Monday, August 23, 2010

Ruby Rice

     Today I was watching Chef at Home with Michael Smith, he's a Canadian Chef that encourages experimentation without a recipe in the kitchen. The quick editing and constantly moving camera can be at times dizzying to watch but the principles of simple cooking are presented well. As a vegetarian, lentils are an important food; something that I always bring up when people ask about protein in a vegetarian diet. One way to enhance the healthfulness of a legume is to add in a complex carbohydrate such as brown rice into the mix. Of course this is simply a base for a variety of flavors- the rice and lentils by themselves aren't particularly outstanding. Eating for the Rest of Us is dedicated to providing simple recipes, recipes that have flavor but attempt to provide flavor by nutritious ingredients. However, often my first inclination when approaching ingredients like rice and lentils, is to add a lot of other ingredients to enhance flavor. But this often will compromise the benefits native to these ingredients. The simplicity of Michael's recipe is key. By using dried cranberries, Michael significantly frills up the dish to completion.

1/2 cup of brown (or any type of) lentils
1/2 cup of brown rice
About 1 cup of dried cranberries
2 cups of water
A sprinkle or two of Salt & Pepper
1 Bay Leaf

(rince/drain rice and lentils)

1. Combine all ingredients in small to medium size pot. Bring to boil then turn down the heat to medium low and let simmer for about 30 mins with the pot covered or until lentils are tender and all the water is absorbed.

2.  Serve

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pear Sorbet

      If you need to take a break from the heat this summer you should set aside an afternoon to make this pear sorbet with your friends. Hollin and I, along with our friend Courtney, stepped into a café on Rue Saint Denis the other day after noticing its patrons spooning some wonderful looking sorbet and gelato.  We were excited to see that they offered a pear sorbet. Before I knew it, Hollin sat down next to me with a cup of the sorbet poire. I couldn't help but steal about half of it. On our walk back home, we stopped into our neighborhood fruiterie and bought a few pears. Having made a mango sorbet the previous weekend, I was eager to essentially use the same recipe to mimic what we tasted at the café.
    If you search for pear sorbet recipes you will likely find a variety of takes on it. Most of the differences that appear are a result of the type of extra liquid used in the recipe. Martha Stewart, for example, recommends using red wine or cranberry juice. We came across a bottle of pear nector at the grocery store so we went ahead and used  that for added liquid. With the mango sorbet we tried, adding water or any other liquid beside lime juice wasn't really necessary, however it seems that most pear recipes will suggest using water and/or another liquid.

The recipe below is adapted from Martha Stewart's version titled "Red-Wine and Pear Sorbet"


2 cups of peeled and diced pear (about 4 small pears)
1 cup pear nector
1 1/4 cups water
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 cup of sugar
1 pinch of salt

Begin by preparing a medium cooking pot by adding water and sugar and allowing mixture come to a boil.

Meanwhile prepare pears - cube the pears but because this mixture will be later puréed there is no need to spend a lot of time here getting it to look good.

Add pears to boiling sugar water and then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow pears to cook until they are tender... around 5-10 minutes.

When pears are tender stir in lemon juice and add a pinch of salt. Remove from heat and let mixture come to room temperature. (I cooled my down by putting into the fridge)

Use a blender (or perhaps a food processor might work) to purée the mixture.

If you have an icecream machine use it by simply pouring in purée.

If you do not have an ice-cream maker you can let the mixture completely freeze in a shallow container then roughly break it up into chunks before making it into a purée in a blender.