Huzzah! I received a great cookbook from my Secret Santa (who was nice enough to sign the title page. Thanks, Temma!) Anyhow, I immediately did what one always does when receiving a new cookbook – I looked at all the photos! And it was clear I had a new mission: cook.this.book.
The cookbook, easy vegan – simple recipes for healthy eating, contains over 100 recipes so it will take a little over two years to fulfill this quest, recreating one recipe per week. I had thought about waiting until the New Year started, but in the category of what the heck – why wait, I have already started!
But first – a couple of caveats: (1) I reserve the right to change the recipe to fit what I have available and (2) I reserve the right to change the recipe to fit our personal taste. Number one is in response to not having enough vegetable stock to make a soup for this first recipe, and number two is in anticipation of the beet salad about a third of the way into the book.
And by the way – this is a one pan dinner. You can’t get any easier than that, can you?
Garlic-Red Pepper Vegetable Rice
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: approximately 40 minutes
Ingredients for Step One
3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
4 scallion, chopped
1 cup carrots, julienned (thin little matchsticks)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen green peas
8 cloves garlic, chopped (not minced)
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped – practically minced. Okay, go ahead. Mince away! Make the garlic jealous!
Ingredients for Step Two
3 cups uncooked rice (I used Jasmine-scented white rice)
4 cups of unsalted vegetable broth
1 cup of water
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons crushed red pepper (yep – two!)
Ingredients for Step Three
3 – 4 cups of hand-torn field greens
1 cup cashews or peanuts. Use more if you want. It’ll be okay.
Using a (very) large non-stick sauce pan, pre-heat the olive oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Test the temperature by carefully dropping a carrot stick into the pan. If you hear it start to sizzle, add the Step One Ingredients.
Stir until the ingredients are mixed, then reduce to medium heat and cover. You are sautéing the vegetables here so be aware of how heat applied to oil reacts with damp vegetables such as frozen peas. Stir occasionally, sautéing for 10 minutes.
Can you believe it? You are almost done!
Add the Step Two ingredients, stirring until mixed. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook until the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. This might take 30 to 40 minutes.
In this step, you are allowing the liquid to cook the rice, and you are giving the spices and aromatics a chance to meld into the other ingredients. Plus you are giving yourself an opportunity to pour the glass of wine that has been calling your name since this morning. I know. I have the same thing happen to me all the time!
Just before serving, gently stir in the Step Three Ingredients. There you go – you have just created a wonderful one-dish meal full of substance and flavor. This works both as a main dish and as a side.
Optional: Add two more cups of hot vegetable broth after the rice has been cooked and you will have yourself a nice spicy soup, too.
Chef’s tip: Try to use fresh ginger whenever possible. Candied ginger is right out. All you need to do is peel the root a bit, chop what you need, then wrap the remainder in foil, place in a freezer bag (squeeze as much air out as possible) and keep in the freezer until you need more. The next time it may be a slight bit soggy, but the fresh flavor will still be there. And now you know!
P.S. If you don’t use the V-word (you know – vegan) people will never know. It’s just a great tasting bowl of food!