Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Lebanese Rice Pilaf

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Lebanese Rice Pilaf is a wonderful side dish for any occasion.  Tender rice gets speckled with toasted vermicelli noodles and topped with toasted pine nuts or almonds for added flavour and crunch.  The toasted vermicelli brings the rice to life with its nutty flavour and chewy texture.  Using ghee in this recipe adds extra flavour and helps the vermicelli turn deep amber in colour.  Ghee is butter, in which the milk solids have been toasted and then removed by straining to leave behind a nutty-tasting butter that can be used for higher-heat cooking because the milk solids have been removed and therefore don’t burn.

What makes a rice dish a pilaf?  This definition seems to vary a little between sources but generally refers to rice that is seasoned by using stock/broth and sometimes meat and vegetables. In other definitions, the rice is sautéed in butter or oil before adding the stock or broth.  Today’s recipe includes the use of chicken broth to add extra flavour and also lightly sautés the rice with ghee-laden vermicelli.  The benefit of sautéing the rice is to coat the rice grains with fat to create a fluffier rice that does not stick together.  Rinsing the rice well with cool water to remove the excess starch also helps to ensure fluffy rice. 

Today’s Lebanese Rice Pilaf is easy and produces fluffy, flavourful rice every time, so there’s no excuse to eat boring rice. Enjoy!

Looking for more delicious side dishes?

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Creamy Caper Smashed Potatoes

Mushroom Herb Rice

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 3/4 cup vermicelli pasta
  • 2 cups long grain rice like basmati
  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds

Instructions

  • Heat ghee in a large skillet. Add vermicelli and cook stirring frequently until a deep amber colour.
  • Rinse rice with cool water to remove the excess starch. Drain well and add to the pasta stirring to coat the rice grains in the fat.
  • Add chicken broth and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice and move it to a serving dish if desired. Garnish with parsley and toasted nuts.

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

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It’s hard not to love the convenience of pre-made puff pastry. It allows you to quickly create sweet or savoury pastries with ease. Today’s Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels are a riff on the classic roast beef and horseradish dinner. Fresh dill, horseradish and deli beef pack in the flavour. It’s all nestled in crisp puff pastry with Gruyere cheese for a crisp, cheesy bite that’s hard to resist. There’s no special occasion required to enjoy these tasty pinwheels because they come together so easily using sliced deli roast beef and pre-made puff pastry dough. Nevertheless, they do make an amazing party snack that can be prepped in advance. So you don’t have to spend unnecessary time in the kitchen away from your guests.

Let’s have a look at pre-made puff pastry.  It’s generally available in pre-rolled sheets, which is super convenient or in block.  The blocks require more rolling but the benefit is that you have full control over the thickness of the pastry. Regardless of which you use it is important to thaw the pastry in the refrigerator.  The cooler pastry will roll out more evenly and the butter will retain more of its structure and layers within the dough.  It’s also more manageable to move around and manipulate.  Be sure to choose a pastry that is made with butter for best flavour.

If you love pre-made puff pastry as much as I do, here are a few more recipes to keep you baking.

Mushroom Gruyere Tart

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Banana Tart Tatin

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Beef & Gruyere Pinwheels

Servings 18 slices

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup creamed horseradish, well drained
  • 2` tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • as needed freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 sheet pre-made puff pastry
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced roast beef

Instructions

  • Mix mayonnaise, horseradish, dill and pepper. Set aside.
  • Whisk one large egg and set aside.
  • Roll puff pastry sheet to a 12"x 12" square.
  • Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over the puff pastry, leaving an inch border at the back end.
  • Evenly layer the beef slices over the mayonnaise.
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the beef slices.
  • Brush the back edge with egg wash.
  • Roll up evenly and tightly.
  • Wrap snuggly in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of an hour but up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with parchment.
  • Remove the roll from the plastic wrap and trim the ends to clean up the edge.
  • Cut into approximate 1/2" slices and arrange them on your baking tray spacing an inch apart.
  • Brush the top and sides of each roll with the egg wash.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-22 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before moving to a serving plate. Serve warm.

Notes

-You can use 2 tsp of dried dill in place of fresh, however fresh is recommended.
-Be sure to drain the horseradish well.

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Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

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Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes are sweet seduction and the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day.

There is no better food than chocolate to signify love, so I am excited to share this decadent chocolate dessert for two. Trust me, it is the recipe you need to woo your sweetheart.

 

These glorious spongy cakes with molten centres are flavoured with mint and served with mint ice cream. It is a delicious combination, but if you are not a fan of chocolate and mint together (because not everyone is), you can swap out the peppermint extract for espresso powder and serve with mocha ice cream instead. My husband and I are mint chocolate fans, so they are perfect for us. They’re not just for Valentine’s Day either!! A great dessert any time you only need two.

