Foodiva's Kitchen: French Fridays with Dorie - Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach, Mushrooms and Beetroot

Friday, September 9, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach, Mushrooms and Beetroot

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.
~ Maya Angelou

Just a few weeks back, my father met this man. He is 111 years old... I'm not kidding you, there's proof he is "of that certain age". They both attended a group that read scriptures together (a kind of spiritual support group with a therapist called God). These gatherings took place in the evenings and by the time they finished, it was usually close to 11pm. This guy, who's still too young to make it into the Guinness World Records apparently, was always sent to and picked up from the site by his son. But on the few occasions when his son was going to be late, my father offered to send the man home. Listen, if you're 111 years old, you don't want to be hanging around outside on your own near midnight - anywhere. 


Around the 4th time this happened, the sweet man pressed a $50 note into my father's palm as he was getting out of the car. My father is the type who's used to making charitable donations, not be on the receiving end of them so when he refused to accept the well-meaning 'tip', the man was as unequivocal that my father keep it. In the end, the cash was donated to a charity box but here's the important lesson: expressing gratitude throughout your life keeps you young. That man's gesture was incredibly touching, especially since that $50 was probably a lot for him to give away. A simple 'thank you' would've been enough, but he apparently didn't feel it was. Normally, I would wish for someone like that to have a long, long life... however since he's already had that, I simply wish him a healthy and happy life.    

So how is this story related to this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe? It's not. I just wanted to share with you how these little things in life continue to inspire me to become a better person. You all have your little things too, I'm sure :-).


Okay, this week the Doristas and I made Dorie's Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with with Spinach out of her cookbook, Around My French Table. The post title would've been shorter had I decided not to add mushrooms and beetroot slices in the dish as well. I used a vegetable broth instead of chicken, so cooking the mushrooms along with the rice added a bit more towards the flavor profile and using beetroot as a garnish at the end gave the dish some eye-candy appeal.


For someone who eats rice on a daily basis (almost), you'd be surprised to know that I have never cooked risotto or used Arborio rice in my life. Eating rice al dente seems a bit strange to me as I like mine thoroughly cooked, dry and fluffy. So for this dish, I went with red cargo rice because it's healthy... with all the cheese and cream that went into this dish, red rice somehow made me feel less guilty. I also liked its nutty flavor, and texture-wise it's somewhere between jasmine rice and brown rice.


And then, there's the glorious spinach! I basically gave a big bunch of these a rinse in the sink and then let it all simmer in a big pot for a few minutes until everything wilted down. Gave the cooled spinach a good squeeze, a few quick chops and then mixed it in with the rice, mushrooms, seasoning, cheese and cream in the pot. That was it, pretty simple it makes you want to cook this every day, doesn't it?


Oh wait, the beetroot. I'm a fan of beetroot and I thought it would go really well with the dish, however since it stains,  I added it just before serving to give that attractive splash of color. The beet slivers were sauteed in a knob of butter (I know I should really say 'olive oil' here, but I'm truthful about my vices) for about 5 minutes until softened. As for the cheese, I used grated cheddar because that was all I had in the fridge when I made this and here's the second sinful admission - I doubled the amount  to 2 cups! Oh yeah, it was cheesy alright....we absolutely lapped this up, it was so good!


Just when I think I've run out of great songs to share with you, I suddenly remembered Adele and her powerhouse voice. This beautiful song is dedicated to all my fellow Doristas who have cooked up some great cheesy, creamy rice variations this week. Wishing you all a gorgeous, fun-filled weekend!




53 comments:

tastymayhem said...

Lots of musical, food adn life inspiration this week. Love the story. Gratitude (recieving and giving) is an underappreciated value. Your addtions are great(including the extra cheese). I've found I'm eating a lot more cheese since starting on this FFwD adventure. Not that i'm complaining...

Foodness Gracious said...

What an inspiring post! Funnily enough I made a risotto tonight with some arborio. Your right it's totally diffrent from basmati or others.
Great post, take care.. oh and Adele is awesome!

Tina said...

Lovely post-I really like that story. The rice does make for a good side dish and the add ins you used sound delicious. Have a wonderful weekend.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Wow yours is super creamy! I think I must have skimped out a bit on the cream! Love your additions too!

Foodiva said...

Tasty Mayhem, I love Dorie's recipes, I really do. But the extra cheese part may be the only health hazard of being part of this cooking group! How the French stay svelte is beyond me... :-)

Linda Harding said...

