Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cheesy Rice with Chicken and Green Beans

This is easy comfort food, born of leftovers. Feel free to mix it up with other vegetables - cooked broccoli, cauliflower, or summer squash would be obvious substitutes for the green beans. You can, of course, make rice and chicken specifically for this dish if you like. It lends itself to having the ingredients made ahead.

2 Tbsp butter
2 large shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
6-7 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
3-4 cups cooked chicken
3-4 cups cooked green beans in 1-inch lengths
4 ounces shredded cheddar, or to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the shallot or onion and saute over medium high heat for a couple minutes. Add the rice and the chicken broth. Mix well to thoroughly combine and moisten the rice. Reduce heat to low-medium and cover the pan. Cook until the liquid is largely absorbed and the rice is quite tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the rice has absorbed most of the broth, stir in the chicken and green beans and continue to cook until heated through. Add the cheddar. You can sprinkle it over the top and let it melt or stir it in.

Serves about 6.

Vietnamese Kale and Tomatoes

Lots of kale - and tomatoes - coming in from the garden these days. Here's a quick and easy combination of the two that is a little different from the usual. And did you know that a few Valley farmers actually grow ginger here? I got some fresh Lionsville Farm recently.

Canola oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
6-8 cups chopped kale leaves
1/2 - 1 tsp fish sauce

Heat a little canola oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium high heat until fragrant, about a minute or so. Add the tomatoes and saute for another couple minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted. Add fish sauce to taste and serve hot.

Serves 3-4.

Low and Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes

There are many different approaches to making and using roasted tomatoes. Here's another one, optimal for plum tomatoes - small to medium sized and not excessively juicy. The result is excellent ground or pureed into a pasty sauce and applied to pasta, roasted meat, or vegetables. Alternatively, you can freeze the roasted tomatoes for later use.

4-6 cups plum tomatoes or similar
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dried herbs: optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and core and seed. Spread them out cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. You may wish to line it with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Drizzle the tomatoes generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, generously but not to excess. If desired, you may also sprinkle with one or more dried herbs: basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, and/or thyme would all work well.

Roast the tomatoes for an hour, or a bit longer if they are on the large side. When they are done, they will have mostly collapsed and slightly caramelized; they will still be somewhat moist but not juicy,