Spices & Seasons (Simple Sustainable Indian Flavors) {Cookbook Review}

SpicesandSeasonsIf you are looking to experiment with Indian flavors, this is your book. The author, Rinku Bhattacharya provides the general population with delicious and easy to prepare dishes packed with flavor and sustainable ingredients. In Spices & Seasons each recipe is carefully labeled as vegan/vegetarian and/or gluten-free. The index in the back of the book is also separated as such; gluten-free index, vegan/vegetarian index, vegetarian index, and recipe index! I found this to be extremely helpful when trying to pick my dish to make.

It was very difficult to pick a recipe to make, due to the large selection of recipes included in the book and how many of them were gluten-free. I finally decided on the Saffron Pistachio Rice Pudding on page 333. With a few minor changes/substitutions. I am in the process of packing up my life and putting most of my belongings in storage for a year and I start my next adventure in NYC, so I wanted to use what I had on hand instead of going out to buy things. Bread pudding can be a fairly simple recipe, but this one was packed with flavor! Oh my goodness…it is delicious and I promise you, you will want to make this. Here are my substitutions: instead of half and half, I used unsweetened coconut milk, for the white rice I used short grain brown rice, and I did not have pistachios around (trust me those do not last long around me), so instead I diced up some granny smith apple instead (it added such a delicious, fresh crispness to it), and yes…I do have saffron lying aroundūüôā

I’ve seen rice pudding be super creamy and I’ve also seen it where there is some creamy liquid remaining…which is how I prefer to enjoy it (as you can see by the picture below…), but if you like more of the liquid, then just cook it a bit less time or simply add additional liquid.

37-Cooks-Saffron-Rice-Pudding-Spices-and-Seasons-Challenge-Jenny-ManseauSaffron and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Adapted from Spices & Seasons Simple Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya page 333

  • 4 cups¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† ¬†¬† Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 4¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† Whole Cardamom Pods
  • 1/4 ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/3 cup¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Organic Short Grain Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† Organic Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon¬† Saffron Threads
  • 1/2 cup¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Diced Granny Smith Apple

Method of Preparation

  1. In a medium pot add coconut milk, whole cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, rice, and sugar and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered, and stir frequently until it begins to thicken, about 35 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard the whole cardamom pods and cinnamon stick.
  4. Stir in the saffron threads and granny smith apples, cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with sliced of granny smith apple on top – enjoy!

This is a great cookbook to have in your collection, especially if you or someone you know is either gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan! So many delicious recipes and flavors to experiment with.

The cookbook was provided to me from the publisher for this review. All comments and opinions are 100% my own.

 

 

Popeye Risotto {Marx Foods Blogger Challenge)

Its-Easy-Being-Green

PopeyeRisotto-4648

Voting is now open! Click HERE to vote

Voting begins today, Tuesday February 12 and ends at 11:30pm PST on Thursday February 14th. Two winners will be chosen, one by popular vote and one from internal votes. Winners will be awarded $100.00 credit to Marx Foods each! And I could really really use some vanilla beansūüėČ Thanks!

A few weeks ago I signed up to take part in another Marx Foods Challenge. This one was called “Its Easy Being Green” and for those who know me really well I’m a bit obsessed with green. Some have been known to call me Kermit. In addition to my love of all things green (which includes my favorite animal, turtles) I love my green veggies: broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans…well almost all – I truly despise peas, except for in my homemade fried rice.¬† I received samples of bamboo rice, dill pollen, green eston lentils, whole cardamom and mint herb crystals from Marx Foods and was asked to create a dish using at least two of the above ingredients.

Life has been a bit hectic the past few weeks with school, my first chef’s table, and of course blizzard Nemo where go figure we lost power! We seem to lose power on Aquidneck Island when the wind blows but the past few days have been miserable, with loosing food (again), and no heat (we have electric everything), so my original recipe idea for this was scratched and today I made a very green inspired risotto using the bamboo rice, cardamom, and some spinach.

You may have noticed on Creative Cooking Gluten Free that I also love risotto because it’s a blank canvas and you can do so much with it. This one is packed with flavor and color! This is also a great way to get that extra serving of vegetables (especially the leafy greens) that you may be lacking in your diet. Highlighted below are the two ingredients I choose – you could even add a little of the dill pollen to this as well.

PopeyeRisotto-4649

Popeye Risotto

Spinach Stock

  • Olive oil¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 teaspoon
  • Garlic¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 tablespoons
  • Baby Spinach¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 9 oz (1 Bag)
  • Grey Salt¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1/8 teaspoon
  • White Wine¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1/4 cup
  • Cardamom¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 Whole – crushed and seeds removed
  • Vegetable Stock¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2 1/2 cups

Risotto

  • Olive Oil¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† 1 tablespoon
  • Butter¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 1 tablespoon
  • Bamboo Rice¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 1 cup
  • Ground Ginger¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 1/8 teaspoon
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† ¬†¬† 1/4 cup

Method of Preparation:

  1.  Gather all ingredients and equipment.

  2.  Peel garlic and rough chop it, set aside.

  3.  In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat.

  4.  Add chopped garlic and saute for 1 minute.

  5. Add cardamom seeds and baby spinach.

  6. Cook over medium heat until spinach has wilted.

  7. Add white wine and cook for an additional minute.

  8. Season with salt and pepper

  9. In the pitcher of a blender add 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock and spinach mixture.

  10. Blend on high-speed until well blended.

  11. Add spinach stock to a medium sauce pan and keep warm over low heat.

  12. In the same skillet as before add remaining olive oil and butter over medium heat.

  13. Once the butter has melted add the bamboo rice and stir until well coated.

  14. Sprinkle ground ginger and stir well.

  15. Stir in 1 cup of spinach stock – just enough to cover the rice.

  16. Stir well and continue to stir until the rice has almost completely absorbed the stock.

  17. Continue this until all stock has been added to rice and absorbed. This should take about 20-30 minutes.

  18. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

  19. To serve top with grated lemon zest and pine nuts (optional)

Chef Notes:You can use arborio rice instead of the bamboo rice, it will have the same texture and consistency. I have made a similar recipe with the arborio rice and it is very delicious and flavorful.

It is easy being green…and delicious too!