Rice Pilaf

rice pilaf

Classic side for a week night meal or a holiday gathering. Easy and make ahead too!

Rice Pilaf

1 cup Royal Blend or Wild + Basmati Rice Mixed
1 1/2 cups Veggie or Beef Stock
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup Angel Hair Pasta (broken into 1 inch pieces)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Dried Sage
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 cup Toasted Nuts (Almonds, Pine Nuts, Cashews etc.)

Combine the rice, pasta, olive oil and the stock and bring to a boil.
Add the salt and pepper to taste. Add the dried sage and garlic powder.
Turn the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Simmer for 10-13 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and pasta is tender. Fluff with a fork and set aside or cool and place into the fridge if making ahead.

In a large fry pan warm the toasted nuts over a medium heat until aromatic but not burned. Add the prepared rice/pasta and toss gently with a fork until warmed through. Add a bit of hot stock if the rice seems to want to stick together.

Serve along side any meat main dish or, add chick peas or cannellini beans for a vegetarian option.

Serves 3-4 as presented above but recipe can be doubled for 6-8 servings.

Link Love

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The Brown sisters have been photographed every year since 1975. The latest image in the series is published here for the first time.

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Mac & Cheese

mac & cheese
I’ll be willing to bet Mac & Cheese is near the top of the list when it comes to comfort food favorites!
You can make it with gourmet cheeses and luxe add-in’s like truffle, or keep it simple and familiar with an “all cheddar” approach.
My offering is a midway point between fancy-pants and kid stuff.

Mac & Cheese

1 lb. box of Rotini Pasta

For the Cheese Sauce:
6 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Flour
Salt & Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried Parsley or Basil
1 quart Whole Milk
2 cups grated Swiss Cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere Cheese
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese

For the Topping:
1 cup Toasted Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons Butter (melted)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the pasta in lots of salted water until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Grate your cheese and set aside.

Melt the butter over medium low, add the flour and whisk briskly. Add the nutmeg and parsley. Cook for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly.
Tip: I’m using the pot i’ve boiled my pasta in, no need for more dishes, right?
Add the milk slowly, whisking. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. The sauce will take a few minutes to thicken.
Off the heat, add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring to incorporate between handfuls.
Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and fold gently until well combined.

Pour into a buttered casserole or gratin dish.

To make the crumb topping mix the melted butter and the bread crumbs, stir gently until all the crumbs are saturated with butter. Sprinkle over the top the mac & cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Meet Amy Thielen

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I first came to know about Amy via herFood Network show Heartland Table. I was utterly charmed by her easy going style of presentation as well as her cozy and serene Minnesota lifestyle. She’s triggered memories of how my Grandmother used to cook, and inspired me to keep things simple. She’s reminded me that you only need a good sharp knife and a few other essentials in order to be a good cook.

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Photo sources Amy Thielen and Jennifer May

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

foccia bread

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

1 1/4 cups Very Warm Water (110 degrees)
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped Fresh Rosemary

For Baking:
1/4 cup additional Olive Oil
2 teaspoons additional Salt

Dissolve the sugar into the warm water, then stir in the dry yeast. Set aside for about 10 minutes so the yeast can bloom. You’ll know it’s ready when it looks a little bit foamy and smells like beer.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, place the flour,salt and olive oil and rosemary.
Start the mixer on the lowest speed then slowly pour the yeast/water mixture into the flour.
Allow the dough come together in the mixer then turn it out onto a floured work surface.
Knead your dough by hand for about 5-7 minutes or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Place your dough in an oiled bowl, covered with cling film, or a clean hand towel. Allow to rise for 2 hours.

When risen, turn out your dough onto an oiled pizza pan or sheet tray. Form the dough into a oval or rough circle shape.
Cover loosely with cling film and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Gently make depressions with your fingers all over the dough to give it that signature focaccia appearance.
Drizzle the top with the 1/4 cup of olive oil and sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons of salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve sliced with an Italian meal or as an appetizer with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.