when I decided to throw the two together and continued to add other goodies that were complimentary in flavor. Luckily, I wrote down the details of these ingredients so I could recreate this scrumptious improvisation and share it with you. The rice salad is the kind of one dish meal that travels well and could be great to take to work for lunch, or share at a potluck. I hope you enjoy.

    • 3 cups cooked brown rice (at room temperature)
    • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
    • 2 bunches chard, beet greens, and/or spinach
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • olive oil
    • 2 blood oranges
    • 2 tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 ounces feta
    • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon chopped

    Prepare rice and let it cool to room temperature. Brown rice is critical to the success of this dish - important both for its nutty flavor and nutritional value. Wild rice could also work, but not white.

    Toast walnuts, chop, and set aside.

    Wash greens. Remove stems. Chop leaves. If you are using chard for this salad, chop the stems as well. In large saute pan, heat olive oil (enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan) over medium heat. When oil is hot add chopped chard stems. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add chopped garlic. Cook garlic with stems for one minute. Add greens and a splash of water to pan. Cover and cook until greens are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

    Zest 1 blood orange and set aside for garnish.

    Prepare the dressing. Juice 2 blood oranges. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and salt. Mix. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil to emulsify dressing.

    When both rice and chard are no longer hot, but pleasantly warm, toss them together in mixing bowl. Gently fold in feta and walnuts. Top with orange zest and 1 tablespoon chopped (or "torn" - Thomas Keller's recommended preparation for herbs) tarragon. Salt to taste.

    Serve at room temp. We ate this salad with grilled salmon and it was delicious.

    Serves 4-6  

    October 31, 2009

    Classic Chicken Soup with Rice

    It's Halloween and we are all getting sniffly noses and scratchy throats. Paul kindly made yummy chicken soup for me and the kids to fortify us for a night of serious trick-or-treating.


    Combine rice with 3 cups of water, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 45 minutes until rice is tender, but not mushy.

    Poach chicken in a separate pot. Take whole chicken pieces, with bone still attached for flavor, and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook about 40 minutes until meat is done. Take chicken off the bone, shred, and set aside.

    In the meantime, dice veggies. Put 10 cups of broth in a large stock pot, add veggies, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes when veggies become tender.

    Add cooked rice and shredded chicken to the stockpot; season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

    I feel better already.

    October 8, 2009

    Summer Squash Risotto with Meyer Lemon

    Is it fall or still summer? In the Bay Area, we hover between seasons this time of year. My tomatoes are finally approaching the end of their run, and I am savoring the last tastes of summer. My neighbor who gave me the delicious lemon cucumbers for the Tzatziki, also brought over these beautiful summer squash. In my own garden, I haven’t had much luck with squash, but I have grown some squash blossoms, herbs, and Meyer lemon to add to the dish. Once again, the bounty from my garden, or a friend’s, dictates my meals. I ended up cooking a summer squash risotto to serve with grilled Coho salmon for Paul’s parents who are visiting this week.

    I always look to Alice Waters to inspire me and part of this recipe is adapted from Vegetables. This recipe is combined with one for lemon risotto from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria, an infallibly great cookbook.


    ¼ - ½ pound summer squash
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 shallots
    7-8 cups chicken broth
    2 cups Arborio rice
    1/3 cup white or rose wine
    6 squash blossoms
    herbs of your choice ( I used basil and mint from my garden)
    juice of one Meyer lemon
    zest from the lemon
    ¾ cup grated Parmesan
    salt and pepper to taste

    Heat chicken stock in a separate pot and keep going at a low simmer throughout cooking.

    Chop squash into bite-sized pieces. Sauté in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    Peel and mince shallots. Cook in heavy bottomed saucepan with 2 tablespoons butter. After a few minutes and the shallots are soft but not brown, add the rice. Stir to coat with butter and shallots. Cook for a few minutes until rice glistens. Add wine until almost absorbed. Add one ladle full of warm broth. Stir frequently. Maintain a gentle simmer and continue to add broth, keeping a consistent veil of liquid covering the cooking rice.

    When the risotto has cooked for 12-15 minutes and still has a firm bite, add chopped herbs and squash blossoms (sliced lengthwise). Cook for approximately 5 minutes more, still stirring and keeping a good layer of broth covering the rice.

    When risotto is cooked through, but not at all mushy, remove from heat and add sautéd squash, lemon juice, zest, 2 last tablespoons butter, and Parmesan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir and cover for a minute or two, then eat.

    As we sat down to eat, I found out my father-in-law really doesn’t like squash. But he loved this risotto. For me, risotto is the ultimate comfort food.

    Serves 8 as a side dish

    September 23, 2009

    Collards and Rice

    This recipe is from Amy Cotler's One-Pot Vegetarian Dishes. I like it because it's yummy, simple, vegan, and a great way to get those oh-so-good-for-you-collards and beans into your bod. I use brown rice instead of white, which is in the original recipe, and add the collards later in the cooking process. For those of you who don't often cook with beans, it's highly recommended to soak them overnight with the juice of one lemon to make them easier to digest.


    1 bunch collards, stems removed, and chopped coarsely
    1/2 T butter
    1 T olive oil
    3 large leeks (white and tender greens) well-rinsed and chopped
    1 clove garlic, sliced
    1.5 cups brown basmati rice
    1 can stewed tomatoes (or stew your own fresh, when they're in season)
    1 32 oz. carton broth (vegetable or chicken)
    1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, or about 1.5 cups you've cooked yourself

    Melt butter with olive oil over medium heat and add leeks and garlic, cooking until the leeks start to brown. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover with wax paper, then pot lid. Cook, stirring once, for 30 min., before adding the collards. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, adding the beans during the last 5 min. of cooking. Serve in bowls with hot sauce on the side. Great the next day.

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