February – Brown Rice ‘Risotto’ with Mushrooms in the Instant Pot

February – Brown Rice ‘Risotto’ with Mushrooms in the Instant Pot

Can you make a risotto with brown rice? Can you make it in the electric pressure cooker? And, if you do use brown rice and cook it in a pressure cooker, can you call it risotto? Those are all valid questions. I can answer numbers one and two. Yes, you can make a delicious risotto-like dish with brown rice. And yes, you can do it in the electric pressure cooker. As to the question of ‘is it really a risotto’, the answer is more complicated. If to you a risotto is arborio rice, hand-stirred over a hot stove dish with slow additions of broth, the answer is no. But, if you are after a healthy and creamy brown rice dish made hands-off in an electric pressure cooker, the answer is yes. It is risotto-like. I think I can legitimately call it that.

Amazingly I have heard (but not tried) making a risotto with short-grain brown rice in the traditional hand-stirred method. You need to stir at least double the amount of time for the starch to develop. It sounds very tiring; but possible. Let me know if any of you try it.

As I wrote in my previous post, Brown Rice Risotto with Edamame Beans and Spinach, (also made in the pressure cooker) there are several recipes for baked rice out there, even baked brown rice. Ina Garten has an easy baked Parmesan “risotto” method which only requires a few minutes of stirring at the end. Her recipe is similar to America’s Test Kitchen’s baked brown rice. The blog Cookie + Kate combined the two in her recipe for baked brown rice risotto with mushrooms. Hey Nutrition Lady has a recipe for a brown rice risotto made in the InstantPot on her site. This dish is a combination of the recipes above. I wanted to combine the inherent nuttiness of brown rice with mushrooms and some healthy green spinach.

Because there is no evaporation in a pressure cooker, the quantity of stock has to be reduced. For each 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of stock should be used. And, the quality of the stock is crucial since the flavor is concentrated in the rice. Unsalted homemade chicken or vegetable is the best. I add 1/2 cup of white wine, cooked down until it is mostly evaporated once the onion and garlic are finished sautéing. The wine adds a depth of flavor to the dish when it’s concentrated but would taste harsh if it wasn’t cooked down almost completely. Trust your nose on this one.

For the mushroom ‘risotto’ I used both fresh and dried mushrooms. I presoaked the dried ones in hot water and used the mushroom stock as part of my liquid. It deepened and intensified the overall finished mushroom flavor.

You could easily convert this to a vegan version by using olive oil and a good quality or homemade vegetable stock.

I have bolded short-grain brown rice because I think it’s important. I am not sure this would work with basmati or another long-grain rice. Short grain is higher in starch.

Brown Rice ‘Risotto’

Ingredients:

6 small side dishes, 2-3 main

  • 1/2 cup of dried mushrooms, I used porcini (about 1/2 oz)
  • Boiling water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus 1 tablespoon of butter to saute the onions and garlic
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 chile de Arbol, crumbled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1- 1/2 cups of short-grain brown rice
  • 3 cups of liquid – mushroom soaking water (strained) plus chicken or vegetable broth

Fresh mushrooms:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter to saute the mushrooms
  • 2 cups of fresh mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (about 6 oz)

To Finish:

  • 2 ounces of baby spinach, roughly chopped (or peas, or blanched asparagus tips, or…)
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan
  • optional pat of butter stirred in at the end

Method:

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add hot (I used just boiled) water to cover. Leave for at least 20 minutes. Once soft, cut off any hard bits and chop into pieces about 1/2 inch in size.
  2. Using the saute setting, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  3. Add the onion and chile de Arbol. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions are turning golden brown then add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute.
  4. Add the rice and stir to combine, toasting the rice for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the wine and stir constantly until is mostly evaporated.
  6. Add the softened and chopped dried mushrooms.
  7. Hit cancel or stop to end the saute setting.
  8. Add the stock and mushroom soaking liquid, stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure there are no bits stuck to the bottom.
  9. Put on the lid and lock it in place, make sure the vent is set to sealing. Set it at high pressure for 24 minutes.
  10. When the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 min, then quickly release.
  11. Remove the lid, add the second tablespoon of butter (if using) and stir for 1 – 2 minutes to create a creamy texture.
  12. Stir in the spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and parmesan.

If you are making this for company it will take about an hour total to cook, but most of it is hands off. You can saute the onion (or shallots) and garlic ahead of time. Same with the fresh mushrooms. Measure out all your ingredients. When you are ready, turn the machine back to saute and proceed with the recipe from step 4. The cooker will take about 15 minutes to reach full pressure once you turn that function on, then 24 minutes at high pressure, 15 minutes to release. It’s simply a matter of stirring and adding the spinach, fresh mushrooms and parmesan (plus an optional pat of butter) at the very end. Make sure you serve it in preheated bowls.

It isn’t a particularly beautiful dish, being mostly brown. The spinach helps. If you have some fried shallots you can sprinkle them on at the end for some textural interest, or some chopped parsley.

Brown Rice 'Risotto'

Brown Rice ‘Risotto’

It’s been ages since I joined the virtual blogging part over at Fiesta Friday hosted by Angie. It’s Fiesta Friday #470 and I think they will enjoy this time saving and healthy dish. Come on over to find posts on decorating, cooking and crafts. And consider adding your own post.

January – Brown Rice Risotto with Edamame Beans and Spinach

January – Brown Rice Risotto with Edamame Beans and Spinach

Can you make a risotto with brown rice? It was a challenge I set out to investigate. There are several recipes for baked rice out there, even baked brown rice. Ina Garten has an easy baked Parmesan “risotto” method which only requires a few minutes of stirring at the end. Her recipe is similar to America’s Test Kitchen’s baked brown rice. The blog Cookie + Kate combined the two in her recipe for baked brown rice risotto with mushrooms. That sounded delicious and I wanted to go one step further (faster?) and cook it in the electric pressure cooker. Over Christmas, a friend’s daughter made a more traditional risotto with arborio rice in the Instant Pot, it was creamy and everything you want a risotto to be. So here goes…

My inspiration came from a recipe in Suzanne Goin’s book Sunday Suppers at Lucques for shell bean risotto. Fresh shell beans weren’t available but frozen edamame beans are in most grocery stores. Her recipe also has a healthy dose of greens with the addition of chopped spinach.

Because you don’t get any evaporation in a pressure cooker, the quantity of stock has to be reduced. For each 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of stock should be used. And the quality of the stock is crucial since it gets concentrated in the rice, unsalted homemade is best. When added, the wine should be cooked until it mostly evaporates, otherwise the flavor will be too strong. Trust your nose on this one.

It would be easy to convert this to vegan by using only olive oil and a good quality or homemade vegetable stock.

Ingredients:

6 small side dishes, 2-3 main

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (divided)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves, fresh (if using dried 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 chile de Arbol, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1- 1/2 cups of short-grain brown rice
  • 3 cups of broth – I used chicken stock but vegetable would make it vegetarian
  • 1 cup of cooked edamame beans
  • 2 ounces of baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Method:

  1. Using the saute setting, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  2. Add the onion, thyme, and chile de Arbol. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions are turning golden brown.
  3. Add the rice and stir to combine, toasting the rice for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the wine and stir constantly until is mostly evaporated.
  5. Hit cancel or stop to end the saute setting.
  6. Add the stock and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure there are no bits stuck to the bottom.
  7. Put on the lid and lock it in place, make sure the vent is set to sealing. Set it to high pressure for 24 minutes.
  8. When the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 min, then quickly release.
  9. Remove the lid, add the second tablespoon of butter and stir for 1 – 2 minutes to create a creamy texture.
  10. Stir in the beans, spinach, and parsley.

I served this with an oven-roasted boneless chicken thigh, a recipe to be posted. The risotto was supposed to serve 6 as a side dish. Don’t believe it, there were no seconds to be had. I would say 4 as a generous side dish, maybe 2 for a main dish with some leftovers. It all depends on the appetite and enthusiasm of your eaters.

Unfortunately, it was gobbled up before I had an opportunity to take any photos of the risotto itself.

It turned out creamy and delicious. Who could have guessed? The brown rice added a nutty fullness to the flavor. I think it would be even more delicious with mushrooms. A combination of dried (use the soaking liquid as part of the broth) and fresh (saute them and add them at the end) would be memorable. Stay tuned for next time.

September – Eggs for Dinner or Emergency Dinner

September – Eggs for Dinner or Emergency Dinner

I call this my back pocket or emergency dinner. It relies on items that are always in my fridge or pantry…eggs, some sort of white liquid, bread and some sort of cheese. I’ve added some asparagus here but a simple green salad would be welcome as well.

