I curse the Vancouver winters for the short amount of daylight. Many days, we don’t even get to see the sun…just grey, grey, grey. The lack of natural light (along with our apartment’s low-energy bulbs) makes my photos brown and looking at them right now makes me feel like I’m back in the 70’s. Throw on the corduroy, cozy up in an afgan and settle into an evening of orange and brown. The seventies weren’t so bad, really. My mom took yoga and made her own yogurt and even took a self defense class where she could bust up a 2×4 with a swift kick and a power yell.
I made this brown meal after our trip to Portland. Too much good IPA and a stop (or two) for a Reggie Deluxe and we were glad to be back to the healthy drizzle of Vancouver. Portland was all about excess and this meal is about scaling back while still meeting the oh-so-important comfort quotiant. I’ve made Orangette’s braised cabbage a few times and it’s delicious. Sweet and soft and a meal in it’s own right. And even if you are a bit ho-hum on cabbage, the braised carrots alongside are so rich and yielding that you can’t believe that you just got all excited for a carrot.
But I didn’t think the husband would be all that happy with a hunk of cabbage on his plate, no matter how bejewelled the carrots were, so I made some brown rice. After a quick look on the computer to see what I could add to make the rice a tad more appealing, I stumbled upon this recipe. Kalyn uses farro, but subbing in the brown rice was a perfect choice. The balsamic added a nice sweetness and tang to the dish and the brown mushrooms just multiplied the earthiness factor to the max. I threw in some barely steamed broccoli for crunch and colour and put on a little Jackson C Frank on the hi-fi. If a meal could make you feel healthy, wealthy and wise, this could be it. Ahhh, much better.
brown rice with balsamic, thyme and mushrooms
(recipe adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)
1.5 c brown rice
3 c vegetable broth
1 T olive oil
1/4 c diced red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 c sliced brown or button mushrooms
1 T fresh thyme, chopped (stems removed)
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1. In a medium sized pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add brown rice, cover and turn heat down to medium. When all the broth has been absorbed, rice will be ready.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive in a large skillet. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms and add in the thyme. When the mushrooms are soft and have released their juices, stir in the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the brown rice into the mushroom mixture and mix until all the rice has been coated with the mushroom balsamic sauce. Serve.
braised green cabbage with onion, carrot and hot peppers
(adapted from Orangette)
1/2 green cabbage, cut into quarters with most of the woody core removed
1 onion, quartered
4 carrots, cut into 3 inch chunks
1 hot pepper, seeds removed and diced
1/4 c vegetable stock
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat oven at 325F. In a large oven proof dish, place vegetables into an even layer and cover with stock and olive oil. Give everything a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and cover tightly with a lid or foil. Bake for 1 hour and turn vegetables over if necessary, adding water if dry. Bake for another hour and then serve.