Tonight was a wild combination of flavors and textures.  Creamy, cheesy rice cakes with a crunchy exterior, sweet figs atop corn meal and floured chicken, and buttery caramelized brussels sprouts.  And another loaf of fresh-baked bread. Yep.  this was a fun one!

The rice patties were something I was thinking of for a couple of days.  Last night I had Victor save the leftover black rice because I had an idea for tonight.  (Just so y’all know, we have an equal distribution of work in our home.  If I cook, Victor cleans up.  If Victor cooks, Victor cleans up.  It’s a great system!)  But I digress…

Breaded Rice Cakes

  • 1 cup cooked whole grain rice (brown, black, whatever)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups broth
  • 4 oz creamy cheese
  • bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper

Cook onion in a pat of butter or olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic and quickly saute.  Add rices and 2 cups broth.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add remaining cup of broth, return to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if desired.

Use a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop and scoop out portions and drop into bread crumbs.  Form into cake, place on plate and repeat.

Brown in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil.

I used a Saint Vernier cheese that really was out of this world good.

The chicken was really simple.  I mixed a bit of flour and corn meal together and coated the chicken and then browned it on both sides.  Into the oven it went at 450° for about 10 minutes.  (The oven was already hot from the bread.)

I happened upon some fresh figs last week, and although I have a general rule about buying fruit out of season, I picked up a few, anyway.  What’s a rule if you can’t break it now and again?!?  I made really simple caramelized figs.

Caramelized Figs

  • 8 fresh figs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch cloves

Stem the figs and place them upright in a pot.  Add sugar, vinegar, and spices and let sit over night.  Next day, simmer over very low heat for about 4 hours, shaking pot now and again.  This is where a burner diffuser really comes in handy. (Thank you, Ann and Julie!!!)

Place in a container and pour sauce over.

The brussels sprouts were just sliced in half and quickly steamed, and then sauteed with a splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

And we had more fresh bread.