Category Archives: Appetizer

Pearl Couscous with Zucchini, Corn and Herbs

During the summer months, corn and zucchini are always in abundance. However, in our house, zucchini is also a bottom dweller on the list of popular summer veggies available. Yet every year, I plant one or two plants, which inevitably will provide more zucchini than anyone around here wants to willingly eat.

When I saw this recipe, I knew it was one I wanted to try. I also wondered if my husband’s love of fresh summer corn would surpass his non-love of zucchini. So I gave it a try. The result was a surprisingly fresh dish bursting with flavor. Even my non-zucchini-liking husband said, “I like this salad!”

You can eat this as a salad, side dish, even a light main dish. Perfectly good hot, warm, or cold, it makes for an easy summer recipe.

Pearl Couscous with Zucchini, Corn and Herbs

Recipe slightly modified from Simple Green Suppers by Susie Middleton

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 cup pearl couscous, uncooked
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/4 cups of water or vegetable broth
2 cups finely diced zucchini (approximately 1/4-inch cubes)
2 cups fresh corn kernels
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
ground black pepper
sea salt

Directions:

Melt one tablespoon of the oil in a medium sized pan, over medium heat. Add  half the onion (3/4-cup) and a small pinch of salt. Stir frequently, cooking until the onions soften.

Add the uncooked couscous to the onions. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir frequently until the couscous begins to lightly brown (5-7 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon of the ground coriander plus the 1 1/4 cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed by the couscous. Remove the pan from the heat, then fluff the couscous with a fork. Keep covered, off the heat until needed.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion plus 1/2-teaspoon salt, sauté until translucent. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until the zucchini slightly soften and begins browning lightly (5-7 minutes, approximately). Add the corn and 1/4-teaspoon salt, stirring often until the corn is slightly glistening (2-3 minutes). Add the minced garlic, remaining teaspoon ground coriander, stirring until well combined (1-2 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Add the lime juice , stirring to coat everything. Add the cooked, fluffed couscous, fresh basil, parsley and chives. Season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Serve hot, warm, or even cold if you’d like.

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Baked Onion Rings

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (2 of 8)

As people start increasing their awareness about what goes into our mouths — is it low fat/low carb/low sugar? Gluten free? Organic? Paleo? — it seems we’re also allowing ourselves to be more judgmental of other people’s food choices. I think eating should be enjoyed; food should be relished. Its taken some real struggles and work for me to get to that point in my life. However, at the ripe ‘ole age of 30, I have come to the decision that calling people out for their food choices isn’t a healthy behavior. I don’t believe in food shaming — shaming people for what they choose to put into their bodies doesn’t simply create feelings of guilt (I shouldn’t/ should/ can’t/ won’t eat this/that) — it can feed into heightened concerns about following “perfect” diets, causing obsession and removing the joy of eating all together.

That isn’t to say I want to merely eat crap and not have any responsibility over such choices. I do think moderation for any choices is smart. As a kid, I ate my share of fast food, sodas, copious amounts of sugar… Was Taco Bell my lunch choice at least a few times a week? Oh yes. When we went out to breakfast with family friends occasionally on the weekend, was Burger King often my choice (because… well, french toast sticks)? Most certainly. I don’t eat that way now, mainly because it doesn’t make my body feel good afterwards.

There are times I crave foods for pure nostalgic reasons, other times simply because they taste good, never mind the stomachache I’ll probably have later on. Throughout my childhood, I remember the deciding factor on whether to go to Burger King or McDonald’s came down to two things:  the first had chicken tenders and onion rings, the latter chicken nuggets and french fries. When the desire for onion rings hit with full force recently, I knew a trip to good old BK wasn’t in my future, and I wanted to find a better alternative to deep fried batter coated onion rings. The following recipe is a crispy baked version, and it’s both tasty and fully satisfies the craving for what could be a much unhealthier snack!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (5 of 8)

Baked Onion Rings

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 large yellow onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
canola oil
dipping sauce of choice (ketchup, ranch, etc.)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (7 of 8)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Generously brush a couple baking sheets with canola oil.

Peel off the outermost layer from the onions and discard. Cut off the ends, sparing as much of the onion as possible. Slice the rest of the onion into rings about 1/2-inch thick. Separate the rings, placing them in a bowl of cold water while you cut the rest of the onions.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, seasoning salt, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder Place the panko breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.

Take one onion ring, gently toss it in the flour, being sure to coat all sides well. Lightly shake off any excess. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, being sure to coat all sides. Lastly, toss the ring in the panko crumbs to coat. You can somewhat firmly press the egg-coated rings into the breadcrumbs to make sure they stick to the onion. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining onion rings.