But, it’s also the perfect Sunday night dinner after a busy weekend or a long afternoon walk. It’s a cozy dinner. Something that will sit lightly on your tummy for a good nights sleep. Start a fire and sit in front of it to eat, or watch the rain (or snow) outside your window and be thankful for your own dry snug home.

Eggs in a hole

Eggs in a hole

A dense country style loaf is best, sliced thickly. But if you, like me, only have a pre-sliced sourdough loaf on hand, it will work just fine. In that case, don’t leave the bread soaking in the egg for too long or it will dissolve.

For the eggy/milk soaking use anything you have on hand. Cow, goat, nut, oak milk all work. Only have half and half? Go for it. Coconut creamer…sounds good to me.

This a ‘toad-in-the-hole’ idea with eggs. If you are not familiar with ‘toad-in-the-hole’, it’s usually made with sausages and a popover (or Yorkshire pudding) batter. The sausages peek out of the batter which puffs up around them. Personally I don’t think they look much like toads.

Toad in the hole from Delish

Toad in the hole from Delish

This would be a great brunch dish as well as dinner, it’s quick to assemble and is mostly hands off.

Eggs in a hole

Eggs in a hole

This will serve 2 people with 2 eggs each, 4 if you only want 1 egg. Choose bread slices from the middle of the loaf. With larger slices you may be able to put 2 eggs in each bread slice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 4 slices of country style bread such as sourdough from the middle of the loaf
  • 5 eggs, 1 for the soaking and 4 to bake
  • 1/3 cup of milk of some kind
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan or some other grated cheese, I used cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cheese for topping
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 scallion (optional for garnish), sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and grease it lightly with olive oil
  3. In a large shallow dish, whisk together the egg, 1/3 cup milk, melted butter, and 1/4 cup parmesan with a large pinch of salt and a grind of pepper
  4. Soak the bread in the mixture, soaking each side. The bread should be soft and soaked through but not falling apart. The length of time will depend on the thickness of your slices and the type of bread.
  5. Arrange the soaked bread on the baking sheet, pouring any remaining soaking liquid over them. Using a small juice glass or cookie cutter, carefully cut 1 or 2 (2 1/2 inch) holes in each slice of soaked bread. Place the cut out rounds on the cookie sheet beside the bread slices.
  6. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until the bread is starting to turn golden on top.
  7. Remove from the oven and flip the bread slices and hole lids.
  8. Crack an egg into each hole and sprinkle with cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  9. Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until the eggs are barely set (they will continue to cook on the hot pan). If the egg whites are still translucent, bake them for another minute or two.
  10. To serve, place the egg toasts on places, top each toast with its lid and garnish with the scallion.
Eggs in a hole

Eggs in a hole

You can roast asparagus on the other end of the sheet pan as I did. It does somewhat defeat the empty larder concept though.

To do so simply trim enough for 2 people, toss with a little olive oil, and place the stalks on the other end of the sheet pan when the bread slices go into the oven. Sprinkle with salt. If the stalks are cooked after the first 10 minutes you can remove them to a warm plate until the eggs are cooked.

Broccolini could be cooked in the same way. Or a bunch of scallions, trimmed but left whole.

A lovely glass of wine elevates this even further.

I think I am going to mosey over to Fiesta Friday #450. I think Angie and the gang might like to have this in their back pocket as well.

Riced Cauliflower Herb Salad – September

Riced Cauliflower Herb Salad – September

This is an update to a recipe that was originally posted in May of 2019 called Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad. I’ve added a drained can of chickpeas, capers and some chopped dates for a sweet note. This is a valuable salad recipe to have in your back pocket. It’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan and it can be made several hours ahead. I took it to a bookclub potluck lunch to share. Leftovers were still good a couple of days later and made a great lunch with a bit of canned tuna.

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

 

I can find riced cauliflower in the grocery store, both Trader Joe’s and Safeway carry it. But it is easy to make at home in your food processor if you need to start from scratch (or have cauliflower growing in your garden…lucky you). I don’t recommend using the packaged already riced cauliflower if you are making mock mashed potatoes I think it has a high percentage of stem. It won’t result in a creamy rich amazing mashed potato substitute. You need to have mostly florets for that recipe. But, it is perfect for use in this recipe. The kernels hold their shape and crunch once cooked.

I roasted the cauliflower for extra flavor before mixing it with the other ingredients.

