An inevitable find on my semi-veg journey (which by the way has turned out to be more veg than not) is incorporating more fruits and veggies into my meals. This being said, every time I enter the grocery store I am welcomed by freshly stocked (actually, sometimes almost bare) produce! I have to confess that I get excited seeing new fruits and get all anxious when coming across the green vegetables I’ve been waiting to test out. I only wish that the strange, exotic fruits like dragon fruit and spiked melon weren’t nearing $5 each. Maybe next time…
Considering I skipped the pricey fruit today, my trip to ShopRite cost me only about $25 dollars and consisted of: baby artichokes, anise, a sweet potato, tomatillos, eggplant, avocados, red peppers, lemons and hairspray. Who says eating healthy can’t be inexpensive? Although truth is, it’s more cost-effective when you’re feeding a family of 2-4. When you’re mostly cooking for yourself, like me (mom would rather have her meatloaf), it can be a bit less convenient if you don’t use up your produce fast enough. This being said,I made use of what I could while considering what can be reheated tomorrow for lunch. I also challenged myself to efficiency in the kitchen…wait and see.
I had a bag of wild rice from the health food store that I’ve been meaning to make and after looking up ways to cook and prepare baby artichokes and anise, I found steaming to be the best option. Well, I don’t have a steamer…necessarily, but I figured, since I’d be boiling water and the rice – why not do both the rice and veggies at the same time? Don’t knock it till you try it!
It worked excellent. The veggies and rice took about the same amount of time to cook and the flavors were excellent. So now the recipe:
Wild Rice with Steamed Baby Artichokes, Anise and Collards
2 Cups of Wild Rice : 4 Cups Water (1:2 ratio)
6 Baby Artichokes, peeled to the light green portion, tops and bottoms cut off
1/2 Cup Anise (I just pulled some off and sliced it into slivers, p.s. I am still unsure if Anise and Fennel are the same, they look so similar but the taste was pretty awesome)
2 Collard Leaves, chopped into bite size pieces
Bring your water to a boil. While waiting, rinse your rice, peel and prepare artichokes, anise and collards. Add rice to the boiling water, stir. Place your make-shift steamer (drainer) above the pot [Fortunately my scenario worked out that the water barely touched the bottom of the steamer].
Partially or completely cover the top of the drainer and let steam for about 15 minutes, lifting to stir rice occasionally. Cook rice until it absorbs all water and vegetables until tender/wilted. Plate your rice and top with the steamed veggies. Squeeze fresh lemon over the dish and sprinkle a little black pepper and sea salt.
The timing on this is so perfect, everything finished together and the flavors melded so well. If anyone feels bad for me though and wants to buy me a vegetable steamer now, feel free! Although I can’t complain, it worked! Efficiency is key! Feel free to share your input!