Monday, March 19, 2012

Tomato Tart with Brown Rice Crust

I ended up giving a good bit of brown rice left over from the Baked Brown Rice I posted about last week. I found a great use for it while paging through my copy of The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Bay Books. I adapted the recipe quite a bit, but used the Brown Rice Tart with Fresh Tomato Filling on page 148.
We've had nice weather here lately so we've been firing up the grill quite a bit. Rather than oven roasting the tomatoes, we threw them on while our chicken was grilling last night. Of course they would be delicious either way.

Tomato Tart with Brown Rice Crust

Brown rice crust:
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 c shredded cheese (I used mozzarella b/c I had it)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a pie or tart pan with cooking spray. Mix rice, egg, and cheese together and press into greased pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

6 Roma tomatoes, washed and halved
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Rub tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and roast in oven for 30 min. Alternately, grill on medium heat, skin side up first, for 3-5 minutes per side.

4 large eggs
1/4 c milk
2 oz goat cheese or feta
2-3 oz basil pesto
Fresh ground black pepper

Arrange tomatoes on rice crust. Crumble goat/feta cheese over tomatoes. Beat eggs and milk together, season with pepper, and a pinch of salt if using goat cheese rather than feta. Pour egg mixture over tomatoes. Drizzle or scatter pesto over top of egg mixture and tomatoes. Bake in 350 F oven for about 30 min, until eggs are cooked through.

The leftover rice dried out a bit, which allowed it to make a crust with crunchy edges, which I really liked. This was delicious, with Mister Gurgly and Little Gurgly approving. I suspect the leftovers will make a great lunch tomorrow. Because it will be great warmed or at room temperature it is great for a brown at lunch, and would also be great picnic food if you sliced it ahead of time and wrapped each portion in some foil.

We served with a large garden salad and it is fantastic. I don't know that I would make rice for the sole purpose of making this, but I will certainly add to the rice I make so I have extra to make this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Repurposing leftovers

As I have mentioned previously, one of my ways of saving money on groceries (or rather, affording higher quality stuff for the same as my old grocery bills) is to waste less and make good use of leftovers. Fortunately, this is something that is frequently done in restaurant kitchens, so there are lots of good professionally written recipes out there exploring this concept. Soups become gravies, sauces become stews.

One of my favorite ways to reuse leftovers is to use them as a filling. I heard once that Italians use leftovers to stuff the next nights ravioli, or the next day's calzones for lunch. I took this idea and ran with it.

My "wrapping" of choice is samosa dough, because it holds up well to fillings of all kinds (including things at are rather moist). It is also among the leaner doughs that I've found. And while samosas are typically fried, they are also wonderful baked. It's also a more passive process, not to mention neater and healthier, than frying.

Of course, savory shortcrust (pie dough), puff pastry, empanada dough, or pizza/calzone dough all work well too. Phyllo is finicky to work with but can also be a good option.

I use this recipe Inspired by Aarti Sequeira of the Food Network for my samosa dough. If I'm filling with something Indian I add the ajwain seeds. If not, I skip them.:

2 c flour
1/4 c vegetable oil (I have used canola and coconut. Coconut is great with an Indian filling)
1/2 c low fat yogurt or buttermilk
Good pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds, optional

Today I made samosas filled with leftover chicken molé. I also made a few filled with vinegary slaw that sat for a few days. I drained the vinegar but the cabbage and carrots were a bit pickly. These came out tasting a bit like egg rolls.

I rolled out the dough and cut into nine pieces. I filled each, careful not to overfill, and pinched the edges together. They mostly came out like turnovers, but one looked more like a samosa (pyramid shaped) and I'm not sure why. The edges stick together pretty well but if you want them to be pretty you can crimp with a fork.

I baked at 425 F for about 30 min, until golden.

They are delicious, and thrifty!

We had a few for lunch today, and the rest went in the freezer after baking and cooling. Depending on your filling and the size of your samosas, they can make a good appetizer for dinner guests, a quick snack if dinner will take a while, or for a workday lunch. By freezing, I was able to extend the shelf life of the chicken and slaw. They will sure beat a PB&J, or a fast food lunch, for Mr. Gurgly.

What's your favorite way to reuse leftovers?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baked Brown Rice

This is a short one...not much needs to be said except that this recipe may have changed my life. :-)
Seriously. I love brown rice but cooking it to a just right texture is not easy, and brown rice is pricy enough that messing it up regularly (as I have in the past) is a total deterrent to buying it.

But now I say, "Be gone white rice! There's a new, healthier sheriff in town."

Why am
I not surprised that it is AB who came through for me?

I made this recipe as is except I subbed olive oil for the butter. Delicious either way, I suspect.

Enjoy! Happy Registered Dietitian's Day to my RD's, and Happy Pi Day to my nerds. (To my dear friend Heather, this must be like your Christmas!)