If you are starting with a head of cauliflower, slice the head in half and remove the tough core. Roughly chop the florets. Working in batches, add the cauliflower to your food processor and pulse until the consistency of ‘rice’. Transfer to a large bowl.

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

  • I head of cauliflower or a package of pre-riced cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of fruity olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad:

  • I can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 dates, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, rinsed an drained
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped flat leaved parsley
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped mint
  • 4 scallions white and light green, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced to make about 1/4 cup of juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 3/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper as needed

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the riced cauliflower in a large bowl and add the olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes until tender and browning around the edges. You may need to leave it for a few additional minutes but check it so it doesn’t burn. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool on the parchment paper.
  4. Spread the almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the same oven for about 5 minutes, again check constantly as they will turn from nicely toasted to burnt in seconds. Remove and cool.
  5. While the cauliflower is cooking you can make the herb salad. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and let the herbs and tomatoes marinate until the cauliflower is cool.
  6. Once cool, add the cauliflower to the bowl with the salad and mix well. The parchment paper works well as you can just lift it off the baking sheet. Taste to see if you need to add any additional lemon juice or salt or pepper.
  7. Chill until ready to serve, garnished with the toasted sliced almonds.

I had a small package of microgreens in the fridge and added them with the other herbs.

You could turn this into an entire meal by adding some sliced feta or leftover chicken to the salad. It would also be an excellent side with grilled lamb chops or kebobs.

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

I wonder if the folks over at Fiesta Friday would enjoy this? It is Fiesta Friday #449, a virtual blogging party hosted by Angie. Click on the link to read posts with wonderful recipes, craft or decorating ideas.

April – Ode To Trader Joe’s Salad

April – Ode To Trader Joe’s Salad

TJ Salad

TJ Salad

Why do I call this TJ’s Salad? Because all the time saving ingredients came from there…

Precooked and vacuum packed lentils – check

Pre cubed butternut squash – check

Brussels sprouts – check

Organic pre-washed arugula – check

Candied and toasted walnuts – check

Fresh goat cheese – check

Boneless chicken thighs – check

You could save even more time if you used their precooked chicken breasts. I would simply cut them into 1/2 inch slivers, toss with olive oil and season with ground cumin and coriander. Let them sit in the fridge for an hour or so (if you have time) to let the seasonings sink in.

I cooked the chicken, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts earlier in the day so they would have a chance to cool before being tossed in the salad.

This is a whole meal salad, everything you need in one bowl.

Ode to Trader Joe’s Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 package of precooked lentils (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • I package of pre-cubed butternut squash (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups of Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/2 cup of candied walnuts
  • 1/3 log of fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 package of organic arugula – about 3 handfuls
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a bowl toss the butternut squash with a tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add them to a sheet pan.
  3. Toss the halved or quartered Brussels sprouts in the same bowl with another tablespoon of oil and salt. Add them to another sheet pan. (I usually line the pans with parchment paper for easier clean up.)

    Quartered Brussels Sprouts

    Quartered Brussels Sprouts

  4. Roast both pans for about 30 minutes until the edges of the vegetables are brown and toasty looking. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  5. Meanwhile cut the chicken thighs into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch long. Toss them in a bowl (you can use the same one) with a teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and kosher salt (if not using kosher, use less).
  6. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the chicken. Saute until cooked through, then put aside until time to assemble the salad.
  7. Place the lentils in a large salad bowl. Season with the 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, pinch of salt, the minced garlic, and the remaining olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your own liking. Let them sit until you are ready to assemble the salad.
  8. When you are ready to eat, add the roasted vegetables to the lentils and toss. Add the chicken, toss again. Add the arugula and walnuts and toss. Taste and adjust any seasonings.
  9. Garnish with dollops of the fresh goat cheese.

 

This could easily be a vegetarian entree without the chicken. Roasted tofu would be wonderful as well. I would season the tofu with the cumin and coriander before roasting until it has crispy edges. A trick I learned is to coast the butternut squash (or tofu or sweet potatoes) with a generous teaspoon of cornstarch after the oil and before roasting. The edges get super crispy while the center is still creamy.

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

I  am going to take this salad to the folks on Fiesta Friday. It’s Fiesta Friday #428 and it’s been ages since I have contributed. It’s all our new puppies fault plus the demands of spring gardening. Who knew retirement would be so busy! Fiesta Friday is hosted by Angie and this week’s cohost is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

Shanna

Shanna AKA ‘Pig Pen’