Peas & Parmesan Rice and sliced cucumbers and chipotle hummus Not pictured-the green smoothie with mixed greens, strawberries and blueberries.
Yesterday, I had a friend over for lunch (who won't eat cucumber skins! what?!) and I was determined to stick to eating vegetarian but yet provide a filling meal for my friend who has to sit at a desk in a office job surrounded by many, non-healthy tempting treats that she prefers to resist. I decided to make Peas & Parmesan which is a mock 'risotto' dappled with peas and melt in your mouth parmesan.
This dish is amazing versatile in a few ways. It's light and tastes amazing fresh in spring when tender young peas are available but holds its own even when you must resort to frozen or canned (in this case) peas. The creamy warmth works wonders on the soul on an overcast or cold day. It's also perfect as a side dish or a main dish. It's ready in less than thirty minutes and prepared by only a few simple ingredients. It has, in fact, only six ingredients, unless you want to count salt. Then, it's seven. Of course, it could also be the perfect rice dish to experiment with add ins in different combinations; roasted carrots, asparagus so fresh it's practically still growing, cripsy pancetta....you get the idea.
Onions and garlic. Everyone should always have these things on hand. I chopped up a half cup of onions and 2 cloves of garlic and tossed the onions in a pan with a splash of olive oil and cooked them until they were translucent. Then I added the garlic and about a half cup of rice and cooked them for a few minutes. If you want to get fancy, you can add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan. The pan doesn't actually need deglazed but I like the flavor the wine imparts to the rice and it gives me the minute I need to get my salt and cooking liquid out. I add in 1/2-1 tsp of sea salt to the rice and pour in 1 cup of liquid. Normally, I would use chicken broth for added flavor but since I'm doing the vegetarian thing I used ordinary water. Bring it all to a boil, then turn down the heat and put a lid on it.
While the rice cooked, I went outside and started on my 'research.' The librarian was a little grouchy to pull this stack of books off the requested book shelf but I tried to be friendly anyway. Mostly because there was another pile of the same size due the next day!
Peas & Parmesan
When all of the cooking liquid has been absorbed (about 12-15 minutes), toss in a 1/2 cup of peas. If you are using fresh, you might want to add them the final 3 minutes of cooking to make sure they are tender. Give the peas a moment to warm up and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in 1/4 cup of freshly grated-not-from-a-can Parmesan Reggiano. Serve!
Peas & Parmesan
1/2 cup diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
Splash of white wine (optional)
1/2 cup dry white rice (or use your preferred type & adjust cooking times)
1 cup chicken broth or water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
splash of olive oil for cooking
additional salt & pepper to taste
1. In a wide, shallow pan, cook onions in a splash of olive oil until they are translucent. Add garlic and rice and cook three additional minutes. If desired, 'deglaze' the pan with a splash of white wine.
2. Stir in salt and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer and place a lid on it. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
3. Stir in 1/2 cup of peas. If using fresh peas, add in the final three minutes of cooking the rice. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste, if desired and serve.
Pasta with homemade sauce, salad , sliced cantaloupe and Forbidden Rice & Onion bread
I wanted to make my family something a little more familiar for dinner after Vegetarian Chili and Vegan Black Bean Burgers. It's been awhile since I've made a large pot of tomato sauce but with many of the ingredients at the height of their growing season it seemed a perfect time. Does basil count as a vegetable?
The salad was mixed baby greens, pepitas, dried cranberries, chickpeas and 'croutons' made of tofu crisped up in a bit of thyme infused olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of sea salt and garlic. I dislike most dressings which leads to all of my salads being naked. Or, as I like to think of it, allowing the flavors of the vegetables and toppings not to be covered up by a dousing of dressing.
Mmmm....pasta. I am so very, very glad you are vegetarian. I'll never ever give you up!
And don't worry, I'll never give up beloved bread. Bread baking is still at the very heart of my culinary soul! This crispy baguette featured onions and Forbidden Rice. Have you heard of Forbidden Rice? I never did until I saw it in the store the other day. According to the package, it was grown specifically and only for the emperor of China. It's coal black and turns the cooking water purple. I had to give it a good rinse before I added it to the bread. The flavor is very nutty and combined with the onions, it gives the bread such flavor that there is absolutely no need to dip these slices in anything.
Late last night, I went to a local comedy show and shared a small appetizer of spinach & artichoke dip with salty tortilla chips. I was careful to only have a small portion. I must also admit that I had a martini even though that does not exactly go with our chosen appetizer. This morning, I don't feel nearly as good as I did yesterday. I feel a little bloated and my face has felt oily no matter how many times I've washed it. Could that be the salty chips? The cheese? The alcohol? All three? It does seem that those are the three 'offenders' in my otherwise clean food day. Or was it just a coincidence? Hmmm.
Veggie count: Peas, onions, garlic, cucumbers, mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, basil, cantaloupe, cranberries, spinach, artichoke. That's THIRTEEN! Wow!