Random Food Happenings

A meal that could have been extracted from a time capsule devoted to 70s health food! Sometimes, the old (crunchy granola) ways are still best. Brown rice with raw walnuts, grated beets vinaigrette, yogurt cheese, fermented radishes and pan-fried broccoli and bell peppers.

Baharat can be mixed using all ground spices but the Middle Eastern spice blend, used also in North Africa, to flavor everything from meat to lentils to rice, is far tastier when made at home with the help of a Magic Bullet (or coffee grinder). Basically just throw all this in and grind until powdered: 1/2 cup black peppercorns, 1/4 cup coriander seeds, 1/4 cup broken cinnamon sticks, 1/4 cup whole cloves, 1/3 cup cumin seeds, 2 T. whole cardamom pods, 1-2 whole nutmegs and 1/2 cup ground paprika. This yields 2 cups. Baharat powder will keep fresh for a few months if refrigerated and for at least 8 weeks unrefrigerated but tightly sealed.

Although not interested in cooking itself, Arabella always pays close attention to when dinner is ready.

Homemade hummus with baharat powder, garden salad, cucumbers in yogurt and toasted peasant bread.

Croquettes are a perfect use for cold, leftover rice languishing in the fridge.

Rice croquettes can be made with any sort of leftover cooked grain, not just rice.

Our rice croquettes with an escarole and pea shoot salad, lentil stew, mashed turnips and a parsley sauce.

To make Rice Croquettes:Start with 2 cups of cold, cooked rice (or another cooked grain, such as millet or quinoa) in a deep mixing bowl. Add to it 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 thinly sliced scallion and 3 T. finely minced parsley. Season with plenty of salt and crushed red pepper. With your clean hands, mash everything together until you reach a consistency similar to that of meatloaf. If things won't stay together you can add 1 egg and some bread crumbs as needed. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes or longer. Now, heat 3 T. olive oil in a non-stick skillet over a medium flame. As the oil is heating, with slightly wet hands, shape the rice mixture into small croquette shapes, about 2 T. per croquette. Dip each croquette in a bowl containing 1 beaten egg and then roll in another wide, shallow bowl full of dried breadcrumbs. Fry in the oil on each side until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot or warm.


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