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Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts for An Edible Mosaic’s Virtual Book Launch Party

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Ever since my blogging buddy, Faith, announced that she’d gotten a cookbook deal, I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release.  Pins and needles, I tell you.  The day finally came and her cookbook, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flare, is now available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  I’ve been following Faith since I started my blog and it’s been pretty surreal to watch her blossom and become so successful, eventually publishing her very own cookbook.  I’m so thrilled for her!  It is an incredible thing to fulfill your dreams.

Faith Gorsky, photo by Michael Safarini

From the title of her book, you may have guessed that Faith is from the Middle East.  Well, Faith was born and raised in America!  After getting married, she spent six months living in the Middle East where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region.  Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. If you didn’t grow up eating Middle Eastern food, it can be a difficult art to master; Faith understands that, and explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts, photo by Faith Gorsky

An Edible Mosaic contains over 100 Middle-Eastern recipes with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East.  As part of the virtual book launch party, I’m joining with other bloggers to announce her book’s release and share  her recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts from the cookbook (click the launch party link to enter all the giveaways from sponsors on Faith’s blog!).

I made the rice to accompany a simple dinner of roasted chicken and a green salad, and it was fabulous.  She says the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon are optional but I highly recommend them.  (I didn’t have the whole spices but added pinches of the ground spices.)  While I’ve never traveled to the Middle East, I felt like I brought a piece of it to my own kitchen as soon as I opened the pot and the fragrant steam wafted up.  The savory rice in combination with the spices & sweet bits of plump golden raisins had me wishing for a complete Middle Eastern meal, and I’ll surely be cooking one up as soon as I have my hands on the cookbook.

FYI, I had some of the leftovers for breakfast, heated with almond milk as a hot cereal.  It was good, I promise!  And vegan & gluten-free, too. :)

If you are interested in getting your own copy of the cookbook, please click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble links above, and don’t forget to head on over to the launch party headquarters on Faith’s blog!

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
ROZ MLOW’WAN

Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

 OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

Mixed White & Yellow Rice, photo by Faith Gorsky

VARIATION

Mixed White and Yellow Rice
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) uncooked basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
2 pods cardamom, cracked open
2 whole peppercorns
¾ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
1-2 pinches saffron threads or ½ teaspoon turmeric dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan, cover and place over moderately high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the rice, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the boiling water to the rice, turn heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil. Give it a stir, cover the pot, turn heat down to very low, and cook 10 minutes (don’t open the lid during this time).
  4. After the rice is cooked, let the pot sit with the lid on for 15 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer 1/3 of the rice to a separate bowl.
  5. Stir the saffron or turmeric-colored water into 1/3 of the rice (the rice will turn yellow). Mix together the yellow rice and white rice; serve.
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