Tag Archives: saffron

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts: Recipe from an Edible Mosaic

If you are anything like me, the photo on the cover of this book made my mouth water as soon as I saw it.

The book,  An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, was written by my friend Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic . This new release is Faith’s first cookbook , and  I’m excited to be participating in her virtual book launch party and sharing a recipe from the book!

The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. Faith has a pretty unique story…after getting married Faith spent six months living in the Middle East, where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region. Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. If you didn’t grow up eating Middle Eastern food, it can be a difficult art to master; Faith understands that, and explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way. The book is available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

 After you check out the recipe below, please head over to Faith’s blog to check out her virtual book launch party to see the other bloggers who are participating. Also, as part of her virtual book launch, Faith is hosting a giveaway of a fabulous set of prizes. Be sure to head over and enter!
 The recipe from the book that I’m sharing with you today is for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, along with a variation for Mixed White and Yellow Rice. The recipe is actually vegan so you won’t have any trouble incorporating it into a vegan or vegetarian meal, but it is just as delicious served with chicken, beef, lamb, or seafood, and it would be really fantastic with just about any curry dish. (In the cookbook, Faith recommends pairing Shrimp in Aromatic Tomato Sauce with this rice dish.)
I made this rice dish to go with one of my family’s favorite Middle Eastern dishes, Shish Taouk (chicken kebabs marinated in a yogurt/tomato/zataar mixture).
Faith’s rice dish was quick to put together, and complemented the kebabs beautifully. I can’t wait to work my way through the other recipes in the cookbook!

 

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

ROZ MLOW’WAN

 

Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

 

Serves 4 to 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

 

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1 onion, finely diced

4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)

1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

 

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

 

OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

 

VARIATION

Mixed White and Yellow Rice

 

Serves 4 to 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

 

1½ cups (325 g) uncooked basmati rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, finely diced

1 bay leaf

2 whole cloves

2 pods cardamom, cracked open

2 whole peppercorns

¾ teaspoon salt

1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water

1-2 pinches saffron threads or ½ teaspoon turmeric dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

 

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan, cover and place over moderately high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the rice, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the boiling water to the rice, turn heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil. Give it a stir, cover the pot, turn heat down to very low, and cook 10 minutes (don’t open the lid during this time).
  4. After the rice is cooked, let the pot sit with the lid on for 15 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer 1/3 of the rice to a separate bowl.
  5. Stir the saffron or turmeric-colored water into 1/3 of the rice (the rice will turn yellow). Mix together the yellow rice and white rice; serve.
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Crunchy Halibut with Mixed Herb Gremolata and Saffron Mashed Potatoes

When it comes to making dinner,  do you usually have a plan in place for the week ahead, with meals decided upon and shopping complete for the whole week?

Or…do you shop for a few days at a time, deciding as you go?

Or.. do you cook on the fly with no planning involved and wing it with whatever you have in the house?

I guess I kind of fall somewhere in the middle. I try and plan out a good part of the week, and shop a few days at a time for items I need. That way I have  the freedom to change my mind if I am craving something different than what is planned (which happens a lot), or for times like this occasion when I arrived at the market to find some beautiful fresh halibut looking out at me from behind the seafood case.

I really like the contrasting textures and flavors in this dish: crunchy/creamy/salty/sweet all rolled into one.  If you have never tried adding saffron to mashed potatoes, now is your chance. We are after all, in mashed potato season, right? I have also included a few tips for getting your mashed potatoes just right; just in time for Thanksgiving!

Panko Crused Halibut

4 (4 ounce) halibut fillets, skin removed

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons canola oil

Gremolata:

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

2 tablespoon minced chives

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Season both sides of fish with  salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of fish in flour, then dip in milk , followed by panko crumbs.

Heat  oil to shimmering over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add halibut fillet and cook until panko browns lightly. Turn fillets over, reduce heat to medium and cook until fish is just becoming flaky, approximately 7 minutes.

For gremolata: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl

Saffron Mashed Potatoes

1 1/3 pounds (4 medium)  Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into uniform 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon
salt, divided
2 tablespoons warm butter

Pinch of saffron threads

1/2 to 2/3 cup hot milk, half &  half, or cream


In large saucepan, Add  potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

While potatoes are cooking, either in another saucepan or microwave, heat butter.  Also heat hot milk or cream to a simmer (do not boil) separately from the butter in another saucepan or microwave. NOTE: Do not add cold butter or cold milk/cream to when making mashed potatoes.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander. Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.

In the same saucepan that the potatoes have been heated in, mash potatoes with a potato masher, potato ricer,  or beat with electric hand mixer until chunky.  Stir in warm butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, saffron threads, and 1/2 cup of the hot milk.  Add additional milk, a little at a time, if necessary, for desired consistency

Season to taste with additional salt, if desired.

4 servings

A few mashed potato tips:
* Do not cut the potatoes into smaller chunks as too much water will be absorbed by the potatoes. After cutting the potatoes, immediately place in cold water to prevent discoloration of the potatoes.

*Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell. If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

* Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume, becoming swollen and watery. That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.

Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto

3 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts
5 slices of Prosciutto
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 small shallots, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons  Balsamic Vinegar

Trim stems and remove outer leaves from Brussels sprouts; wash, then cut larger sprouts in half. In a covered pot, boil Brussels sprouts with enough water to cover until tender. Approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook prosciutto in hot oil over medium heat; once crispy, remove. Use same pan and oil to cook shallots, garlic and butter. Allow to soften, then add sprouts, salt and pepper.

Cook for approximately 8 minutes or until browned. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with prosciutto.

4 servings

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Flavors of Spain

spainRecently, my friend and I decided to take a foodie road trip to  Williamsburg Virginia to visit one of my favorite online shops, La Tienda.

There is something about being able to see all of the merchandise in person displayed neatly in front of you on the shelves; it’s about being able to pick up the pretty jars, admire the colorful Spanish pottery, and yes, the possibility of samples while you shop.

La Tienda is primarily an online store , so when we arrived at the unassuming store front sandwiched right in the middle of a business park, we were not surprised. Once inside the shop we  were  greeted by a friendly clerk who made us quickly forgot we were in an office park, we were suddenly in a quaint little European shop. Our tour included a personalized and informative trip through the isles, with stories about how certain products were carefully handcrafted or  grown in specific regions of Spain.

We nibbled on  bread dipped in samples of olive oil, my favorite of which was Aceite Boletus, an aromatic oil infused with the flavor of  wild Boletus Edulis mushrooms (similar to truffles), and makes a wonderful addition to salads, soups, panini sandwiches, pastas  and sauces.

Here are the other products that happily found their way into my shopping basket:

Smoked Spanish paprika
Smoked Spanish paprika
Roasted Paquilla Peppers
Roasted Paquilla Peppers
Manchego Cheese
Manchego Cheese
Tuna
Tuna
Chorizo
Chorizo
Aceite Boletus olive Oil
Aceite Boletus olive Oil
Spanish Bamba rice for Paella
Spanish Bamba rice for Paella
Anchovies
Anchovies

saffron

Judion giant beans
Judion giant beans

Part of the enjoyment of cooking (for me) is seeking out the ingredients that make a dish special; whether it’s a trip to the farmer’s market,  talking with the local fish monger about what  looks spectacular that day, or in this case a visit to a unique shop…these are the things that inspire us in the kitchen.  Here’s my recipe for Paella with  Clams, Mussels and Shrimp,  which is also in my new book Friends at the Table . I will share additional recipes using the ingredients from my shopping basket in later posts…stay tuned… Do you have a favorite “foodie road trip”? Write and tell me about it!

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Paella with Clams, Mussels, and Shrimp
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 large pinch of saffron threads(about 30)
1 cup white wine
3 cups water
1 ½ cups Spanish bamba rice (or) short grain rice
24 mussels, debearded, scrubbed clean
24 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, shells reserved
24 medium clams, such as little neck, cleaned
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped Italian parsley; reserve some for garnish
Put shrimp shells in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring,
until they are dry and pink, about 2-3 minutes. Add clam juice, water, wine, saffron.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain the broth,
discarding shrimp shells. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool; refrigerate. Rewarm
when ready to use.)
Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium. Make a sofrito by sauteing
the garlic, onion, peppers, and tomatoes, and paprika; cook until the mixture
caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld; season with salt and pepper. Fold in the rice,
stirring constantly to coat the grains. Increase the heat to high and pour 4 ¾ cups of
the hot broth into the paella pan. Use a spoon to spread the rice evenly. Adjust the
heat to a vigorous simmer. Add the clams and mussels, tucking them into the rice.
Simmer 10 minutes. Lower the heat to a very gentle simmer and continue to cook 5
minutes. Arrange shrimp in the pan. Continue to cook until the paella looks fluffy and
moist; about another 5 minutes. The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called
socarrat. Remove from heat, cover with foil, and allow to rest, for 5-10 minutes, and
garnish with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.
8 servings

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