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Carrie’s Kitchen: Four recipes for those stocking up on rice

Well, the pandemonium is continuing, but thankfully, the stores seem to have more food available throughout the day, and on the morning I wrote this, I was finally able to buy some fresh meat, after having three unsuccessful trips in the previous nine days. If you’ve had similar experiences, I hope all of those vegetarian recipes I had at the start of the year have come in handy for you!

I was thinking about people stocking up on food, and how the two most common supplies to buy for long-term needs are rice and beans. So this week, I thought I’d write about one of those staples, rice, and how you can at least make it taste different.

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First up, pesto green rice. This isn’t so much a recipe as an idea because you’re just adding prepared pesto to cooked rice, but it’s not something I would have thought of. I try to keep a tiny jar of pesto in the pantry and I thought you might have some too.

The second recipe is for Mexican rice, the kind that has tomato sauce cooked into it like at a Mexican restaurant. Again, something simple, but that I’ve never done before.

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Third, there’s Thai coconut rice, which I do like to make as a treat for my kids when I’m doing an Asian dish at home. I usually add a tablespoon of sugar, but adjust it as you see fit.

And finally, for a little fancier of a recipe, baked mushroom risotto, using dried mushrooms (one of those gourmet items that is still available at stores) and fresh mushrooms.

Next week, I’ll probably look at bean dishes.

Stay healthy and safe!

Pesto green rice

1 cup basmati rice rinsed

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)

1/4 cup pesto

2 cups stock (veggie or chicken)

Fresh basil leaves, to serve

Sliced almonds, to serve

In a medium pot, combine the basmati rice, coconut oil, pesto and stock.  Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

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Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes before adding fresh basil leaves and almonds, then stir and serve.

Mexican rice

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.

Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Coconut rice

2 cups Thai jasmine rice, rinsed and drained very well

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/3 cup cold water

1 1/3 cup canned full-fat coconut, mixed

Combine the rice, coconut oil, and salt in a medium saucepan. Gently stir until all of the coconut oil has integrated fully and lightly coats the rice kernels without breaking them.

Add the cold water and coconut milk, and stir to combine. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Place over high heat and bring to a vigorous boil. Do not leave the pot unattended at this time, as this will happen quickly and you need to watch out for signs of boiling (some steam escaping or the lid very barely rattling). Remove the lid and thoroughly stir the rice mixture with a spoon. Cover once again, reduce to low heat, and set a timer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, set the saucepan (still covered with the lid) off the heat. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, season to taste as necessary, and serve. Leftover cooked rice can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 days.

Baked mushroom risotto

1/2 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cups boiling water

1/3 cup olive oil, divided

4 yellow onions (about 2 pounds)

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

1 cup Arborio or short-grain white rice

1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 300 degrees. Rinse the dried mushrooms lightly to remove any dust or grit. Place the mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set aside to steep while you cook the onions.

Chop 1 of the onions into a fine dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 3-quart (or larger) ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Push the onions to the side of the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Flip the mushrooms and cook until they are quite brown and a crust is developing on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes more.

Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Add the dried mushrooms and rosemary sprig to the pan and sauté briefly. Add the rice and cook, stirring once or twice, until it begins to turn transparent, about 4 minutes.

Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, vinegar, broth, and reserved mushroom steeping liquid. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan as you add the liquid to deglaze mushroom bits sticking to the pan. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and put it in the oven to bake for 35 minutes.

While the rice is baking, make the caramelized onions. Thinly slice the remaining 3 onions. Heat the remaining olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sprinkle generously with salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a dark mahogany brown. Let them go as long as you can, or at least 30 minutes.

When the risotto has finished baking, remove the rosemary sprig, stir, and let it stand uncovered for 5 minutes before serving. Dish it up and top each bowl with a spoonful of caramelized onions, a little extra pepper, and, if desired, a scoop of sour cream or whipped mascarpone.

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