Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Spanish-Style Rice October 10, 2012

Filed under: Mexican,My Recipes,Quick and Easy,Side Dish,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 10:40 am

I moved AGAIN this weekend. Three apartments in 12 months. WHEW! I am so not moving again for a long time. But, now that we’ve gotten most everything put away, I actually feel at home. I’ve been feeling like a guest in someone else’s place for awhile, so it’s a relief to be so much more relaxed.

We had our first company over last night for the Red’s playoff game. I am in training this week with a new group of employees, and I knew I’d be getting home after Richard’s friend was already there. Because I needed a quick, easy meal, I settled on tacos. Those are pretty self explanatory–meat, seasoning, cheese, shell. Some refried beans on the side (or the way I like it–in my taco). But, I wanted to cook SOMETHING. This rice was super easy–just throw it all in a pot for 25 minutes. That gave me time to crack open a beer (Sam Adams Harvest Nut–get your hands on this, if you haven’t already), catch up on the game, and talk to our company. The boys loved it, so I will definitely be making this again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a picture of this. There wasn’t really any recipe that I followed, just threw everything together based on what I THOUGHT was in Spanish Rice. It worked for us, even if it wasn’t totally authentic.

Spanish-Style Rice
Original Recipe

1 15-oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 1/2 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube (I actually used a ramen noodle packet because that’s what I had on hand.)
Generous amount of a cayenne pepper/chili powder based seasoning blend
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp soy sauce (or Worcestershire would work as well)
2 Tbsp butter

Combine all ingredients in a large pot over high heat. Bring to boil, reduce to low heat. Cover. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Don’t touch this why it’s simmering, otherwise the rice will come out sticky and gooey.

Remove from heat when rice is tender and has soaked up most of the liquid. Serve hot.


Butter Braised Leeks December 4, 2010

Filed under: Side Dish — hmills96 @ 10:03 pm

It’s been a really long time since I felt like cooking. I have had no inspiration, no desire. It was awful. I haven’t really spent any time in my kitchen for months, except to microwave some Lean Cuisine or something. The most difficult thing I had cooked was microwaved acorn squash!

But then I made the turkey for Thanksgiving. And it turned out beautifully. I was in Mom’s kitchen from 6:30 am to 2 pm. Then this week I made that roasted pepper pasta. I knew my cooking streak was back when I spent the whole drive home coming up with that recipe. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

When I woke up this morning, I knew I wanted to roast a chicken. But that’s a LOT of food for one person. So I called one of my best girlfriends and told her to come over for dinner. The menu was sooooooo good:  Thomas Keller’s Roasted Chicken, roasted mushrooms, and leeks braised in butter. OMG seriously these leeks. You have to try them. Eat them on their own with a fork, or do what we did and spread the sweet melty goodness over french bread.

These leeks are to die for. They have a very mild onion flavor, and the butter makes a sauce that just…wow…no words. They just melt over your tongue. We couldn’t get enough. Definitely not the lightest dish, but I will definitely make these again.

Butter Braised Leeks
From Caviar & Codfish

4 leeks
1 stick butter
Kosher Salt

To prepare the leeks:  Cut off the root and the leaves. Peel off the first layer of the stem and discard. Slice the leeks into thin coins. Place leeks in a big bowl of water, stir around with your fingers, and let everything settle for 20 minutes or so. (Leeks are notoriously sandy, you have to rinse them thoroughly.) Rinse leeks under cold running water just before using.

In a skillet, melt 4 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add leeks to pan and add water until leeks are almost covered. Cover pan and cook for 10-12 minutes until tender.

Remove lid and boil until water is almost gone. Season (carefully, as leeks have a very delicate flavor) with salt and pepper. Add rest of butter. Simmer for another minute or two, until sauce is thickened.

Serve as a side dish or spread all over French Bread. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm seriously this is so good.


Sauteed Carrots with Sage August 5, 2010

Filed under: Herbs,Quick and Easy,Side Dish,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

I LOVE cooked carrots. I keep boxes of the frozen steam bags in my freezer, for nights when its me and I don’t want to cook. I’ll just pop a bag in the microwave, throw on some salt and butter and enjoy. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be helping my eye sight much. Sigh. I think it’s time for new glasses.

My husband used to tell me that he didn’t like cooked carrots. I have changed that. He used to say that about mushrooms too and now he devours them whenever I fix them. I must be doing something right!

Anyway, this recipe was quick and simple to throw together while the Lemon Chicken was finishing up in the oven. I stuck with Cooking Light’s recommendation for sage because I have a TON of it, but use whatever fragrant fresh herb you have available. Dill would be fun with this.

Sautéed Carrots with Sage
Adapted from Cooking Light, November 2009

1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
4 big carrots, sliced on the bias
2 Tbsp water
Dash Salt & Pepper
Handful of fresh sage, chopped

Melt butter in nonstick pan over medium heat. Add oil, swirl to mix. Add carrot and water. Partially cover pan and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add salt, pepper, and herbs. Sauté for just a minute until sage is soft.


Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan June 19, 2010

Filed under: Quick and Easy,Side Dish,Spring/Summer,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 1:47 pm
Tags: ,

Here’s leg two of last night’s dinner. I try to eat as much asparagus as possible when it’s in season. It’s so good for you, and has such a unique flavor. It’s definitely a produce that is NOT good out of season.

I’m sorry I don’t have any photos of these dishes. I tried to snap a few quick ones but they turned out horrible. I always feel weird about taking food pictures with company around.

Stay tuned for Monday’s post about the Scampi!

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan

From Cooking Light Easy Summer Meals

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp EVOO
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded

Toss asparagus with oil, sprinkle with salt. Bake at 425 for 6-7 minutes. Toss with zest and cheese.


Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad June 9, 2010

Ever have one of those days when you feel completely uninspired? Yeah, that’s me, sitting here, trying to write this post. Normally I have a fun  story to go along with the recipe but I’m sorry, it’s been a crazy busy day and my brain says no to creativity apparently.

So instead, I’ll leave you with the recipe I promised. Please forgive my lameness.

This is the salad I served last night with the roast thighs. It was one I wanted to test for my sister, I thought it would make an easy, fulfilling meal that would give her some much-needed protein. It was great warm, and would be delicious cold as well. I think roasting the asparagus would give it more flavor, just sprinkle it with olive oil and salt and pop it in the oven, instead of boiling it.

Not exactly an easy dish to photograph.

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Adapted from Endless Simmer

1 Bunch asparagus
1 can cannellini beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Herbs
Feta or Goat Cheese

Boil asparagus for 2 minutes in salted water. Shock in ice water, drain. Cut into small pieces.

Dump water out of pot. Put back on heat. Add oil and drop asparagus back in. Cook only a minute or two, so it doesn’t get soggy.  Add beans and garlic.

In bowl, mix mustard, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper & herbs. Mix in asparagus & beans, add cheese.


Spicy Mango Slaw May 4, 2010

Filed under: Cookout/Potluck,Fruit,Quick and Easy,Salad,Side Dish,Spring/Summer — hmills96 @ 6:25 pm
Tags: ,

J. and I were theorizing the other day. Why would God have created such an impossible fruit as the mango? It is soooooooooo delicious–IF you can get it into edible form. Most fruit has a round pit, or tiny seeds–peaches, pears, apples–all very easy to slice. Pineapple takes some muscle, but it’s not a puzzle. But mangoes–the pit is OBLONG. I mean COME ON!

Then, I had a revelation. Mangoes must have been the forbidden fruit on the Tree of Knowledge in Eden. Think about it. God did not mean this fruit to be eaten. OBviously. And…AND–It grows in hot climates. Eden is believed to have been between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the Fertile Crescent (the Middle East).

Anyway, they are delicious. But cutting them up is next to impossible. Every year I buy a few when they are in season at the market, and every year I say, “Never Again!” I’m pretty sure the only “easy” way to eat them is standing over your kitchen sink in your underwear. Take the peel off and just suck the fruit off the pit.

Or make this slaw–but it will require you to cut the fruit. It’s pretty worth it though. Especially when you have yummy pork tacos to go along with it. Which you will get the recipe for tomorrow, I promise.

Look at all the mangoey goodness!

Spicy Mango Slaw

Adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2 green onions, minced
Juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (since it’s a salad, go for the good stuff!)
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 fresh mangoes, sliced

Combine ingredients in a large bowl; Toss.


Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs April 30, 2010

Filed under: Family,Herbs,Mushrooms,Side Dish,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 4:53 pm

Last summer, J and I went to visit my cousin in North Carolina. K, who had grown up in a typical, meat-centric Midwestern family, married a doctor, started running marathons, and became vegetarian! I could hardly believe it! I mean, this is the girl who used to stand in the kitchen with me when the turkey came out of the oven at Thanksgiving, so we could get the very first pieces of meat, straight off the bird!

Ever since then, I’ve been sending her veggie recipes as I come across them. I’ve even started a section in my recipe binder for meatless dishes to try. However, I am too much of a meathead. I crave protein, and I don’t often reach for that section.

But, when I went to visit my sister last week, she told me she had become a vegetarian too. This time I was glad. She has some health issues, and her doctor has been telling her for a while cutting out animal protein would help considerably. She’s like me though, and was very stubborn about giving up her meat. Then she read Skinny Bitch. The book talks about how humans aren’t built to digest other animals and how the kidneys can’t process them. A light went on for her and she finally understood why her doctor wanted her to go vegetarian. I read part of the book while I was there. It was pretty hard-hitting, but I’m not giving up my meat anytime soon.

However, I’m going to start including more meatless recipes in my diet. K. is still in school and has her meals prepared for her every day, but when she gets out, it will be helpful to have some recipes she knows are edible. You can’t live on salad and french fries every day (which is basically what she’s doing now). Blech.

This one makes a fantastic side dish–I served it with last night’s chicken. It can also be increased to make a main dish for a vegetarian.

Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs
Adapted from the Kitchn

3/4 lb bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used chives, thyme, marjoram and parsley), minced
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1/4 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Toss mushrooms in large bowl with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Roast for 20 minutes. Add herbs and wine. Return to oven to 10 more minutes until dark and slightly shrunken.

Mix in sour cream. Reseason if necessary.