Rice

Spanish Rice No Noodles

paella pan

Shop Window at the Philadelphia Italian Market

Two aromas greeted me when I opened the door to our apartment this afternoon: freshly ground coffee and something a little bit more difficult to identify. After I had removed my coat and had set down my things, I went into the kitchen. My husband had offered to start supper; the glass lid to the frying pan was clouded with steam, and I could tell by the empty box on the counter that he was cooking “Spanish rice”.

Rice-a-Roni describes it’s product as “tender rice and vermicelli with zesty Spanish seasonings”. It is easy to prepare, and if you add a few extra ingredients it can be quite tasty.

When my husband chose to prepare Spanish rice this evening, he didn’t know that March 27th is “National Spanish Paella Day”. Who knows how people choose one date over another as that food’s “national day”. Spain would certainly laugh at the thought of our instant rice and noodles meal being an adequate substitute for paella.

paella rice

Short-Grain Rice

Paella is a dish made with three essential ingredients: Spanish short-grain rice, olive oil, and saffron. Your recipe will vary based on what kinds of meat and/or vegetable you include.

I’m a novice at paella preparation, but it isn’t difficult to find people with opinions and suggestions. I ordered packets of paella seasoning online, Valencia rice was available at a local grocery store, and I already had a bag of seafood mix in the freezer.

Unfortunately, I was not patient enough to really read how to cook the seafood, so that part ended up rather tough. The pungent(?) saffron flavor didn’t seem to really stand out, so I may have to try again (with a different meat combination, too!).

paella

First Attempt at Preparing Paella

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Lazy Lingonberry Pork Roast

One of my coworkers recently retired. She’s using her new free time to sort through things in her house.  She tackled the kitchen and gave me some of her extra cookbooks and ingredients.

Thanks, Kathy, for the port, candied ginger, and the recipe for Crock Pot Cranberry Port Pork Roast.  I just changed out a few of the ingredients to use what I had on hand.

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Ingredients

2 (to 3) lbs boneless pork loin roast
1 (14 ounce) jar IKEA lingonberry preserves
1⁄3 cup port wine (or 1⁄3 cup cranberry juice)
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 small lemon, thinly sliced
1⁄3 cup raisins
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons candied ginger, diced
1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

rice, cooked

Directions

Put the roast in slow cooker.
In a bowl combine, lingonberry preserves, port, and sugar.
Stir in lemon, raisins, garlic, ginger, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Pour over roast. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours or until meat is 170°F.
Remove roast and keep warm.

Prepare the gravy:

Pour 3 cups of cooking juices into a saucepan.
Bring to a boil.
In a separate, small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water.
Add this mixture to the saucepan.
Continue cooking the liquid for about one minute or until thickened and no longer cloudy.

Slice roast and serve over rice with sauce.

2 lbs pork will serve 4-5 people, depending on how hungry they are and what sides you serve. We ate roasted vegetable Ritz crackers with cream cheese while waiting for things to be reheat (2nd day) and had green beans and butternut squash custard.

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Ruth Is Right

Sharwoods Curry with yogurt

A friend’s cool, dark basement was a welcome place to spend a sultry summer evening. After watching some of a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s celebration, our host popped in the dvd I had brought along. The Lunchbox came out in 2013, but I’d never heard of it. If you have an interest in foreign places and/or enjoy food for more than just nourishment, you might like the movie.

The story was set in India so now, naturally, we are craving curries, paneer, and chapati.  Since the last two recipes from Ruth Reichl’s book, Tender at the Bone, have recently provided success in our kitchen, I thought I would see what she has to say about Indian food. At the end of one of Gourmet‘s foodie travel videos, Reichl gives instruction for a simple tandoori-style entree that you can make at home.

Rather than insisting you purchase a zillion spices to create an imitation of the complex flavors of an Indian restaurant, she claims that the bottled sauces at your grocery store will be sufficient. Besides a bottle of Vindaloo sauce, you need yogurt, cilantro, and mint to season your chicken.  You should let the skinless chicken marinade for at least 40 minutes.

The cooking method almost convinced me to set the recipe aside. Summer temperatures in July do not encourage one to use the oven, much less an oven set to 500*F.  However, after a torrential downpour last night, the outside temperatures have dropped to near 70* F. Because I was still afraid of setting off the smoke alarm,  I didn’t leave the chicken in long enough for it to get the prescribed char.

I’ve got to work on the Basmati rice. But, alongside the curried vegetables, and the slices of raw tomato and avocado, the false-tandoori chicken was satisfying.

 

Categories: Chicken, Entertainment, Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, Rice, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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