|Pineapple Macadamia Rice|
Next I needed to have some kind of side dish to accompany the chicken, so while I have actually made a rice dish with some of the same ingredients just a couple of months back, and which I called "Tropical Rice," I wanted to take it a little farther this time. It is quite similar in most respects, with the same additions of brown rice, scallions, bell pepper, lime juice, grilled pineapple and macadamia nuts, I think, if my memory serves, that this version was a little bit better.
|Pineapple Macadamia Rice|
Pineapple Macadamia RiceServes 6 to 8
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil
⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
½ lime, juice only
2 - 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
½ bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 - 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 scallions, sliced thinly on the bias
1 cup grilled pineapple, in small cubes
2 - 2½ ounces macadamia nuts
Earlier in the day, or the day prior, cook together the first 4 ingredients according to package directions. Once cooked, fluff the rice and allow it to cool completely. Set aside or refrigerate until needed.
In a large, dry skillet, toast the shredded coconut until it is golden. Pour onto a plate to cool and set aside. Grill the pineapple in a large chunk or two, until it is tender and has some nice grill marks. Cut it into small cubes.
In the same skillet as previously, over medium heat, add the 2 teaspoons coconut oil, then saute the onion until very tender and beginning to brown at the edges. Add in the lime juice (at least a tablespoon: if your limes are dry, squeeze more, to make at least a tablespoon of juice) and stir, cooking until all the juice has evaporated. Add in the garlic, ginger and bell pepper and stir-fry until very fragrant. Add in all the rice and stir-fry until some of the grains begin to brown slightly. Add in the remaining ingredients, leaving aside a tablespoon each of the scallions and macadamia nuts for garnish. Stir well, then serve immediately, garnished with the remaining scallions and macadamias.
And now, to the Middle East . . .Also, recently I have taken more of an interest in eggplants. Anyone who knows me, or who has read my blog, may know that as a child, eggplant was almost the worst thing I could imagine having to eat. It has taken me all this time to even begin to warm up to the whole idea. I have eaten a few things with eggplant and liked then, such as my sister's Eggplant Parmesan. Recently I made an Eggplant Casserole, which was also excellent. With enough sauce and cheese, most things can be disguised enough to be edible. And so I come to Baba Ghanoush. I have read of Baba Ghanoush (or Baba Ganoush, Baba Ganouzh, etc) for a long time, but having eggplant play the major role in that dish has so far deterred me from trying it.
Still, this summer, as I saw eggplants start to make an appearance at the Farmers' Market, I have felt the need to buy one, here and there. And so I bought an eggplant last week, and it sat there staring at me on the counter, while I tried to think what to do with it. Baba Ghanoush popped into my mind. I tried to quell the thought, but I finally gave in and looked up what constituted Baba Ghanoush. I was somewhat surprised to find that it is basically the same ingredients that make hummus, which I love. Just substitute grilled, peeled eggplant for the chickpeas and hey, Presto! A beautiful dip.
I made one smallish eggplant to try this recipe, and the recipe came out to be approximately ¾ cup of dip. To make more, just double or triple the recipe as needed. I left my Baba Ghanoush totally unadorned for my photos. Many things are suggested, for serving, from simply drizzling with more olive oil, to serving with olives, pine nuts, parsley, etc. Some photos I saw online had so many things over top that there was absolutely no view of the main event. I think it was pretty enough on its own, so I unashamedly photographed it gloriously nude.
I chose to add an ingredient that I never saw in any of the recipes: Sumac. Sumac is a Mediterranean / Middle Eastern spice that is used as a souring agent, similarly to lemon/lime juice or tamarind in other areas of the world. Click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to read more about sumac. This ingredient is in no way needed to make Baba Ghanoush, but I felt it would add something.
Makes about ¾ cup
1 medium/small eggplant (11 to 12 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, minced
(2 tablespoons vinegar, optional)
¼ cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoons ground Sumac, optional
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ to 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, to taste
Heat the oven to 400 degrees, or more authentically, light a grill. Bake (or grill - not sure of timing for the grill) the eggplant for about 45 to 55 minutes, until completely soft. Set aside to cool. Peel the skin and place the eggplant into a food processor.
The garlic can certainly be roasted garlic, if preferred. If using raw garlic, and if raw garlic is hard on the stomach, as for me, place the minced garlic in a small bowl and cover with the optional vinegar. Allow to set for 10 minutes, then drain off the vinegar and add the garlic to the food processor, along with all the remaining ingredients. Process until well blended. Serve accompanied with olives, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil. Set out crackers, pita crackers, or crudités.
My passion is teaching people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and passing along my love and joy of food, both simple or exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me also at A Harmony of Flavors on Facebook, and Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter.