Impromptu Risotto-ish

Garlicturino86 (GT8) and I were hungry, so we decided to cook together. We took a look at the fridge and pantry and pulled out the items that were available for us to use. They were surprisingly limited: black beans, chicken broth (with vegetables and herbs), garlic, jasmine rice, pasta, a very small amount of frozen broccoli, fresh carrots, and milk.

“What can we possibly make with this?” I asked.

“Well, we can use the rice and chicken broth to make a sort of risotto,” GT8 replied.

I set to work peeling carrots and GT8 finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic. We heated 1.5 cups of chicken broth to a boil, then added 1 cup of jasmine rice and let it cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. I defrosted the broccoli and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Once GT8 had cut the carrots into bite-sized pieces we set them to boil as well, allowing them to cook for nearly as long as the rice. I also rinsed and drained a can of black beans.

Once the carrots were fairly soft and sweet, we drained them. We heated some olive oil in a frying pan, browned the garlic, then added the broccoli, followed a little while later by the carrots and the beans. By the time they were ready, GT8 had taken the rice off the heat and transferred it into a large bowl. I mixed in the beans and vegetables. The flavors all blended together marvelously, especially the rice and beans. This is definitely a meal we would both like to make again sometime.

The Stir Fry

This past weekend my close friend and best man came up to hang out. As is usually the case when he comes around, my kitchen gets invaded, and I get bumped down to sous-chef.

Thankfully, he’s a good cook, and we work well in the kitchen together, so the takeover is not a big deal.  One of the other usual things that happens is that a stir fry is one of the meals that gets cooked.

Our typical stir fry uses a store-bought teriyaki sauce. This weekend’s was different though.

Ingredients:

About 2lbs of Beef, cut into small strips (we used mostly a stir fry mix that was already the right general size, and only needed to be cut up a little).

1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice (makes 3 cups cooked)

About 1/2lb Bell Pepper Strips (frozen)

General Tso’s Sauce and Orange Ginger Sauce (Shoprite’s brand… surprisingly good – and I’m sure at least one of them contains garlic)

Soy Sauce (Reduced Sodium)

Fresh ground black pepper

Butter flavored grilling oil (leftover by an ex-roommate)

Preparation:

(Hours before – we marinated the beef in a mixture of the sauces and black pepper. As usual, the amount of each was a bit random – very much in my nature of “a dash of this” and “a pinch of that”)

I started by getting the rice cooking, since we figured it would take the longest, then started the peppers thawing process. We goofed on the timing a bit, so the rice finished just as the first portion of the meat hit my deep walled frying pan. We also managed to goof on proportions, so much so that we needed to cook the meat and peppers in batches.

Speaking of the peppers, they were simply sauteed in the butter flavored grilling oil. They were cooked until they just lost their crunch. The meat was cooked to well-done.

Once everything had finished, we served each item in its own bowl, letting each person present to choose what they wanted in their meal.

Conclusions:

Normally, I would have used one pan for everything but the rice (and even that might eventually get put into the pan toward the end), and I would have sauteed the peppers in olive oil and some chopped garlic. The butter grill oil gave the peppers a nice richness they normally don’t have, and the meat was perfect. All that remains of the meal is a small serving of the peppers, which will find their way into another dish soon.

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