The rice has been creeping up on me this winter.
It's been hard to get into a food rhythm in NYC. I have to do research to find out where to buy decent food, as opposed to walking up the street to one of several awesome, easily findable stores. It's an expedition to get to any of the food co-ops here. Then there's the part where I am a cheap and independent-minded bastard, and therefore have multiple issues with just going to the Union Square Whole Foods. Also, why is it so hard to find any store with bulk bins? It must be all about controlling vermin. But bulk bins! Bulk tea! Bulk flour and almonds and spices and lentils! AUGH.
So we've really been living off what we can find at the farmer's market (clearly good) and the supermarket up the street (not so good at all). This means we have a very small ingredient supply from which to create random weekday dinner. That's not good. I mean, I love fagioli, but I've been eating it practically once a week, plus leftovers. I've had way too many quesadillas. There's been too much pasta and not enough grain. So I went to Trader Joe's (another expedition) and got actually reasonably priced arborio rice and couscous. Grain will be dinner.
I combined ideas from about three rice recipes in Deborah Madison's The Savory Way to come up with this. Essentially, I made rice, mixed it with delicious additions, and ate it. Super easy.
Green and black rice
salt, black pepper
Put your rice on to cook in double its volume of water. I made a cup of rice, for leftover potential. Of course then we ate the entire finished pan, but that's ok.
While the rice is cooking, warm some olive oil in a saute pan over low-medium heat.
Consider your allium stock. Alliums are plants in the onion/garlic area, with bulbs that grow underground; they're obviously here for the savory component. Pretty much any onion type will work well as long as you cook it very slowly to get it all sweet and nice. If I had any red onion, I would have totally added that. In this instance I had two shallots and four or five cloves of garlic, so I minced those up and put them on to soften.
Trim and slice a few green onions. We're actually using these for more of a green vegetable component, so yes: use them along with the shallot/garlic. You can also use any other greens you think would be good; spinach and chard are obvious choices. Cut everything up into little pieces, so it will mix well with the rice later.
Herbs: strip a big handful of parsley stems, then mince the leaves. If you have other fresh herbs that need to be used up, this is a good place to put them. The original green rice lists marjoram, dill, and cilantro; I think things like sage and chives would work well too. It really depends on your tastes. I'd probably keep parsley dominant and use smaller amounts of any other herbs, but whatever you like will be fine.
When the shallots and garlic are nice and soft, and the rice is done, add your chopped greens to the pan. Keep the herbs back for last-minute addition. Saute the greens for a minute or two, until wilted. You may need to add a little more oil or butter here if the pan is too dry.
Add the chopped herbs. Stir the pan up to mix and quickly wilt them, then take it off the heat. Season with some salt and as much black pepper as you can stand to grind. Now you have the green and black; you only need the rice.
Tip the greens into the rice pan, mixing thoroughly. Again, if it's too dry, add a little drip or two of olive oil.
Now you can either eat it plain or toss it with a bunch of parmesan. I wanted this to be my entire dinner, so I added a big handful of cubed cheese, let it melt for a minute, then ate the hell out of it.
Eating is good. More grain in future.