Tag Archives: rice

Three Cities

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Cleveland looks pretty amazing to me.

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
Everywhere else is Cleveland.”

Tennessee Williams, who died in 1981, may (or may not) have made that remark.  And though you might be puzzled, amused, or annoyed by his choices, it has the possibility of stimulating some fun conversation (perhaps around a dinner table!).  Should Chicago have been included?  If Williams were alive today, would he still include SF?  Should Dallas replace Cleveland?  What’s your favorite up and coming city – Portland (could be Oregon or could be Maine)? Denver?  Where does L.A. fit into all of this?

When you think of New York, do you automatically include Brooklyn?  We had a lively conversation about Brooklyn as part of New York City during our visit last week to our Brooklyn kiddos.  Those boroughs of “New York City” could not be more different.  Clearly, Manhattan is filled with amazing attractions; our dinner conversation won’t need to go there.  But what a trip Brooklyn is – food-wise, culture-wise, people-wise, gritty-wise, real-wise.  I’m meeting up with my Fort Collins Besties there in October and couldn’t be more excited.

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I don’t think there is any other place in the U.S. where you hear so many languages and encounter so many ethnicities on one long walk: Irish (hi, Miriam!), African-American, Caribbean, Italian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian.

It’s tricky touring around Brooklyn; after all, it has about 1 million more people than Manhattan and area-wise is 70 square miles compared to Manhattan’s 23 square miles.  But you can take it neighborhood by neighborhood: Crown Heights/Prospect Heights for the Brooklyn Museum and for the Botanical Gardens and Prospect Park; Park Slope for beautiful brownstones; Fort Greene for BAM (the Brooklyn Academy of Music), Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge OverPass) for food, shopping, art, and an amazing view over the East River to Manhattan.

And the food!  Brooklyn has over 90 restaurants in the Michelin Guide, and they include almost every imaginable cuisine – from Mexican/Oaxacan (Claro) near the infamous Gowanus Canal – to Jewish/Japanese (Shalom Japan) in hipster Williamsburg.  We heartily recommend Hunky Dory (Claire, the charming young owner, a native of Houston, came to Brooklyn via San Francisco) and Glady’s (Caribbean) – both just around the corner from our kids’ Crown Height’s condo, the lauded Roberta’s (delish pizza) in Bushwick,  Frankies 457 (Italian) in Carroll Gardens, and Dumbo for the new Time Out Market with fun spots such as Jacob’s Pickles (Southern) followed by a great cup of coffee at the Brooklyn Roasting Company.

Which reminds me, Andy is still focused on coffee.  After being a coffee wallah on his bicycling trip, he’s now reflecting – in today’s Andy’s Corner  – upon our daughter Sara’s foray into the coffee culture.

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I agree with this review: “These recipes range from fantastic to not very good to overly simplistic.”

In 1992 Molly O’Neill – probably known best as a food columnist for the NYTimes – published the New York Cookbook.  I got the book back out after reading that O’Neill  recently passed away.  Even if the recipes in her book are a little random and may not delight everyone’s palate (eel handrolls? callaloo? dill kalv?), the cookbook is filled to the brim with fascinating snippets about New Yorkers (including Brooklynites!) and their food.  Plus, that’s where we got Katharine Hepburn’s brownie recipe, which is one of our all-time favorites.

Even though I’m not crazy about okra when it’s used in the Caribbean callaloo recipe in O’Neill’s cookbook, I really love okra cooked other ways and think it’s a shame that more folks aren’t willing to give it a try.  So here’s another Caribbean okra recipe; it’s easy; it’s delicious.  And frying the okra takes all that disliked sliminess away.  Now if someone could just explain to me why it’s called “Limpin’ Susan!”  The story goes that it’s an alternative to “Hoppin’ John,” a peas and rice dish.  Mmmmmm.  Why isn’t it Hoppin’ Susan and Limp John? 🙂

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Limpin’ Susan – Fried Okra and Rice

Limpin' Susan

This is really two recipes in one.  My absolute favorite way to do okra is to just slice it and fry it over medium high heat.  Don’t bother to bread it…way too much work.  Then serve it as an appetizer or side dish.  In that case, you just need the oil and the okra (and some salt and pepper) and complete step #1 (well, a sprinkle of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning is always appreciated).  But if you want something more substantial, continue on with the onions, seasonings, rice, etc.  Recipe adapted from Kim Severson and the NYTimes

  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 c sliced fresh okra (1/2 pound), about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onions
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger 
  • 1/4 to 1 fresh hot pepper, such as habanero, minced and added to taste
  • 1/2  – 1 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • a handful of peeled chopped, uncooked shrimp can be included when the onions and seasonings are added (optional)
  • 2-3 cups cooked long-grain rice; leftover rice is perfect
  1. Pour oil into an 8-inch skillet, adding more, if needed, to make sure it coats the entire bottom of the pan. Heat over medium to medium-high heat and add the okra.  Sprinkle with some salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until okra is nicely browned and tender, about 4-6 minutes (you can stop at this point and serve the fried okra as a fabulous appetizer; be sure to serve it sizzling hot; OR you can go on to step #2).
  2. Add everything else but the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring frequently. Increase heat to high and add rice, stirring gently but constantly for about 2 minutes. If you want the rice to brown. like fried rice, you can cook the mixture longer. Taste frequently, and add more seasoning as needed. Serve hot.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Rice, Rice, & More Rice

  1. Rice in cupboard1

Our 2nd blog email is going out just as we’re about to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary. The whole family is off to Colorado on Saturday to get introduced or re-introduced to my beautiful home state where we got hitched 50 years ago.  Unfortunately, the Presbyterian church where we were married was torn down shortly thereafter.  An inauspicious event.

Before I blog-on about recipes, let me tell you about our new page feature (see menu at the top) – Food for Thought.   In Food for Thought we’re posting articles that we’ve really enjoyed and found thought-provoking – and sometimes just provoking.  We promise to stay far far away from politics – unless/maybe/if/possibly it relates to food.  Our first article is about why today’s poultry is so flavorless.  I’ve been griping about that for years.

Now back to our blog:  Two weeks ago I couldn’t stop thinking about Curry.  Go GG Warriors!  Now I have another obsession – it’s rice.  RICE.  Maybe it’s because I was looking through old wedding photos and found this one.  There we were, 50 years ago, RiceThrowing2 starting our life adventure together – and being bombarded with rice.  For fertility? For wealth?  Apparently, Ann Landers said that we were just killing birds by that old custom, but that belief has been discredited.  Some of my FCHS Besties will recognize two very special mothers in that photo, and our Chino relations will see special family members.

But on to rice as our almost most-favorite food in our simplify-our-cooking efforts. Continue reading

Cazuela de Arroz con Hongos

Cazuela de Arroz con HongosOkay.  I cannot tell a lie.  I borrowed much of this recipe from Pati Jinich’s recipe in the Washington Post.  How can you not be fascinated by the food choices of someone who grew up in Mexico City and whose Jewish grandparents immigrated there from Eastern Europe?

The casserole (does making a casserole sound dated?), which is vegetarian, reheats well,  freezes well and is delicious.  Serve it with a green salad.  Big flavors. Little effort.

Cazuela de Arroz con Hongos or Mushroom and Rice Casserole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print


  • 3 T butter
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper with the membrane and seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 # mushrooms (your choice of type – but if you want to be quick, get ones that are already sliced)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 c Mexican crema – or heavy cream
  • 1/2 c queso fresca or Jack or Fontina, grated or crumbled
  • 1/2 c queso anejo or Parmigiano or Romano, grated
  • 2 1/2 c cooked rice.


 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8″x8″ baking dish. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook until soft.  Add the sliced mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir to combine all.  Cook until the mushrooms are soft and dark-ish brown and all their released liquid has evaporated – or almost evaporated.  Stir in the cilantro, the crema, and the queso fresca and cook and stir until the cheese has melted (you want the mixture kind of soupy at this point, so add a little crema, if it’s not).  Spoon the rice into the baking dish and then top the rice with the mushroom mixture.  Spread it to smooth the top.  Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
This casserole can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated (covered) and baked later – or tightly covered and frozen.  When using the frozen dish, be sure to let it defrost for an hour or so before putting it into the oven.  I found that my partially-defrosted casserole took about 45 minutes to heat in the oven.  I added the parmesan the last 15 minutes.

Recipe provided by Big Little Meals and Andy and Ann

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