Chocolate-Vanilla Dairy-Free Ice Cream Goodness

Chocolate-Vanilla Soy Ice Cream

Boy, I bet you're surprised to see this show up in your feedreader, those of you who still have this little blog saved off. :) (There'll be more in the future, things are looking up on the food and writing fronts!) Today, I'm posting something special for a very special friend of mine and my husband's.

You see, she's had a rough go of it these past few years, having had to go gluten-free and dairy-free. Giving up all of your favorite foods and replacing them with often sub-par imitations just isn't fun or tasty. One of the things I know she misses a lot is ice cream. Though sorbet is wonderful in its fruity pleasures, there's just nothing like the creamy, rich goodness of a bowl of ice cream.

Recently, we made an experimental test batch of soy vanilla ice cream, using our ice cream maker and basing it off of a recipe in The Vegan Scoop. Because she's also sensitive to several different gums, we needed to make sure she could have soy creamer, which honestly we weren't sure about. After some research, we found that while she probably could have at least one brand of soy creamer, we weren't sure if she'd be able to buy it easily or if it would be okay for her to consume safely. We also found that soy creamer was only necessary was because regular commercial soy milk isn't creamy enough. If the milk itself was creamy, the two ingredients: creamer and milk, could be combined into one.

Enter the soy milk maker. We too have one, a Soyapower Plus, though we're not dairy-free, because we love making our own tofu. It's quite possible to make all sorts of milks from rice, nuts, grains, seeds and beans, or any combination you can dream up. We found that it's easy to make a creamier soy milk by altering the components or the percentages you use in the maker. Plus, fresh soy milk is worlds away better than the commercial stuff. (Frankly, I can't stand commercial soy milk and don't see how many do.)

One of our favorite mixes was provided as one of the sample mixes in our recipe booklet by the manufacturer of our maker, Sanlinx: a blend of black soybeans, sesame seeds and rice. It produces an interesting soy milk with chocolatey connotations, so we decided to use that for our base. The sesame seeds and rice help boost the creaminess, so no soy creamer was needed.

Chocolate-Vanilla Soy Ice Cream

The final result was more than we could have ever dreamed. If you had handed me a bowl and asked me to try it blind, I'm not sure I could have figured out that it was non-dairy. The flavor is what I like to call "choco-nilla", or what would happen if you swirled chocolate and vanilla together in one base. It's intriguingly, lightly chocolate yet beautifully vanilla. The mouthfeel is perfect, the texture and crystallization all I could have hoped. It came out better than many of our traditional dairy ice creams! (Though maybe better not the ones from Lebovitz' The Perfect Scoop because that book is, as far as I am concerned, the God of Ice Cream Recipes.)

So, without further ado, here is the complete recipe from beans to bowl for how to make your very own, completely safe for dairy-free, gum-free but not soy-free friends chocolate-vanilla ice cream.

Black Soybean, Sesame and Rice Milk [printable recipe]

makes about 1 to 1.2 liters, depending on machine

  • 40 g black soybeans
  • 40 g brown sweet rice, or other rice
  • 20 g sesame seeds
  • water

Soak soybeans for 8 hours. Rinse the rice and sesame seeds in a fine sieve (so the seeds don't escape). Drain the soybeans well. Combine all three in the base of your soymilk maker. Add water until it comes up to the marking indicated for soy milk. Use the setting for Soy+ if you have it, Soy if not. When the maker finishes, strain the resulting liquid through a fine sieve to separate out the okara2 and pulp.


  1. Your maker's capacity may vary. This is sized for my 1.5 l capacity SoyaPower Plus. If your maker is smaller, reduce the ingredients as needed, but keep the ratio the same: 2:2:1.
  2. This okara isn't very reusable so we discarded it but normal okara from straight soy milk doesn't need to be discarded. It can be used in lots of different ways, though if you make a lot of soy milk, you can quickly get overwhelmed. We like to add it to foccacia dough, any kind of ground meat, casseroles and sauces. Use it at your own discretion.

Chocolate-Vanilla Soy Ice Cream

Chocolate-Vanilla Soy Ice Cream [printable recipe]

Makes about 1 quart

  • 750 ml black soybean and sesame soy milk (see above), divided
  • 18 g1 tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 165 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Divide out 50 ml of soy milk, let it cool if you just made it from above, stir in tapioca starch. Combine remaining 700 ml of soy milk (it does not need to be cooled) with sugar and salt in a medium sauce pot and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in tapioca-milk mixture, the mixture should begin thickening noticeably. Add the vanilla extract. Stir well and chill for at least 2 - 3 hours or overnight2. Freeze in ice cream maker3 according to manufacturer's instructions. Ours took about 15 minutes to freeze fully.


  1. If your scale doesn't measure in 2g increments, increase the tapioca starch to 20 g. Arrowroot is a better choice than tapioca because it gels better at colder temps, but I didn't have it available.
  2. Most ice cream books recommend 6 - 8 hours or overnight. We did 3 hours because we were impatient and our machine's base was solidly frozen. Make sure your machine's base has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours if you tend to be impatient.
  3. We use a Krups 1.5 l ice cream maker. It fit just fine with plenty of headroom. It should fit in machines with 1 liter capacity too, but I would keep an eye on it as the air gets whipped in.
  4. Finally, I prefer scaling my ingredients and, my husband, the baker, really prefers scaling, so honestly? I have no idea what any of this is in teaspoons or tablespoons unless it says. Sorry. Scales just rock.

A Lazy Mouse in the Kitchen

I'm not dead, I swear. I may be crazy.

Right now, I'm desperately trying to find some balance in my life. Right after Thanksgiving, I started graduate school as a full-time student. A week after that, I started a new full-time job. (It seems I also thought it would be a grand idea to catch an extremely nasty cold on the same day.) Of course, Christmas was the following week.

And now we're in week three. I'm trying to manage work, school, friends, hobbies, language lessons, etc... None of it is balanced right now and it's really challenging. Right now, I go to work for a full day, my husband cooks all the meals, I spend time with him and with friends, I get some relaxation in, think about writing or reading, then go to bed.

I'm still adjusting, particularly since I've been a full-time student with an incredibly flexible schedule for a couple of years now and it's been a long while since my last rigidly scheduled job. (My last few jobs have been really flexible.) It feels really overwhelming right now, as there doesn't ever seem to be enough time to do everything that needs to be done.

So, the long and short of it is this... I'll be posting when I have great recipes (and some time) but there will be probably continue to be long gaps in between. Subscribing via RSS is the best way to stay updated, by the way. I hope to go back to a sane schedule once I adjust. Whenever that may be.


Thanksgiving Day Stuffing

I am not a stuffing person.

I've tried StoveTop stuffing and stuffing passed down from on high by the matriarch of a family or two. I've tried this stuffing and that stuffing and none of them appealed in the slightest.

I always try stuffings at Thanksgiving and Christmas but it never seems to work out. I'd take a spoonful and be lucky to make it through half. (Usually that half got pressed into some yams to disguise it.)

This year, Food Network Magazine included a little booklet on Stuffing in their Oct/Nov issue. It's also on their website with even more recipes. I originally thought that I'd try one of their recipes but none of them were quite right. Still, they were ideas.

So I looked around then finally took about five different recipes (plus a raid of my pantry) and built up a stuffing recipe that sounded like I'd actually eat it.

On Thanksgiving, I scooped up a bit of stuffing. I wasn't sure if my cobbled together chimera of stuffings would come out right, but the first bite put those fears to rest.

This was MY stuffing. The stuffing I could eat happily. I had two helpings and then proceeded to snack on the leftovers for the next few days. Everyone else liked it too, but there were some wishes from those assembled that it held together a bit more. And I wished I'd drizzled on a bit of the juices from the turkey. It was great without it, so I've written it in as an optional.

Boy, I'm happy I decided to make a stuffing at last. I loved it!

Thanksgiving Day Stuffing

Stuffing [printable recipe]

Adapted from several sources, but most notably from Saveur
Makes one 13 x 9 pan

  • 6 cups cornbread, cubed (about 3/4ths of a 9" cast iron skillet's worth)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 - 5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 oz bacon ends, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 head roasted garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or turkey juices (optional)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper

Spread cornbread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake at 350F for 20 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and remove to a large bowl.

Cook bacon ends in a skillet over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is cooked to your preferred doneness.1 Pour bacon and drippings over the cornbread cubes.

In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute onions with a pinch of salt until tender, about 5 minutes. Pour onions and butter over the cornbread mixture.

Add all remaining ingredients and toss to mix thoroughly2.

Spread into an ungreased 13x9 pan and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.3


  1. I like my bacon to be a little chewy when it's used in other recipes like this.
  2. I used a 5 qt mixing bowl with a lid and shook it a few times before I used my hands to fold it all together. Damn near filled up the whole bowl too.
  3. As Alton says, "stuffing is evil." Don't stuff your bird, there's risk of salmonella because the stuffing won't reach 165F inside the cavity. Just bake it on the side and enjoy.
  4. This is a pretty easy recipe to make gluten- or dairy-free. Just use your favorite GF cornbread recipe or mix (I've heard good things about Pamela's Cornbread Mix) and substitute Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (or similar) for the butter.

Poppy Filled Ring Roll... or something.

Poppy-filled ring loaf

My husband has really taken to baking. He loves it! I'm happy that I was able to introduce him to something he really enjoys and if our area had a baking class, I'd probably get him a term as a birthday present. Sadly, the only ones I've found are the community college campus that is almost an hour away, so that will have to wait.

He's been in a super-baking mood lately, making all sorts of things out of his favorite bread book, Beard On Bread. He made a pizza loaf, which came out wonderfully (and he is now under orders to make another one for me). It's a loaf that's rolled around a filling of spicy tomato sauce and cheese.

After that particular success, my husband wanted to try doing another loaf using our small 4 cup mold. We still need to source a good ring mold for him because so far the best we can do is a cast iron skillet with a ramekin in the middle or the jello/decorative cake mold.

Despite the makeshift equipment, this came out so well! My husband made up the filling on the spot - he wanted something like some of the poppy recipes he grew up with, but also wanted my dad to be able to eat it. (He loves poppy too, but can't easily eat the whole seeds.) Grinding the seeds finely in a coffee grinder seemed to work though - especially when we found out we get even more poppy flavor that way.

I have not been able to think of a name for this; if I had, I would have posted this this morning. Sad, huh? In any case, the filling is sweet and chewy, just right with a glass of milk. In case you're wondering, he's under orders to make this one again too.

To my American readers, happy Thanksgiving! We'll be chowing down on turkey, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts tomorrow, along with some of my husband's Parker House rolls. Hope you have a great holiday -- and, if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a great holiday season!

Poppy Filled Ring Roll [printable recipe]

Adapted from Beard on Bread


  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds, ground1
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp butter, melted


  • 2 cups ap flour
  • 4 tsp gluten flour (optional)
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar


  • 1 egg
  • milk

Mix warm water, sugar and yeast together. Add flours, salt and applesauce to the yeast mixture and stir together into a stiff dough. Knead until satiny smooth and elastic. Let rise until doubled in bulk.

While the dough rises, beat together all of the filling ingredients until smooth, except for the melted butter.

Roll out into a rectangle about 14" long and 7" wide. Spread the poppy mixture evenly over the surface, leaving about 1" all around the edges. Brush butter lightly over the mixture. Roll up from the long side to make a long sausage. Pinch the seam and ends well to seal. Lay into a 4 cup ring mold2, with the ends overlapping, and let rise until doubled in bulk again.

Before baking

While the roll rises, preheat the oven to 400F. Beat together the eggwash by whisking together one egg and a splash of milk. When the roll is ready to go into the oven, brush with eggwash and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350F and continue to bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Test for doneness by removing the roll from the oven and turning it out of the mold onto a towel. Tap the bottom - it should sound hollow. If not, return it to the mold and continue to bake. Otherwise, remove it to a wire rack and let cool.

Serve with a tall glass of milk.


  1. Use a coffee grinder for this, a food processor is not able to effectively pulverize the seeds. If you'd rather not grind the seeds, that's fine. Just soak them in enough milk to cover for a few hours, then drain them and continue with the recipe.
  2. If you don't have a 4-cup mold, try an 8" cast iron skillet with a 1/2 cup ceramic/ovensafe ramekin in the middle. Alternatively, double the recipe and use an angel food cake pan or bundt pan.

Slow Cooker Borscht

This one's for Deb, a friend of mine up in Seattle. :)

It's been super-windy and rather cold all this last week. After spending some time in the morning listening to the wind howl about the eaves and against the windows, we decided yesterday that soup was definitely in order for dinner. We also wanted to get stuff done, so anything requiring a lot of time was out. Enter the slow cooker. But what to make?

We had some beets that were harvested in Grantsville that needed to be used up. Now, naturally we could have done a bunch of different things with them, like roasting them or turning them into salad, but with the weather getting colder, soups and stews are becoming very appealing. Which means just one recipe would do: borscht!

I've made this twice now, preparing the veggies in various ways and found that we definitely prefer running everything possible through the shredding/grating disc of the food processor. If you don't have one, you can just chop or dice your way through the heaps of veggies but with one, it all goes quite quickly. You can easily prep this in 30 minutes before work and let it cook merrily away until you arrive home, perhaps somewhat soggy or windblown from the winter weather demons and definitely ready for soup.

The one problem with this vegetarian version is that you'll get all your veggies but be seriously lacking in protein. TVP is a potential addition, provided you reconstitute it first and not in the cooker. We opted to have a bean and carrot salad on the side, plus some potato-caraway rolls from my husband's earlier baking in the day.

Slow Cooker Borscht [printable recipe]

Adapted from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
Serves 4 to 6, possibly more

  • 2 pounds beets, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 - 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 banana pepper or small red/orange bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 small-to-mediumish potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 5 cups veggie stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp hot paprika
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a 4qt to 6qt slow cooker. Stir well and cover. Set on LOW for 8 hours. Serve with sour cream.

On Baked Milk and Slow Cookers

This is an update to making baked milk from my original post on Ryazhenka.

As I've mentioned here before, we recently obtained a slow cooker. We've been happily slow-cooking our way through a couple of cookbooks, trying this or that recipe on a whim and generally being pleased with the results. There've been a few duds, like the French Onion Soup That Wasn't, but by and large, the slow cooker has turned out to be an excellent decision.

Now that we're more experienced with it, we've been looking at some of our own recipes and considering whether or not it would be easier to accomplish in the slow cooker. Šķovēti kāposti, for example, does really well in the slow cooker with much less interaction, as does my father-in-law's original plovs recipe.

The great thing about a slow cooker is that it provides even, low heat for long periods of time and ideally, without you fussing about with it. Baked milk can be a real pain with an oven - if you move too fast, the milk will slosh and you'll have an awful mess on your hands.

Last night, we poured in most of a gallon of milk into the slow cooker. (Slow cookers work best if they're between half- and two-thirds-full. Ours is 5.5qt so we put in about 3qt.) We set it for 12 hours on LOW and went to bed.

In the morning, the milk wasn't quite ready. What takes about three to four hours in the oven takes much longer in the slow cooker. Then again, I don't have to worry about boiling over or high power costs. So we set it for another 2 hours for a total of 14 hours.

The plusses to using a slow cooker are that it is completely unattended, no hard skin forms on top of the milk and less burning happens. The downside is that it takes forever.

Still, after 14 hours, we had very good baked milk. We aren't trying for ryazhenka today, just wanted some sweet, caramelized milk to drink as a treat. It's not as sweet as oven-baked, mainly due to the lower evaporation rate achieved in slow cooking, but it certainly still works.

And considering that I don't run the risk of spending several hours of "quality time" scrubbing the oven, I'll take the lower evaporation rate happily.

Vegetarian Kofta with Tabbouleh

Boy, this week is all about the extra-long recipes, isn't it?

This is one I've been meaning to share for a while. We've had this a few times and enjoyed it thoroughly every time. It's a great meatless main that doesn't feel meatless. I'm not sure how meat would make this better, actually, given that bulgur and adzukis are so damn good.

In the recipe, I noted two of the ways we've made the tabbouleh. One is more for summer when fresh cucumbers and tomatoes are readily available. The other is for fall when eggplants are coming out your ears. Both are great in their own ways.

Kofta with Tabbouleh [printable recipe]

Adapted from Cook's Library: Vegetarian

  • 1 cup bulgur, quinoa or other fluffy grain
  • 2 cups veggie stock


  • 1/2 cup cooked adzuki beans
  • 1/2 small to medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs


  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 - 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 - 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (or 1 tsp dried) - optional
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped OR 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped OR 1 leek, light green and white parts only, sliced

First, cook the bulgur in the veggie stock in a rice cooker. You can cook it on the stove by bringing the stock to a boil and adding the bulgur. Cook for about 15 minutes until the stock has been fully absorbed. If using quinoa or another grain, adjust liquid and times to suit.

Making the Kofta

Mash beans well in a large bowl. Combine all of the remaining ingredients under "Kofta" along with 1/2 of the cooked bulgur and mix into the beans. Form into patties or meatballs with wet hands and place on a small quarter-sheet pan. Spray tops liberally with non-stick spray.

Broil for 10 - 12 minutes, turning once halfway through, until browned.

Making the Tabbouleh

If using eggplant, saute in a bit of olive oil until browned before adding. Mix remaining 1/2 of bulgur with all ingredients under "Tabbouleh".

Serve kofta atop the tabbouleh.

Jerk Chicken & Jamaican Rice and Peas

One of the last produce items we bought from our local farmer was a pair of habeneros. These little lantern-shaped peppers are some of the hottest in the world, rated between 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville units! Now, compare that to a jalapeno which weighs in between 6,000 and 8,500 Scoville units! Wow, that's hot, isn't it? Still, for all their bite, they're also floral and add a definite flavor that's hard to duplicate without their help.

A side note on super-hot chiles... I've had the pleasure of having ghost chile verde made by a chef friend of mine in Stockton. Amazingly potent yet incredibly delicious stuff! Miner's Cafe in Stockton, Utah, is one of the very few places in Utah where you can get a dish made from ghost chiles - currently the hottest pepper around at 900,000+ SHU. If you can take the heat, go for it!

When I saw them, I couldn't resist - I've wanted to make jerk chicken from scratch for some time now. Of course, what Jamaican main would be complete without one of Jamaica's most famous rice dishes, rice and peas, alongside? Luckily, I found a recipe that would use the rest of the habenero and incorporate coconut milk for cooling off that hot pepper.

I'm so so pleased with this one. My husband raved about the combination! The two recipes get along beautifully and a bit of fresh pineapple ties it all together. It's not too spicy either - my Spicy Stirfry was actually hotter. Maybe the habenero I used wasn't that hot? Or maybe, this meal is just too good. Next time, I plan to use a bit more to bring the heat up a bit.

Though habeneros are a bit scary to handle (see my warning below) and the list of spices is extremely lengthy, don't let that stop you from trying this. I absolutely loved this dinner and am looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch after this post is up. This is definitely going into our rotation!

Be careful when handling habeneros! They are some of the hottest chiles on the planet and if you get pepper juice in your eyes, you WILL regret it, trust me. Wear gloves and use caution.

Jerk Chicken [printable recipe]

Adapted from Kitchen Sense
Serves 4

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped1
  • olive oil
  • fresh or canned pineapple


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 habenero pepper2, stemmed, seeded (aka Scotch bonnet)
  • 2 - 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried mustard
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) lime juice
  • 2 tbsp (1 oz) lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp (1 oz) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor3. Pulse until you get a smooth puree. Place all of the chicken into a ziptop bag or a non-reactive container, then pour the marinade over. Stir it gently to coat all of the pieces and let it marinate for between 1 and 24 hours. (Overnight is ideal.)

Dump the chicken and its marinade into a strainer or colander set in the sink and let stand for 10 minutes so the excess marinade can drip off.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces. Cook until done. Serve over Jamaican Rice & Peas with a side of fresh pineapple.

According to the original, the chicken keeps well for up to a week in the fridge and is excellent cold. I liked this too much to let it sit around!


  1. Or, use some combination of chicken parts to your taste. If using bone-in, I strongly recommend grilling them instead and using the excess marinade to baste the chicken as it cooks.
  2. If you're sensitive to heat, try using a jalapeno or a serrano instead. Or, if you like it spicy, add more! I thought this could have used a bit more heat myself.
  3. I use the Ninja MasterPrep which has a 2-cup workbowl. I love it to death. If your mini-prep can't do 2 cups of liquid, you'll need to use a full-size processor.

. . . . .

The "peas" in Jamaican Rice and Peas refers to any type of legume, usually kidney beans or cowpeas. I used black beans in mine because that's what I had in the freezer.

Can you really freeze beans? Absolutely! We cook our beans from scratch either on the stove or in a slow cooker. When they're done and cool, we spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze them. Then they can go into a big ziptop freezer bag for later use. A can of beans is equal to about 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans. Incredibly handy, delicious and cheaper too!

Jamaican Rice & Peas [printable recipe]

Food & Wine 2009 Annual Cookbook
Serves 4

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine or long-grain rice (2 "rice" cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups (OR 1 14 oz can drained and rinsed) black-eyed peas, kidney beans or black beans
  • 1/4 habenero pepper, stemmed, seeded (aka Scotch bonnet)
  • 1 13.5-14 oz can of light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a rice cooker, stirring well to combine. Cook on regular white rice cycle until done. Remove the habenero and fluff rice. Serve.

No Rice Cooker?

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onion, ginger and garlic until softened, then add the rice, stirring to coat well. Add the beans, habenero, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed - about 18 - 20 minutes. Remove from heat, remove the habenero and fluff. Serve.

Spicy Stirfry

I have a hard time justifying posting stirfry recipes. I've been making stirfries since I began cooking for myself and usually my sauces consist of whatever I throw together to match what I want in my head. There's no measuring, no tasting, I rely on scent to tell me if I've gotten it right. It works for me.

Sometimes I actually read stirfry recipes, but usually avoid any that are hardcore on veggies or protein - you can quite easily throw half the fridge at a stirfry and be happy with the results. It, with its sister fried rice, are the ultimate leftover-users.

The biggest thing I have to be careful of is the sauce. I've made certain base sauces so often that I don't always remember to be actually creative. That's when I turn to recipes, to those that give some basic sauce variations that I can play around with.

The other night, my husband asked me to make a spicy stirfry. He wanted something with some heat to it, not too much, but lots of flavor too. It had to use a pepper of some sort and use up the last of the carrot and leek.

I decided to look around and found an older formula for sauces from Food Network Magazine that I'd clipped for just such an occasion. That afternoon, we'd picked up a bunch of random peppers at the end of the harvest season, so I had a new pepper to try out - a pimento. It sounded just right.

By the way, I'm incredibly sad because the day I wrote this, the last produce of the season was procured from our local Tooele farmer. (Well, his house is in Tooele, along with his farm stand on Main, but he farms 8 acres in Grantsville.) We won't see more until mid-June.

Now I'm going to give you the recipe for basically what I put together, with the understanding that you won't necessarily follow it to the letter. Throw in the veggies you have, even if all you have is a bag of frozen stir-fry mix (hey I like those especially in the winter when there's nothing good on the shelf). Likewise, use the protein you have - from tofu to beef. There's no reason not to, it will all be good.

Because damn this came out well. Really really well. It was just the right amount of spicy for us with plenty of sauce to make the rice a wonderful foil. The sauce isn't difficult to put together, even if it seems like a lot of ingredients.

Spicy Stirfry [printable recipe]

Inspired by a recipe found in Food Network Magazine

  • 3/4 lb meat, thinly sliced, or tofu of some variety, cubed
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 smallish onion, sliced vertically
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 2 cups grated cabbage
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pimento pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, finely chopped
  • salt
  • oil


  • 3/4 cup chicken [or veggie, mushroom, lobster, whatever] stock
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp palm sugar, grated if necessary (if unavailable, substitute brown)
  • 1 tsp chili paste (sambal oelek)

Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Combine protein with 1 tsp cornstarch in another bowl.

In a large skillet or wok, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Add protein and cook, stirring often, until nicely browned. Remove and add to sauce.

Add a little more oil if necessary to the pan and start with the onions. When they're tender and turning brown on the edges, add green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir constantly to keep them from burning for about a minute. Add veggies in order of cooking time. (For this: pepper, leek, carrot, cabbage.) Cook until everything is happily crisp-tender and ready. If you need some liquid to keep things happily frying, add a tablespoon or two of the sauce.

Add sauce and protein. Stir frequently until thickened. It'll take a few minutes. Serve over rice. Garnish with chopped peanuts or sesame seeds.