Sunday, April 10, 2011

This One Night, I Got Fancy... And Made Rice

Yep. I got fancy and I made myself a regular meal with two sides! Normally, I'm pretty busy, so this definitely took a little bit of planning. I made myself some mushroom orzo-rice pilaf, steamed asparagus with vegan butter and lemon juice, and some orange-glazed tofu. However, there were definitely some winners and losers with this dinner.

After all the hard work I put into it, the recipe for the orange-glazed tofu was simply... meh. It had a five star rating (it was previously a chicken recipe), but I think that because it was a glaze and not a marniade, it didn't lend much flavor to the tofu (except on the yummy edges of course, lol). I won't make this particular recipe again, but hey, at least it was a good reminder that I should marniate my tofu for maximum deliciousness.

With the leftovers, I simply sliced them a rolled them up into a wrap with a various assortment of vegetables (including leftover asparagus). They were just meh, too. BBQ sauce helped!

However, the mushroom orzo-rice pilaf was killer. I loved it. This actually wasn't the first time I've made this recipe though. I've made it for my boyfriend before and he likes it as well. It has a great, savory flavor that goes well with a wide variety of dishes. The orzo itself is a small, rice-like pasta that adds a nice texure to dishes. You can usually find it in a small box in the rice and pasta aisle. It can be used for soups, cold grain salads, and hot side dishes, so if you buy a box I promise you find uses for it! Lol.

And, since I've officially made the recipe more than once, I can now put it on my blog (must test and re-test!). So for your side dish enjoyment, I present you with:

Mushroom Orzo-Rice Pilaf:
2 Tb. vegan butter
1/2 c. orzo pasta (check for vegan-ness)
1/2 c. brown rice
1/2 Tb. minced garlic
1 1/2 c. mixed white button and crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, finely chopped
1 c. onion, finely chopped
2 c. veggie broth/water
Sliced, toasted almonds

1. Melt 1 Tb. butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook and stir the brown rice until until golden brown. Stir in onion and mushrooms and cook until onion becomes translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

2. Add the mushroom-onion-rice mixture to a saucepan and combine with the vegetable broth and/or water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes (or until brown rice is with 10 minutes of being fully cooked).

3. Once the rice is pretty much done, melt the rest of the butter in the same skillet. Add the orzo pasta and saute until golden brown over medium low heat.
 Add the orzo to the saucepan with the rice, and allow it to simmer until both the rice and pasta are completely done, about 15 minutes. You may need to add a little more water in order to cook the pasta.

4. Drain off any excess broth (if there is any), then allow it to stand for 5 minutes. Before serving, fluff with a fork and serve with a few sprinkles of toasted almond slices on top.

*OR you could just use white rice and cook the orzo pasta and rice together, in about 20-25 minutes. The only rice I keep in my pantry is brown (love the texture!), so I usually have to modify recipes that call for white.

I'm still gonna keep working on these kind of baked tofu recipes though. They go great with old-fashioned sides like mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, and I miss that kind of comfort food sometimes.

What type of comfort food to you all enjoy? Like I said, I'm a veggies and potatoes kind of girl. :)
Have a great evening!


Anonymous said...

Oh man, that looks like my kind of dinner! :)


Karla said...

If you ever do come up with a good baked tofu recipe you must post it. I've always really WANTED to love tofu, but end up feeling "meeeh" about it. I'm enjoying catching up on your blog! :-D

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

I do have a good baked tofu recipe in fact, my spicy Asian baked tofu is real tasty.

If you really want to make the flavor of tofu pop, you can always press it, then marinate it for a couple hours before baking. Then, I think tofu is best when it is baked at a high temperature, so that it gets kind of dense and crispy on the edges. I also prefer to use extra-firm water-packed tofu.

I hope this helps! I will definitely be putting up more tofu recipes in the future!

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

I found that with tofu, it definitely takes some practice! To get good flavor you got to press the water out and then a good marinade for a couple hours helps. To cook it, I bake it in the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour so that it gets nice and crispy on the outside. I also always use extra-firm tofu because I don't like the soft texture as much and I only use the silken tofu for smoothies and stuff.

Here's a good baked tofu recipe from awhile back if you'd like to give it a try (might have to copy and paste into the browser). :)