Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Around the World in Time for Dinner

I seem to be all over the place lately...some Mexican inspirations, then off for some Italian and tonight I'm all about Asian inspired foods.  I should probably talk to my Mom soon, I must've caught that travel bug she always seems to have:)  I'm planning on doing an "old" standby...Asian Chicken Stir-Fry, it's a recipe that I adapted from Epicure's Asian Chicken Stir-Fry recipe and then two newbies, Blistered Garlic Sesame Green Beans and Inspired Forbidden Black Rice...both of these are recipes that I've been working on but were inspired by the following blogs and websites:

Have you ever heard of black neither until a couple weeks ago...I guess it was only for the Chinese Royalty back in the day and most recipes you find online call it the Forbidden cool is that.  Black rice is considered a superfood as well, having a high nutritional value, it contains amino acids and several vitamins and minerals...check out the link above for more info.  Seeing as how it's "forbidden", I've been all over wanting to cook it:)  Since I've been forbidden I'm just going to go ahead and do it anyway, so here's today's recipe...I only like to do one recipe post a night so the Asian Chicken Stir-Fry and Blistered Sesame Garlic Green Beans will be another day:)

Black's actually more purple then black

Inspired Forbidden Black Rice

2 cups Chicken Broth (or water if you prefer)
1 cup Black Rice
2 Shallots, finely chopped
2 Celery Stalks, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Toasted Sliced Almonds
Salt and Pepper to taste

Start off by soaking the rice for at least an hour to cut down the actual cooking time.  Cover it with enough water for there to be 1" over the rice.

To toast the almonds I go with one of two options, in the oven or on the stovetop.  If you're doing them in the oven, lay them in a single layer on an ungreased shallow baking sheet in a preheated 350F oven and toast them for
10-15 minutes, stirring them up a couple times.  If you prefer the stovetop, use an ungreased heavy bottomed skillet and heat it over medium heat stirring them up frequently until nice and brown. 

Once the rice is done soaking, add the 2 cups of chicken broth and rice to a large pot and turn the heat to medium, leave the pot uncovered.  I use my own chicken broth so it's not as salty as store bought kinds so I add some salt to it.  Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to low and cover and cook for about 30 minutes (if you don't soak the rice, this could be upwards of 1 hour...there's a reason for this which is too long to explain so if you want to know, google it:).  Check the rice after about 20 minutes to see if it's done, it should be slightly chewy.  Once the rice is done, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes to continue to steam a bit.

While the rice is cooking, heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a frying pan and add the shallots and celery.  Saute them, stirring frequently for about 5-8 minutes.  Give them a turn or two of fresh ground sea salt while they're cooking to help bring out the flavour.

When the rice is finished cooking, you may have to drain away some liquid or you might not, add the shallots, celery and toasted almonds.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve:)

I'm not going to lie, tonight's dinner was a toss up...Aaron and Connor liked the stir-fry, I liked the stir-fry and the black rice (it does need a little something more, a clove or two of garlic I think) and January had 3 platefuls (what a little piggie:).  January seemed to like the beans, she ate them right up, but there was something missing there for me too...I'm going to have to experiment.  I also used Avocado Oil for the first time tonight, I'm trying to get away from vegetable oils, especially canola, and Avocado Oil has a high smoke point which makes it perfect for stir-fry's...I loved it and am going to make a point of finding new ways to use it.  I'm going to have to do a post soon about the fats/oils I use and why because there is a good long reason that deserves a post of it's own. 

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