Category Archives: Rice

Wild Rice Kale Gratin


Sorry for the posting delay. The end of last week was a bit busy. Here’s that promised side dish I’ve been raving about for the last week or so:

As mentioned, I made this for a dinner that I hosted for a few of my high school friends. I am a big fan of kale–especially in the winter. It’s so crunchy and good for you; I can almost feel my arteries clearing up while I eat it. And then I go do things like add it to a gratin and counteract all that artery-clearing with some cheese. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

This recipe comes from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I wrote about last week. It’s a great dish for a crowd; one recipe fed eight of us with plenty of leftover for my lunches (and dinner) over the weekend. Plus the bites of kale and caramelized onion just go so well with the nutty wild rice. Plus, who can resist a dish with a cheesy-panko topping?

So visualize healthy thoughts while you eat this. I’m sure that it counteracts the cheese? Conversely, maybe all the kale intake will inspire you to go to the gym. In any case, you only live once. Might as well eat happy. Continue reading


Wild Rice Salad

So the other externs and I have been operating under the impression that our office does not have a microwave. The copy room, while equipped with a fridge and a toaster, lacks that quintessential kitchen appliance that students and workaholics alike cannot seem to live without. Consequently, we’ve been experimenting with different recipes for salads and learning about the joys of eating cold leftovers (pizza still trumps all other foods in this category). Well, turns out we’re idiots. There’s been a microwave the whole time on the basement level. In any case, I have eaten my fair share of salads over the last few weeks, and, given the descent of the summer heat, I don’t really see myself changing that pattern anytime soon–even with a microwave.

I have a thing for nutty grains. Quinoa, farro, barley–I love their texture in a salad. One grain of which I am particularly fond is wild rice. Nuttier and far healthier than the average white grain, wild rice is high in protein and fiber and low in fat. It makes for a great alternative to pasta in salads as well. As per usual, this salad was the result of using the contents of my fridge/pantry.

So here’s to eating more wholesome grains and staying cool in the blazing heat! Happy eating!

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Chicken Paella

This week, I’m going on a bit of a world food kick. So let’s start with Spain, shall we? A few weeks ago, my friend Sam came to visit the District, and the two of us went back to one of her favorite tapas restaurants, Jaleo. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with D.C., Jose Andres is a big name around here. I’m not going to lie, I sort of majorly love him and his restaurants. He recently won the James Beard award and has a penchant for experimenting with traditional cuisine and ingredients. He’s a gastronomic genius. Needless to say, Sam and I both left Jaleo happy as clams (did I mention they have delicious sangria?), and, ever since, I’ve been thinking that I need to start cooking more Spanish food.

My friends Mary and Alex came over for dinner the other night, so I decided to try my hand at making paella. After scouring the internet for recipes and reading about different techniques, I came across a post on Gwyneth Paltrow’s site, GOOP. Apparently, the woman is not only fortunate enough to be married to the lead singer of Coldplay, but she also is friends with Jose Andres who just shows up and cooks her dinner. Jealous much? I know I am. Anyway, the beauty of this is that he was kind enough to share his recipe for paella. So, using that as my base and making a few alterations, I give you paella, Rosemary-style.

Happy eating!

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Saffron Arancini

Ten years ago, I was in the seventh grade, sitting in my classroom, beginning a writing exercise with thirty of my peers, more concerned about my plans for the following weekend than the vocabulary words in front of me. I didn’t know what al-Qaeda was, and, although interested in government, I did not particularly care for foreign affairs. It’s amazing how much changes in ten years.

While a lot has changed, many things have stayed the same. For one thing, I always turn to my family and to my friends when grappling with crises or issues in my life, and those friends have expanded my perspective and my understanding in so many ways. For another, I continue to feel safe living in the District, knowing that countless men and women are putting in the time, and at times risking their lives to protect mine. The one thing that I can be grateful for is how much more aware 9/11 made me of what I have, and so, today, I say “Thank you.”

Now on to cooking: One thing about those aforementioned friends is that I love to show my appreciation for them by cooking. Perhaps it’s an Indian thing, but we often show our love by feeding people. So on Friday night, I had a bunch of my close Georgetown friends over for dinner.

Now, I love risotto; there are few things in this world that are as comforting as a bowl of warm rice, cooked slowly in broth. Which is why it should be of no surprise to you that one of my favorite foods in which to occasionally indulge is arancini. Arancini are little balls of risotto, lightly coated in breadcrumbs and fried until just golden. The name translates to “little oranges,” and these little bites actually look like golden oranges when piled on a plate.

I first had arancini when studying abroad in Italy. On my first day in the city, I opted to explore. I hadn’t eaten lunch that day and was starving, and by late afternoon I was scouting out places to grab a quick bite to eat. There was a small line outside a small, fairly nondescript shop in Rome, but I figured that the Romans must know what they are doing. I popped in and bought myself a few arancini. Delicious. I have no clue how the Romans stay so thin with these things around.

Happy eating and I wish all of you a safe and peaceful day.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

I’ve officially moved out of my house in Georgetown. I spent all of last week sorting through and packing up a remarkable number of kitchen supplies, books, and other odds and ends that I have accumulated over the course of four years. It’s always a little weird when one moves, and this particular move  was especially bittersweet as I knew that I may not see some of my friends for several months or, in some cases, years. It was also sad saying bye to our house on T Street. So long, “The Onionpocket!” I shall miss your amazing counter space and ridiculously colored walls. Something tells me that this was the first and last time that I will have a lime green living room and hot pink kitchen.

Part of my moving process involved uploading pictures to my computer. While browsing through my pictures, I came across a few shots of these delicious Mexican-rice stuffed peppers that I had made a couple of months ago  but had never blogged. Major oops. I made these one night when I was craving Mexican food, and, with the variety of summer vegetables starting to appear at the grocery store and farmer’s market, I bet these would be great with some fresh corn, zucchini, and herbs added to the mix.

I didn’t have any meat on hand when making these, so I opted to use beans. I have made these before with meat, however, and they taste great with some ground chicken or beef. Just be sure to season them well and cook the meat separately and to season it well with onions and a Mexican spice blend. I usually serve this dish with a side salad of spinach, avocado, red onions, and a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. You can even crush up a few tortilla chips for an added crunch. The rice is simple to make and fun to experiment with, and its a great recipe to have on hand whenever you want to make burritos. I hope you consider making these this summer. Happy eating!

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Butternut Squash Risotto

I seem to have developed a case of the flu.

I suppose it was inevitable, given my failure to get a flu shot, coupled with babysitting a sickly two-year-old. Regardless of whether or not I deserved it, however, I feel nothing short of miserable. I rarely get fevers, and this one has left me particularly worn out . Quite frankly, I feel as though I have been hit by a bus (or so I imagine). Achy muscles, shivers, sniffles, and a lack of appetite – just what one wants over winter break!

While I may not feel like eating anything, I do feel like writing about cooking, and I think it is about time that I shared my new favorite risotto recipe. A few weeks ago, I picked up some butternut squash at my local Safeway and found myself checking out Martha Stewart’s website for some ideas about what to make with it. Conveniently enough, her main recipe page featured a link to a slideshow of squash recipes, and, after clicking through the first couple of slides, I came across the image and recipe link for butternut squash risotto. Since I love Italian food, it seemed only natural that I would test this recipe out.

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