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.

November – Curried Red Lentil Soup

November – Curried Red Lentil Soup

Fall is here and this soup has the color and flavor of October, perfect for cooler weather. Make it ahead, it is even better after standing overnight. It will, however, thicken. Thin it as needed with additonal water and check the seasonings to see if you need to add more.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup

The crunchy topping is a perfect contrast to the creamy soup.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

Serves 6

Soup ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (1″) piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled and diced
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups of stemmed and torn kale leaves
  • 5 tablespoons of curry powder (mine was mild, you may want to use less if your own is spicy)
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of gochugaru (or none if your curry powder is hot)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 cups of red lentils, rinsed and examined for small stones
  • 1 14.5 oz can of coconut milk (I used full fat)

Spiced cashew topping:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of cashews
  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

For serving: fresh mint leaves, fresh thyme leaves and lemon zest

Method:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened. Add the carrots, potato, kale, curry powder, salt, gochugaru (if using), and pepper. Cook stirring until the kale wilts.
  2. Add 6 cups of water, lentils, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are creamy and the potato is tender…about 30 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, leaving some small chunks for texture. Or cool and puree part of the soup in a regular blender. Make sure the soup is cool or you will have an volcano of hot soup spouting out the top. (It has happened to me and is not a pleasant clean up not to mention a potential scalding.)
  4. To serve, top with the spiced cashews, torn mint leaves, thyme and grated lemon zest.

Spiced Cashews:

  1. In a medium skillet over medium low heat, heat the oil. Add the cashews and pepitas,stirring, until golden. Add the sesame seeds, sugar, coriander, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Curried Red Lentil Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup

This soup can thicken on standing, if needed add more water to thin. Check the seasoning before serving to see if you need to add more salt or spices.

Any extra topping is delicous used with other soups, roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash…even on a salad.

October – Health Food Salad

October – Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

I am giving you a post Thanksgiving recipe today, a salad you may want to eat after the glorious overindulgence in traditional Thanksgiving sides and desserts. I know I will be serving it. You could even toss in some leftover turkey to make it a whole meal. I think the folks over at Fiesta Friday may want to tag it. Fiesta Friday is hosted by Angie, it’s Fiesta Friday #458 this week. Come on over and plan your menus for the holidays, decorate your home, or keep the kids busy with activities or baking.

This is another recipe from salad freak. You are going to be seeing more great recipes from this book. My version, as usual, has some changes as not all the ingredients were available. But it is definitely true to the spirit of the recipe. I added a small handful of shredded pecorino which was not in the book, leave it out for a vegan version.

Adding the cheese was inspired by a recipe in Molly Wizenberg’s book A Homemade Life. She has a very simple but delicious Red Cabbage Salad with Lemon and Black Pepper which couldn’t be easier. Here it is:

In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of grated garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt. Very finely (essential) shred about 1-1/2 lbs of cored red cabbage. Discard any with white cores. Toss the cabbage in a bowl with a large spoonful or two of the dressing. Add the Parmesan and toss again. Add a generous grind of fresh pepper. Taste and add more dressing or salt and pepper.

Anyway, on to the current version of this cabbage salad.

I used the fine blade of my food processor to shredd the cored cabbage, and the shredding blade for the carrots. You could certainly do this with a knife (a bread knife might be easier for the cabbage) and the large shredding side of a box grater.

Feel free to improvise here with whatever is in your fridge. Thinly sliced fennel would be good, celery as well.

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 2 large handfuls of sprouts, any kind you find. I used sunflower and pea shoots, but radish, lentils or alfalfa would all be fine.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of raisins (I used a mix of golden and black currents because of was out of the dark ones…much to my last minute surprise)
  • 1 cup of roasted shelled sunflower seeds (I think pumpkin seeds would also be delicious)
  • 1/4 cup of hemp seeds (I didn’t have any and left them out)
  • 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan (leave out for a vegan version)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Method:

  1. Core the cabbage and shave it thinly into a large bowl. Grate the carrots into the same bowl.
  2. Toss in the sprouts, raisins, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and hemp seeds, if using. Mix it all up and then add a large pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil and the juice of half the lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, Parmesan or olive oil if needed.

This salad keeps incredibly well and was still delicious the next night for dinner with some added rotisserie chicken.

Health Food Salad

Health Food Salad

From:

salad freak

Salad Freak by Jess Damuck

October – Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

October – Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

This small plate elevates roasted vegetables to a new high. It could serve as a vegan main course if you tossed it with some brown rice or put it on top of a crisp pizza crust.

It’s also perfect as part of a tapas spread with flat bread, some dolmas, feta and olives.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

End-of-season tomatoes or even out-of-season ones would be fine as they are roasted to concentrate their flavors. The miso-tahini sauce further enlivens the dish and would also be delicious on a baked sweet potato or butternut squash, or as a dressing for green or grain salads.

Serve this just out of the oven or at room temperature.

The recipe comes from the cookbook the Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach. It’s a cookbook I recieved for Christmas this past year and have just started using more frequently.

the Weekday Vegetarians

the Weekday Vegetarians

Their premise is that, as a family, they agreed to be vegetarians during the week and only eat meat on the weekends. There are lots of interesting recipes most of which are very vegetable forward.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of small eggplants (if you can get Fairy Tale ones, those would be perfect…I couldn’t)
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 Italian plum tomates or 10-12 smaller ones
  • freshly chopped flat leaf parsley for garnishing

Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons of tahini
  • 2 teaspoons of white miso
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, or squeezed juice of 1/2 small one
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 3-6 tablespoons of water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch-thick slices and toss them with the olive oil in a large bowl, add salt and pepper. If you manage to get smaller eggplants, cut them in half. Place them in a single layer on the parchment lined sheet pan.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half (or quarters if large) and add them to the same bowl, coating them with the remaining oil. Nestle them between the eggplant slices.
  4. Bake on the lowest shelf of your oven for 20 minutes, then turn the eggplant slices and return the sheet pan to the center of the oven. Bake for an additional 10 to 20 minutes until the eggplant is browned and crispy and the tomatoes are shriveled. I removed the eggplant slices and returned the tomatoes to the oven for another 10 minutes as they needed more time.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. In a small bowl or jar combine the tahini, miso, lemon juice, maple syrup and 4 tablespoons of water. Whisk or shake the jar vigorously to combine, adding the additional 2 tablespoons of water to thin it if needed.
  6. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter, drizzle with the tahini-miso sauce, top with choped parsley.

You can serve this warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Note: My tahini sauce was so thick it was impossible to measure. I processed it in a small food processor until it was smooth and pourable. That made it much easier to manage.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes with Miso-Tahini Sauce