Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Take a Walk on the Mild Side

Zucchine Tonde & Riso Leggero al Forno
Mild, Baked Round Zucchini & Rice Pilau

Still struggling a little with a troublesome tummy, I was once again faced with the challenge of preparing something reduced in fat, spice and seasoning. Sigh. The first of those three things is not ever a problem for me. The others- a little more so!

Being as things are going to have to stay this way for a while until I get better, I decided to bite the bullet- but also that I at least wanted to bite into SOMETHING after 3 days on the run of only having soup. Rice seemed like a good idea- nice and plain and simple... and I had bought that nice, round zucchini at the weekend which I definitely didn't want to let go to waste. Both nice, mild ingredients and both about to be transformed into a decent supper at the best of times! Who said I can't still enjoy, even if I have to be a little careful?

Eating with reduced fat and spice of course is a fact of life for many people, whether for health related issues or simply out of personal preference- it isn't everyone that likes to have such spicy dishes. So if for whatever reason, you fit into either of those categories, this dish will be perfect for you. If not- I will leave it up to your own discretion to add a little spice or seasoning as you see fit. Ah, what the heck- I will give you a few hints and tips as we go along! Hehe!

The first thing you need to do is to cut up the zucchini into slices and lay it out decoratively and then to add the rice. For this nice, more than generous single serving, I only needed the one zucchini and 1 cup of rice... which makes for a good diet meal at any time!

Being as I need to be careful at the moment, I just added enough other ingredients to add some basic flavor to the rice- meaning just a half of a carrot, half of a Spring onion and a little finely chopped parsley- which is actually plenty as you can see. Otherwise, I may have added a little garlic, ginger or chili, definitely a little mint and maybe a little thyme would have been nice... but no- today, I decided to behave and be good!

Next of course, I needed to add enough liquid to cook the rice and zucchini, so I added 3 cups of vegetable broth- 2 for the rice and 1 more in order to cook the veggies. I added just a couple of cherry tomatoes to add a little mild flavor and juice to the mix and alas, had to do without any added pepper or spice, but I would recommend a hint of nutmeg, cayenne and maybe some of my favorite smoked paprika would be good. Next time... maybe next time... sigh!

All I needed to do now was to cover the dish with foil to keep the steam in and to pop it into a hot oven for 30-40 minutes at 350°F- you want the broth to boil and to turn to steam  and that's what is going to get the job done here- so get that oven hot!

Already, after 15 minutes or so, even with so little seasoning, there was a lovely perfume coming from the oven which tempted me to take a peek- but no, I resisted temptation, did not let all of that good steam escape and remained patient until 30 minutes later the dish was ready... but it was also hot, hot, hot!

So I let it sit as it was for a further 10 minutes to cool off a little, in which time of course the rice had become lovely and fluffy and the zucchini tender and soft and delicious! And as you can see- just as pretty as a picture! I think this looks much nicer than a regular rice-filled zucchini- for sure you can impress and delight your friends with it! So give it a go... you know you want to!

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