I have been cooking my way through, “THE CITY COOK: Big City, Small Kitchen. Limitless Ingredients, No Time: 90 recipes so delicious you’ll want to toss your takeout menus” (Simon & Schuster; November 2010; $20.00), by Kate McDonough, creator of TheCityCook.com. I have been a avid reader of her work since 2007. What I love about Kate is that she cooks in a small urban kitchen like me and always has fantastic tips ( like all you really need is three different knives ( chef, serrated and pairing) to get by in the kitchen and not large fancy knife sets) that really help. The book is a wonderful collection of such tips and recipes.
The book has a wonderful listing of local markets in many areas and provides explanations of terms you and I may have heard many times but were too embarrassed to ask what they really mean – say the difference between organic, local, artisanal & sustainable?
The book offers delightful recipes like Paella Casserole, and Pea soup with pork three ways.). I had friends over for dinner last week and made her red rice pilaf and it was a huge hit.
This is a great book for the new cook and also for the avid cook – something for everyone to learn from.
Red Rice Pilaf
From the City Cook by Kate Mcdonough
Pilaf with Bhutanese red rice is a nutty and beautiful alternative to traditional white rice pilaf. You can usually find Bhutanese red rice in city markets, gourmet shops, and specialty markets. The most common brand is Lotus Foods, a company that sells other imported and heirloom rices, including the exotic black Forbidden Rice.
This nutty pilaf is a perfect companion to any dish with which you might normally serve pilaf or a flavored rice, including fish, duck, and chicken. It’s also great as part of a vegetarian menu that features vegetable gratin, curried vegetables, or ratatouille.
1 cup Bhutanese red rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup finely minced yellow onion or shallots
11⁄2 cups chicken stock (homemade or boxed, not from a bouillon cube), at room temperature or warmed
2 small or 1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the rice with cold water. Drain completely, shaking off any excess water.
In a large (about 3‐quart) saucepan or a sauté pan with a cover, melt the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add the onion and cook until soft and trans‐ parent, 1 to 2 minutes, keeping the heat low so that it won’t brown.
Add the rice and stir to coat with the melted butter. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, over medium heat. Your goal is to cook the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, not to toast it, but to have the hot butter adhere to the surface of the grains. It’s at this point when the rice begins to sound dry and scratchy as you stir it.
Add the warm stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. If you’ve not used a salted stock, add 1⁄2 teaspoon salt.
Cover and gently simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. It’s done when all the stock is absorbed and the grains of rice are tender but still chewy. If you want the grains to be softer, add 1⁄3 cup more stock and cook for a few minutes longer.
Fluff the rice with a fork and remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste for sea‐ soning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
Tip: This pilaf can be made ahead of time and reheated just before serving. Depending on how long in advance it was cooked, you may want to add a table‐ spoon of butter as it’s reheated to bring a gloss back to the grains of rice.
GIVEAWAY – Giving away one copy of this lovely book. Enter a comment here about your favorite tip for cooking in a small, urban kitchen and do pass the word on about this giveaway. Winner will be picked at random and announced here on Friday, Dec 17th at 4:00 pm.
Where to buy the rice - I got a medium size bag from Whole Foods for about $3.00. Of course, Amazon also sells it - click here.