Beet-iful Rice

beets and riceA few nights ago I got the amazingly inspired idea to use this burns-like-sweet-smokin’-sunburn jalapeno plum jam I can’t dream of finishing ever (it’s soooo good!) as part of a chicken marinade. Well, I wanted to use it for shrimp, but I had chicken so I tried it out. Melted the jam, added lemon juice, salt, some more red chili powder, garlic etc. Smelled amazing. Let it sit a few hours. Busted it out. Roasted a few samples in the oven and sautéed a couple as well (no learning without experimentation) and I discovered… It sucked. Completely.

So I tried to salvage this by making an asian-inspired curry blend of peppers and… it became passable. But I have since learned that the jam shall remain on the breads, crackers, and the like. Or possibly used for grilling one day. I don’t quite throw in the towel do I?

Thankfully this post is not about that. It was not a pleasure to make, and thus shall be shoved into the recycling bin of recipes. However, I was already in a less-than-chipper mood that day, because neither my sweet and sugary coconut sugar cookies nor a delightful batch of tomato-soup-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting won in a baking competition at work. Granted, I was unaware that half the points garnered came from DECORATING THE STATION. *Deep Breath* Not going to relive that stupidity, because honestly… no big deal. But your mood transfers into everything else you do, be it motivational speaking, darning a sweater, or cooking a meal.

Tonight I was in a much more inspired mood. Mostly I just wanted to overcome the previous cooking debacle and reign supreme once more… in my head. But we have a whole stash of beets in our fridge currently. Random yes, but the husband made this delicious beyond my wildest imagination sabzi (vegetable dish) of beets and carrots, South Indian style, so now I keep them stocked because he must make that for me at least once a week. And thus, seeing the carrots, thinking about the various ways to make the husband actually eat a variety of vegetables, and wanting to create my own dish, I concocted Beet-iful Rice! Or more plainly, Garlic Rice with Beets, Carrots, and Zucchini. Continue reading

Mexican Rice Made So Easy

Completely admit I have been glued to the news lately.  I am at once in awe and completely concerned for the Egyptian people as they relentlessly hold their protests and demand freedom.  Similarly proud and astounded by journalists around the world who risk their lives to transmit the truth to us.  This entire series of events, all of it, is mesmerizing and—I can only hope and pray—successful.

But at the cost of the emotional and mental hold this critical event has on me, I at times spend less time concentrating on anything else.  Food included.  So it is always a pleasure when a series of easy steps leads to a joyful dance for the tastebuds.  Case in point: my version of Mexican rice.

I won’t dare claim authenticity of flavor for this dish, but hey I liked it, the husband liked it and, complementing it with some lovely chicken and peppers fajita-style, it worked super well for us.  And it will for you too! Perhaps. One can only hope.  Continue reading

Lemon Garlic Rice with Paneer

I mentioned in the previous post that I partnered my spinach with some zesty rice, and oh-my-dear-goodness-gracious-have-mercy-on-us-all-and-then-some, was it zesty!  This was a bold attempt for me because rice has never been my strong suit, and only recently have I gained enough confidence in its creation to even consider messing around with it, especially without enlisting the guidance of a tried-and-true recipe of some sort.

But that was the point after all, to try something new and just my own, to see how I would fare.  That is how we learn, and trust me I learned a few things here.  First mistake: use basmati, not jasmine rice.  I admit I wasn’t actually paying attention to which canister I pulled out when I prepared my rice, and that made it way too sticky for my liking.  Chalk it up to a learning experience.  And a fun one too, because anytime we can engage our mind in a creative venture, no matter how simple or complex, that’s a winning point for us.

So here lies my first attempt at Lemon Garlic Rice with Paneer.  Haha… what was I thinking?? Continue reading

Chicken Biryani – Round 1

Recently G asked me jokingly (or so I hope) if I were cooking for my blog or for him.  Granted, this may have followed the recent Artemis Fowl-inspired dinner, but he’ll be the first to tell you that that dinner was actually among his recent favorites.  Nevertheless I felt that perhaps I should do something specifically for his taste buds.  I do generally like to cook daal (lentils), bhindi (okra), and other simple dishes we absolutely love—eventually I’ll share those, it ain’t nuthin fancy yo!!—but I figured I’d surprise him with something special.

Herein arises the problem.  His dream food is biryani – spicy, rich, greasy, fluffy, awesome biryani.  It also happens to be a dish I just cannot seem to conquer.  This is not the first time I’ve attempted the dish but for the sake of the blog, this is where the battle begins. Continue reading