Garlic-Red Pepper Vegetable Rice

Garlic-Red Pepper Vegetable Rice

Garlic-Red Pepper Vegetable Rice

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:

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

Serves: 8

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!

Baconfest 2010 – Bacon Cheese Waffles


Okay, so if you read the book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, you would see that the next recipe up for testing would be “Grits and Bits Waffles.” Looked promising.

However, after the near mutiny in the household from the oysters last week, grits seemed just beyond comprehension. (And we are supposedly a southern family – it’s almost a law that we have to like grits.) So instead, I went with the intent of the recipe and used a regular waffle recipe from Betty Crocker’s cookbook.

With the whole herd to feed, I increased many of the ingredient quantities. The verdict follows the recipe. Here’s what I did:

For Waffle Batter:
4 eggs
4 cups flour
1 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

8 – 10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs until frothy.
Mix in the rest of the waffle batter ingredients.
Continue mixing with hand mixer until batter is smooth.

Now carefully pour the batter onto your pre-heated waffle pan.
Top with cheese and bacon. Make sure you cover the entire waffle.
Close the waffle iron lid.
This is the hard part, in my opinion…

When the light goes out, comes on, the buzzer buzzes, the dinger dings, how ever your waffle iron signals that you waffle is done…wait.

Give the waffles an extra 30 seconds or so to finish cooking. Of course, different waffle irons have different cooking times, so you may have to adjust. You’ll know.

Serve to the hungry masses as the waffles come off the iron. Goes well with pure maple syrup from Vermont or Canada.

Our verdict? Good. More cheese and more bacon would have made it even better so next time we are goin’ whole hog! Sorry about that, couldn’t resist!

Happy eating!

Baconfest 2010 – Hangtown Fry


Since the origin of this recipe dates back to a time and a place where the noose swung freely and often, I now must wonder if any of the hangman’s customers were culinary patrons trying to get the taste of fried oysters out of their mouths or unsavory criminals??

Thirty years ago, my Phi Delta Sigma chums and I spent many a time enjoying the merits of steamed shrimp, fried chicken, and raw oysters on the half shell. With the Pope (not that Pope, but he did have a red and white popcorn bowl for a hat…) leading the charge, we all had the best of times, including the raw oysters, usually taken straight from the shell, with the help of a little red cocktail sauce.

Continuing on with my tribute to Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, this week we are on page 158 – Hangtown Fry.

Quite the interesting story, get the book and read it if you can [ISBN-13: 978-0-964-89564-5.] In the meantime, if you want to try a new twist on the traditional, staid bacon & eggs, try this one out…

Hangtown Fry

4 tablespoons oyster crackers, crushed
3 to 6 oysters, shucked
2 – 3 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons bacon fat
2 large eggs, beaten
salt / pepper to taste

Dredge the oysters in the crushed crackers, allow to sit for a few minutes.
In a non-stick skillet, cook the bacon.
Take the cooked bacon out, set aside. Crumble when cool.
Add the extra bacon fat to the skillet. Reduce the heat slightly.
Carefully place the breaded oysters in the skillet. Stir gently, frying the oysters until breading has browned.
Add the beaten eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and the crumbled bacon.
Stir gently until the eggs are done to your liking.

My experience: I had an issue with the breading coming off the oysters, so I ended up with fried oysters sans breading. Other than that, it worked as advertised!

It’s been a long time since I have ordered oysters of any type. I ate these with a bit of trepidation, but succeeded. I guess without the ambiance of a Phi Delta Sigma meeting, it’s just not the same. I’ll live, but will be glad when the last two oyster recipes are behind me!