Beautiful post, lovely sentiments and such gorgeous photos! Love how the ingredients simply pop out of the dish... could do with a huge bowl of this for lunch!

Foodiva said...

Gerry@Foodness Gracious, I must learn some risotto making techniques from you, then. Adele has the greatest voice, hasn't she? So glad you enjoyed the song!

Foodiva said...

Tina, yes it's funny where you can get your life lessons from sometimes, in this case from an octogenarian (is that the correct term?). You have a lovely weekend too, my friend!

Foodiva said...

Mardi, I think the red cargo rice added to the stickiness of the dish. The cram was the same measure as Dorie's but what about that extra, EXTRA cheese?! LOL.

Foodiva said...

Linda, thank you. I find rice dishes the hardest to photograph, and creamy risotto like this one is just a stretch more challenging. We finished the whole thing, it was pretty delicious. Glad you dropped by, love your site!

Lizzy said...

Oh, I love the story about your sweet dad and his grateful friend...two wonderful men. And your rice is gorgeous, too...not that everything you make isn't, though!!! Great idea to add beets...and nicely done as I would have had day-glo pink rice!!! Always a pleasure to check out your site, Maya~

Cher said...

Wow, Maya. Touching story & beautiful rice!

Bakerhobby said...

Inspirational story! Your dish also looks amazing!

Pacheco Patty said...

Maya your site is very entertaining! Red Velvet ice cream, Nutella cookies and extra cheesy rice -my head is spinning with all this deliciousness;-). Looks like your French Friday was a creative one and I'm happy to hear you tinkered with and enjoyed your rice so much!

Ei said...

Your food always looks so darn pretty! Glad everyone enjoyed this. I've always got time for some Adele in my day! :-)

yummychunklet said...

Your dish looks great! Although I don't like beetroot, it adds great color. And, what a great story about the man your father met.

Confessions of a Culinary Diva said...

This makes me want to try this recipe again - your version is scrumptious looking! The photography makes me feel like I am there in your kitchen.

Great inspirational story!

Happy French Friday!

oneexpatslife said...

What a lovely story. And what a tasty looking dish. I actually recently discovered red rice as they sell it at the health food store near me. It's quite nice, but a bit expensive here so we tend to mix it into our brown rice for a little color and variety.

Foodiva said...

Lizzy, you know I would've loved the thought of day-glo pink rice, but I didn't want to steal the thunder away from the spinach and other main ingredients! So the beetroot stayed as a garnish :).

Foodiva said...

Cher and Bakerhobby, thanks. It's the littlest things in our lives that teach us the biggest lessons, I guess!

Foodiva said...

Thank you, Doristas, for leaving me all your lovely comments. So pleased you enjoyed the post, the photos and yes, Dorie's rice!

PFx said...

I'm glad that you're not calling this risotto. It's a great change to plain ole rice with the texture variety.
111... I would love to reach that number at a great state of body n mind. Wouldn't you?
Have a great weekend!

Peggy said...

Oh this sounds incredible! Well done with this week's FFWD!

Kris' Kitchen said...

Love your story. I am always excited to see your post because you are so creative and make your foods so beautiful. And you've done it again. And, I wish you a long, healthy, and happy life!

Jenny VintageSugarcube) said...

What a beautiful story! Didn't I say there must me something in the water that keeps the people of Brunei young? And that rice looks like some kind of wonderful. I have actually never cooked with red rice and can't wait to give it a whirllll.. :)

Elin said...

Maya...Your cheesy rich looks mouthwatering...cool, how come I never thought of using brown rice instead of basmati :) I would try that with brown rice the next time I make this again.

Lilly said...

What a great post and so inspiring as well. I can’t imagine how it would be to be 111 years old! Most of us don’t even get there. And I’m sure not going to make it with all the goodies you make! I guess I just have to increase the beet root and remove the cheese =)

Have a great weekend. Hope you have something fun planned.

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Lovely post! And such a beautiful risotto, too! :)

Carolyn said...

Such a sweet story, your father is a good man. And a yummy recipe to boot!

Frankly Entertaining said...

What an amazing post! You actually make me want to go rewrite my post to make it better. Very inspiring, and your photos are gorgeous too. p.s. I love the beet!

Foodiva said...

