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!