What if Cambridge University had stipulated physical attractiveness as one of their criteria… and refused to employ modern genius Stephen Hawking in this basis?
What if Britain's Got Talent imposed a "size zero" size limit on contestants… and failed to select runaway success Susan Boyle on that basis?
Or what if Hollywood studios imposed a height restriction… and failed to employ Oscar winner Joe Pesci on that basis?
Just think what a loss to the world these decisions would have meant.
The same can be said for this rice dish. I did not initially photograph it - but after a few mouthfuls I realised I HAD to share this yummy recipe. Then I thought twice about even posting it because oh boy, it was not photogenic (this is the best shot of about eight – imagine what the others looked like that didn't make the cut!). But as they say, what is pleasing to the palate is not always pleasing to the eye…
It was one of those happy accident dishes. There was some leftover cooked basmati rice from a Thai green curry dinner, and some leftover goats' cheese from my cheese and homemade crackers lunch. The rest of the fride was full of day-before-grocery-shopping scraps, Nick was out, for dinner, and I did not feel like making a big effort. My first thought was to stir-fry the rice with some peas and soy sauce and to top it all with a poached egg… but then inspiration struck.
The most surprising thing about this dish for me was how the goats cheese behaved when I stirred it into the warm rice – it melted away into a rich creaminess that reminded me of a slightly dry risotto, hence the name. But whereas risotto takes 20 minutes of stirring and your virtually undivided attention, this can be done in10 minutes flat – and maybe even without a trip to the grocery store :) The gentle warmth of the chile, the creamy goodness of the cheese – it's close to simple perfection.
GOATS' CHEESE MOCK RISOTTO (serves 2)
about 2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 red or orange pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
4-6 small mushrooms, diced
pinch of dried chile pepper flakes
150g (1 small log) soft rindless fresh goats cheese (no rind – this is important!)
salt and pepper
Steam the rice to re-heat, or warm in the microwave.
Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add the chile flakes, onion and garlic and sautee until the onion starts to soften but not brown. Add the pepper and tomato until the pepper starts to soften, then add the mushrooms.
Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Once the mixture is hot through, stir in the goats cheese a tablespoon at a time. Mix well, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, I added a blob of butter, but this is optional. Not everyone has the close relationship with butter that I have