Sunday, June 03, 2007

Just simple cooking...

Although I love following recipes, I have noticed recently that I love following my instincts when it comes to simple, home cooking.

Today, for lunch, I didn't really have an idea of what to make. I decided on some grilled pork chops, simply seasoned with chili oil, salt and pepper, and a vegetable rice pilaf to serve alongside.

Vegetable rice dishes are often sides in ready-to-heat meals, and I've seen them crop up in airplane food, next to the stale buns and the chicken in some unnamed sauce. With such simple ingredients as rice and vegetables, I am often amused how easy it is for certain industries to muck it up. I was intent on making a rice pilaf that would be far removed than anything XYZ Air would serve.

First, I started to warm some minced garlic in olive oil on a low heat. I raised the heat slightly and added a finely chopped carrot and chopped broccoli florets with a bit of sea salt. I have to admit to using frozen broccoli for this, but after it is boiled along with the rice, I doubted it would make a huge difference. Once the carrot and broccoli softened slightly, I added the rice and let it get glossy in the oil. Then, I added chicken stock that was infused with a couple of strands of saffron -- why not?

Fifteen minutes later, a beautiful medley of vegetables and rice... with beautifully grilled pork chops.

Dessert was lovely as well. I made a Chocolate Lime Pie from Nigella's At My Table column. This is a no-cook pie, since the filling is just sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, lime juice and zest. Tangy, sweet, fantastic.

I used my new tart pan for the first time instead of a springform. So, I ended up using the full amount of ingredients for the base, but only half of the filling ingredients. Worked beautifully.

Mmmm. Yummy. Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Lime Pie


Published: September 29, 2004
Time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours' or overnight chilling
1 3/8 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 limes
1 14-ounce can (about 1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, 3/8 cup more, if desired, for decorating
1 one-ounce square bittersweet chocolate


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine cracker crumbs, cocoa and butter. Press into a 9-inch springform pan, covering bottom and pushing crumbs about 3/4inch up side of pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Finely grate 2 tablespoons zest from limes and set aside. Squeeze juice from limes (there should be about 3/8 cup) and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and lime zest and juice. Whisk until thick enough to hold peaks. Spoon into chilled crust, leaving a border visible around edge, and smoothing top. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.
  3. To serve, remove side of springform pan. If desired, whisk remaining 3/8 cup cream until thick. Pipe rosettes of cream around edge of pie to create a border. Grate a light dusting of chocolate on top. Serve immediately; pie will soften if left at room temperature.

Yield: One 9-inch pie (6 to 8 servings)


Kelly-Jane said...

Everything looks great, but that pie, mmm!

Sarah said...

Hey Ilana!

Love the idea of cooking vegies and rice all together with stock in the one pot. Cooking them seperately takes up a lot of pans, and risotto (while delicious!) takes up a lot of arm-energy, lol. I think I will have to steal your pilaf idea, and soon!

Much love,

xox Sarah