Spiced Rice

1/2 c basmati rice
1 c water
3 inch cinnamon stick
3 cloves
3/4 t salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Rinse rice until water is clear. Cover with water 3 inches above rice and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove spices. Serve hot.


Herb-Crusted Fish

1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp marjoram leaves
3/4 tsp ground mustard
3/4 tsp basil leaves
3/4 tsp oregano leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 lb white, mild fish filets, such as tilapia or whitefish
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c butter or olive oil
1-1/2 c chopped fresh spinach leaves
3/4 c panko bread crumbs
1/3 c finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 deg F.

Place fish on foil-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Mix bitter and spices in medium bowl. Brush fish with 1 tbsp of seasoned butter.

Stir spinach, panko, bell pepper and cheese into remaining butter. Divide evenly among filets, pressing lightly.

Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

Spiced Chai

4 tsp black tea
1/4″ slice fresh ginger, peeled
4 cinnamon sticks, broken up
8 green cardamom seeds, cracked/open
12 whole cloves
2 cups each whole milk and water
(optional: 3-4 saffron threads, 1 tsp vanilla)

Boil all ingredients together until liquid is a dark caramel color and milk forms a skin. Strain into cups and sweeten to taste.

Chicken and Yellow Rice

Chicken and yellow rice was one of my grandmother’s specialties and a favorite when I was growing up, and it’s one of my biggest comfort foods now as an adult. I serve it with peas and black beans.

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 c basmati rice
3 cups broth
1/4 tsp saffron, ground
1/4 tsp lt
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed

Heat oil in pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and saute until it’s moslty cooked through. Add onion, garlic and peppers and sauté until onion is translucent. Add rice, broth, and spices. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to stand 5 minutes.

Maple Bacon Cookies

My kids eat a lot of bacon, and so there is a lot of bacon fat left over. You shouldn’t just dump it down the drain, as it can clog pioes something awful, and not so many generations ago people used bacon fat instead of throwing it away. I came across a cookie recipe not too long ago and adjusted it some. They came out pretty good, especially since the preferred bacon flavor in my house is maple.

3/4 c maple bacon fat, chilled
2 c white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp molasses
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cardamom or nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
2-1/2 c flour

Heat oven to 350. Cream together fat, sugars, molasses, and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Add spices and flour. Drop by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.