Easy! Yummy! Healthy! Brown Rice Corn Island with Seafood by K. Parsi

Healthy eating is fun with recipes that don’t require a lot of skill and time, yet can even wow guests. Famed chef Jacques Pépin inspired my husband to create this one…

Brown Rice and Corn Island with Seafood Stuffing
Healthy cooking can be simple.

Brown Rice and Corn Island with Seafood Stuffing

(serves about 8)

Read this recipe all the way through before you shop for ingredients and cook. It involves four cooking steps: a) rice, b) seafood, c) sauce, and d) plating.

Step A: Rice

1 medium diced onion

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 head (about 5 cloves) of diced garlic

3 cups brown rice

1 bunch (about 1 1/2 cup) chopped green onions

1 cup corn kernels

3 cups water

3 cups fish or chicken broth

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon saffron

1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack)

In a 5-quart pot, sauté onion in olive oil until lightly browned.

Add garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes.

Add brown rice and sauté until rice is covered with oil.

Add green onions to rice mixture, and sauté for another two minutes.

Add corn, water, broth, salt, pepper, and saffron.

Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring to avoid a crust forming on the bottom.

Reduce heat to simmer, add cheese, and cook for half an hour, or until rice softens.

Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Step B: Seafood Stuffing

1 medium julienned onion

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 head (about 5 cloves) of diced garlic

2 pounds mixed seafood (e.g., shrimp, calamari, and scallops)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon turmeric powder

1 cup white cooking wine

Using a medium saucepan, sauté onion in coconut oil, until lightly browned.

Add garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.

Add seafood and sauté for 5 minutes. Add cooking wine, salt, pepper, and turmeric, and cook for five more minutes on medium heat.

Remove the seafood mixture with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Seafood will be used during plating, in Step D. Set aside juice for use in the sauce, which you’ll make next, during Step C.

Step C: Mushroom Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup white flour

6 cups milk

6 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In the same saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour, stirring quickly to avoid lumps.

Whisk in milk.

Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil.

Take off heat and set aside for plating.

Tip: If you get flour lumps, you can put the mixture in a blender before adding the mushrooms.

Step D: Plating

Parsley or chives for garnish

Butter the sides of a bowl.

Add a few spoonfuls of rice mixture to fill about 1/3 of the bowl.

Press rice down into the sides, creating a cavity in the middle of the bowl.

Fill to 3/4 full with seafood.

Cover with more rice, and gently pack it down.

Place a plate over the bowl, and flip them quickly, to get the rice onto the plate. Carefully unmold the rice by removing the bowl.

If your guests are not ready, you can place all the dishes in a 180-degree oven to keep them warm. Dishes may be kept there for up to half an hour. Any longer and the food will start to get too dry.

When ready to serve, gently spoon sauce around the ‘rice island.’

Garnish with parsley or chives.

Tip: If you have enough bowls, you can leave them over the rice plates until you’re ready to add the sauce around.

Enjoy!

Happy bread-day everyone! Notes on one of my fave baking books (by da-AL)

Here’s a book review I wrote for my sweet and smart friend Jeyran Main’s wonderful book reviewing blog. Along with reviewing books, she’s available for hire to edit books, publish them, as well as to translate them from Persian to English.

Bread in 5 Minutes book coverHappy bread day to me! Happy bread day to meeee! Today I baked a fabulous loaf for my family and me that was as easy as it was delicious!

Tango gatherings are social in the best way, often involving potlucks. When a dance mate brought a yeast-raised loaf still warm from her home oven and proceeded to describe how easily she’d baked it, I ran to get the book she’d gotten the recipe from.

Truly, “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François, lives up to its subtitle, “The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking.”

The authors didn’t inventor no-knead yeast breads. Nevertheless, they provide gourmet quality easy recipes illustrated with much glossy high color food porn. This panettone became a family favorite with my first loaf.

In my Iran-born husband’s family, one is either ‘noon-ee,’ bread loving, or ‘polo-ee.’ rice loving.’ Bread lover that I am, I’ve tried repeatedly to bake yeast breads, always failing at producing anything better than hard bricks.

Not so with these recipes!

Jeff and Zoë's panettone
Jeff and Zoë’s panettone

For the panettone, instead of the fancy paper employed by the authors here, I use parchment paper to line the ceramic pot from my electric crock pot, fill it with dough, and then bake just the pot in my conventional oven. For the first half of the baking, I leave it covered. For the remainder, I take the lid off.

Crock Pots I use for bread and panettone
Crock Pots I use for bread and for panettone

The yeasty fragrance of baking perfumes clear to the outdoor perimeter of my house. What a marvel it is to hear a loaf hum, whistle, and crackle a steamy tune as it cools! And what textures! Crunchy, chewy goodness!

Voila! Jacques Pepín puts it best when he states that nothing can compete with fine artisan bread slathered with pure butter.

Here’s Jacques, making his own no-knead bread.

Caveat: “…Bread in Five Minutes…” might mislead some, albeit forgivably, given how easy and delicious the recipes are. The dough takes five to ten minutes to mix. Then it must rise for a couple of hours. Baking time varies, i.e., breadsticks are understandably bake quicker than whole loaves. Dough can be frozen or it can be refrigerated for up to a week. In either case, let it warm to room temperature before baking.

Here’s the book’s website.

Double Pop-Over Recipe by Khashayar (inspired by Jacques Pépin)

Double Pop-Over on handmade Persian embroidery
Handmade Persian embroidery given to da-AL enhances this colorful delight!

(serves 8-12, depending on how hungry your guests are)

There’s no better way to end a sumptuous dinner with something lovely and just a little decadent. Get some tea steeping and reignite your guests’ appetites with buttery sweet baking aromas. The striking layers and fruity colors of this confection are sure to please most palates.

