March 14th, 2008

Fast and Fancy Middle-Eastern Rice

I made the following rice dish to accompany lamb chops last night. I think it falls into the pilaf category. Even if it doesn't technically fit, though, the results are similar. Please note that I used a rice cooker with a removable aluminum pot. The recipe would change if you were using a different rice-making technique, though not the ingredients. Besides, everyone should have a rice cooker: they save time and stovetop space:
• Coat the bottom of the rice cooker's pot with olive oil and place it on a stovetop burner at the lowest possible setting
• Add liberal portions of chopped cilantro and garlic (I used the redoubtable Israeli frozen cubes of each that Trader Joe's sells, in order to save time)
• Stir and add crushed red pepper and cumin
• Turn off the heat and add the rice you have measured out to the pot
• Mix the contents of the pot until the cilantro is evenly distributed and every grain of rice is coated with a sheen of oil
• Chop some lightly salted cashews until they are the consistency of the sprinkle topping on an ice-cream sundae
• Add the cashew pieces to the pot and mix thoroughly
• Add a few handfuls of raisins to the pot and mix them in as well
• Add the water you would normally use for that amount of rice (i.e. don't add extra water) or perhaps eve reduce the amount very slightly
• Cook the rice in the rice cooker and enjoy the delicious aroma coming from the pot
• When the rice is done, spoon it out onto a plate and mix in pieces of crumbled feta to taste
• Serve lamb chops over top of the rice with a little mint jelly and perhaps a few pieces of fresh mint as well
• Bask in the gustatory goodness
I think this may be my best rice concoction yet. Cashews were an inspired choice, if I do say so myself. Please note that the salt that they and the crumbled feta provide takes the place of any salt you would otherwise add to the dish.
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In Which the Heavy Traffic and High Winds Lead To Tortoise-Like Progress

As we pulled into the Shell Station on Butterfield Trail in lovely Gila Bend, Skylar read a new sign. "Dad, you can get a free wife here." When I asked, however, they told me that the offer had been rescinded. Still, I did have the pleasure of watching Skylar agonize over a decision about whether to purchase an overpriced miniature doll now or on the return trip. Just like the commercial says, "Priceless."