Tag Archives: Rice

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Well hello there, how have you been?  I am not sure what happened but I must have blinked because October is almost over and we haven’t done any blogging.  Yikes.  Luckily, it is fall and we just got our first Winter CSA distribution so there is plenty of inspiration to go around.  The winter CSA is lots of fun because the distributions are over flowing with tons of vegetables, apples, dried beans, and other goodies.  With that big box of yum, we were quickly inspired to make this delicious (almost vegetarian) butternut squash stuffed with flavors of fall.

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

The squash is roasted with butter and maple syrup and then filled with a stuffing made from leeks, apples, bacon, brown rice, and more maple syrup.  The stuffing nicely balances the sweet with the savory and makes for a light but filling main dish.  The recipe calls for butternut squash but you could easily substitute acorn or another hard shelled squash if that is what you had on hand.

Chopped Leek

Chopped Leek

This dish requires a few steps to make but it can almost all be done ahead of time.  It makes a great Thanksgiving option because you can prep it all a day or two in advance and then heat it up right before serving.

Ready for Roasting

Ready for Roasting

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

2 medium butternut squash

1 tbls butter

3 tbls real maple syrup, divided

2.5 ounces thick cut bacon

1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 small apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup cooked brown rice

To Make:

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Arrange the squash in a roasting pan, cut side up.  Divide the butter and 1 tbls of the syrup between the four cavities.  Fill the pan with about an inch of water, cover with foil, and roast at 375 until mostly tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, rub the butter and syrup from the cavity all over the squash and cook for another 10-15 minutes until it starts to caramelize around the edges.

Meanwhile chop the bacon and cook in a heavy skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp.  Remove the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels.  Drain off all but about 1 tbls of the bacon fat from the pan.  Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the apples to the pan and sauté until they are soft, another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and 2 tbls of maple syrup to bind it all together.  At this point, you can refrigerate both the squash and the stuffing, tightly wrapped in separate containers, until you are ready to serve.
Mound the stuffing into the cavity of the squash halves and bake in a 375 degree oven until warmed through, 10-20 minutes, depending on how cold everything was.
To Serve:
Serve hot as a main dish or as a hefty side.  Make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using olive oil or butter instead of bacon fat for sauteing the filling.  Serves 4.

 

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Filed under Dinner, Fruit, Recipes, Rice, Vegetables

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

I have a confession to make.  I don’t really care all that much for green beans.  I try to like them.  I eat them steamed, roasted, even grilled, but they never get more than a “meh” from me.  I really want to like them, all green and fresh and crisp but something about the flavor is off for me.

Beans, ginger, and a chili

Beans, ginger, and a chili

This season, I was determined to find a way to cook green beans that I would actually enjoy.  After much searching, Marc came across this recipe.  It looked promising.  Sesame oil, good.  Ginger and garlic, good.  Hoisin sauce, very good.  Almonds soaked in Tamari soy sauce, very very good.

Almonds bathing in tamari

Almonds bathing in tamari

Turns out, this recipe is awesome.  I love good Chinese food and this has all the elements of Chinese take out.  Even better, it made me like green beans.  In fact, I had leftovers the next day, a true testament to the deliciousness of this dish.

Beans in their delicious sauce

Beans in their delicious sauce

Spicy Green Beans with Tamari Roasted Almonds

Adapted from The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds

Tamari soy sauce, for soaking

3 tbls toasted sesame oil

1 cup rice (uncooked)

1 hot red chili, seeded, finely chopped

1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cups green beans (about a pound), cut into 2 inch pieces

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1 tbls brown sugar

2 tbls mirin (rice cooking wine)

To make:

First, make the tamari almonds.  Put the almonds in a bowl and pour in enough tamari to cover.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain off the tamari (save the tamari, it can still be used).  Heat the almonds for a few minutes in a hot skillet, shaking occasionally.  Roughly chop and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet.

In a sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil.  When the oil is hot, dump in the rice.  Stir to coat the rice and toast for a few minutes.  Add in the appropriate amount of water and cooking according to the rice instructions.  Set aside.

In the same skillet that you used for the almonds, heat two tablespoons of toasted sesame oil.  Add in the finely chopped ginger, garlic, and chili; cook for 1 minute.  Add in the green beans, hoisin sauce, and brown sugar.  Cook until the beans are slightly tender, but still with some crunch, about 5 minutes (or until they are as soft as you like).  Add in the mirin and cook for 1 minute more.

