April 2009 Archives

Cilantro, Bean, And Rice Salad


This is a great spring dish that uses the first fresh cilantro of the season to dress a melange of items from the pantry. You could make it in the summer too when there is fresh corn and tomatoes to be had but I don't want to think about how much better it will be later when I'm enjoying the spring version now.


Cilantro Pesto Ingredients:
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, washed and stemmed
3 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Rice Salad Ingredients:
2 cups cooked black beans (or two cans)
2 cups cooked Basmati rice
1 can corn
1 quart diced tomatoes
2 cups grated jack cheese
1 recipe cilantro pesto


To make the cilantro pesto:

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulverize the hell out of it. You're done.

(Or if you like to go the traditional route- put all ingredients in a large sized pestle and mortar and using your muscles, grind the hell out of them all.)

To make the rice salad:

Be sure to drain the canned goods first. Then you put all of the ingredients in a bowl together and stir well. You're finished. Dinner is ready.

Serves 6-8


If you're one of those people who really likes two dishes on one plate, you could serve this rice salad with roasted potatoes, or grilled asparagus. I like it as a simple one dish meal myself. It's great at room temperature but it's also quite good heated. If you don't have black beans, I think it would be superb with chick peas. I also made this with pasta instead of rice and it was WONDERFUL. If you want to add some heat to it you could add chopped up roasted jalapenos. Or chopped pickled jalapenos. What brings it all together is the cilantro pesto. If you are vegan you can make this without the cheese.


Recipe Notes: this recipe qualifies as quick if you have the black beans in a can. I had to make mine from dried which takes time. But cooking the rice takes twenty minutes and you can make the cilantro pesto and grate the cheese while it's cooking.

Pita Bread


This recipe is based on one I've been using from Deborah Madison's cook book "Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone" which is a book I can recommend that everyone have a copy of. It's that good. This is an easy recipe for anyone to make, even if you're not experienced making other breads. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven right now, before you forget. A baking stone is the best way to bake pitas, though you can use a regular baking sheet if you haven't got one. The stone should heat up with your oven.

2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for oiling the bowl for the dough)
1 1/2 cups multi-grain flour
2 cups bread flour (plus extra for kneading)


Put two cups of water in a large mixing bowl, stir in the yeast and honey, and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile oil a bowl for the dough. If your yeast never gets foamy it's probably dead because you don't bake often enough and you should use some fresher yeast.

Stir in the salt and olive oil
, then beat in the multi-grain flour until smooth. Add the remaining flour in small increments until the dough is too heavy to stir. Turn it onto a counter and knead it, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is supple and and smooth. Form it into a ball and put it in the oiled bowl, turning it to be sure the top is oiled. Cover with towel and set aside until doubled in bulk which should take about an hour.

Punch the dough down
and divide it into 8 pieces if you want large pitas, or 16 pieces if you want smaller pitas. I like the smaller ones better because they are the perfect size for a mini pizza for one. Roll each piece into a ball and set them all aside covered by a damp towel or do as I do and just leave them lying around the counter until it's time to roll them out. At this point preheat the oven at 475 degrees. Let the dough rest while the oven preheats.

When the oven is ready
I roll out as many pitas as I can fit on my baking stone, which is 4 if I'm making large ones, or 6 if I'm making the smaller ones. Place each one on the baking stone and let them cook for a bout 3 minutes each. Mine never completely puff up and I don't know the reason why. Generally speaking each one will at least partially puff up and the occasional one will completely puff up. I check the bottoms of the pitas to see if they're done- they should have only the slightest golden coloring on the bottom.

I roll out the next batch while I'm waiting for the current one to cook. If you happen to have an enormous kitchen you could roll them all out at once, but then you must not stack them on top of each other or they will stick together.

Let the hot pitas cool down on a cooling rack high enough up that my dog doesn't eat them.

Recent Comments

  • angelina: We ate it up very fast! read more
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  • angelina: For crying out loud, Angela, get on the vegan version read more
  • little big: I totally have that book! And the part II that read more
  • Angela (Cottage Magpie): Oh, that sounds gooooood! My favorite soup in all the read more