Note1 : this party-friendly batter can be made in advance and refrigerated for several hours.

Note 2: As mouth watering as this is fresh from the oven, it’s just as good later. Refrigerate leftovers, which are equally wonderful hot or cold.

Nuts can be served on the side, in a pretty bowl, if any guests don't prefer them.
Nuts can be served on the side, in a pretty bowl, if any of your guests might prefer their dessert without them.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

3/4 cup flour

3 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cups milk

4 tablespoons melted butter

2 cups cream cheese

1 cup honey

1 cup mixed berries

3 sliced bananas

1 cup orange marmalade

1/2 cup crushed roasted walnuts

1 cup crushed or shredded chocolate

Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 420°F.
  2. Whisk eggs, flour, sugar, salt, sour cream, and milk in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
  3. Slowly whisk in half of the melted butter.
  4. Heat two non-stick pans: an 8” and a 6”. Divide the remaining butter onto both warmed pans.
  5. Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the 8” pan, and the other 1/3 into the 6” pan.
  6. Cook over medium-high for five minutes, or until crepes take shape.
  7. Put the pans into oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until popover cakes are fluffy and golden.
  8. Remove pans from oven, and let them cool to room temperature.
  9. In a separate bowl, stir honey into sour cream.

Plating

  1. Transfer the larger cake onto a serving plate.
  2. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the chocolate onto it.
  3. Spread about 2/3 of sweetened sour cream over it.
  4. Remove the smaller cake from the pan and gently place it over the center of the larger one.
  5. Add remaining chocolate and sweetened sour cream to the smaller cake in the same way.
  6. Decorate the outer edge of the larger cake with berries.
  7. Cover the smaller one with bananas.
  8. Spoon the jam over bananas.
  9. Sprinkle the nuts over jam.
  10. Serve in pie-shaped wedges.

Jacques says that food is best when made with love and eaten with loved ones. That said, eating alone can be wonderful too, so long as you treat yourself with love.

Happy eating!

Update on Blogging by da-AL

Thanks, Los Angeles County Public Library, for my free online course on how to blog.

My new site was blogging along nicely until the teacher began to cover social media. That’s when my blog went silent, despite my best efforts to keep my fingers typing.

Why?

Ten years ago, I was among the non-FaceBook minority, the last of the worriers about privacy. Don’t remind me that, post-internet, it’s obsolete. When the topic comes up among friends in the flesh, it’s akin to debates over whether God exists. Faith and denial are at the fore.

10…

… years ago, I opened a FaceBook account under a pseudonym. After a week of being creeped out, I deleted it. Rather, I tried to. FaceBook’s farewell promised to forever and ever and ever and ever keep my info.

They predicted right. Last week I returned to the fold.

Why? 2
Thanks, pexels.com

Why?

I’ve got two books to sell, authored by me. Since, eighty queries later, I’m agent-less and publisher-less, getting them out is entirely up to me. People and internet alike assure me that exploiting social media is the sole answer.

Me a little over a month ago: shudder — pinch nose — one — two — three — I re-enrolled, my profile updated to reflect my real name.

Call it FaceBook fear or FaceBook phobia, for the next long while, my fingers were paralyzed.

FaceBook logo

Bon appétite,

Courage appeared a week ago. My personal hero, Jacques Pépin, famed TV chef and colleague of goddess Julia Child, was cooking on TV.

He was probably doing something that included sauteed garlic and parsley in butter, but I can’t remember. The recipe was eclipsed by how he grabbed a piece of steaming hot food as if it were nothing. Did he pop it into his mouth? With only a quick inhale, he explained that one merely need clench one’s teeth to bypass the sting.

Teeth clenched, I made my page public and clicked through its numerous prompts. Jaw throbbing, thoughts riffed ad nauseum on the little and big reasons FaceBook unnerves me. Assume profanity between all words to do with FaceBook. It’s ruined the word ‘friend.’ It allows only one birthdate change, plus there’s no way I know of to hide it. It sends me notices when I’ve signed out. And on and on.…

Yoooo-hoooo! … stranger-friends!

Gnat-like FaceBook notifications flitted one after the other as I ignored them. Determined, I clicked some more. My future audience awaited.

Many many clicks later — 15 minutes worth of them? Half an hour? 45? Time flew, and then…

I needed a shower.

Molars stinging, I checked back in.

My jaw went slack.

Stranger-friends had mobbed my page. It was my own fault. I’m a neophyte, to the extent that I only recently learned that ‘like’ in FaceBook land means more than a simple ‘yeah’ vote. Ignorant to who/what FaceBook stranger-friends truly are.

My page was overrun by peddlers of sex! Worried that kids who happen onto my page might ‘see it all,’ I postponed lunch. The next couple of hours were devoted to unfriending. The volume of them was fatiguing. Rather than double-check each one and risk seeing ever more abnormal body parts and bedroomy adolescents, I became a FaceBook bigot. Brazilians were the first to be unfriends. Next slavs, then non-American looking Africans and peach-faced kids. No more shirtless men, goodbye to come-hither crawling women, and farewell to people caressing anything other than their extremeties.

Ever since, more continue to greet me.

Fortunately, I managed to removed their birthdays and info from my contacts list and calendar. There’s plenty more for me to learn.

On the plus side, a handful of my new friends actually are friends I haven’t seen for a long time. To each of them, thank you for your encouragement.

So far, most everyone who kindly follows my blog are via WordPress and my personal emails.

Now people chide me that FaceBook is passé. They say that

Twitter
Twitter

and

logo
Instagram

are better.

Does this video scare you?
An amusing short video on fear vs. phobia.
Jacques remembering Julia.

What are your experiences with social media, particularly for promoting books and the like?