Lime Rice: Instant Pot & Stove top editions

Lime rice is a great side dish for any Mexican styled dinner. We eat it a lot at our house, plus I’ve used it in some rice based casseroles.

I’ve included cooking instructions for both the Instant Pot, seeing as they are everywhere these days and a stove top edition for those of you who haven’t jumped onto the IP bandwagon. The stove top edition is done in the Central Asian style of cooking rice — lots of water and drained after cooking. If you prefer to use another method, have at it. Most of the flavouring agents are added to the already cooked rice, so it makes no difference.

“1789” by miikkahoo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Lime Rice: Stove top edition

Course: Side Dishes

Cuisine: Mexican

Main Ingredient: Rice

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Total Time: 25 min

Yield: Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice or long-grain white rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or juice from one fresh lime
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or juice from half fresh lemon
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro optional

Directions

  1. Wash the basmati rice in a couple of changes of water to remove much of the excess surface starch. There is no need to do this if you are using parboiled or converted (Uncle Ben’s type) rice.
  2. Using a large pot, bring 8 cups or so of water to a boil. Add rice, salt, and the bay leaf. Stir and allow it to return to a boil. Cook uncovered for 12 minutes or until the rice is tender to the taste. It should be soft to the teeth but not mushy.
  3. Remove bay leaf. Strain the rice in a mesh strainer and rinse with hot water. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add lime zest and juice, lemon juice, and cilantro (if using). Salt to taste.
  5. Mix well and serve.

Instant pot edition to follow

Thanks for reading. Keep cooking; we’ll talk later


Seafood Pasta Sauce

I’m lucky to live in one of the most seafood rich markets in the world. We grow the best lobster, and the best mussels money can buy (Sorry, Belgium). With these blessings on our doorstep, you can bet our cooks have come up with some great ways of enjoying it. This seafood pasta sauce is great served as the filling on a simple lasagna or a penne bake. A sauce like this can instantly elevates a simple plate of plain cooked spaghetti to a full-fledged feast.

Seafood Pasta Sauce

Course: Kitchen Basics

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour or favourite GF substitute
  • 14 tsp salt
  • 18 tsp pepper
  • 18 tsp nutmeg
  • 14 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 12 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 34 cup milk (any fat percentage)
  • 14 cup heavy cream 35% fat or your market equivalent
  • 14 cup grated cheese Cheddar, Gruyere, Swiss etc
  • 12 cup cooked lobster cubed
  • 12 cup cooked shrimp diced
  • 12 cup seared scallops diced
  • 1 fresh lemon, juiced or 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice
  • chopped parsley for garnish – optional

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.
  2. When the frothing has subsided, add shallots and cook lightly until soft.
  3. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms release their moisture.
  4. Sprinkle flour over top the cooked vegetables and stir, allowing the flour to cook slightly and combine with the butter.
  5. Add the broth and stir, followed by milk. Stir well while the sauce thickens. Do not boil. Remove from heat once the sauce has thickened.
  6. Add cream and stir.
  7. Add the seasonings – salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne (or hot pepper flakes) and stir.
  8. Add the cooked seafood and stir gently enough to mix. Add lemon juice.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.
  10. When serving, reheat until hot over medium heat. Will keep in the fridge for 2 days.

Keep cooking and we’ll talk later.

Kate


Basic stir fry sauce

Compared to the price of the ingredients, bottled stir fry sauce is frightfully expensive. This is a basic recipe that works well with meat or vegetarian stir fries. Use it like you would the bottled versions. It can also be made ahead to help save time on those busy week nights.

Basic stir fry sauce

Course: Kitchen basics

Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

  • 23 cup soy sauce low sodiium
  • 12 cup chicken broth low sodium
  • 13 cup rice wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar or honey
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a Mason jar with a lid and shake to blend. When the stir fry vegetables are as done as you want, push them to the side of the pan/wok. Pour the stir fry into the pan and let it thicken. This will only take a minute or so. Take the pan/wok off the heat. Pull the stir fry ingredients through the sauce and serve.
  2. Alternative directions — put all the ingredients in a medium-size saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the mixture comes to a boil.. Whisk to ensure it remains smooth while it thickens. It can be refrigerated for a week.

Keep cooking and we’ll talk later.

Kate


Kitchen basics: Taco seasoning

I can’t help but shake my head at the price for commercial seasoning mixes. In addition to being heavily laden with salt and/or sugar, they also create a lot of garbage waste with the packaging.

Here’s a remedy that let’s you control the amount of salt as well as coming in a reusable package! Use it freely for chilis, tacos, burritos or anywhere else you might be looking for a little kick. And if there’s a seasoning you don’t like, just omit it.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Course: Kitchen basics

Cuisine: Mexican

Prep Time: 5 min

Total Time: 5 min

Yield: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder ( optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon dried minced onion or 1 tsp onion powder (not salt)
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all the spices to a mason jar. Close and shake until fully combined.
  2. 2 Tablespoons of the mix is equivalent to 1 package of commercial seasoning

Plov: The Instant Pot Edition

The inspiration for this column came from an article in the Guardian that was written a couple of years ago. It reminded me how much I love all these rice dishes from the region, whether its origins are Iraq, Iran, or other parts of Central Asia.

I am convinced that there are as many recipes for Plov, a meat-vegetable-rice one-dish deliciousness, as there are Uzbeki grandmothers. It’s all part of a great regional rice tradition that fits into the umbrella term of pilaf or pilau.

Sheep farming is an important part of this nation’s agricultural tradition and so plov is usually made with lamb or mutton. Chicken and beef are also used but to a lesser extent. Vegetarian versions are less common but not unknown. I’ve chosen to offer a vegetarian version this time but I’m sure there will be meat editions coming in the future. Also in the future, I will publish a stove-top version of this dish for those who don’t enjoy an Instant Pot in their kitchen.

Jeweled Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Basmati Rice or other long grained rice
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 2 – inch piece of ginger, grated or 2 tsps of dry ginger
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp salt , divided or to taste
  • 1 12 cup mixed dried fruits raisins, apricots, prunes, dates, currants etc
  • 1 head whole garlic head sliced in half horizontally
  • 2 12 cups hot water
  • 14 cup chopped nuts pistachios, almonds or pecans
  • 12 cup fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • parsley (or cilantro) to garnish

Directions

  1. Wash and soak the rice until the water runs clear. Allow it to soak for a couple of hours. Drain well.
  2. Finely chop the assorted dried fruits into equal-sized ‘bits’. Set aside
  3. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pot and allow it to heat to “Hot”. Add onion and stir frequently until it is golden.
  4. Add ginger, coriander and 1 tsp of the salt. Allow it to continue cooking until aromatic.
  5. Cancel the saute function (off button) for the Instant Pot.
  6. Add the dried fruit bits on top. Mix the remaining 2 tsps of salt with the drained rice. Add the rice to the pot but DO NOT MIX. Smooth it with the back of a spoon.
  7. Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke five to six holes in rice all the way through to the bottom of the pot.
  8. Press the cut garlic into the rice. Again, do not stir or mix.
  9. Slowly, being careful to not disturb the rice, pour the 2-1/2 cups of hot water into the cooking pot.It helps to pour the water over the back of a serving spoon to make its flow more gentle.
  10. Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Set it for the “rice” cooking setting (approximately 12 minutes or if you prefer a manual setting, cook for 8 minutes on high pressure.
  11. Allow the cooker to depressurize for 10 minutes before opening.
  12. After opening, remove the garlic head halves and gently mix the contents of the pot. If you’re a fan of roast garlic, feel free to squeeze the cloves back into the dish.
  13. Traditionally, this dish is served on a large serving platter. Once the rice/vegetable mixture has been plated, sprinkle the top of the dish with the “jewels” — chopped parsley, chopped cilantro if you prefer, chopped nuts, and the pomegranate seeds.

How to press tofu

There’s a basic all-purpose tofu marinade at the bottom of this page.

Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain any remaining liquid from it.

Fold a kitchen towel to make a medium sized rectangle. Line with a folded paper towel. Set the tofu on the top third of the towel . Wrap the top of the tofu block with the kitchen towel by folding the bottom 2/3s up and over the tofu block.

Set a small cutting board on top of the tofu. Weight it down with something heavy, like a 28-ounce can of tomatoes or a cast iron frying pan. Allow the tofu block to press for 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove the weight and drain off the excess liquid. Pat the tofu dry with more towels. Slice the pressed tofu into cubes, thick rectangles, or sticks, according to how you plan to use it.

The tofu will now be able to accept a marinade or is ready for a starch coating.

A good all-purpose tofu marinade

Course: Kitchen basics

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Extra Firm Tofu – drained and pressed
  • 3 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce or Tamari
  • 1.5 Tbsp garlic/ginger paste or 2 cloves garlic, 1 Tbsp minced ginger.

Directions

  1. Cut the drained and pressed tofu into the shape you want.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add tofu and mix gently. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Food safety: uncooked tofu must be refrigerated.
  3. Cook as called for in your recipe. If grilling, use the leftover marinade to brush onto the tofu burgers, kebabs, etc.

Jamaican Beef: Instant Pot edition

Photo coming… it’s being made as we speak.

This slightly sweet stew flavoured with allspice, thyme and rum just fills the kitchen with the smells of the Islands. This is the Instant Pot version. There is also instructions for making it in a slow oven or in a slow cooker coming in future editions of the blog.

I know that the Instant Pot has a saute feature and for most uses, it works fine. This is one use where I find it isn’t sufficient to get a really good sear on the beef, so I opt for my standby — the cast iron fry pan. If you have no issues using the Instant Pot for the entire process, by all means, save yourself the extra pan to wash and do this as a one pot meal.

Jamaican Beef Stew

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Caribbean

Main Ingredient: Beef

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 2 12 pounds boneless beef stew meat (such as chuck, eye of the round) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 medium white onion sliced in half moons
  • 4 carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 habanero chilies seeded and minced or if you want it milder, just poke with fork
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1⁄2 cup spiced rum
  • 1 cup chicken, beef or vegetable stock
  • 12 teaspoon allspice or 3 whole allspice berries
  • 12 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 teaspoon hot pepper sauce less if you like it milder
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes or 4 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soya sauce
  • 1 12 tablespoons steak sauce I use HP. A-1 can be subbed
  • 12 cup chopped green onions for garnish

Directions

  1. Trim and cut the stewing beef into roughly 1-inch pieces. Dry the surface of the beef with paper kitchen roll or a kitchen towel. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large, preferably cast-iron skillet, heat over high heat until hot. Reduce heat and add coconut oil to heat. When the oil shimmers, add the surface- dried beef and sear. Do this in small batches to avoid boiling. This is not to cook the meat, just to get that nice flavour developed from the sear.
  3. When the beef is done, remove it to the Instant Pot cook pot. Returning to the cast iron pan, brown the onions and carrots for two minutes. Add the minced garlic and allow it to heat enough to release its aroma. Remove the vegetables to the Instant Pot cook pot and turn off the heat under the cast iron pan.
  4. Pour the canned tomatoes into the cast iron pan and deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown crispy “flavour bombs” that developed. Pour into the Instant pot cooking pot, You are done with the cast iron.
  5. To the Instant Pot, add the stock, allspice, cinnamon, hot sauce, thyme (if using dried), bay leaves, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and HP steak sauce.
  6. Give the contents a light stir to combine.
  7. On the top of the pot contents, lay the habanero peppers if you are keeping them whole. If you are using fresh thyme over dried, add them here. This makes it easier to fish out before serving.
  8. Close the Instant Pot and set the steam valve to “sealed”
  9. Set the Instant Pot to cook on the Meat/stew function for 35 minutes (normal pressure) OR if you prefer the manual setting, set it for 20 minutes.
  10. Allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes before opening the release valve.
  11. Remove the whole spices (if used) from the top of the stew. S
  12. Serve over plain rice or coconut rice (very delicious). Garnish with chopped green onions or fresh parsley.