Rice. It is staple food. Just what does that mean? In many cuisines rice is a component you expect to see on every plate, no matter what the main entrée. Particularly in Asian cuisines, rice is there — not just as a base — but as an integral part of the overall dish. Rice adds texture, color, taste, and contrast. Yesterday, I posted about a delicious Green Lamb Curry. It was wonderful by itself but coupled with this Coconut Rice, I had a spectacular treat. I did this combo, a Northern Indian curry with the Southern Indian rice dish, at the suggestion of Madhur Jaffrey.
This is another recipe from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, a book I can personally and highly recommend to you. If you are intrigued by Indian flavors, want to try to duplicate some favorites from your Indian restaurant down the street, then there is no better place to start than here.
The peppercorns in the recipe are here for flavor and not for eating. If you see one, just push it to the side of your plate. The rice itself is sweet and salty, a good contrast to a topping like that lamb curry.
- 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 2/3 cup finely sliced shallots
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 ½ cup coconut milk from a well-shaken can mixed with an equal measure of water
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Pour the oil into a heavy, ovenproof pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the peppercorns. Let them sizzle for a few seconds. Add the shallots and stir-fry until they turn reddish brown. Add the rice, salt and turmeric. Turn the heat to low.
Stir gently for a minute. Add the coconut milk-water mixture, turn heat to medium high, and bring to a rolling boil. Cover first with foil, crimping edges, and then with the lid. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Fluff up and mix with a fork and then quickly cover again and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
I was standing in a slow line last week. I could not see the face of the woman in front of me, but I could see she had beautiful long blond hair. The question naturally popped into my head: do blonds really have more fun. Not in this line.
And then, I had a revelation. As soon as I got home I told Suzen.
“Do you know,” I began, “ that I have never dated a blond?”
“And in this lifetime you never will,” she shot back.
I never know if her vague references to reincarnation are meant to be Zen-like or are simply hostile.
Ok, no blonds for Brian. But I do want something “blondish.” I will be happy with a good blondie.
What’s a blondie? Good question. You see, sadly, blondies like blonds get very little respect.
Now I don’t want to insult anyone, and the stereotype of the dumb blond may be overplayed yet there occasionally is some basis for it. I don’t know how you feel about Paris Hilton [I think she’s cute], but if she were in a contest for the dumbest person on the planet, she’d have a good shot. A couple of weeks ago she was arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine. Her defense was simple: “That isn’t my purse.”
Now, she was the only female in the car, but it is Nevada and sometimes purses do levitate from one car to another. Paris has, however, undone her own defense. Someone just resurrected a Facebook posting by Paris from weeks ago where she showed off her new purse, with picture. It’s the same purse as was in the car when she was arrested.
So Paris is going up the river. Yes, they both rivers and prisons in Nevada. Here’s where it gets interesting. What if, to relieve prisoner tensions, they had coed prisons. What if her cell mate were O.J. Simpson. Nature takes it course and in a year there is a child. Imagine the possibilities: blond, beautiful, and possessing serious knife skills. They’d be lined up outside the prison waiting to adopt: the CIA, some reality show producers, and probably a delegation from North Korea.
As I said, blondies, like, blonds, get no respect. Go to Amazon and search for blondies: 130 hits. Search for brownies: 2653 hits.
A blondie is supposedly a brownie without all the chocolate. Or any chocolate. There’s confusion there. People talk about how blondies, made with butter and brown sugar, will have a slight butterscotch flavor.
Most people make a blondie that is just a brownie sans chocolate, they overbake them, and the resulting bricks are tossed aside.
Enter Dori Greenspan, who has the ultimate blondie recipe. Her secret: the addins. To get butterscotch flavor, she adds butterscotch chips. To make up for the missing sweetness with no chocolate, she adds coconut. To ignore the “no chocolate” rule, she adds chocolate chips. And then she adds some nuts, too.
When the batter is made, which is delicious to eat on its own by the way, you have about 4 cups of batter and 4 cups of addins. You think the addins won’t all fit. They will, but I do suggest putting all the chips, coconuts, and nuts in a bowl and mixing them by hand before folding into the cookie batter. It’s easier to get a uniform distribution of the goodies inside cookies.
How good are these? Well, I went through three batches in one week. We had a party, so I did not eat them all myself, but I did sample to make sure the quality was there.
[Warning: addictive, bake at your own risk!]
Chewy, Chunky Blondies
Yield: 32 bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon aching soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks [8 ounces] unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9 x 13″ baking pan and put it on a baking sheet.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and cream. Add both sugars and beat for another three minutes, or until well incorporated. Add the eggs one by one, beating for one minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula stir in the chips, nuts and coconut. Scrape the batter into the butter pan and use the spatula to even the top as best you can.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean. The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. Transfer the pan to a rack over about 15 minutes before turning the blondies out onto another rack. Invert onto a rack cool the blondies to room temperature right side up.
Cut into bars each roughly 2 ¼ x 1 ½ inches.
Source: Baking by Dori Greenspan