Lately I’ve been following Skinnytaste.com. Skinnytaste recipes have been featured on sites such as Glamour.com, Gourmet Live,The Kitchn, Finecooking.com, Fitness Magazine, More Magazine, Country Living, and was the winner of the SHAPE Magazine Best Healthy Eating Blogs 2011, The Homies: Best Home Cooking Blog for 2011 . The author, Gina, was born and raised in the suburbs of Long Island, NY.
I like Gina’s blog because her recipes are practical and healthy. She also provides some great cooking tips. One of those cooking tips, featured in this post, is “How to Make Perfect Brown Rice.” Interestingly, I thought I knew how to cook rice – um, read the package, right? Wrong. So, I ventured on over to Bed Bath & Beyond to get myself a new strainer for my new and evolved method of rice-cooking and for rinsing quinoa (from another post – click here).
Here is how it’s done, people.
1 cup natural long grain brown rice
6 cups cold water
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1. Rinse the rice with cold water for 30 seconds.
2. Bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat in a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid.
3. When the water is boiling add the rice, stir and partially cover (don’t cover complete or it will spill over) and cook on medium-high heat for 30 minutes.
4. Drain the rice in strainer, then quickly return to the pot and cover tightly for 20 minutes so the steam finishes cooking the rice.
5. Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups, but different rice varieties may yield different amounts.
I have to admit, this brown rice is perfect.
*Note that Gina adapted her method from a recipe found in Saveur.
NOW… ON TO THE MAIN EVENT!
Garlic Basil Chicken With New Brown Rice
2 tsp canola oil
1/3 cup chopped green onions
3 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbs. fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp lower sodium soy sauce
2 tsp chile past with garlic (sambal oelek)
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp of kosher salt
1/3 cup shredded basil leaves
1/3 cup peanuts
1. Heat a non-stick wok over medium-high heat
2. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat
3. Add garlic to pan and fry for 3o seconds or until fragrant, stir
4. Add chicken to pan, cook for 13 minutes or until chicken is done
5. Stir in green onions
6. In a bowl, whisk together fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, chili paste, water, cornstarch and salt
7. Add fish sauce mixture to wok and cook for 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring to coat chicken
8. Mix in peanuts
9. Remove from heat and stir in basil.
10. Serve with brown rice – yum!
There can be no dispute, Virgilio’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar makes the best pizza in the land. You won’t find anything better. Trust me. In addition to pizza, the menu offers other treasures too: homemade mozzarella, burrata, and homemade Italian cookies (including a ridiculously delicious shortbread nutella cookie sandwich – to die for!).
Virgilio’s is located just off C470 and Kipling. They have an exceptional wine list, wine bar, outdoor eating with fire pit, and TVs for watching your favorite sports. The restaurant has a welcoming feel with unique Italian decor, including many walls covered in wine corks (pretty cool). I’ve probably visited this restaurant upwards of 30 times (Andy lives less than 1/2 mile away), and there has never been an occasion where the owner, Virgilio Urbano, has not been there working away. It’s kind of like seeing a celebrity. In fact, we were there on Friday night with a “Yelp” coupon. In order to redeem said coupon, Virgilio actually touched and held my phone. How cool is that? Just sayin’.
Anyway…my most favorite pizza is known as the Dean Martin. In case you haven’t noticed, I love bacon. Bacon can compliment almost any dish and really, the more the better. The Dean Martin has a traditional red sauce base, topped with real bacon, fresh garlic, and fresh basil. The crust is light and crunchy. I’m starting to freak out just thinking about how wonderful this pizza is. And no, I don’t have a photo, but you should go try it for yourself.
Because Andy won’t agree to this pizza on a regular basis (which makes no sense), I am forced to eat the Margherita Pizza. Truth be told, it is just as good as the “Dean” … almost. Think homemade mozerella, sliced tomatoes, fresh garlic - cooked to perfection and then topped with fresh basil and Pecorino Romano cheese.
I should note that you can take and bake Virgilio’s pizza, as well. It comes on a disposable dish for baking. That way, you don’t even need to dirty your own. Thoughtful right? Our take and bake experience was pretty darn good.
Our favorite appetizer is the Buratta Plate with Prosciutto: homemade mozzarella stuffed with creamy mozzarella curd served with garlic toast:
Finally, I will mention our second favorite appetizer Prosciutto Di Parma Plate. This includes thinly sliced prosciutto topped with Romano and Fresh Basil, served with garlic toast. So good!
This place is so good. We’ve probably eaten there more than most people should eat anywhere. I almost feel like we should have a dedicated table or something. But until that time, I’ll eat my “Dean” and wait for Virgilio to touch my phone again…or, one day he might start recognizing us! I’ll let you know if that happens!