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Month: June 2019

DRAGON FRUIT SMOOTHIE BOWL

DRAGON FRUIT SMOOTHIE BOWL

A cool, creamy, and beautiful tropical smoothie bowl made with coconut milk, berries, and tropical fruits.  This dragon fruit smoothie bowl is a refreshing and beautiful way to start your day. Have you seen dragon fruit in your supermarket?  It’s one of those produce items…

EASY SUGAR SNAP PEAS

EASY SUGAR SNAP PEAS

Need a super quick and easy side dish that everyone – even your pickiest eater, will love?  These easy sugar snap peas are ready in less than 20 minutes and require just seven ingredients.  What could be simpler? I love cooking ingredients that are in…

BASIC BIRYANI RICE

BASIC BIRYANI RICE

Biryani rice is an interesting, flavorful, Indian dish comprised of rice, vegetables and warm spices such as turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon.  

This basic biryani rice recipe is a wonderful side dish that can be customized to suit your needs or tastes.  It makes a great side dish to serve with grilled meats or a tasty vegetarian entree. You can also make it a meal with the addition of chicken, pork or beef.

Quick and easy side dish recipe for a basic biryani rice

Reading the ingredient list may give the impression that this is an involved, difficult dish.  Trust me that it is not.  

While the ingredient list is lengthy, each one adds a depth of flavor and complexity to the dish.  Choose quality ingredients and fresh spices and you will be rewarded with a beautiful biryani that has amazing flavor.

The main ingredient in this basic biryani is basmati rice.  Basmati rice is a thinner and longer grain rice that maintains its shape when cooked doesn’t become gummy and fluffs into separate grains.

HOW TO BUY BASMATI RICE

  • Basmati rice doesn’t come in the plastic bags like other rice varieties.  Look for it in either cloth bags or containers. It is typically on the top shelf of your grocery store’s rice aisle.
  • The grains of rice should be long or extra-long.  The longer the better. Also, the grains should be whole, not split or broken.  The ends should be tapered. If they are flat or jagged, the rice is broken or damaged.
  • Did you know that basmati rice is aged to remove more of its moisture content?  Because it’s aged longer than other types of rice, it takes on a very light golden hue.  It should never be grey or pearly white.

WHY SHOULD I RINSE MY RICE

A lot of recipes call for rinsing the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear.  Doing this will remove any debris that may be on the rice. It will also wash away the surface starch so your rice remains fluffy with separate, tender grains.  It helps to prevent sticky, gummy rice.

Rinsing rice is especially important when using medium or long grain rice.  If you are looking for creamy or sticky rice, like rice pudding, risotto, or sushi rice, you’ll use short grain rice and will not rinse it prior to cooking.

While a lot of biryani recipes contain chicken, seafood, or even goat, I like to make this recipe with simple, yet very flavorful vegetables.  This basic biryani rice recipe checks off all the flavor profiles:

  • Sweet from the raisins and cinnamon
  • Sour from the drizzle of lemon juice at the end to finish the dish before serving
  • The kosher salt adds the salty note
  • The bitter taste is from turmeric, which mellows the sweetness of the raisins
  • Chicken stock and wine balances and rounds out the other flavors and brings the umami flavor to the dish

Quick and easy side dish recipe for a basic biryani rice

WHAT IS UMAMI

Umami is the meaty, earthy, savory flavor that adds an almost indefinable depth of flavor.  It is the craveable taste that hits the back of the throat and signals the brain to think, “yum!”

Umami can be reached by using mushrooms, meat, seaweed, tomatoes, aged cheese- any food that contains glutamate.  Glutamate is an amino acid. Glutamate is also one of the ingredients in MSG, which is a flavor enhancer. Now we know why.  But don’t worry. Umami won’t give you that Chinese take-out food headache.

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A quick and easy recipe for a basic biryani rice

BASIC BIRYANI RICE


  • Author: Eats By The Beach
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 - 6 1x

Description

A quick and easy Indian side dish that is flavorful and easily customizable.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine (I use chardonnay)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, optional

Instructions

  1. Make the rice. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water. Use your hands to turn and move the rice, allowing the water to run through all of the grains. Set aside to drain completely.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Slide in the onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute the vegetables until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the raisins, almonds, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the rice and stir to combine the spice mixture into the rice.
  5. When the rice is a uniform color, continue to cook, stirring, to toast the rice grains for another 2 or 3 minutes. Keep the mixture moving to avoid burning.
  6. Pour in the stock, wine, kosher salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir well and cover the pot with a lid that has been tightly wrapped with a kitchen towel. Bring to a boil.
  7. Lower the heat to low and allow the rice to steam until it is tender, about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat. Do not remove the lid! Allow the rice to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  9. After resting, fluff the rice with a fork. Spoon the biryani onto a serving platter.
  10. Squeeze the lemon juice over the rice. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top and serve warm.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1

Try this with Grilled Piri Piri chicken or Perfectly Grilled Moist Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts.  Complete your meal with a little something sweet, my old fashioned lemon bars.

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FLORIDA GUMBO

FLORIDA GUMBO

A rich, flavorful shrimp dish that is slightly spicy and full of succulent shrimp, juicy chicken, and spicy sausage.  Serve with white rice and a green salad for a wonderful meal. Gumbo has to be one of my favorite Southern specialties. It feels warm and…

SUPER MOIST LEMON LOAF

SUPER MOIST LEMON LOAF

This is a quick and easy lemon quick bread that is moist and intensely flavorful.  This lemon loaf is perfect for breakfast, brunch, a snack, or as a dessert. I love having a fresh lemon loaf in the oven when family or friends visit.  The…

Interesting Pasta Facts that will make your droll

Interesting Pasta Facts that will make your droll

Interesting Pasta Facts that will make your droll

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HOMEMADE COFFEE LIQUEUR

HOMEMADE COFFEE LIQUEUR

This super quick and easy recipe for a DIY coffee liqueur is great for gift giving or to make as a treat for yourself.  You can control the alcohol and sugar content by making yourself.  It is also less syrupy than what you buy in…

GRILLED PIRI PIRI CHICKEN

GRILLED PIRI PIRI CHICKEN

This is an impressive, sweet, and spicy grilled chicken dish that will take your tastebuds on a flavor adventure.  Did I mention that it is also easy? My love of Piri Piri chicken started when I discovered it on a trip to South Africa, where…

LEMON PARMESAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS

LEMON PARMESAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS

This lemony roasted asparagus, kissed with a salty hint of parmesan, is very easy, really delicious and also very pretty.  This recipe makes a great summer side dish.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, I remember hating the vegetables on my plate during family dinners.  The flavorless, mushy, canned vegetables that were so nondescript that even butter couldn’t improve their flavor were never something that I could learn to love.

Beautiful roasted asparagus with lemon, garlic and parmesan cheese.

It took a lot of experimentation, ordering veggies in restaurants and paying attention to what made a vegetable dish yummy.  It didn’t take me long to realize that by roasting fresh vegetables, the flavor difference is a game changer.

Asparagus has a unique taste.  It is a bitter, astringent, almost salty flavor.  It pairs well with fatty, salty flavors.  But when you roast asparagus, that bitter, astringent taste mellows out and takes on the flavors around it.  In other words, if you add garlic, the asparagus will take on a note of garlic, become buttery and deep.

Baking pan of roasted asparagus with lemon, garlic and parmesan.

On a personal note, how many people have you heard do not want to eat asparagus because it makes their urine smell strong?  Well, they’re right.

In some people, when digested, the asparagus gives off a sulfuric smell that is similar to what a skunk sprays.  Sorry, but it is very similar in chemistry.  The good news is that it only lasts for one bathroom break.  Well worth the one-off smelly pee situation.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ASPARAGUS

  • Asparagus is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K.  We need vitamin K to absorb vitamin D.
  • Asparagus is also high in potassium, folate, and phosphorus.
  • 20 calories are the grand total of a half cup of asparagus.  This makes asparagus a great food when trying to lose a few pounds.
  • Another reason that asparagus is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet:  it is a natural diuretic.  It will help to flush out excess water and salt from your body.
  • Finally, did you know that asparagus is an aphrodisiac?  Yep, it is.  It’s high in Vitamin B6 and Folate.  It’s also rich in Vitamin E, which helps stimulate sex hormones – yet another reason to eat a plate of Lemon Parmesan Roasted Asparagus.
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Beautiful roasted asparagus with lemon, garlic and parmesan cheese.

LEMON PARMESAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS


Description

This quick and easy side dish is savory, salty, and flavorful. By roasting the asparagus, you mellow out the astringent flavor of the asparagus.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Add the asparagus to the baking sheet. Pour over the melted butter and sprinkle with the garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss to coat the asparagus. Lay the slices of lemon on top.
  3. Roast in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus, until the asparagus is tender, but not mushy.
  4. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: Serves 4

Need a few dishes to complete your menu?  Maybe these sticky and spicy chicken drumsticks or a few slices of herb roasted pork loin would round out your meal.

Whip up some roasted garlic horseradish mashed potatoes or a bit of sweet and sour braised cabbage to round out a delicious dinner.  Enjoy!

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