Posts tagged ‘Rice’

February 9, 2014

Eggplant Wraps with Moroccan Rice and Pickled Mango


As I mentioned in my last post, I’m down in the state capital these days for work. My day job – when I’m not cooking and writing here – is working for the state legislature, and during the legislative session that means a southward migration to our state’s capital, Olympia. It also means pretty long hours and fewer new posts here, but I do my best to keep things fresh (pun absolutely intended).

One of the best parts about the legislative session though is the return of my Olympia dinner nights, which my friends affectionately refer to as “Quinnsmas.” Aside from a welcome reminder that there is a life outside of politics, these dinner nights are a blast because they are loosely modeled after an Iron Chef challenge. I don’t have an opponent, but every week I get three surprise ingredients with twenty four hour notice that I have to incorporate into my dish.

My friends like to find odd pairings to throw me off, and I love a good challenge – which makes for some fun and elaborate dishes!

This past week the ingredients were chorizo, eggplant and mango, which resulted in this wonderful new Moroccan-inspired recipe. Eggplant and chorizo are a perfectly serviceable combination, so the only trick was figuring out how to shoehorn mangoes into the mix. As it turns out, pickling them brings the flavor profile in line perfectly!

The mangoes retain some of their sweetness, but also pick up some of the acid and vinegar notes as well as aromatic spice. Paired with salty, paprika-infused chorizo sausage, hearty spiced rice and full-bodied eggplant, it forms a delicious winning combination.

This is definitely a dish that requires some planning ahead – the mangoes should be done 24 hours ahead of time and the eggplant needs about an hour of work by itself – but the results are definitely worth it!

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November 2, 2011

Mushroom, Leek and Spinach Risotto

There’s nothing quite like the beginning of fall.

All those dishes that were too hearty, too heavy, too rich for summer are finally back on the market. My first autumnal foray? One of the most delicious dishes around – Risotto.

Risotto is a rice dish that originated from northern Italy. What differentiates it from more traditional styles is the method of cooking. Instead of steaming in a pot, stock is added in small amounts and cooked uncovered. The result is a more flavorful, creamier, richer dish that is filling – and a perfect fit for the chilly evenings that have arrived in Seattle.

Pairing risotto with well-seared, earthy mushrooms, rustic leeks and hearty spinach, this recipe epitomizes the spirit of fall. The addition of a bit of white wine in place of chicken stock towards the end provides a little bite – a nice counterpoint – to the richness of the other ingredients.

This dish pairs perfectly with a wide variety of entrees, a nice white wine, and nearly any fall/winter seasonal beer. Serve it and fall into the bliss of autumn!

Mushroom, Leek and Spinach Risotto

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 mushrooms, cut into 1/8 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 packed cup of spinach, lightly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat a pan to medium-high. Be sure to allow the pan to heat fully before proceeding. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and melt evenly in the pan. Just as the butter begins to brown, add the mushrooms to the pan. Toss every minute for two minutes, add the remaining butter, and continue to toss every minute until the mushrooms are seared on either side, approximately 5 minutes. Set the mushrooms aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil to medium in a large pan or pot. Add the leeks and garlic and saute until partially cooked, between three to five minutes.
  3. Add the rice, toss until evenly coated and allow to toast for five minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Add 1/3 cup of the chicken stock to the pot/pan and stir quickly to ensure the risotto does not burn. As the chicken stock nears complete evaporation, add another 1/3 cup. Continue this process of adding liquid 1/3 cup at a time – switching to white wine when the chicken stock is exhausted – until all the liquid is used up. Remove the pan from heat.
  5. Add the mushrooms and spinach and mix evenly into the risotto. Allow to sit for a few minutes to lightly cook the spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, pack the risotto into a small bowl or cup and overturn onto the plate. To garnish, roll a spinach leaf and slice into thin ribbons; place the ribbons on top of the risotto with a slice of mushroom.
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