Purple Rice?

30 03 2012

How much fiber is in that purple rice?

Purple Japonica sticky rice is just one of the new rices I discovered at the Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park’s new bulk department.  I cooked it up for a savory dish, but it would be great with some blueberries and a vanilla bean for a sweet dessert or hearty breakfast.

My only question — how do they get it purple?  Bathe it in Barney juice, I’m sure…

Purple Rice with Sweet Potatoes and Collards

Serves 4

1 cup Japonica purple  rice

2 sweet potatoes

1 inch fresh ginger

1 teaspoon red chili flake

1 bunch collard greens (or kale, Swiss chard, or any other hearty dark green)

Combine rice with 2 cups of water in a small pot over high heat.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until rice is done, about 25-30 minutes.

Wash sweet potatoes and dice into bite-sized pieces.  Peel and mince ginger.  Toss sweet potatoes with ginger, red chili flake, and 1/4 cup water.  Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until potatoes are done, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, strip the leaves from the stems of your dark greens.  Cut into bite-sized strips.  Steam in a large shallow pot over high heat until done, about 7 minutes.  About this time, your sweet potatoes should be close to done.  When they are finished roasting, toss into the the steamed greens, along with any roasting juices.  Stir well to combine and cook over high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated, just leaving a couple tablespoons of sauce in the bottom of the pan.

About this time, your rice should be done.  Fluff with a fork.
Serve a big mound of rice with a generous portion of the sweet potato and greens mixture.

Enjoy with low-sodium tamari, red chili sauce, or toasted sesame seeds.


In a Pickle

29 03 2012

Homemade jarred pickles

Contrary to your typical store-bought pickles, you can control the level of salt in these pickles.  You can bump up flavor by adding diced hot peppers (like Fresno or Serrano), trading out different vinegars (like apple cider or champagne), and pickling all kinds of veggies (cauliflower, mini sweet peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, and okra).  The world is your mason jar.

Homemade Pickles

10 pickling cucumbers (the little guys)

3 cups water

1 cup white vinegar

2 tbsp. salt

2 cloves garlic

**1 tsp. Each: red pepper flake, yellow mustard seeds, black peppercorn

2 big glass jars

**optional, depending on taste

In a small sauce pan, combine the water, vinegar, salt, garlic, and spices. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. While that is heating, cut cucumbers into desired shapes. Choose spears, chips, slices, or even leave whole. Place pickles pieces into glass jars. Once vinegar mixture has warmed, pour into jars, completely immersing cucumbers. Refrigerate for at least a day. Enjoy.

Kale Chips

28 03 2012

Baked kale chips

The secret to kale chips (or any other veggie chip): low and slow.

Keep you oven temperature low (right around 200) and take your time.  You are essentially dehydrating your chips (versus traditional quick, high-temperature deep-frying).  This allows the omission of oil and lets you fully enjoy the natural flavor of the kale.

Best done while mult-tasking around the house.  It’s a nice treat to have kale chips after the laundry is folded and the email inbox is cleared.


Kale Chips

1 bunch kale (nothing fancy, just regular kale works best)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200.  Strip kale from stems.  Tear leaves into large pieces.  Toss with salt and pepper.  Spread onto baking sheet, in a single layer.  Bake for about an hour, mixing around every 15-20 minutes, until dried and crispy.  Store in a big bowl on the kitchen table.

Flavor variations:  Toss with soy sauce, red chili sauce (like siracaha), lemon juice, or orange juice before baking.