Recipe Project #99-100: eat more grains

Last summer, I resolved to learn to make 10 new salads and way more grain dishes. This did not happen. So, since it will be 80 this week (in CNY! in April!) and I am already resigning myself to summer weather, this is a good time to make that resolution again. Never mind that the first dish is really best for cold weather, and that it was 32 degrees when I made it last week.

Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Risotto, adapted from this Sandra Lee recipe:

1 head garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
+/- 40 oz chicken broth (and possibly white wine)
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. various sliced mushrooms
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the top off the head of garlic. Put it on a large square of aluminum foil and drizzle 1 teaspoon of the extra-virgin olive oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap the foil around and over the garlic. Roast until it is soft, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Pour the broth (and possibly wine) into a saucepan, over low heat. (I emptied out the last cup or so of a bottle of Keuka Lake Vignoles and then made up the difference with broth.) Bring to a simmer.

In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until the mushrooms release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute to toast.

Add 2 ladles full of hot broth to the pan and gently stir the rice. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Adjust the heat so that the pan is just gently bubbling. Continue adding broth and stirring until all the broth is used and the rice is cooked but not mushy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is nice and creamy, stir in the butter, Parmesan and the garlic pulp. Cover and let rest for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

Alongside a sturdy green salad, this makes an excellent vegetarian meal. As would the next dish, which we originally had alongside Thai Steamed Halibut. It’s like tabouleh, only not. It also reminded us both of a sandwich we each used to buy before we ever met at a Little Rock natural foods grocery called Beans & Grains & Things. It was a wrap, really, that involved tabouleh, hummus, feta, olives, sprouts, and maybe cucumber. They called it a burroco, a word that reveals no useful info when run through Google. Next time I make it, we’re going to try reverse engineering them and see what happens. Anyway, without further ado:

Cumin-Scented Quinoa and Black Rice:

1/2 cup short-grain black rice
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed well
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons 1″ pieces chives
Freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, peeled, pitted
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Bring rice and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine quinoa, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf, fluff quinoa with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add to quinoa. Add rice; mix well. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons oil, fresh lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut avocado into wedges. Serve salad with avocado and lemon wedges.

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