Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

  The smell of garlic and black pepper permeate the air right now. In the oven, my cast-iron dutch oven is simmering away with one of my favorite ways to make rice. I found this recipe a couple of years ago, back when was It was posted by Northwest Lynnie, and it's become a staple in my house since. I've streamlined her recipe ever so slightly, but please keep in mind it does take a little time to make - 70 minutes of baking time, plus just a few minutes on the stove-top beforehand.

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf
Serves 5

2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 cup long-grain rice (Basmati is fantastic in this)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  Start by preheating the oven to 375°F. In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the rice and garlic if you are using the cloves. You'll want to make sure all the rice is coated in butter. Stir occasionally, making sure the garlic and rice doesn't burn. Essentially, you are toasting the rice, and you'll get this wonderful nutty aroma. The rice will be just a light golden brown when it's ready. This takes just a couple of minutes, so don't wander off.

  Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth, salt, and pepper. If you are opting for the garlic paste, stir it in now. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover with the dutch oven's lid, and slide it carefully into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

  Remove the dutch oven and lift the lid. The rice will have already drank up the previous cup of broth and the edges will be brown and crusty. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of broth and stir the rice. Cover, and return to the oven for another 45 minutes. Once the time is up, it is ready to spoon up and serve. Enjoy!

Note - I use garlic paste when I make this, just so I don't risk burning the garlic.  The first time I made this, I was going to use regular garlic, but it had sprouted.  I'm very glad I had the paste as a back up!  If you'd like to see the original recipe, visit Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Look Sprouting for Volunteer Vittles

  Today was spent sprucing up the ol' place.  I hope the new look reflects well of the blog.  It certainly is a brighter, fresher look.  I have been slacking on photos lately; and let's face it, a picture is worth a thousand words.  So my goal is to get back behind the camera more often.  If anyone has any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, let's hear them! 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kitchen 101: Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts

  Yes, true believers, there's more to ice cream than cruising the freezer aisle at your local grocery. (Bonus points for identifying who calls fans "true believers"!)   If you start looking at the various cartons and food trends, lots of terminology comes to light - ice cream, ice milk, gelato, sherbet, sorbet... it's enough to make your head spin.  But it all boils down to a few definitions, mainly determined by ingredients and fat content, which may be helpful if you venture out into making your own frozen confections.

Ice Cream - By definition, ice cream is a frozen dairy product with a minimum 10% milk fat content.

Philadelphia Style -  This mixture has no eggs in the base.  These are quick to put together, but since they have no eggs in the recipe, this kind of ice cream will freeze harder than a custard base.  You may see this kind of ice cream referred to as New York or American-style as well.

Custard -  This ice cream has a base that has egg yolks or whole eggs in the recipe, and the base is cooked before frozen.  The trick with this type of ice cream is to temper the eggs during the cooking process and strain to ensure no cooked egg pieces end up in your ice cream.  Custards can also be called French-style ice cream.

Ice Milk -  Similar to ice cream, but has less milk fat (3-6%).

Frozen Yogurt - Pretty much what it says it is - sweetened flavored yogurt that has been frozen.

Sherbet - Usually mainly made of fruit/fruit juices, it has a small amount of dairy (1-2% milk fat.)

Sorbet - Another fruity frozen dessert, but contains no dairy at all.

Gelato - There is no legal American benchmark for gelato, so be advised any ice cream or flavored ice can be labelled gelato in the US.  The term is Italian and is distinctive from American desserts because it doesn't contain as much air (or "overrun"), therefore a more dense dessert.

Granita - A dessert ice that is more coarse than sorbet.  Most granitas are made from fruit juice, but you can find coffee and wine granitas, as well.

Overrun - Overrun is the air that is whipped into the ice cream base as it freezes.  The less overrun an ice cream contains, the more dense it is.

Ripen -  This is done with homemade ice cream before serving that keeps it from melting so quickly, and take the texture from soft-serve to firm.  Simply transfer the ice cream from the machine into an air-tight container and freeze for a few hours before serving.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Garlic Crusted Rib-Eyes

  Down here, amid record highs for May, it's easy to see grill covers being flung aside and grills being fired up.  Rightly so, we followed suit this Memorial Day.  This recipe comes from Jamie Purviance, author of a popular series of grilling books for Weber.  The steaks came out juicy, succulent, and needed no sauce.  The trick to these steaks is not the ingredients, as there are relatively few needed, but the method of how to prepare the garlic.  The stinkin' rose will be used to create a paste that won't burn like traditional minced garlic.  And if you've ever had the misfortune of tasting burnt garlic, you know how bitter it is.  So, let's get to it, shall we?

Garlic Crusted Rib-Eyes
Serves 4

4 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 Rib-eyes, about 1 inch thick, and excess fat trimmed away

  Start off by creating the garlic paste.  You will need a cutting board and chef's knife, or a knife with a similar sized blade (a santoku knife comes to mind, and one of my favorite blades).  Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop the garlic.  Sprinkle about a teaspoon of the salt over the chopped garlic.  Carefully, using the side of the knife, keeping pressure near the tip, drag the knife over the garlic until a paste forms.  This will take a few times of smashing and smearing the garlic back and forth on the cutting board.  It'll take on an almost transparent consistency, since it will have been smashed so thin.  Scrap up the garlic and add it to a small bowl.  Mix in the remaining salt, olive oil, parsley, vinegar and pepper.

  Take your garlic mixture and rub it on both sides of the steaks.  Allow the steaks to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.

  Fire up the grill and get it ready to grill on high, direct heat.  Grill the steaks until desired done-ness.  Move the steaks to a plate, loosely cover with aluminum foil and allow them to rest about 5 minutes under the foil tent before serving.