Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When it's too hot to turn on the oven

As this dear friend had to await the return of her writing muse, so I feel as if I have been awaiting the return of my cooking muse. (Yes, I know there is no mythological cooking muse, but I've never had a writing muse, so I thought, "why not a cooking muse?") The temperatures have been so high for the past few weeks that I've turned on my oven hardly at all--baking daughter has taken to checking the extended forecast on the internet so that she may request permission to bake cookies--and the times I have turned it on, I've regretted it. Limited stovetop cooking and creative energies directed towards beginning the new school year have taken their toll on my culinary offerings.

This afternoon, faced with a neglected pantry and just one hour to prepare dinner, I resorted to what almost never works: I picked up a large cookbook that I've been wanting to cook from and looked for a new recipe to try. Amazingly, I found one! I was lacking a few essential fresh vegetables to I headed to the local vegetable stand, which had everything on my list. So, I give you this recipe, acclaimed by all in this household and prepared in one hour, from searching the cookbook to table, including the trip to the vegetable stand.

My inspiration, though not my law:

Cilantro Rice with Chicken
from The Best of Cooking Light with some variations on the main theme

2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups quartered shitake mushroom caps ( I could only find white mushrooms and not quite 2 cups at that. Also I'd recommend cutting them smaller than quarters unless your children have mature tastes and like chunks of mushrooms in their food.)
1/3 cup chopped green onion bottoms
1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed (I used three and chopped them finely)
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice (I used 2 1/2 cups basmati)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
About 1 3/4 pounds (just under a kilo) of boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cups chicken broth (I used 3 3/4 since I slightly increased the rice)

2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
1-2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt (or less if your broth is salted)
1 garlic clove, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (I used small grape tomatoes and threw them in whole)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops

Optional extra addition:
2 cans of drained chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, which my mom called them when I was growing up)

Note: I've changed this from a bake-in-the-oven to a stovetop recipe.

1. To prepare rice, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy bottom pan. Add mushrooms, green onion bottoms, ginger piece, and chopped garlic, and cook 5 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in rice, cumin, and chicken. Cook a couple minutes more. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer on very low heat until the rice is cooked, about 20. Add drained chickpeas and let sit an additional 10 minutes..

2. To prepare sauce, place cilantro leaves and the next five ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Stir into rice mixture. Discard ginger piece.

3. To prepare the topping, toss the olive oil with the tomatoes and chopped green onion tops. Place the rice mixture in a large bowl, and spoon the tomato topping over the rice. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Desired condiment as suggested by my family:

Yogurt and Cucumber Salad
( I didn't make this tonight but instead served plain yogurt)

~ an approximate recipe~

about five or six cups of plain yogurt
several cucumbers, peeled, seeded (if necessary), and finely chopped
salt to taste
chopped mint, fresh or dry, to taste
1 cloves chopped garlic

Mix all ingredients together.



Kathleen Hamilton said...

Well, goodness gracious! That sounds fabulous. And the Cooking Light folks have some of my favorite recipes. Thanks for posting this. I'll be sure to try it soon ;-).

desert mom said...

I noticed that I had omitted the quantity of cilantro. I've corrected it: 2 cups

sbobet said...

thanks ysboou for arsbochive