Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Simple Biryani

Apparently, this is an Indian dish.  I got it from a cookbook called The Feed Zone.  It's a book of recipes used by chefs who cook for teams in races like the Tour de France and the last few recipes I posted are also from there.  I figured I probably ought to give credit somewhere.

This is a bit of a different flavor for our family, so it didn't go over well with the kids, but Blake and I both like Indian food and loved it.  Too bad I don't love making separate meals for each member of my family like a short order cook.

2 C rice (I don't recommend brown rice since it doesn't absorb flavors as well, in my opinion)
3 1/2 C water
2 T light olive oil
2 C chopped vegetables (carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, etc.)
1 onion, sliced into strips
1/4 C cashews or peanuts
1/4 C raisins (initially, I wasn't going to add this because I thought, "Ew.  Gross."  But, then I did.  And it was surprisingly tasty.)
1 T curry powder (more if you like)

Optional Add-Ins (I didn't do any because I knew this was already a stretch for my family's taste buds, but I totally would have done ginger and cilantro if it was just for me):

Fresh ginger
Diced cooked potatoes
Garbanzo beans

Combine rice and water in a rice cooker, or cook over stove
While the rice is cooking, in a large deep pan, bring oil to medium-high heat.  Add the other ingredients; saute until raisins are plump and curry powder is fully incorporated (I waited on the cashews because I was worried they'd lose their crunch), about 3-5 minutes.
Add rice, stir and cook until everything is evenly distributed and the color is uniform, about 8-10 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

Super Simple Granola

This came together so quickly and didn't need to bake as long as other granolas I've made, so I am completely sold.  Plus, I'm always looking for ways to use up overripe bananas.  I had never managed to locate unsweetened shredded coconut before, but I finally found it in the bulk foods section at Smith's.  That stuff is amazing!  So many billion times better than it's sweetened version!  Get it!  Use it!  Love it!

4 C old fashioned oats
1/2 C brown sugar (I did closer to 1/3 C and it still was plenty sweet, and I will probably try honey next time)
1 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 C apple juice
1 ripe banana

Optional Add-Ins (up to 1/2 C each):
Slivered almonds (do us all a favor and toast them first if you're gonna use 'em)
Chopped cashews
Pine nuts (again, please toast these)
Golden raisins (I used the black kind and we did just fine)
Dried goji berries (I don't see why you couldn't use any sort of dried berry, really)

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, and coconut.  In a blender combine maple syrup, apple juice, and banana (if you're using honey, add it here).  Process until smooth.

Pour the contents of the blender into the bowl and stir.  Add a splash of apple juice if the mixture seems too dry.  Spread mixture evenly onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.  Bake 45 minutes (I took mine out and stirred it about halfway through).

Add any combo of the optional ingredients, if you want.  Stir mixture and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until it's as brown as you like it.

Cool completely.

Try to not eat it all off the pan so you can have some for breakfast in the morning.  You may have to swat away all of the other snitchy hands in your family to accomplish this.

Allen's Rice Cakes

I told my kids we were having rice cakes for dinner and they were super confused and very concerned that they would never get full.  I somehow temporarily forgot about the rice cakes made by companies like Quaker and I was super confused about why they were super confused and told them that if they ate enough, they would get full.

The rice cakes are called that because they can be pressed into a pan, cut, individually wrapped, and made portable.  They are not dry, nor do they resemble cardboard in any manner.  In fact, my entire family loved and devoured this.  THAT. NEVER. HAPPENS.

I made this the night before last Saturday's sprint triathlon and then took 2nd place, so I think they are a pretty good pre-race meal.

2 C uncooked calrose or other medium-grain "sticky" rice*
3 C water
8 oz bacon, chopped
4 eggs
2 T liquid amino acids or soy sauce (we have a seriously picky child when it comes to sauces, so I only added one T of soy sauce and I will probably do it that way every time because I really liked it).

Optional Toppings:
Brown sugar (this was probably what convinced my kids to try it, but I tried a bite with it and didn't really like it)
Grated Parmesan

Combine rice and water in a rice cooker, or cook over stove according to directions or however you like to cook your rice.  While rice is cooking, fry the chopped bacon in a pan.  When crispy, drain off fat and soak up the excess with paper towels, but don't thoroughly clean the pan.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then scramble in the pan.

In a large bowl or in the rice cooker bowl, combine the cooked rice, bacon, and scrambled eggs.  Add amino acids or soy sauce.

Then you can either press into an 8- or 9-inch pan (if you're doing this and want brown sugar, mix the brown sugar in first) to about 1 1/2-inch thickness, or keep it in the pot.  Top with whatever you want (I thought the Parmesan was so delicious!) to taste and ENJOY!

*Sticky rice is imperative if you want to make them into bars.  We used calrose, so that is all I can vouch for, but if you want to use brown rice and just eat it out of a bowl, you should be fine.

Best Pancake Recipe

Okay, there are so many different variations on pancakes, I don't actually stand by that claim even those these pancakes are really yummy and really simple.  But if you google that, the following is the recipe that comes up (with a few tweaks from me, including tripling it because we have only made it when we've had company).  And since some of that company (ahem, Belky) requested the recipe, here it is:

4 C flour
2 C wheat flour
1/3 C sugar
3 tsp. salt
6 T baking powder
6 eggs, beaten
3/4 C butter
5 1/4 C milk

Mix the dry items.  Combine eggs, butter, and milk, then slowly pour into the flour mixture.  Let this sit for at least 10 minutes.

Cook as you would a normal pancake.