Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thai Rice Pilaf

I sauteed finely chopped red onion for a few minutes, cooking the pieces down a bit, then added finely diced shallot; a few minutes later, I added asparagus cut into approximately 1/2" pieces. In a nonstick sauce pan with a little bit of oil, I quickly stir fried jasmine rice for about a minute, adding a little cumin seed in the last 15 seconds or so (cumin can burn easily), then added 1 1/2 times as much water as rice, 1/2 a cube of vegan bouillon, a pinch or two of salt, and a small pinch of turmeric. I brought this to a boil briefly then, covered, simmered for about 20 minutes. The liquid was then nicely absorbed; I then mixed in the asparagus saute, freshly ground black pepper, paprika, and Volcano Lime Burst (water, organic lime juice, lemon oil), and, off-heat, left it to steam a bit in the covered pan for another minute or two.

I served the pilaf with a arugula salad and Easter Egg radish, along with a dollop of guacamole (I love making guacamole; this small batch was purchased today). I also made toast out of rosemary sourdough bread with spicy red pepper spread, topped with an heirloom tomato slice.

We loved the rice! I might try making a dish like this again, but add a little bit of ginger, and maybe mix in some sesame seeds just before serving.

I am going to experiment with using my slow cooker to make a simple slightly chunky tomato sauce for pasta. Of course, Italian sauces taste great as they get to simmer for hours, and I read that one can cook sauces on the low setting of a slow cooker for 14 or 15 hours, and perhaps longer!

Tonight, I took 4 firm but ripe roma tomatoes and cut each in half through where the stem had been attached. Then, with a paring knife, I cut out the core, seeds and interior membranes, and popped this flavorful and juicy treat into my mouth . I diced the remaining tomato as finely as I could, and put into the slow cooker. I also sauteed finely chopped several small shallots and 3 small cloves of garlic, and added that to the cooker, as well as a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a few shakes of salt, a little freshly ground peppercorn (I should start using the term peppercorn instead of black pepper as I often use items like pink peppercorns), maybe 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, and maybe a teaspoon or so of fresh oregano.

I'm planning on turning the cooker on late tonight or early tomorrow morning, and making a simple pasta for dinner with this sauce. I also want to explore making other sauces, perhaps including some wine, sauteed vegan "sausage", maybe a touch of sugar or hot pepper, possibly olives or capers, artichoke pieces, and/or maybe some sauteed vegetables other than just onions/garlic/shallot. A friend used to add carrots to his tomato sauce, and that would also be worth experimenting with! But let's see how this sauce turns out - it smells good so far!


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