 To Serve:

Put the rice in a large serving bowl.  Top with the green beans and all of the wonderful sauce.  Finally, add the roughly chopped almonds.  Serves 6 as a side.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dinner, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Spinach Risotto

Spinach Risotto

I have a confession, I am addicted to making risotto in my pressure cooker.  Since discovering the wonder of making perfect risotto in minutes using this amazing device, I make it all the time.  Lunch on a Saturday, let’s have risotto.  Dinner on Tuesday, sure risotto would be a tasty side. 

Fresh spinach

Now I realize this is the third risotto recipe I have posted (if you are hungry, check out apple cheddar risotto and mushroom risotto) but it is too delicious to keep to myself.  This recipe uses fresh mushrooms cooked down until they are brown and meaty and fresh spinach to add lovely color and flavor.  Chicken stock spiked with vermouth adds unusual flavor notes to the rice.  Finally, stirring in some shredded swiss cheese adds a nice bite to the creamy dish.

Browned mushrooms

If you wanted, you could adapt this recipe for stove top cooking.  Just heat the liquid and add it, a ladle at a time, to the rice and stir constantly until it is absorbed.  Repeat until the rice is creamy.

Toasting the rice

Spinach Risotto

Ingredients:

2 tbls butter, divided

5 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbls olive oil

8 oz fresh spinach, washed and tough stems trimmed off

1 cup aborio rice

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup dry vermouth

3 oz swiss cheese

To Make:

In a medium skillet heat 1 tbls olive oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the well drained spinach and sautee until just starting to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Remove the spinach to a colander and let drain while the risotto is cooking.

In your pressure cooker (or whatever pot you will be using to make the risotto), melt 1 tbls butter over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook until browned and the mushrooms have given up their liquid, about 15 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter.  Cook the rice, stirring until toasted, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and vermouth, put the lid on the pressure cooker, and bring to pressure.  Cook for 8 minutes.  Release the pressure and stir in cheese, spinach, and remaining tbls butter until smooth and creamy.

To Serve:

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish.

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Filed under Dinner, Mushrooms, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetables

Apple Cheddar Risotto

A Hearty Fall Meal

A Hearty Fall Meal

Thanks to my new toy, I am on a bit of a risotto kick.  I am also thoroughly enjoying the fall weather that has come to New England.  This time of year always makes me start jonesing for winter squash, slow roasted meat dishes (especially pork), and all things apple. 

With a simple dinner of pan seared pork chops and roasted delicata squash planned, all that was missing was the apple.  We decided to be a little whimsical and turn the classic flavors of apple and cheddar pie into a rich, creamy risotto.  The combination of apples, aged English cheddar, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of cognac was fantastic.  It was both sweet and savory with a nice richness.  I made this in my pressure cooker so it was also quick and easy.  You can make this the conventional way as well, and I think it would definitely be worth the effort.

The makings of a delicious risotto

The makings of a delicious risotto

Apple and Cheddar Risotto

Ingredients:

1 tbls butter

1 small to medium apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

1/2 cup aborio rice

1 cup apple juice

2 tbls cognac (you could also use brandy or bourbon, if you want to omit the alcohol, make sure you replace the liquid with additional juice or water)

3 ounces cheddar cheese

2 tbls heavy cream

Dash of cinnamon

To Make:

In a sauce pan (or your pressure cooker) melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the apples and saute, stirring, until just starting to soften and caramalize.  Add the rice and continue to stir until the rice is light golden, about 3 minutes.  Add the apple juice and cognac, put the lid on the cooker, and bring to pressure.  If you are making the risotto the conventional way, make sure the liquid is heated and add slowly, one ladleful at a time.  Stir each infusion of liquid until it is completely absorbed before adding more. 

Once up to pressure, cook for 8 minutes.  Once the rice is tender, remove from heat and stir in the cheese, heavy cream, and the dash of cinnamon until creamy.

To Serve:

This amount serves 2-3 people (pretty hefty portions).  Serve alongside pork chops and roasted squash. This recipe can easily be doubled.

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Filed under Fruit, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetarian