Saturday, October 26, 2013

New Home!

Dear Readers,
Buckwheat To Butter has a new home! After many months of hard work I am delighted to announce that my Health Coaching website is finished and standing on its own two virtual feet. I am taking new clients so please feel free to reach out if you or a loved one is interested in learning more about my work. I won't stop blogging, but from now on you can find new posts (and old) here

In other news, I just had the privilege of working as a private chef for a couple of weeks for a client. You can find pictures of that adventure on my Instagram feed.

Look for new posts very soon! Thank you so much for reading and for all of your support.

And so begins the next chapter.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Grown Up Rice

Confession. I love white rice with ketchup mixed into it. It's a dirty secret from my childhood. It's comfort in a bowl--slightly chewy, soft, hot, a bit sweet. I eat with a spoon. It's even better topped with a fried egg. Nutritional value of said dish without the egg? Yeesh. I won't even try to quantify it. 

I grew up eating grains and have always loved them as a food group. But when I try to conjure up a more grown up rice dish that I really love, nothing rises to the top of the pack. I know that brown and wild rices are great for me and can be delicious, but when I look at my jars of grains and pulses on the shelf I almost always pass over the rice in favor of quinoa, millet, amaranth, lentils.

Last week I had my nose in Yottam Ottolenghi's great cookbooks, Plenty and Ottolenghi. I spent a week making his recipes--green gazpacho, sesame and harissa marinated chicken thighs, burnt eggplant with pomegranate molasses. In Plenty, I came across a recipe for rice with herbs, which he describes as "actually, herbs with rice".
His cooking method is pretty intricate and involves things like making "chimneys" in the rice to allow for proper steaming and what seemed like constant "drizzling" with water and different oils. Steaming chimneys seemed more labor-intensive than necessary for a working night's dinner but I loved the idea of a heavily herbed rice dish. I chose red Wehani rice over Ottolenghi's call for white, ** and decided--at least this time--not to add his called-for yogurt and sour cream. To make it a one-dish meal I sauteed shallots and delicata squash, stirred it into the cooked rice, and added some sriracha hot sauce. It was hot, easy to eat with a spoon, toothsome, intensely flavorful. It would be great with an egg on top. And this time, no ketchup necessary.

** White rice is the whole grain stripped of its hull whereas brown rice (and Wehani rice) is the grain with its hull in tact. The hull contains most of the B vitamins, minerals, fiber and fat and 10% of the protein. While white rice is not completely devoid of nutrition, it doesn't provide as many nutrients as its brown or wild counterparts. Think of it as white bread versus some kind of seedy whole grain bread--it's not evil, it's just doing less good.

Grown Up Rice
serves 4 as a side dish
adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi's book Plenty
1 cup red (or brown or wild) rice
2 1/4 cups water
1-2 cups finely chopped herbs (dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, oregano)
1 shallot
olive oil
1 small delicata squash
sriracha or hot sauce of choice
egg (optional)

Put the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Put it in a pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Once water boils, throw in a pinch or two of salt, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Set time for 20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, halve the delicata lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Halve each piece again, lengthwise, and slice crosswise into slices about a 1/4 inch thick. Set aside.

Peel the shallot and chop. Set aside.

Choose the herbs you like in the amounts you like (I go heaviest on mint, basil and dill, personally) and chop finely.

When the timer on the rice goes off, remove the top, add the herbs in one big pile and replace the lid. Se the timer for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a small pan. When glistening, add the shallot and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the delicata and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium high heat until the squash is tender and browning at the edges. About 10 minutes. 

When the rice is finished, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, stirring the herbs into the grain. Add the delicata and shallot to the pot and mix well or spoon the rice onto a plate and top with the squash. Top it all with an egg (fried or poached recommended) and a generous amount of hot sauce. Salt and pepper to taste as always.