Lightly drizzle the tops of the onion rings with canola oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, flipping once about halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

*Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container then reheated at 350 degrees F until hot and crisp (about 10 minutes).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (8 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (6 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (1 of 8)

The Top 15 Posts of 2015

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To say so long to 2015, here’s a quick roundup of this little blog’s most popular recipes throughout the year!  Thank you all for your continued support of this endeavor. May the new year be filled with new recipes, full bellies, copious amounts of laughter and some new adventures in this blog space! Happy End-of-2015!

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Top 15 Posts in 2015

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#15:   Vegan Chicken and Herb Dumplings

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#14:  Creamy Jalapeño Mac and Cheese

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#13:   Creamy Sweet Corn Risotto

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#12:  Chocolate Ice Cream

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#11:  Ethiopian Mesir Wat

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#10:  Panko Crusted Tempura Shrimp

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#9:  Homemade Falafels

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#8:  Malted Waffles

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#7:  Barbecue “Pulled” Seitan

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#6:  Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#5:  Lavender Vanilla Bourbon Cocktail

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#4:  Miso Mushroom Ramen with Vegetarian Wontons and Crispy Tofu

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#3:  Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#2:  Baked Barbecue Panko Tofu
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#1:  Leo’s Limoncello

 

Happiest New Year to YOU!

Meatless Monday: Homemade Falafels

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (3 of 7)

I’ve totally been MIA. Cooking? Yes, totally. Sporadically, but yes. This last post sort of demonstrates the immediate busyness we generally find ourselves in come September.  My food photography is frequently overrun by kids’ activity photos.

Sometimes I feel like I’m complaining. The never ending cleaning is overwhelming and the constant go-go-go gets wearing. But the truth is I don’t mind on one hand. I really suck at meal planning, but the craziness of keeping up with everyone sort of lends itself to having to learn better techniques of such things.

The following recipe is one that can serve as multiple meals (another plus in the overly-busy-lifestyle). These falafels are great on their own, served with hummus or other tahini-based sauces. They also make great sandwiches or protein for a hefty salad. Delicious hot or cold, that also makes leftovers easy to deal with!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (7 of 7)

Homemade Falafels

Yields about 30 falafel balls

Ingredients:
1 pound dry garbanzo beans [chickpeas]
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
small pinch of ground cardamom
vegetable oil for frying

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (5 of 7)

Directions:

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight.

Drain, then rinse the garbanzo beans. Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, parsley, cloves of garlic, flour, salt, cumin, coriander, pepper, and cardamom.

Pulse all ingredients together until a coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the food processor as needed, pushing the mixture down the sides. Process the mixture until a slightly coarse paste forms. You want the mixture to hold together, but don’t overprocess, so you don’t end up with hummus! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (2 of 7)

Fill a deep skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. Meanwhile, form the falafel mixture into round balls or slider-shaped patties using your hands (about two tablespoons of mixture per falafel). You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference.

Test one ball to make sure your oil is hot enough. At the correct temperature, it should take 2-3 minutes per side to brown. If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil down slightly and try again. When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafel balls in batches of 5-6 at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Let the cooked falafels drain on paper towels.

Serve the falafels fresh and hot. My preference is with pita bread, homemade hummus, tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese! :)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (6 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (4 of 7)

Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy caviar. A dish that has nothing to do with caviar… or cowboys (except perhaps its Texas-origin). Sometimes called “Texas caviar,” this dish is simply made of fancied up black eyed peas. There are a vast number of such recipes that differ, person to person, or family to family (as is true with many good dishes!).

I had never heard of cowboy caviar, or Texas caviar, or black eyed pea salsa, until I met my husband. We were enjoying chips and salsa one day and he said, “You know, they used to have this black eyed pea salsa here in town that I loved! I haven’t been able to find it for years.” So I did a little inter-web-hunt, trying to see if I could figure out a homemade version.

I’ve found, and tried, numerous versions but the following is probably my favorite. You can eat this as a salsa, served with chips. You can eat it on its own as a side dish. You can even throw it in a salad or burrito!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

Yields about 4 cups

Ingredients:
one 15 ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
one 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large ear of corn)
1 small red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced small
2 medium roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the peas, beans, corn, bell pepper, tomato, onion, and jalapeño. Gently mix together.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, oregano, basil, and red chili flakes. Pour this sauce over the black eyed pea mixture, then fold together until well combined. Add salt and pepper to your liking, as well as the chopped cilantro.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve as a side dish, or even as a salsa with your preferred chips.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar