Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday Dinners: Basmati Rice with Roasted Corn, Pork, and Fresh Cilantro.

When I started working with Chef Rafael Palomino, he gave me a bunch of cookbooks to look through. He said, "Read through these to see how different flavors are combined. You might find some recipes to follow, but more than that, I'd like you to see the possibilities of how ingredients work together."

Shared with me close to 15 years ago, I still stick to the idea that so much of cooking is about exploring the unity of different ingredients, textures, and of course tastes.

Now I confess, what I'm writing about today is NOT what I served yesterday, but it is a dish I made last week and wanted to share. You'll see that I'm not posting an exact recipe; I'm giving you ideas so that you can put it together--your way.

Rice, like pasta, makes a great canvas. And if you love rice like I do, using it as a base gives you the chance to appreciate its presence and flexibility. 

So, when this was created, it was partly because I was craving the popcorn-like fragrance and almost nutty flavor and long grains of basmati rice, which I always manage to have on hand. I was also yearning for sweet corn and really enjoy combining the sweet crunchy flavors of caramelized corn with rice, and cilantro. 

Now stay with me, non-cilantro fans! You can also use flat leaf parsley. OR, in this case, basil would work nicely. And the list goes on--

But back to this rice dish, I also had made roast pork chops with onions the night before, (here's one I posted about in February), and, since I had some left over, I wanted to use them as well. 

And so, this dish was born. 

Last night I also made a rice dish, but I apologize because I didn't shoot it! (Believe me, I try, try, try to photograph all, but sometimes I get caught up in, well, cooking and serving...and the photos get pushed aside!) I used brown basmati rice, and combined it with grilled chicken and apple sausage chunks, also roasted red onion and orange segments, and fresh cilantro. 

At any rate, you get the idea. As always, the sky's the limit...

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