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Posts Tagged ‘rice’

I unfortunately didn’t take a picture of this one.  But it’s rice pudding, how can you go wrong.  I made this on New Year’s Eve and it was a huge success.  I only slightly modified it from the Ina Garten recipe I watched on Food Network that day.

This is not low calorie in any way, shape or form, but it’s worth it.  Next time you want a treat give this one a try.

Perfect Rice Pudding (serves 6)

3/4 cup white basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
1 extra-large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine the rice and salt with one and a half cups water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stir once, and simmer, covered, on the lowest heat for 8 to 9 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed.

Stir in four cups of half-and-half and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, until the rice is very soft. Stir often, particularly toward the end.

Slowly stir in the beaten egg and continue to cook for one minute. Off the heat, add the remaining cup of half-and-half, and the vanilla.  Stir well. Pour into a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

Serve warm or chilled.

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It’s winter and I’m craving braised foods, casseroles, soups and long-cooked meals.  Actually I’ve been craving this kind of food for months, but I was having a hard time getting the rest of my family to desire a long-cooked braised meat and potatoes when it was 90 degrees outside.  Well that’s not the problem any longer, it’s 30 to 40 degrees around here now.  Exciting!

The other exciting news is that I’m going to take my first college culinary class starting in January.  Most everything I’ve learned in my life, computer programming, photography, how to play golf or tennis has been through reading books, a ton of practice and trial and error.  By myself I can usually increase my skills to the level of advanced amateur pretty quickly, but when things start to get hard, I usually give up and move on to something else.

Well I’ve decided that I’m going to try and take my cooking and culinary knowledge to the next level.  At the same time I’m terrified of going back to college after 20 years.  I’m sure there will be a certain level of boredom at times since I do have pretty good knife skills and I do know how to cook but I really need to learn the basics.  I’m one of those people who often times skips the basics and this limits my abilities in the long run.

Well no pain no gain right?  I’ve been working at the restaurant for almost two years now and I’m cooking quite a few things.  It seems like this is going to be my long-term career so I better make sure I’m good at it. I also figure even if I spend the majority of my time on the business side of the restaurant, the more culinary knowledge I have the better off we are!

So on to Grillades… in Creole parlance, it means thinly sliced beef, sometime veal, braised in a roux-thickened stock and served over buttered grits.  We found a ton of rice in the pantry last month so I decided to serve them over rice instead. This recipe is from Molly Stevens’ book All About Braising, which I highly recommend.  I’ve cooked multiple recipes from this book and all are great!

The roux made from the peanut oil and flour in the drippings of the meat was out of control.  The braising liquid was awesome, thick and rich.  The meat was also perfect.  I will be making this again, over polenta/grits next time!

Grillades & Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of boneless beef steaks (chuck, flat iron or top round) about 1/2″ thick
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped into 3/8″ pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped into 3/8″ pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock

Slice the steaks crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Season all over with salt and pepper.  Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a small heavy saucepan, pound the strips to a 1/4-inch thickness.

Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a large deep heavy skillet or a Dutch oven (5 or 6 quarts) over medium-high heat.  Lift a strip of steak with tongs and lower just the tip into the hot fat – if it doesn’t sizzle immediately, wait another 20 to 30 seconds before trying again.  Once the fat is hot, add only as many strips of steak as will fit without crowding and sear them, flipping once, until mahogany-colored in spots and around the edges, two to three minutes per side.  Set aside on a large plate without stacking and continue searing the remaining steaks.

Once all the steak strips are browned, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the skillet.  Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste, which is known as a roux.  Expect to see black specks in the roux left from browning the meat; the roux itself will be dirty beige.  Continue to stir gently but continuously until the roux begins to glisten, about five minutes.

Stir in the onion, green pepper and celery until evenly coated with the roux.  Cook, still over medium-low, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to become limp and fragrant (you’ll smell the bell pepper most), about 20 minutes. The roux will darken from a dirty beige color to more like caramel, and the moisture released from the vegetables will help keep it from scorching.  Don’t stray far from the stove, through, when the roux and vegetables are cooking.  You have to be vigilant about stirring every few minutes so that nothing sticks or scorches.

Stir the garlic, thyme, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne and a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring once or twice, for another three minutes. Slowly pour in the stock, stirring until smooth, increase the heat to medium and boil for a minute or two, stirring once twice, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of gravy.

Adjust the heat to low and wait for the sauce to slow to a quiet simmer.  Return the steak to the skillet, along with any juices that pooled on the plate, stir to combine the meat with the sauce and the vegetables, and cover tightly.  After about five minutes, check to see that the sauce is only simmering sluggishly – if it is too close to a boil, you’ll wind up with tough steak.  If necessary, lower the heat or place a heat diffuser beneath the pan.  Continue to braise, lifting the lid every 25 minutes or so to stir, until the steaks are fork-tender and the sauce is quite thick, about one hour.

During the last 45 minutes make the rice.

Remove the grillades from the heat and taste for salt, pepper and cayenne.  The sauce should be piquant.  Serve over the rice.

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It starts for real today. The architect for the new building met with us today to go over some of our requirements for the new place. Up until this point it was all up in the air, serious, but not super serious.

The economy is in the tank, the stock market fell 500 points today and we are talking about building a new restaurant from the ground up and we don’t even have the money secured yet. No risk, no reward!

We figured out today that the restaurant will be approximately 1,800 square feet with almost half being devoted to the kitchen and storage. Current kitchen = 87 square feet, new kitchen = 900 square feet. I think we will be able to stop turning down business soon.

So tonight I told myself I need to kick it into gear. I need to start working much more on the business planning and complete all of the projects that are out there. I need to engage and reinvent myself for the upcoming 9 to 12 months. Here are my priorities starting right now.

1) Spend more time with my wife, whom I love dearly, away from work so when we are working our ass off and arguing (her words) and debating (my words) in the next year we can realize that it’s only about work. We are going to San Francisco in a few weeks to kick this off.

2) Spend more time with my stepson Randy because he is in the thick of it at the University of Nevada at Reno and needs all the support he can get. Spend more time with my parents in California since they are the reason I’m successful and able to do any of this.

3) Make a new to do list with deadline dates for all of the projects I want to work on and actually do them. Don’t play paintball if I’m not on schedule. Don’t buy any new books or hobby stuff unless I’m on schedule.

4) Get up one hour earlier each day, thank GOD for everything I have, drink a cup of coffee and read something for pleasure so I’m not pissed off that I don’t have as much leisure time.

5) Work out every night regardless of whatever the hell happens, even if I have to stay up until 11:00 to do it.

6) Come up with a comprehensive blueprint for what is working and what is not in the current location so as not to make the same mistakes again.

7) Increase baked good sales by 50% within a three month period! Yeah Joannie is going to like this one. Much of the business plan for the new place calls for a huge increase in baked goods. Why wait?

8) Cook dinner at least 2 times each week and blog about it! Continue to improve my photography skills. The photography part really needs to wait until paintball season is over for the winter and then I can trade out the time.

9) Eat less than 2,000 calories per day, at least 6 days per week. Lose 20 pounds in the next 5 months.

10) Increase the traffic to my blog from the current 500 to 800 visits per day to more than 1,200 per day.

Okay there it is. I think it covers everything that is really, really important for the next 6 months. Let’s see how it goes. How many do you think I can achieve out of the 10 things? Damn, there are so many more important things I need to do as well.

Oh, here is the first pic of the empty lot where the building is going! This corner is the 4th busiest in Reno, there are businesses on all corners with the exception ours. The daytime population in a 5-mile radius is 140,000 people. I only need .00107 of them to come in each day. Should be a cakewalk. Which we will be selling a lot of. Cake. See Nancy’s blog this week!

So what about the recipe? Well, here it is. Of all places I found it in Real Simple Magazine and I would have passed on it, but it had curry in it, which I love right now, and it was also easy. The perfect food for after work.

I made a few adjustments to the original recipe with Nancy’s help to spice it up a bit.

Curried Rice with Shrimp (serves four)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped – I didn’t have any, the dog ate them
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes – adjust to your level
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil

Heat the oil in a large skillet, with available lid, over medium heat. Add onion and carrot, cook stirring occasionally until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and curry, cook, stirring until fragrant about 2 minutes. If it starts to burn, turn down the heat. Cooking the curry activates the spice.

Add rice, 2 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper,  and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Nestle the shrimp in the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughtout, 5 to 6 minutes. Fold in the basil, this is the best part, and serve right away.

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