12 February 2007
Today I am exhausted. It is the correct time for soporific food. But I am already sleepy! Well. I will be more sleepy after this, I guess.
Mostly I think of starch in this situation. If we had cream I would perhaps be making the effort to make pasta with a cream sauce, steamed spinach, and romano cheese. That would be tasty. However, no cream. I have the unfortunate habit of buying cream with just this intention, then suddenly feeling like something else for dinner. The cream sits in the refrigerator for three or four days. When I decide I do want the cream sauce after all, it is Too Late.
It is much safer to rely on pantry starches. The pasta is obviously fine, but tomato sauce just isn't that interesting, and besides, I like it spicy hot hot hot hello arrabiata! That is not so much soporific as perspiratory. So I go instead to two main categories: 1. potato 2. rice. Today is a rice day.
Rice itself is perhaps not what most people make for dinner. It's generally rice And something: stirfry, curry, ratatouille. I am making a pot of rice. However, it is not plain rice. It is a very tasty, easy, and gradual rice from Nigel Slater's Appetite. I don't do a whole lot of cooking what other people have written down and published in large shiny cookbooks, but Nigel Slater is an exception. The best part is that you can clearly tweak everything to your own kitchen and its array of supplies and other business. I mean, I do this with sort of a lot of recipes anyway, but most cooks don't overtly encourage it. He does. So I am inclined to like his stuff for that reason alone. Then there is the fact that everything I've ever tried turns out GREAT.
We've had this rice at least three or four times so far. It's certainly the only recipe that's ever made us run out of whole spices. We made it often enough to run out of the cinnamon sticks that had been mouldering in the spice cabinet for at least two years! The cloves are still holding out well, but the cardamom is getting a little low. Yes. It is essentially hot, aromatic spice cabinet rice.
whole green cardamom
a fresh hot pepper
This is easy. Get out a reasonably sized rice pot and heat a little oil on low. Chop up your onion and cook it slowly in the oil until it's good and soft. Today am I using a half an onion, where normally I would use a whole one, because that's what I have left of the onion supply. They get used up a lot more regularly than the spice cabinet, though. Anyway.
When the onion is soft, add maybe 3 or 4 whole cloves of garlic, smashed with the flat of a knife. This gets the skin off the garlic really efficiently, too. Add your spices: 4 cardamom pods, 3 cloves, a cinnamon stick. Let things cook together for a couple minutes, or until the kitchen smells GREAT. Then add maybe 3/4 cup of rice, your whole hot pepper, and 3x as much water as rice to the pan. Season with some salt, if you want. Stir it all up, then bring to a boil. Simmer with the lid on for ten minutes before taking the pan off the heat. Then let it sit, no peeking seriously you guys, for another ten minutes. This lets the rice finish steaming. When the time is up, fluff up your rice, correct any salt and pepper mishaps, fish out the pepper and any whole spices you can be bothered to grab, and eat. If you leave in the spices, watch out! Don't crack your teeth! Although I for one do enjoy a good clove every now and again.