Walking into Iperal supermarket (Calolziocorte) earlier this month I see this out of the corner of my eye and stopped dead in my tracks. WHAT? They’re serving (or had been serving since summer is now over) this most treasured of Hawaiian quick meals? Now I’m going to assume that everyone knows what poke bowls are, but if by some stroke of bad intel you really don’t, here’s a little primer in 50 shades of poke. You simply fill a bowl with rice and top with poke of choice, like this:
The ‘Gorilla Bowl’ (no, it does not have ape!) from Makai Sushi in Kukui’ula Market, Kauai.
I was drawn to the first one – Hamachi & salsa Ponzu (12.90€) – but unless they’re keeping them on the autumn menu, I’ll most likely have to make my own.
It isn’t actually raining at the moment but the weather forecast sure matches the skies that loom above right now. This recipe for belgian rice tart – rijsttaart – is a project that I’ve been working on since our return from Belgium last year. Recipes online will either use puff pastry or shortcrust pastry for the crust, but I discovered that the former will turn soggy if there are any leftovers.
There are 2 versions to this tart. One way is to add the beaten whole eggs to the cooked rice whereas in the second, the egg yolks are mixed in first and the beaten egg whites are folded in after. I’ve made it both ways and like the “fluffier” texture of the egg white version since it comes closest to the one we bought at Bonne-Espérance Abbey’s boulangerie.
Ingredients (for 1 rice tart)
3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or try using 1/4 grated tonka bean)
2 large eggs, separated
1 prepared 9-inch deep dish pie crust, blind-baked for 10 minutes
1. Combine milk, sugar, and rice in a heavy pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed much of the milk and reaches a loose, creamy consistency; 35-38 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to avoid the mixture coming to a boil.
2. Turn off the heat source and continue to stir the mixture from time to time. This prevents it from forming a skin; cool completely.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F (I bake mine with the fan oven on). When the rice has cooled, stir in the egg yolks. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until the whites hold their shape when the beaters are lifted. Gently fold whites into the rice until incorporated well. Pour the mixture into the blind-baked pie crust and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top turns a golden color (it will have puffed up slightly). Cool completely before serving.
Left: rice tart made with arborio rice and whole eggs. It had a heavier texture.
Right: rice tart made with long-grain rice and yolks added separately from whites.
Taking an Arabic dish and bastardizing it to suit an american holiday is, at best, probably the most unconventional thing I’ve done in the kitchen. But when you have a general dislike of turkey (I never buy it at any other time of the year and here we get ours fresh, not frozen), coming up with something to replace the magnificently roasted centerpiece becomes a bit of a dilemma. Enter Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown. In season 2, episode 1, he sits down to Palestinian maqluba, an upside-down meat and rice dish. It’s easy to make, and as soon as I saw it, I knew my turkey problem was in the bag. There’s a short clip of it here:
Bourdain has traditional Palestinian meal
Early T-day morning I took a couple of turkey thighs, threw them into a pot with bottled bbq sauce, and cooked them, covered, in the oven until the meat was falling off the bone. Then I caramelized some onion, sliced up some yellow cauliflower, and layered everything into a straight-sided pot – onion, bbq turkey (shredded), cauliflower, and basmati rice. Poured in the necessary amount of water (a well-flavored broth is better), put on the lid, brought it to a simmer and allowed the whole thing to cook on a low flame for about 25 minutes. The maqluba needs to rest for 20 minutes to set up, and flipping it over is all in the wrist. Served with a salad of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.