Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rice Bowls
I'm indebted to Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks for inspiring me to use grains, veggies, nuts and seeds to produce a bowl filled with satisfying sustenance. Over the years, the unique combinations of grain based meals that Heidi has posted have spurred me on to try combinations of my own. Some, certainly, more successful than others, but all good. A light lacing of sauce is key to providing an interesting element that ties the various ingredients together.
The top image combines sautéed mushrooms and spinach with mahogany rice. The sauce is hoisin based. Topping the bowl with slivered almonds adds crunch, flavor and more nutrition.

This second image adds freshly cooked yellow squash to the leftovers, creating another meal with a bit of a twist. The idea is to start with a nutritious grain—not white rice—add some steamed or stir fried veggies, drizzle with an interesting sauce, then top with nuts or seeds to complement the dish.

I love using different ethnic flavors in grain bowls: Asian, Italian, Mexican, Indian. By using different combinations of herbs, spices and condiments it's easy to come up with a variety of options.

Tip: cook extra when preparing grains. They freeze well or just tuck away in the fridge for a quick meal another day.

Simple dishes like these, easy to prepare, loaded with fresh vegetables, make meal time fast and fun. The secret to elevating them from a blah bowlful, is to drizzle with an interesting sauce.

Hoisin Sauce
recipe may be doubled - as it keeps well.
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS chili paste
3 TBS finely minced sweet onion

Place all ingredients in small bowl and whisk with fork until well combined. Store covered in fridge. (I store in small jars to save space.)

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