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Grains

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Armenian Rice Pilaf – Baked

Armenian Rice Pilaf – Stove Top

Coconut Rice

Lemon Pepper Quinoa

Mango Mint Quinoa

Tabouli

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Tabouli

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Tabouli

Time: Approximately 30 minutes of active time; 2.5 hours from start to finish.

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish

Inspired by: My love for Mediterranean flavors. I don’t even remember having Tabouli as a child with any of my Armenian relatives, but I have had it made by Lebanese friends. There are so many different variations on this dish. I prefer a nearly equal ratio of parsley to bulgur (many recipes are mainly bulgur and just a little parsley). This is the recipe I’ve refined and ended up with after trying various versions over the years – I love some of the subtle flavor nuances. I also usually add cucumber to give it a bit of crunch.

Ingredients – Salad:

  • 1/2 cup dry bulgur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups minced parsley (or just use one large bunch of parsley)
  • 1/4 cup minced mint leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced persian cucumber (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (optional)

Ingredients – Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher if you have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Boil 3-4 cups of water. When it reaches a boil, add the bulgur, remove from heat, and let stand for 45 minutes. Once bulgur is soft, drain excess water and cool to room temperature.
  • Toss bulgur with parsley, mint, tomatoes and optional cucumber and green onions.
  • Separately, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cinnamon and crushed garlic.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well coated. If you plan to refrigerate before serving, hold off on putting the tomato in until serving as tomatoes lose flavor in the refrigerator.

Coconut Rice

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Time: 5-10 minutes of prep time and 70 minutes of cook time

Serves: 8

Inspired by: My love for Asian flavors. There is a restaurant in Truckee called Dragonfly that I love going to when I’m up in Tahoe to ski. They prepare fabulous Asian-flavored dishes. I had a meal there once that was served with coconut rice and remember coming home to try to replicate the entire dish. It was no where near what I had at Dragonfly because they also also prepare beautiful sauces on their fish that perfectly compliment the rice (or vice versa), but at least my coconut rice turned out well!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked rice (Basmati rice is the most flavorful and aromatic)
  • 2 cups coconut milk (or do 1 full can of coconut milk and make up the balance with water)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar (depends on how sweet you like this)
  • 1-2 teaspoons freshly minced ginger (optional – if you like ginger this adds a beautiful flavor)

Preparation: In a 5 x 9 x 2 ½ inch glass baking dish, combine all ingredients; mix well. Seal pan snuggly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes. However, you can count on the rice staying hot in the dish covered with foil for about 45 minutes and warm for about 2 hours if you are trying to prepare it in advance for a party.

Notes: I like this rice with a seared Ahi salad because Michelle’s 18 spice and Spice it Up …by Karen™ combined with the papaya are great flavor combinations with the coconut.

Wine Suggestions: The sweetness of this dish will best go best an off-dry or sweet wine such as a Kabinett level German Riesling or similar.


Lemon Pepper Quinoa

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Lemon Pepper Quinoa - Red

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 8

Inspired by: I started making my fiesta couscous with quinoa occasionally because it’s healthier and started thinking that it would be nice to have a savory version of the quinoa as well. I add the below ingredients and loved it! I’ve decided that I prefer quinoa in a savory dish than a sweet one.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa (any color, but I prefer white to red or black)
  • 2 ½ cups water (I always use 1 1/4 cup water for 1 cup quinoa)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2-4 teaspoons olive oil
  • freshly zested or grated lemon peel from 2 lemons
  • juice of those 2 lemons (or more if you love lemon)
  • 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch finely chopped kale or spinach or both (optional – when using kale I usually remove any tough veins)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Preparation:

  • Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve – run under cold water until water runs clear.
  • Transfer to medium saucepan, add 2 ½ cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer; cook until water is completely absorbed – about 20 minutes.
  • While it is cooking, zest and juice two lemons (I like meyer lemons). Add to that 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and the black, white and cayenne peppers.
  • Remove from heat and add the above lemon juice/zest/oil/salt and pepper mixture and combine well.
  • Add parsley and any other greens, toss well and put the lid back on for another 5 minutes so the greens can wilt.
  • Toss again until well combined.
  • Season further to taste.

Notes: This is good hot or at room temperature so it’s easy to make ahead for dinner parties. It’s great as a leftover and heated up the next day too.

Lemon Pepper Quinoa - White

Lemon Pepper Quinoa - White



Armenian Rice Pilaf – Baked

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Armenian Rice Pilaf - Baked

Armenian Rice Pilaf - Baked

Time: 45-55 minutes

Serves: 8-10

Inspired by: My passion for throwing parties and not spending a lot of time cooking during them. I love the Armenian rice pilaf that I grew up with, but I feel like I have to tend to it while it’s cooking. I wanted to figure out how to make larger quantities, do most of the preparation ahead of time, and then put it in the oven to come out just at the right time for a large dinner party. After several experiments and refinements, this is recipe that I now use often.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked Basmati or long grain white rice (I prefer Basmati as it’s more flavorful and aromatic)
  • ¾ cup vermicelli noodles broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter

Preparation:

  • Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and lightly brown vermicelli noodles
  • Combine with all other ingredients in a 5 x 9 x 2 ½ inch glass baking dish and mix well
  • Seal pan snuggly with aluminum foil
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or at 350 for 40-45 min
  • When you remove it from oven, it may still look fairly “wet” and the rice may not be completely finished cooking
  • If needed, let it sit out of the oven, covered, for about 10 minutes and serve
  • Add some really hot chicken broth or water just before serving to make it juicier

Notes: I love this for parties. For advanced preparation, I typically brown the vermicelli noodles and put them in the baking dish (and any excess butter) with the rice and salt and mix it well. I measure out the chicken broth and have it ready to mix in. This way, it only takes a minute to prepare it and put it in the oven when I’m ready.

This is great with any meal, but nice to incorporate into a Mediterranean-themed meal such as hummus or baba ganoush as a starter, and served with lemon-herb chicken kabobs and Greek salad.

Wine Suggestions: This is a fabulous enhancement to a meal if you are serving a high acid white wine or a red wine with some tannins because of the salt and butter. For those who enjoy a rich, buttery, California chardonnay – that could be a very complimentary pairing as well.


Armenian Rice Pilaf – Stove Top

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Armenian Rice Pilaf

Armenian Rice Pilaf

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 as side dish

Inspired by: My Armenian grandmother and my mom always made this when I was growing up. The family loved it. We still love it. I believe the only things that have changed in the recipe is that the amount of butter used has probably decreased a bit and I’ve begun using Basmati rice because it’s more flavorful and aromatic than the long grain white rice I grew up with.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup vermicelli noodles broken into 1 inch pieces
  • ¾ cup uncooked Basmati rice
  • 1 small can organic chicken broth (get regular – not the low salt stuff)
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt (optional – depends how salty you like it)

Preparation:

  • Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and lightly brown vermicelli noodles (about 5 minutes).
  • Combine with all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Then remove from heat or keep on a very low simmer for about 20 minutes or until moisture is absorbed and rice is consistency you like.
  • Just before serving, you can add just a bit of very hot water or additional chicken broth to make it juicier.

Notes: For making larger quantities and for easier prep for parties, check out my baked rice pilaf recipe. This is great with any meal, but nice to incorporate into a Mediterranean-themed meal such as hummus or baba ganoush as a starter, and served with lemon-herb chicken kabobs and Greek salad.

Wine Suggestions: This is a fabulous enhancement to a meal if you are serving a high acid white wine or a red wine with some tannins because of the salt and butter. For those who enjoy a rich, buttery, California chardonnay – that could be a very complimentary pairing as well.


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