Pierre@PFx, yeah sure I'd like to reach 111, as long as physically I stay oh, I dunno....40? LOL. Well, I think all my friends will have to be younger and younger because then there won't be too many of my peers around anymore :-).

Foodiva said...

Thank you, Kris. I wish you all the same things and a big dollop of sunshine too! So much fun being in FFWD.

Foodiva said...

Jenny, I think it's the laid-back pace of life, it slows down the aging process! Yeah girl, give red rice a try, you'll absolutely love it because it tastes great :-).

Steph said...

What a great post. Loved everything about it, from the heartwarming story to the great food to the terrific Adele video!!

Foodiva said...

Elin, it was a choice between black rice and red rice, but the former takes so long to cook so I went with the latter. The basmati option sounds good too!

Foodiva said...

Lilly, if I'm the one making all these goodies (and eating them too), can you imagine how many years of my life I'm shaving off with every stick of butter I use? LOL. I doubt I'll get to 111, my dear!

Betsy said...

What a lovely story about your dad. He has a good heart. I'm with you about the little things. I have a quote at the top of my blog. "I know well that happiness is in little things..."
I love what you did with this recipe. I'm a huge fan of beets, and they go with spinach so nicely. Great interpretation, as always!

Joy said...

That looks great. I would never think of using the root itself.

Elaine said...

What an inspiring story! I love the color the beetroot gives the rice.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

What a wonderful story you just shared. Thank you for reminding us to be a good person. I agree. I hope he's going to have fun and healthy life and enjoy his time with family and friends. Your rice looks delicious with all kinds of flavor and I love how creamy this is! I try to talk about food, but I actually kept thinking of this 111 year old man and your father. Both are really great men. Your good heart definitely came from your dad (parents). :-)

sanya smith said...

First of all, I love the story!
Second, I just can't get enough of your photos, they all look so vivid and fresh!
And lastly, I admire your creative take on food and life!!

acookingmizer said...

Your additions sound great! I added a salmon fillet to mine. Your story is great too, my great grandmother just died at the age of 103! It is pretty crazy to think about... alive for over 100 years! :) Have a great weekend!

Trix said...

You can NEVER add too much cheese to anything. I meat it - never. If I had made this, I would have done the same thing, but since I just made risotto my hips weren't ready for another dose of cream and carbs, lol. I love the beetroot flourish! And that is a very sweet story ... a good lesson for a cranky pants like me.

Julie said...

Hey this is the The Farm Girl and thanks for your sweet comment. You can still vote by clicking on the "like" button. You don't have to have FB to click it at all. I would love it if you would come back and vote. Thanks!

P.S. love your recipes, I've bookmarked a few to try out :)

createwithmom said...

Maya this looks colourful and delicious check out the food palette series rainbow colours
hope you can link at torviewtoronto :)
salaams

Ana Helena said...

Maya! You capture your dish so well with your camera, I love the colors and the final result. Thanks you so much for sharing a great story too!

Ashley@Bakerbynature said...

I loved the entering story; it's always great to be reminded on how kindness affects everyone. This risotto looks so creamy and delicious.

purabi naha said...

The dish is undoubtedly very tempting and the addition of greens make it very healthy too!

The young generation of today is a bit cold...some of them do not understand that things like "thank you' and "sorry" are important.

Great recipe. I wish I could be there at your home to taste this.

onewetfoot.com said...

What a lovely story! And such a lovely dish, too. The colours are so beautiful in your version!

Torviewtoronto said...

thank you Maya for linking this yummy cheesy rice to the food palette series rainbow colours
the story about the man is very inspiring maashallah

Manu said...

Hehehehe You made me smile with your comment about risotto as for me it is the other way around... LOL But I know what you mean as my hubby had the same issues when we first met!!! This is a great looking rice... I have a soft spot for cheese and cheesy dishes... <3

Foodiva said...

Manu, your marriage sounds like a match made in rice heaven! LOL, that's so funny but on the plus side, you've now mastered your husband's type of cuisine, including rice dishes. In fact, you've more than excelled and your husband must be so proud. He'd better be able to cook the perfect risotto too!

Kathy said...

What a great story about your Dad and his 111 year old friend! I wish them both a healthy, happy life! Your rice looks so delicious...I've never heard of red cargo rice...but I'd love to try it! Beautiful photos...nice post!
I love Adele...Rolling in The Deep...my favorite!

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