2011/05/26

Always on my mind... (Cardamom Rice Pilaf)

I've had rice on the brain lately.  In risotto.  In pilaf.  In pudding.  With varied rice.  With nuts.  With dates.  With vegetables.  With herbs.  But always with vegetable broth...  Seriously.  Like a record spinning on the turntable.  But never catching a groove.  And no one is intervening to stop the incessant rotation. 


I am not sure if it is because of my recent obsession with this or this.  Or my recent acquisition of this. (An item that spent a VERY LONG time on my wish list, but could finally justify when I was able to get it for ~1/3 or retail - major score - I am still giddy over it all.  Absolutely, indubitably giddy.)


Since I don't foresee a rice intervention coming my way anytime in the near future, I am running with it....  And I am kind of blaming FFwD.  Seriously.  It has been a total push towards gateway to trying different cooking techniques.  And flavor combinations (some of which I still don't understand).  And ingredients. 

And now this girl who was brought up on plain Jane Northeastern "country fare" has the brazenness courage to attempt dishes like Borani Kadoo or Chicken B'stilla or even this - my new favorite sweet treat and not be totally freaked out by not knowing what the end result is going to be.  (Yeah, that's kind of a bad trait of mine - but I am working on it...)


Who knew that bottle of ground cardamom (that I thought was so exotic and wasn't I just the smarty pants gettin' me some of that?) would now be joined by a jar of cardamom pods?  Or that I would one day be in possession not one, but seven different types of salt - AND know that they are different (or that I would no longer even possess a carton of Morton's Iodized table salt)?  When did I become that person?



My first experience with fried rice was at the house of my best childhood friend.  Up until that point, I can remember eating rice three ways: 1) in stuffed peppers, 2) in chicken & cream soup casserole and 3) plain with milk, butter & brown sugar (still my all time favorite way to eat rice). 

But my friend's mother (Tia Martha) was from Colombia.  And she FRIED her rice in oil with onion before cooking.  And used Sazon.  And added garbanzo beans to the rice.  And made tamales from scratch.  And had a tortilla press.  And used cilantro (which I had never heard of).  And made homemade burritos.  And I was hooked.  It was all so new and different.  And she made it look so simple.  Oh, how I couldn't wait to have dinners at her house (and somehow an extra person was never an issue - it just always worked out).  

And when my friend had a house and family of her own, it floored me how effortlessly she was able to cook as well.   Yep.  One year younger than me, but ten years ahead in the kitchen...  I think I've finally caught up - now I can make fried rice too (minus the Sazon)!


This post participates French Friday's with Dorie.  Come check out how everyone else fared! 

Happy Memorial Day, all!

35 comments:

  1. I can imagine the way these flavors would play on my tongue. This sounds delicious and begs to be tried. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your rice looks fantastic Cher. I loved this rice and can't wait to make it again. I also made room in my growing cupboard of spices for the cardamom pods, despite having ground cardamom already there! Your cookbook purchases are wonderfully intriguing to me. I don't have any Turkish/Middle Eastern ones yet...

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful post! Although rice cooked in milk & butter? Never heard of such a thing. Water the a bit of butter when on the plate - but milk? Still trying to wrap my head around that one!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can understand your obsession with those cookbooks you mentioned, especially the Turkish one! I travelled all over Turkey at 19, stayed with Turkish families in the countryside and ate so many lovely Turkish meals. Maybe that experience will constitute a post one day.

    As for your rice pilaf here, it looks wonderful and you were so lucky to have that amazing neighbor during your childhood years. It seemed to open up your culinary horizons and that's always a great thing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks fabulous, but your honey lavender caramels look even better. You've been a productive dabbler, Cher!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just love to come and read about your FFwD adventures...I couldn't find the pods, but thank goodness for other Fridays where cardamom seeds were needed. I've been sauteing rice for eons and rarely skip this step...how wonderful you had such great cooking influences in your childhood!

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ Allison - we used to treat rice like a hot cereal. My dad would cook it normally (water) and while it was still warm, would spread some butter on it & top with milk and brown sugar. It was a little weird, I guess I just didn't know any better :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your rice looks so pretty and brown! Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great pictures and neat stories. I have had Persian rice (cooked by Persians) and it is a totally different animal - so delicious. I hadn't heard of those cookbooks but I'll look into them. So, did you like the cardamom rice?

