Posts Tagged 'brown rice'

Turkish Stuffed Bell Peppers

We’re home from Portland and I miss it SO much already. It actually looked like Fall there!

On Saturday we woke up early to run over to my old high school. I did a timed mile and was 11 seconds faster than my last one (two weeks ago) with a 6:42. Yay!

I have so many great memories from that track.

After the run we met up with Kelsey and her husband for coffee! I’ve been internet-friends with her for about 3 years so it was awesome to finally meet in person.

We’ve never had much time in Portland to just get out and explore by ourselves, because our visits are usually short and there are so many people there to see. But this trip we made sure to leave some time open to check out some different neighborhoods.

Mike and I are pretty convinced that San Francisco has the best coffee of any city in America, but I know some people argue that Portland is better. We’d heard Stumptown was kind of overrated, so we went to Coffeehouse Northwest (19th and West Burnside) to see how it compared to our San Francisco favorites.

The lattes were amazing, and so was the ginger cookie.
Next we crossed the river and drove up to NE Alberta Street. There was pretty much nothing there when I was in high school, so it’s kind of crazy to see how much that neighborhood has changed.

I bought some yarn at Close Knit, an adorable yarn store with super friendly employees. My goal is to knit Mike a hat before I go back to work (a week from TODAY!)

I’ve professed my love for Bi-Rite Creamery a few times, but I think I have found my new favorite ice cream. Salt and Straw has so many great flavors. Mike got a scoop of pear with Rogue blue cheese (genius!) and I got a scoop of almond brittle with salted ganache.

As always, we ate way too much while we were in Portland, but it was a really fun trip that went by way too fast.

This week, I’m planning on cooking lots of healthy dinners like this. These are cute, flavorful, and not too heavy. I switched out white rice in favor of brown, which I soaked for a few hours so it would cook a little faster.

(adapted from Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon)

South Indian Rice and Tofu Soup

This was originally a Jamie Oliver recipe for seafood and rice soup, using lots of spices and some coconut milk (but also seafood and white rice). Since I don’t eat seafood I added tofu, and I wanted brown rice instead of white. I also wanted to up the vegetable content with some spinach. I just made a few substitutions, and I’m happy to say it worked out really well.

Speaking of substitutions, the long term sub the district found for my maternity leave JUST found out she got a full-time teaching position, so they had to scramble to find another one pretty last-minute (school starts a week from tomorrow!) I am going to meet with her Monday to go over the ins and outs of my classes. I have no idea if she has science/PE/middle school/teaching experience, but I’m hoping for the best!

It’s amazing how much more productive I am when I actually have a reason to get out of bed and do something with my life. I made it to the gym by 5:30 AM the last two mornings and have been feeling fantastic. The workshop has been really awesome and I can’t wait to apply what I learned when I’m finally back to work, even though that feels like an eternity from now.

(adapted from Jamie’s Dinners)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp mustard seeds
about 10 fresh curry leaves
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
a pinch or two cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
2 tsp turmeric
a 2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
1 lb block extra firm nigari tofu, cut into small cubes
1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked for at least an hour, and drained
3 cups vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2-3 handfuls fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
juice of 1 lime

Heat the oil over medium in a large pot or dutch oven.

Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, garam masala, cayenne, and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until the mustard seeds start popping and turn dark brown.

Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until the onions are soft, about five minutes.

Add the tofu and mix well.

Stir in the rice and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, add the coconut milk and simmer for about 20 minutes (adding a little more broth or some water if soup appears too thick).

Stir in salt to taste and continue simmering until rice is soft. Stir in the spinach and lime juice, and serve.

Pineapple and Peanut Rice Salad

For the first time in over two months, I’m actually at work! Sort of… we have a two day workshop for teaching English Learners (which is at least half the school). I’m excited to hopefully learn some useful stuff for when I’m back in the classroom in a few months!

I had possibly the laziest weekend ever, but we got some much-needed stuff done around the house, including hanging pictures (FINALLY! It only took us 6 weeks of living here)

There are still a ton of bare walls, including above the crib, but we’re going to order a tree decal soon. (Yeah, it better be really soon considering I’m due in LESS than 3 weeks!)

We got a HUGE box of baby stuff from Amazon, including the Twilight Turtle, which I completely adore. I kind of want to order one for our room too.

It’s basically a fancy night light that projects stars onto the wall and ceiling in calming blue and green light.
Mike re-potted a ton of plants for our porch garden, and I sat on the front steps providing moral support. I’m really good at that these days.

I made this salad for dinner tonight because I knew it would leave enough leftovers for both of us to take to lunch tomorrow. It’s really similar to the pineapple quinoa I made a few months ago, but makes an excellent dinner when topped with a fried egg.

(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook)

4 cups freshly cooked brown rice
3 tbsp peanut of vegetable oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple in juice (do not drain)
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 green onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts
leaf lettuce
fried eggs (1 per person)- optional

Whisk the oils, pineapple, soy sauce, garlic, and vinegar together in a large bowl. Toss with the rice, then cover and chill while you prepare the vegetables.

Taste the rice and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Stir in the green onions, celery, bell peppers, and peanuts. Serve over lettuce, topped with a fried egg (if you wish)

Gado Gado (Indonesian Rice Salad)

I know spring has really started when my allergies go crazy, and this week, the fun began. I never had any allergy issues until I moved here, but now they show up right around my birthday every year, giving me really attractive red eyes and an awesome nasal-y voice. After about a week, I usually have so much congestion that I can’t really taste my food. And of course, nothing really works (I’ve tried pretty much every allergy drug there is).

So since I know that’s coming, I wanted to make something really flavorful and healthy, with lots of different textures. This is not only beautiful to look at thanks to all the different colors, it’s also loaded with nutrients. I am sure this peanut sauce isn’t totally authentic, because I looked up an Indonesian recipe and the real stuff has tamarind, lime, and coconut. But authentic or not, I love all the raw vegetables and the fragrant turmeric rice. The most crucial part is the crispy shallots on top. I know frying isn’t healthy, but it’s just a little bit, and the flavor and little crunch is absolutely worth it.

I diced up some of Trader Joe’s High Protein Tofu (extra firm) for protein, but if you eat meat, I think shredded or diced chicken would work well. The recipe also suggests diced hard-boiled eggs, which I could see being pretty good too.

(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

serves 4-6

2 cups brown rice
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp turmeric

6-8 cups washed, roughly chopped spinach
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
3 carrots, shredded
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 block high protein tofu, diced

1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sugar or evaporated cane juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/3 cup warm water

2 tbsp oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings

First make the rice, by combining the water, rice and turmeric in a rice cooker or by cooking on the stove.

Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork.

To make the peanut dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside

To make the crispy shallots, heat the oil in your smallest frying pan. When hot, add the shallots and stir occasionally until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

To assemble each salad: Put down a bed of spinach (1-1 1/2 cups). Top with about 1/2 a cup of rice. Top the rice with some cabbage, carrot, tomato, and tofu, then pour some dressing over that and sprinkle with the shallots.

Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I think the whole idea of having a mantra is a little cheesy. Although during the last few miles of a marathon — when feel like I could keel over and die at any second — I have a few key phrases I repeat to myself to keep going, life is supposed to be a whole lot easier than a marathon and shouldn’t need mantras.

Or so I thought, before I moved to Korea. Now pretty much every day, I’ve found it pretty helpful to remind myself “it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” Thank you, Sheryl Crow.

To say that moving here has been a challenge is an understatement. I’ve battled homesickness, extreme frustration at work, and bus drivers that seem to have only one mission: to make all standing passengers fall down. Cooking has also been a challenge, because the grocery store has different produce every day, and there are a lot of ingredients I simply can’t find. I pretty much have to take what I can get and turn it into a good meal.


I’ve been meaning to make juk (thick rice porridge – it’s very popular here) for a few weeks now, but never really felt inspired. Then David Lebovitz posted about it and I took it as a sign that the time had come to do it.

Bell peppers were on sale and some fresh corn had just been delivered at the grocery store, so I decided to flavor my juk with them. There were some particularly aggressive little old ladies buying corn at the same time I was, but I managed to get my hands on a few good ears and only suffered one elbow to the ribs!


This soup is incredibly healthy – you just boil a little stock, water, and rice together until it’s nice and creamy, and then add the corn and roasted red peppers. It tastes like it’s got heavy cream in it, but it’s vegan! I made it with brown rice because it’s more nutritious than white, but either will work.

(adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 cup uncooked brown rice
3 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
7 cups water
1 tsp salt, divided
3 ears of corn
2 red bell peppers
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
fresh cilantro

Combine the rice, stock, and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down to low, partially cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour or until the rice is very soft. You may need to add a little water during this time if it seems to be getting thick.

While the rice is simmering, prepare the roasted red peppers. Either under a broiler, on a grill, or directly over a gas burner, char the skins of the peppers until they are black in most places. Transfer to a plastic bag and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag, scrape off the skin, and discard the stems and seeds. Cut the peppers into thin 1″ strips.

Cut the kernels off the ears of corn. Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the garlic. After about a minute, add the corn
and saute for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the pepper strips and 1/2 tsp salt and turn off the heat.

When the rice is very soft and the mixture is like soup, add the corn and pepper mixture and stir well. Continue cooking over low heat for about half an hour, adding water if necessary to reach a desired soup consistency. Stir in the other 1/2 tsp of salt.

Garnish with fresh cilantro to serve.

(Note: any leftovers will thicken considerably in the fridge. Just stir in more water when you reheat if you want to get the soup-like consistency back)

Brown Rice Salad with Spinach and Balsamic Chicken


I read a LOT of food blogs on a regular basis, and I’m starting to see a trend: I gravitate towards blogs with a) fantastic, beautiful pictures and b) original recipes. This is because my blog usually has c) none of the above (but I’m working on it! I really am) and I’m hoping that I’ll learn a thing or two from the blogs that inspire me so much.

A few months ago my husband challenged me to come up with one (or more) new, original recipe each week. Because we were traveling the last 5 months, I couldn’t stick with it, but now that I’m back to cooking daily, I’m taking up the challenge once again.


Today’s recipe was inspired by the bag of brown rice I recently purchased, and the beautiful bunches of spinach at the market. Since I pack my lunch every day, I knew I wanted to make something filling and nutritions, that could be eaten straight from the container without needing a spin in the microwave. I marinated some chicken in a little balsamic vinegar, cooked it up with some browned onions, and tossed that with citrus-scented brown rice, some raw spinach, and toasted walnuts. I know that sounds like a jumbled mess of flavors, but they come together really well.

1 cup brown rice
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups washed spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Combine the brown rice, water, and orange juice and cook (on the stove top or in a rice cooker).
Toss the chicken with the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
While the rice is cooking, toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat (shake the pan to keep the nuts from burning) and remove when fragrant.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the onion. Over low heat, cook the onion, stirring minimally, until translucent. Add the sugar, give the onions one good stir, and continue cooking until onions are browned (about 15 minutes).
Add the chicken to the onions and turn the heat up. Cook, stirring, until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
Put the chicken and walnuts in a serving bowl and top with the spinach.
Put the cooked rice on top of the spinach and let sit for a few minutes so the spinach wilts slightly.
Toss, then serve warm or at room temperature.


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