Sunday, May 3, 2015

Getting A Little On the Side - Coconut Jasmine Rice and Schmaltzy English Peas

The AAA truck was there in no time and we were back on our way home, so forget all that boding stuff from the end of the last post.  I walked into a clean home, empty kitchen sink, and four crazed Yorkies.  The cat was a bit more reserved, but clearly also glad to see us, as was our son.  The weather is nice, and I don't miss the oppressive Caribbean humidity.  My hibiscus are gorgeous and I received two new bread machine cookbooks I'd ordered just before the cruise.  There were unopened bags of Cheesy Puffs, Cheez Waffies, and Barbecue Popchips.  It's good to be home.

The cruise was nice.  The staff was wonderful as always, the shore excursions are a mixed review. The food on the Carnival Sunshine keeps getting better, for the most part. The kitchen still needs to work on its treatment of sauces, and for God's sake, if you are going to put super-spicy items on the menu, mark them as such!  Seafood Newburg and Bouillabaise are not interchangeable recipes and Grand Marnier Souffle does not have the same texture as Grand Marnier Bread Pudding. I'll be directing my comments to Carnival as usual.  Someone must be reading them, because Oysters Rockefeller is no longer on the menu.  

Arriving at Cozumel

I'm glad it worked out that one of the recipes I had ready for today's post is for English peas.  Happy Birth Day to the newborn Princess of Cambridge. Even if you are not a Royal Watcher, you must like William and Kate. They are so darn normal.  And with everything bad going on in the world, we all really need some good news.  Welcome to the world, Princess Name-To-Be-Announced-In-Due-Course, and God Save the Queen.

This is what Amarillo looks like in Mexico

Before we left on the cruise, I had been cooking like a lunatic, and so there were recipes that did not get published contemporaneously with their preparation.  These are two of them from my coconut milk and chicken schmaltz phase.

I get some of my recipe inspiration from other food bloggers.  Sometimes it's just a general idea, other times I use the recipe as a solid starting point, making a few changes.  Other times, the recipes come to me out of nowhere, and I develop a lot of my recipes out of my own experience with foods and flavors.

When it came to the rice I wanted to serve with the coconut curry chicken, I came across a particular recipe that was so perfect, I did not change a blessed thing, except to increase the amount of toasted coconut.  I had never tasted jasmine rice before, and I can't imagine why not because it is amazing, especially when cooked in rich coconut milk.  This recipe is from Jaden at the "Steamy Kitchen" blog.

Coconut Jasmine Rice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained well
1 - 13.5 oz. can Badia coconut milk (shake can to mix well before opening), poured into a 4-cup glass measuring cup
1  1/2 cups water plus a small amount of additional water added to the coconut milk to make a total of 3 cups of liquid
3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Heat butter in a medium sized, heavy saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add brown sugar and salt, stir until dissolved. Turn heat to high, add rice and stir until all grains coated evenly. Add coconut milk and water. Stir. When boiling, immediately cover with tight fitting lid, turn heat to medium-low and simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat but do not open lid. Really, no peeking! Let sit for 10 minutes. 

While the rice is cooking, toast coconut flakes on a dry skillet over medium high heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning, remove from pan as soon as coconut is golden brown, about 2 minutes.  When the rice is completely done, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.  Stir the toasted coconut into the rice, saving some to scatter on top.

I love the combination of green peas and rice, but I did not want to detract from the whole coconut experience, so I created this little vegetable dish.  Instead of bacon, I used schmaltz and griebenes and I think it worked.  If you forego the coconut rice for regular long grain white rice, you might want to combine it with these peas.

Schmaltzy English Peas

1 - 6 oz. microwave bag English peas
1 generous tablespoon chicken schmaltz
2 generous tablespoons griebenes 
a splash of chicken stock or broth
kosher salt
freshly ground mixed peppercorns
a pinch of sugar

Cook the peas in the bag, according to package directions, for 2 to 3 minutes.  Melt the schmaltz in a skillet, add the peas and cook until tender.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer together another minute.

From the Wide, Wide World of Sports:  I'm hoping Pacquaio wins tonight.  And yes that was me you heard screaming when the L.A. Clippers won the seventh game against the San Antonio Spurs.  With J.J. Reddick, Big Baby Davis, Hedo Turkoglou, and even head coach Doc Rivers all veterans from Orlando, it's the closest us Magic fans are going to get to a win.

Monday the Clippers start the next series, against the Houston Rockets.  You know, where Dwight Howard lives and plays.  Should be fun.

Tomorrow I have to do some serious thinking about the rest of my life and onion soup.  Oh crap, I just saw that Mayweather won by unanimous decision.  

(I apologize for any problems you might have reading this post.  Occasionally the Blogger format takes an unscheduled trip around the Milky Way and lands on the wrong planet. This happens to be one of those days.)

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