Friday, August 28, 2009

Curried Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Peas. Plus, the Worst Date Ever!

About four years ago, long before the Husband-Elect and I started sucking face, I went on a series of interweb dates. Overall, it was a good experience. Sure, a few nights out were painful, but most of the guys were relatively harmless - nothing to see a psychiatrist over. (P.S. If a dude answers the question, “What was the biggest lie you ever told?” with “I do,” … run, don’t walk.)

However, there was an exception.

During that heady year, I went on the worst date in recorded human history. I'm not kidding. I tell people about it, and they're all, "You win." The story's a long one, so I'll try to condense it a bit.

I: eat breakfast with guy; watch as he has grand mal seizure; call ambulance; watch as he refuses ambulance; discover he can’t move arms; call ambulance back; discover he has two dislocated shoulders, one of which is broken; discover he is new to city and estranged from family; discover writing “girl … friend” on ER sheet qualifies one to make major medical decisions; watch horrid shoulder-popping procedure from behind backlit sheet, a la the amputation scene in Gone With the Wind, meet elderly hospital roommate whose spotty English allows him only to A) curse life, B) curse lung cancer, C) curse telecommunications (“Mother&*#$^& phone! Why you no work?!?”); deal with doctor with bedside manner of rabid wolverine; spend 48 hours at hospital; attempt to cheer date with what little I know about him (“So … you like sweaters? Me too!”); miss work; escort date home in double arm casts; get dumped shortly thereafter because he isn’t over girlfriend of nine years.

I have no idea where that guy is now, but I hope he’s deeply, deeply unhappy.

Oh, I’m kidding. I hope he’s fine. I hope his tendons grew back, and the bills only had four zeros after them instead of five. I also hope he’s eating well, which you’ll definitely be after trying today’s recipe. (Ham-handed segue? Not here, folks!)

Yes, yes - it's the one you've been waiting for. Straight from Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe, it’s Curried Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Peas! Filling and flavorful, the dish is guaranteed to cook perfectly because it’s started on the stove and finished in the oven. It’d go beautifully with Chicken Tikka Masala, a samosa, or other such accompaniment, as well.

Of course, if you should try it yourself, please know:

1) This stuff is packing some heat. If you’re nervous, try regular (non-Madras) curry and see what happens.

2) Calorie, fat, and fiber numbers come from Cook’s Illustrated, so only the price is calculated below.

In conclusion, next time you're off on an internet date, eat this beforehand so you feel full. Then, make sure your date's health insurance plan is up to date. Because hey - you never know.

Happy weekend!

Curried Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Peas
Makes 6 gigantic side servings or medium-small main dishes.
From Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe.

1 1/2 cup long-, medium- or short-grained brown rice (uncooked)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon hot curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 can (14.5-ounce size) diced tomatoes, drained
2 1/3 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1) Preheat oven to 375F. Get out an 8x8 baking dish. Spread uncooked rice around bottom of dish.

2) In a medium pot, over medium-low heat, combine oil, onion, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and salt. Saute 8 or 10 minutes, until onions and soft and translucent. Add tomatoes. Cook 2 minutes. Pour in broth. Boil. Once it starts boiling, kill the heat.

3) Pour mixture into baking dish. Cover with two pieces of tin foil. Bake 70 minutes in the middle of the oven, until rice is cooked.

4) Take dish out of oven and let it cool a few minutes. Add peas. Stir. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
230 calories, 4 g fat, 3 g fiber, $0.66

1 1/2 cup long-, medium- or short-grained brown rice (uncooked): $0.48
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil: $0.11
1 small onion, chopped: $0.25
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger: $0.05
1 clove garlic, minced: $0.05
1 1/2 teaspoon hot curry powder: $0.06
½ teaspoon salt: $0.01
1 can (14.5-ounce size) diced tomatoes, drained: $1.70
2 1/3 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth: $0.66 (I used one 15.5-ounce can, and then added about a ½-cup water - Kris)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed: $0.30
TOTAL: $3.67

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