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Francesca. Hi - I did like it - although, there are probably a couple of tweaks I would make next time. And I am truly in love with Greg Malouf's books. Some of the recipes are probably more his interpretation than authentic, but there are some real gems (and the photography and writing are really grabbing).

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great post! Very motivating! I so totally get that feeling of smugness when I've not only bought some great new herb, but then get to use it as well! I feel very accomplished when that happens!
    Great photos!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Cher, I wish I had seen your post at the beginning of the week because I could have used your inspirational writing on the subject of rice and all the ways to cook it. You've put together a wonderful bowl of rice here and I did enjoy this recipe;-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hmm...maybe frying the rice would've made this dish more appealing to me. But, yours looks tasty! And I'm glad you added another exotic dish to your repertoire!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I, too, have been dabbling with rice in recent years. I love risotto and have made a few of those. Love basmati since I tried the Renu Rice. Let me know what you think of it. I love all kinds of food, including Spanish. Your wry sense of humor always makes me smile!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Frying rice gives lots of flavor. I didn't fry it but it was still quite tasty - a lovely dish.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your rice looks absolutely wonderful! I love it fried. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I thought this was great on its own... I had a bowl of it and was pretty satisfied. :)
    I love frying my rice just a bit before adding in the liquid; the smell, the taste - it all comes together.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Looks good! Now I want those cookbooks. Must...not...buy!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your rice looks great - I love the colors.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think you can definitely invite the friend over now!!! Like your flavor combinations.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Your comments about owning 7 types of salt - AND knowing that they are different killed me! I agree... how did this happen? A few weeks ago I found myself out of AP flour for a FFWD recipe - but behold, I had 4 other speciality flours, LOL. It's definitely not our mother's pantry :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi, Cher! I always enjoy your posts & your rice looks great! Have a fun weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  23. @ Cocoa & Quinoa - we won't even talk about my flour "problem"... I collect flour like Carrie Bradshaw collects Manolos. Last time I counted - well, we just won't talk about that. Let's just say there is a lot of room in my freezer door.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great post. Love the descriptions.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I Love your posts. My hubby thinks I need to have a garage sale and rid my shelves of most of what I have so that I can have room for all the things I keep buying...like 5 kinds of salt. Well, I need all of them. A couple of years ago I didn't, but now I do!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am so agreeing with Kris (above) and relating it to what you shared. I had an early "epiphany" in between college and marriage where I worked part time at Wms Sonoma at night while doing accounting during the day. I learned SO much because the rest of the sales people were all CIA graduates and such who needed a job. We divided it into I knew how to work the cash register (not to mention handle the dreaded "return") and they had demo food waiting for me each night...scones, cookies,etc and taught me what to use the copper cookware for and why the balsamic is so good. Then marriage, kiddos and schedules and I have actually given some of my glorious gourmet stuff away over the years. FFWD has delighted me in bringing me back to these interests again and I am back to loading up as if it was still at 40% off (employee discount :). Funny part - I never feel the guilt when I use it or buy it. It makes me love life and having Pink Himalayan sea salt and 5 kinds of tart pans is proof in the rice pudding. Now off to Amazon to look at those cookbooks again......

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your rice looks great. I grew up eating rice with milk and sugar. It was a great after dinner treat that my dad and I enjoyed together.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You made me laugh about the possibility of a rice intervention! Your rice adventures are mouth-watering, so hopefully no one intervenes anytime soon. Especially with the wealth of rice recipes that probably fill your latest cookbooks. Keep feeding your adventurous spirit!

    ReplyDelete
  29. LOL Cher - your posts always make me laugh. Now you have the pods, you can grind your own cardamom in a mortar and pestle. Your pilaf looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  30. FFWD is the perfect excuse to try new ingredients! Glad you liked the rice. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. You are so funny Cher... Glad to hear you're having fun in the kitchen. Your rice looks fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great post! This looks fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I understand your rice obsession. I feel the same. Your pilaf looks pretty :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. haha. im proud to say that i sat on the couch and ate this straight out of the pan the next morning. it was THAT good : )

    ReplyDelete

Hi - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you!

Due to the high number of weirdo SPAM comments I have been receiving, I have turned comment moderation back on for the time being... Comments may show a slight delay.