Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bay Leaf in the Fall Kitchen.

Herbs/Spices for the Fall Kitchen....Bay Leaf is so warming!

This bay-leaf- and garlic-infused pilaf is versatile, going well with Cajun shrimp stew and Red lentil soup.

Servings: Makes 4 servings.

(Bay infused Pilaf)

3 fresh Bay leafs or 1-1/2 dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (6 fl oz)

Cook bay leaves in oil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, turning over occasionally, until leaves are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add rice, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring gently to avoid breaking bay leaves, 1 minute. Add water and broth and bring to a full boil, uncovered, over high heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, then reduce heat to low and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and discard bay leaves.

( Rice Pudding with Bay Leaf-Yummy!)
Serves 4 to 6

3/4 cup long-grain rice
1 bay leaf
6 cups whole milk, approximately
1 cup sugar (1/2 cup for pudding-remainder for sauce.)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Large pinch of salt

1. Place rice in a small saucepan with bay leaf and 2 cups water, bring to a boil over high heat, then drain immediately. Transfer rice and bay leaf to a heavy 3-quart saucepan.

2. Add 4 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla bean and salt. Place over very low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk has been absorbed by rice, about 1 hour. Add 1 or 2 more cups milk, and continue cooking over low heat 15 to 20 minutes longer. Rice should be tender and mixture should be very creamy. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Caramel Sauce....

Combine remaining sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a 1-quart saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, and stir gently until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until mixture turns a medium amber color. Remove pan from heat and cool. Caramel will darken somewhat and harden as it cools.

4. No more than 30 minutes before serving, add a little milk to rice if it has become too thick, then remove bay leaf and vanilla and transfer pudding to a shallow serving bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water to caramel, return it to stove and place over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes until caramel has softened. Stir to incorporate water. Remove from heat. To serve, drizzle caramel sauce over pudding.

This makes a very comforting "all by myself treat" or it adds a bit of simple sophistication to a dinner party.

To your Over-the-Top October!

Bea Kunz

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