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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Easy Spanish Rice

The ingredients
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1 cup of salsa

Prepare one recipe plain boiled rice. Stir in salsa. That’s it—it’s ready to serve.

Makes four side dish servings, two main dish servings.

Serving suggestions:

- Cook two or three frozen meatballs per person along with the rice to make this a main dish
- Add crumbled feta and bacon bits
Stir in the salsa and you're done
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Plain Boiled Rice

The ingredients
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water
few drops cooking oil

Combine rice, water and oil in a pot and cook uncovered on high, stirring occasionally, until the water reaches the boiling point. Cover the pot, turn the stove down to low, and continue to cook for another 20 minutes (check your package—some rice takes longer). Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Makes two servings. Recipe can be multiplied if you need more.

Combine rice, oil and water in a pot
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Flavour suggestions

- Add butter and parsley during the fluffing process
- Cook the rice in chicken or beef stock rather than water
- Add the zest of one lemon and a couple of slices of lemon to the pot while cooking

Why am I posting such a basic recipe? It may not be to some people. I grew up on Minute Rice and it wasn’t until I was in my 20s and someone taught me how to cook “real” rice that I discovered it wasn’t the time-consuming and complicated process I’d always assumed. If you’re only making a couple of servings, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes and you can be doing something else for most of that time.

Remove lid and fluff
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Something I’ve discovered for myself is that rice freezes very well. If I’m not in a hurry, I make a large pot up (more time consuming because it takes longer for the water to come to a boil) and then once it’s cooled down, I package it in Ziploc bags and store them in the freezer for future use.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chickpea Salad

All you need to make it.
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1 19 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-8 ounces of your favourite bottled vinaigrette*

Combine ingredients in a lidded container. Allow to stand in the fridge for several hours before serving.

* The orange sesame vinaigrette works well in this, but you’ll need to double the recipe.

The cafeteria in a building I used to work in made a great chickpea salad. This is my recreation of it.
Chickpea Salad
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Friday, February 21, 2014

Orange Sesame Vinaigrette

Here's everything you need to put this together.
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1 ounce sesame oil
1 ounce balsamic vinegar
2 ounces white vinegar
1 single serving packet Tang Orange crystals

Combine all the ingredients in a jar or bottle and shake. A squeeze bottle like the one in the photo works beautifully for this—found mine at a dollar store. Yes, I know the ratio of oil to vinegar is upside down, but there’s enough sugar to cut the sharpness. If you prefer it a bit more mellow, add another ounce of cooking oil, but don’t use more sesame oil as the flavour will be too strong.

Makes approximately four ounces

I came up with this one day when I discovered I had no dressing in the fridge to go with the salad I had just made, and wanted something a little fancier than a straight oil and vinegar mix.
The finished product.
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mrs. Beeton’s Rice Pudding

1 teacupful / 7 ounces uncooked rice (I like basmati)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 quart milk*
1/2 ounce butter (margarine’s fine)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. In it combine rice, sugar and milk. Add butter, cut up in little pieces. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 325°F for two hours. Top will be browned. Serve hot or cold.

Makes 8 generous servings.

* For a creamier pudding, substitute a pint of whipping cream for half of the milk.

I found this one in a Victorian era cookbook, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (available here). Apart from the recipes, I found it interesting for some of its social assumptions—for example the idea that children and servants should be fed a cheaper diet than the rest of the household. This particular recipe I decided to try and liked it so well I kept it.

It’s very easy to make and, with the exception of the whipping cream if you decide to use it, contains ingredients you probably have on hand. Your kids could help you with it, or, if they’re old enough to use the oven unsupervised, even make it themselves.