Monday, March 16, 2009

Green Low Glycemic Rice with Cilantro

Son Jeff came to visit us for 10 days in February and told me about an outstanding rice dish he had recently made. It sounded so delicious and so different from any rice I'd had that we decided to try to replicate it and this is what we came up with. And because I used Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, it's low glycemic to boot. I made it again later using a brown rice medley I'm fond of and it was equally delicious. So if you don't have to watch your intake of starches, go for whatever rice you desire.

I'm so very lucky to have both cilantro and parsley growing in my garden - still! They've been there all winter long through snow and heavy frost, refusing to give up. A lot of cilantro is used for this dish, imparting a beautiful green color (to say nothing of the flavor) just in time for St. Patrick's Day. The fresh lime juice adds sparkle and zip. Adjust it to your liking. Trust me, if you like cilantro, you're going to love this.
Green Low Glycemic Rice with Cilantro
With thanks to my son Jeff
1 cup, packed, coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup, loosely packed, coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 large onion, peeled, cut into eighths
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup, scant, fresh lime juice (2 large limes)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
A few grindings of good black peppercorns
1 1/2 cups Uncle Ben's converted rice or a rice of your choice
Place the cilantro, parsley, onion, garlic and lime juice in a food processor and buzz until finely blended.
Add the water, salt and pepper and pulse until blended. Yield is about 3 cups liquid.
If using a rice cooker:
Place the liquid in the rice cooker and stir in the rice. Place the lid on the cooker and turn on. The rice is done when the cooker turns off. Give the rice a stir to blend the herbs and let sit with the lid off for about 10 minutes before serving.
If using a saucepan on the stove:
Place the liquid in the saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir in the rice, cover with a lid and lower the heat to simmer. The rice will take 20-30 minutes to cook for the Uncle Ben's, longer for brown rice.
Suitable for vegans and vegetarians as well as all rice lovers!

Looks good enough to drink, doesn't it?

Copyright © 2005-2009, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Asparagus, Chard and Bacon Quiche With A Barley-Chevre "Crust"

Inspiration for this crustless quiche came from two places: Several weeks ago I prepared a vegan rice dish that my son Jeff gave me and a few nights later I put the leftovers in a pie plate, piled roasted winter squash over it, heated it in the oven and took it to Simona's for dinner (that recipe will appear on this blog soon, I hope); today yesterday my friend Leslie was coming came over for a late lunch. I wanted to make a quiche using our backyard chicken eggs but didn't want to make a crust. Cooked barley from the previous day was tossed with some local herbed chevre and made a grain crust that, along with the layers of crispy bacon, vegetables and cheese, created a dish that was exactly what I was trying to achieve. The egg custard finds its way to the bottom of the plate enclosing the barley in its eggy creaminess, and makes a most delightful platter for the quiche.

Making the layers

Ready for the oven

Asparagus, Chard & Bacon Quiche with Barley-Chevre Crust
Christine's Original Recipe
Serves 8-10 as a brunch course
1 1/2 cups cooked barley, cool
4-ounces plain or herbed chevre, crumbled
pinch kosher salt
oil for the pie plate
1 bunch organic asparagus, rinsed, tough ends snapped off
4 strips Niman Ranch Uncured Bacon
6-8 small chard leaves, multi-colored is good
1 cup Lamb Chopper Sheep's Milk Cheese, grated
1 cup good Gruyère cheese (if you can't find Lamb Chopper, substitute another cup of Gruyère), grated
6 eggs (large)
2 cups half n half
1/2 teaspoon jarred mustard like Grey Poupon
a few pinches of kosher salt
Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 12-inch glass pie plate. Wipe with a paper towel.
Toss the barley and crumbled chevre together and place evenly on the bottom of the pie plate, gently pushing it up the sides.
Bake in a 250-degree oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts somewhat. Remove from the oven, set the oven temp to 500-degrees.
With a large spoon, push some of the barley mixture up the sides of the pie plate and tamp it down a bit all over the bottom to make a crust. Set aside to cool.
Cut about 3-inches from the tips of each asparagus spear and reserve. Cut the remaining asparagus stems into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces.
Place asparagus on a very lightly oiled baking sheet and roast in the 500-degree oven for 10 minutes, shaking the pan as needed. Remove from the oven, turn the temperature down to 350-degrees, and allow the asparagus to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon strips in a heavy skillet on medium-high until crisp. Remove to a paper towel to drain and then tear or cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Lay the chard leaves atop each other then roll up length-wise like a cigar. Cut off the stem ends cross-wise and save for another dish. Thinly slice the remaining chard roll cross-wise into very thin strips. Set aside.
Combine the eggs, half 'n half, mustard and salt in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended.
Put the bacon pieces over the barley crust followed by the cut asparagus stems (reserve the tips for the top of the pie).
Sprinkle the cheese over and then spread the chard chiffonade over the cheese.
Pour the egg custard slowly over and around everything, allowing it to settle.
Place the asparagus spears in a pattern of your choosing and it's ready for the oven.
Bake at 350-degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and barely jiggles in the center.
Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes:
I served a very nice, very affordable white wine from La Vieille Ferme that complemented the quiche to perfection. It's a bargain at $7 a bottle and also went well with the pear avocado salad that accompanied the quiche.
I realize that I used 3 different kinds of cheeses in this dish and I promise that they are very complimentary to each other.
Aside from putting the bacon on top of the barley, the rest of the ingredients can layer whichever way you want. Just be sure to put the asparagus on top after pouring in the custard.

Copyright © 2005-2009, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved