Bake rice: Oven 375º. Square, lidded Pyrex dish. 2 cups short grain brown rice. 3 cups boiling water. Salt. Around a tablespoon of oil. Combine and bake for 50 minutes.
Bake chicken: Square, lidded Pyrex dish. 4 chicken breast halves. Salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 25 minutes in oven with rice.
Make sauce: Around a 1/2 cup of soy sauce, a heaping spoon of cornstarch. Combine. Then add around a 1/3 cup rice cooking wine, a good splash of sesame oil and a few pressed garlic cloves. Stir together.
Cut vegetables: 1 onion sliced into stripes. 3 carrots sliced on the diagonal. 1 red and 1 yellow pepper sliced into stripes. Small head of cauliflower cut into florets. 2 small heads of broccoli cut into florets.
Chicken: Remove from oven when ready and cut into cubes.
Make stir-fry: Heat lidded pan/wok with a little oil. Add onions and maybe a little salt. Sautee for a few minutes. Add carrots and a little water. Cover for a few minutes. Add cauliflower and a little water. Cover for a few minutes. Add peppers and a little water. Cover for a few minutes. Add broccoli and a little water. Cover for a few minutes. Uncover and add chicken, add sauce, add more water if needed, turn up heat and stir until sauce thickens. Serve over rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
I make 3 per person. Here I’m making 12. Sometimes the ingredients get a little tilted by the end. I usually run out of avocado first.
For this three person version, you’ll need: 1/4 of a 14oz package of rice stick noodles
36 shrimp peeled and deveined
1 carrot julienned
1 cucumber julienned
2 cups cabbage (Napa, Savoy, Green…) sliced thin
1 Avocado halved and finely sliced
24 sprigs of cilantro
24 basil leaves
12 25cm extra-thin spring roll wrappers (or 22cm look for Dynasty brand)
Sweet chili sauce for dipping
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
2 cups boiling water in a 9×9 casserole dish or something close to that. Break up a quarter of a 14oz package of rice stick noodles and soak for about ten minutes then drain in colander. Cut up a bit with scissors.
36 shrimp. 3 for each roll. I buy frozen medium size wild-caught white shrimp and flash them in lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes (turn burner off as soon as shrimp are in. Then drain in colander and remove tails.
On a big cutting board with prep bowls if needed: 1carrot julienned (I have a hand-held Japanese julienne tool thing) 1cucumber cut lengthwise and seeded. Julienne half. Thinly slice other half and put in bowl with some rice vinegar.
About 2 cups of cabbage finely sliced (Napa, Savoy, green, or whatever) 1 avocado cut in halves and sliced thin Cilantro leaves and tender stalk
24 or so basil leaves
12 25cm extra-thin spring roll wrappers.
With enough space on cutting board to roll and a 9×9 casserole dish with hot water next to it, rotate wrapper through hot water, place on cutting board and begin to load about a third of the way down the wrapper: basil leaves and shrimp next to each other and then everything else on top. Tuck in sides and roll.
Serve cucumber slices in small dishes topped with toasted sesame seeds and sweet chili sauce for dipping. I usually make sushi rice as a side.
6 medium or 4 largebeets stems and greens removed
1 small yellow onion finely diced
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
4 to 6 cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Cooking equipment I used:
8 quart stockpot
Cut stems and greens from beets. Place in pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Continue on a slow boil until knife pierces beet easily. Half hour or so for small/medium and sometimes an hour for big ones. When done, reserve 1 cup of beet water. Set aside to cool.
In a small saucepan, combine beet water, a small yellow onion finely diced, one cup white wine vinegar, quarter cup sugar, four to six cloves, teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for around five minutes.
Meanwhile, trim ends off beets, pull skin off, slice or dice beets however you want. Combine beets and sauce in covered container and refrigerate overnight. Pull out a few hours before eating to let them warm up a bit.
When a small packet of heirloom cucumber seeds turns into this, you need more cucumber ideas. I have quite a few Asian and Greek inspired recipes so I needed something to go with other foods. This paired well with pasta.
This is best made a few hours before serving. Start with this basic recipe and then see how it tastes. I usually end up adding a little more vinegar or sugar. You can also add chopped fresh dill or red pepper flakes for a different take. Or more garlic.
4 cucumbers, skins removed and seeds scooped out, thinly sliced 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons good tasting olive oil 2 teaspoons sugar 1 garlic clove, crushed or put through a garlic press salt to taste
The first time I had this was in a Persian restaurant in Washington DC. What an incredible idea: a salad of parsley. It’s a bit of a pain to make, especially since I don’t like parsley stems, but foolproof.
1 1/2 cups bulgar wheat (medium or coarse) 2 big bunches of parsley 1 small red onion 2 large tomatoes 1 cup lemon juice (4-5 lemons) 1/2 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh or dried mint Salt and pepper to taste
Start proofing the bulgar wheat. There are many ways to do this. I’ve settled on putting it into a mesh strainer fitted into a saucepan—shown above—and running hot water over it to wet the grains until the water reaches the top. I sit it by the sink and about 45 minutes later it’s all puffed up and you can just pick the strainer up and let the water run out.
While this is going on, get out a large bowl, the biggest one you have. Finely dice the tomatoes and put them in your bowl and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
In a 2 cup measuring cup, add a half cup of olive oil and stir in the mint; finely minced if using fresh. Squeeze the lemons and add to the olive oil.
Now finely dice the red onion and add it to the olive oil and lemon juice mixture.
Now the parsley. I don’t like stems so I painstakingly pluck the leaves and then coarsely chop them. But you can do this however you want.
Once the bulgur is drained and ready, add everything to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add freshly ground pepper to taste or not.
Watch it disappear in less time than it took to make.
Tomatoes, about 1 large per person Smoked mozzarella (package is usually around 1/2 pound enough for 3 or 4) Olive oil Balsamic vingar Sea salt flakes Fresh cracked pepper
This is almost too simple to put here, but I love this version with smoked mozzarella. All you need to do is slice or cut tomatoes however you want, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and let sit for a few minutes while you cut up the mozzarella and basil. In this recipe, the mozzarella is more of an accent than a equal player; sometimes I do little cubes, sometimes sticks. If I have enough basil florets, I’ll use those; if not, I’ll do a chiffonade. The trick here, for me— and maybe this is just my imagination— is pouring the balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes before putting the mozzarella on top because I think it makes the cheese go tough. Weird. Also, some folks think adding vinegar is a travesty, but I think a little works well here. So, to taste and depending how hungry you are, tomatoes, salt flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar (you need very little of this, probably around teaspoon for a cup and a half of tomatoes), fresh cracked pepper, smoked mozzarella, and basil. Pair it with garlic bread and corn on the cob and a big glass of ice water with lemon.