Today I was going to talk about a poppy seed bread (not cake, nor muffin, nor in the rain on a train nor anything else) that I have the intentional habit of making each first weekend in October and April, significant times for we who are LDS. However, the lovely thing is actually a Martha (gasp!) Stewart recipe. Note: I started making these in the days when I thought she was cool. But since I could not find it online and wanted to make a quicker post than typing the thing out would do, I’ll have to save that for another time when I have a scanner. For that is not today.
Pretty soon here we’ll be moving to the land of lefse and lutefisk, and doing so will mean I cannot haul any perishables there from P-town, refrigerator-friendly as Minnesota may be when we get there. So a look in the freezer and produce drawer helped me piece together a meal that helps get rid of some things—namely, turkey kielbasa, carrots, and celery. Sounds a little boring now, but it’s going to get tasty. I pulled down the Japanese rice cooker which I cannot read but simply push two buttons with funny people on them to use, and poured in both brown rice and wild rice (thanks for the latter, Mom). Like my favorite famous cooking person, Alton Brown, I don’t dig things in the kitchen that really do only one thing, but for someone who cooks rice a lot, the rice cooker is a boon. Put it in, go away and do something, voila! It even beeps to tell you when it’s done, and the kitchen has the nutty fragrance of cooking whole grain rice. That might not make you feel romantical, but I like it.
Lately I am a big fan of spice mixes (such as Chinese five spice, berbere, Thai green curry, etc.) as opposed to single spices (paprika, sage). It takes some of the guesswork out of flavoring when I’m encountering something I’m unfamiliar with—it gets the flavor in there, and then I can work backwards, figuring out what’s in the mix. Herb de Provence is a great, basic blend that I recommend even beginner cooks have on hand. Throw in a few pinches of a spice blend with your chosen meat or vegetable, and just see what it’s like. Not much to lose, unless you buy really fancy things from really fancy places. I buy clearance dairy.
This was great, fast, and heavenly easy. And the Midwestern Meateater and I enjoyed it thoroughly, plus the bonus of not many dishes to do afterward, since it was a one-bowl meal (not that I do the dishes anyway). Go, team!
Wild Rice & Herbs de Provence Bowl
Herbs de Provence (probably named for the region that first developed the blend) is available at any, any store. However, if you’re not sure how much you’ll end up using this, borrow! Or come get some of mine, since I have more than I should. Also, buy your spices in bulk whenever possible! This I will talk about more in-depth later. But trust me, and just do it. It’ll save you money and wasting spices that you have to throw out!
Serves: 3-4, or 2, if it’s me and the MM
Prep time: 10 min, at tops
Active cooking time: 10 min, at tops
Inactive cooking time: mmm, 45 minutes (rice)
2 C wild rice + brown rice
2 T olive or canola oil
¼ C white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C carrots
chopped1/3 C celery, chopped
2 T herb de Provence
Freshly ground black pepper, to tasteSalt, to taste
1/3 Jennie-O kielbasa or smoked turkey sausage (I don’t know any other brand), chopped into thickish coins
Put your kielbasa into a bowl of water, just enough to cover it. I don’t know how much of a difference this made, but because the one thing I don’t like about these processed turkey products is the salt content (holy sodium intake!), I tried to leech it out a little bit. I think my idea really came from what I do with plants to get some of the hard minerals left by water out. Leave it in the water until you are ready to cut it up.
Cook rice according to package directions (you can actually cook them both together—hooray!). Set aside. Get a sauté pan or another medium-deep, thick-bottomed pan medium-hot on your stovetop. This will take a few minutes. Put your oil in, swirl it around, and then put in your onions and garlic. Add a pinch of salt to “sweat” the onions (get the liquid out). Then add your carrots, celery, and the herbs de Provence. Stir it around for a few minutes, adding more herbs if you like. Add your pepper. Reduce the heat to low, then add your kielbasa. Add the rice last, stirring to get it all mixed together. Taste for seasoning—you probably don’t need more salt (see first paragraph), but you might need more herbs.
Divide into bowls and eat! Add a side salad or some fruit if you’re using this not as the main thing.