Rice Pilaf with Pretty Colours

From February 2007: Yahoo 360 Blog

Guess What's for Dinner? I feel as though I am blogging a blog of "Guess What I Made for Dinner?" Not that it's a bad thing - to write about meals I've prepared. It becomes inspiration for me, perhaps for readers of this, for future meals, class ideas, the cookbook I will someday write...
A cold but very sunny day in Philadelphia. I guess the temps were in the mid to upper 30's possibly even 40's. Whoo Hoo! Took a bike ride into town - such an interesting concept, me, at nearly 40 riding a bike into the center of Downtown Philadelphia. Well, interesting to anyone who does not ride a bike, live in the city, or who might not know me well. I don't drive. Never have. I'd like to learn, but I think I have a, no, let me rephrase, I do have a deep fear of driving. So I ride a bike. Everywhere I can. Or take cabs, the bus, or bum rides from my girlfriend and other friends. But back to heading into town. Man I can really go off on tangents.
Went into Center City today. The area around the Reading Terminal Market was a mob scene. Street vendors hawking cheap watches and bootleg dvd's and cd's. Traffic snarls. Tourists and Suburbanites toting give-a-way bags from the Auto Show at the Convention Center. Body to Body traffic in the Market, with long lines at all the cheese steaks, roast pork, and hoagie stands in the Market. I haven't seen it like this in town in years. Then again, I rarely head over to the Market, so I can't say it isn't like this nearly every day. There was a crazy zany high powered energy in the air. Could have been the nice crisp day. Despite the cold, it was sunny and there isn't any snow here. Valentine's day is coming, so people were shopping. It's winter and we all want to be outside. The feeling in the air reminded me of when I was a kid and you felt so tired of being cooped up in the house all winter, or in school all week. To get outside to play was the best feeling. Like you had so much energy you could just run for blocks and blocks and not even feel it burn off. It felt like that kind of day. High energy excitement.

And I was just out to buy some ingredients for my All Chocolate-Inspired Valentine's Day Menu for this Tuesday's Cooking Class. Mostly looking for chocolates for cooking. Which I found at Whole Foods. God bless that store! I can't wait to make the fennel, orange and endive salad with white chocolate shavings. Sauteed Veal Medallions in a Port Wine Reduction Sauce with Cocoa Nibs. Chocolate Ravioli stuffed with Wild Mushrooms & Hazelnuts. Dessert of Earl Grey Cake topped with a Warm Chocolate Sauce. MMMM! I can feel the serotonin flowing in my brain and body as I write about the recipes! However, as I have yet to finish (or start) writing my recipes, I cannot as of yet, share them. I'll post them after Tuesday. Just in time for Valentine's Day, and after my class is finished. Or possible before should I get them completed in a non-procrastion manner. Ha! So not likely by me! I could try...
I do have menu inspirations from tonight's meal. Today's photo was my meal for the evening. A lovely salmon - yes, I eat a lot of salmon, pan seared and then poached in a soy orange ginger dressing. Jasmine Rice Pilaf with onions, carrots, red peppers, garlic and topped with a bit of pine nuts for crunch. Too tired to make another veg. I didn't make dinner until after 9 pm. I'd like to think it's because Liz and I live so European. The reality is, I either get home and started late, or I just plain get lazy and don't cook until we're ready to eat the pictures from all of my food magazines!
The salmon dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook. I call this Temple Foods, inspired by Nigella Lawson. By the time the rice is done, so is the salmon. Start the rice first.

Rice Pilaf with Pretty Colours
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Small Onion - small dice (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Small Carrot - peeled & cut into small dice
  • 1 to 2 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper - small dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts, Almonds or Cashews (optional)

Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a 3 quart sauce pot over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion & carrot and saute about 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and pepper and saute about another minute.
  2. Add in the rice and stir to coat all the grains with the oil and sauted veggies. Add in 2 cups of cold water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes then take pot off of heat, keeping lid on pot - let stand for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Remove lid from pot and check to see if the rice absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with toasted nuts of choice.

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