For this recipe it is important to use weight measurements. This ensures more accuracy in the final product when the quantity is so small. Be sure not to over bake the cakes. They are meant to be molten and should still jiggle in the centre when removed from the oven. They are best served within 10 minutes after baking as the centres will firm up as they cool. And yes, they are safe to eat with the seemingly raw centre. Molten and lava cakes have an under baked centre, however, the batter is still heated enough to cook the egg to a safe temperature. So go ahead and dig in!!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for Two

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 40 grams unsalted butter
  • 30 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 10 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • pinch salt
  • as needed soft butter for ramekins
  • as needed mint chip ice cream for serving

Instructions

  • Weigh and measure all ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Generously butter two 5-ounce ramekins and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
  • Over low heat melt chocolate and butter until smooth, set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, whole egg and egg yolk until light in colour and slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add flour, peppermint extract and a pinch of salt. Beat until combined.
  • Pour in melted chocolate and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides once.
  • Pour evenly into prepared ramekins and place on a baking tray.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes. Centres will still jiggle a little when touched.
  • Run a knife along the cake's edge to loosen from the ramekin. Invert the warm cake onto a serving plate. Remove parchment paper and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with mint chip ice cream.
  • Can be served straight away or allowed to sit for up to 10 minutes. The centres will firm up as they sit, so be sure to serve when they are warm to ensure a molten centre.

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Chocolate RumChata Cake

Chocolate RumChata Cake

Chocolate RumChata Cake

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What sets this cake apart is the irresistible fluffy frosting. In all essence, it’s a whipped ganache, however, I add an extra dose of heavy cream to the ganache before it’s whipped to create extra volume. It’s creamy, extra fluffy and let’s not forget it’s punched up with RumChata cream liqueur for a blissful addition to the chocolate cake.

The cake itself is a one-bowl wonder made using hot boiling water. What the hot water does is give the leaveners a little extra push at the beginning by creating a warm environment. Most baking powders these days are double-acting, meaning they activate when in contact with moisture and again when exposed to heat. The cake rises up when baking but once removed from the oven the center will fall slightly to create a “fudgier” texture. The hot water also helps to dissolve the sugar and it brings out the chocolate flavour of the cocoa powder by hydrating it. Other reasons to use hot water include helping keep the cake moist and it creates a nice smooth crumb. This is one of my go-to cakes because of its simplicity, and I have no doubt it will be a favourite of yours as well. Enjoy!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Chocolate RumChata Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Icing

  • 5 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 2 tbsp RumChata Cream Liqueur
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar

Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup RumChata Cream Liqueur
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling hot water

Instructions

Icing

  • Add chocolate chips to a medium bowl.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream until scalding and pour over the chocolate. Gently shake to ensure the cream covers the chocolate.
  • Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes to allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate.
  • Stir gently until smooth and glossy.
  • Add RumChata and stir to combine. Cover and chill until cold and firm.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream and powdered sugar to the chilled ganache.
  • Whip on low until combined and then whip on high until light and fluffy.

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Add all ingredients except hot water to a large bowl.
  • Beat on low to combine and then increase speed and beat until smooth and paler in colour, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour in hot boiling and mix gently until combined.
  • Spray a 9" x 13" cake pan with non-stick spray.
  • Pour in batter and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  • The cake will settle a little in the middle as it cools. Once completely cool spread with icing and cut into desired squares.

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Lemon Semifreddo

Lemon Semifreddo

Lemon Semifreddo

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Lemon Semifreddo rivals ice cream, yet requires no ice cream maker. Cool, creamy and bursting with fresh lemon flavour for a wonderful summer treat served with lightly macerated berries. It is simple to make and best of all it is made ahead of time so it’s ready when you are.

Semifreddo means “half frozen” in Italian. Semifreddo is similar to ice cream, yet it does have some differences. Semifreddo contains a little more fat and sugar than ice cream, but that’s what helps to give it an ice cream texture without the churning. It also has more air from the beaten cream, making it less dense than ice cream. It is a lovely dessert that is worthy of company but also nice to have on hand for a family treat. Enjoy!

There are a couple of things that are important when making Semifreddo. The first is to whisk the eggs constantly over a double boiler until the temperature reaches 170°F. This ensures the eggs won’t start to overcook before they reach the desired temperature. The second is to not overbeat the cream. Soft peaks are what you’re after, so they fold into the egg mixture evenly. Stiff cream is harder to incorporate without over-mixing the final product. It is really quite a simple and delicious dessert.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Lemon Semifreddo

Ingredients

  • 500 ml Whipping cream/Heavy cream
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 125 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Whip cream until soft peaks, cover and chill.
  • Add egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt to a sauce pot fitted to a double boiler.
  • Whisk until combined and cook, stirring constantly until thick, coats a spoon and reaches 170°F.
  • Remove from the double boiler and set in an ice bath. Beat with an electric mixer until cool, thick and pale.
  • Pour into prepared whipped cream and fold until combined well.
  • Pour into a sealable container and freeze for 8-24 hours.
  • Scoop and serve with macerated berries.

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I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com