Today I bring you another wonderful offering that I can only wish was real and in front of me on a plate! This lovely dish comes to you from the lovely Julianna, from Foodie on Board, another lovely, chatty, supportive blogger, with whom I love to share and talk about our food. You will see from a mere glimpse at her blog that Julianna’s food is full of colour and vitality, as is the design of her blog, and her photographs will make you salivate.
So, what has she brought me…
It is always an honour when one of your fellow bloggers asks you to do a guest post for them. So a few weeks ago, when Elaine of Foodbod asked me to write one for her, I was thrilled. Elaine added a little twist to her request, though. Elaine is a vegetarian who cannot eat gluten or sugar, so she has named this series of guest posts, “What Would You Feed Me?”, and challenged each of the guest bloggers to create a dish that we would feed her at a dinner party.
At first my plan was to do something Middle Eastern, but those of you who know Elaine, are aware that she is a master of these flavours. She makes the most amazingly creative veggie recipes. Imagine rich, caramelized, oven roasted veggies, accented with exotic Middle Eastern spice blends and you will know why I adore Elaine’s blog and cooking style. Who would ever miss meat, gluten or sugar when presented with so many flavourful dishes?
Since I had ruled out Middle Eastern cuisine, I spent some time mulling over what to cook for my friend. Those of you who know me, know that I have a soft spot for Asian cuisine. So I thought, “What the heck? I’m going to feed Elaine something with an Asian flair!” You know – something with coconut, a bit of ginger, and of course, cilantro! I started scanning through some of my favouritecookbooks when I spotted this recipe in “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison. I just knew that I had to make it for Elaine. It is the perfect blend of creamy coconut rice, wrapped up in savory, colourful chard leaves. I was especially enchanted by the unusual broth that compliments these exotic rice rolls perfectly. I really hope that Elaine loves this meal as much as my husband and I did. I have adapted the original recipe.
6 Swiss Chard leaves, about 9 inches long without the stem
2 cups Black Rice with Coconut Milk and Green Onions (below)
1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 celery stalk with leaves
½ cup cilantro stems
2 star anise
3 thin slices fresh ginger
3 cups water
½ cup or more coconut milk
Cut away the tough base portion of the stem of each chardleaf, leaving the rest of the leaf intact. Bring a large, shallow pan of water to a simmer. Add the leaves and simmer until tender, but not too soft. When the leaves are soft, remove them from the pan and set to drain on paper towels on a counter. Arrange the leaves with the tip of the leaf at the top and the cut portion closest to you.
Place about 1/3 cup of the rice in the centre of each leaf. Fold the bottom portion of the leaf up over the rice, bring the sides of the leaf tightly over the rice, then roll up from the bottom, making snug little packages.
To make the broth, put the carrot, celery, cilantro, star anise, and ginger in a pot with 3 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. Simmer, partially covered, until reduced to 1 cup. This should take 30 to 40 minutes. Strain the broth through a sieve placed over a bowl, pressing on the vegetables to release as much liquid as possible.
Heat the broth with the coconut milk in a saucepan. Taste for salt. Set the rolls in the pan, cover and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Put each roll in a bowland spoon the broth around it.
Black Rice with Coconut Milk and Green Onions
1 cup black rice
2 cups cold water
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely sliced green onions or chves
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Coconut butter, to finish
Rinse the rice, then put it in a pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer until the rice is cooked and tender, about 45 – 50 minutes.
Turn the rice into a bowl. Add the onions, coconut milk and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and stir in coconut butter to taste.