Monday, August 30, 2010

Why did the chicken cross the road . . .

To get to the eggplant . . . duh!

  • All rice is a member of the grass family. 
  • Rice farming has been traced back to around 5,000 BC.
  • Hundreds of millions of the poor spend half to three fourths of their incomes on rice and only rice.
  • To plow 2.5 acres of land in the traditional way, a farmer and his water buffalo must walk 50 miles.
  • It takes 1,320 gallons of water to produce 2 lbs of irrigated rice.
  • More than 140,000 varieties of cultivated rice are thought to exist but the exact number remains a mystery.
  • Three of the world's four most populous nations are rice-based societies: People's Republic of ChinaIndia, and Indonesia. Together, they have nearly 2.5 billion people almost half of the world's population.
  • The average Asian consumer eats 330 lbs of rice annually compared to the average European who eats 11 lbs.
  • 143 lbs.of rice are milled annually for every person on earth.
  •  Eggplant is native to southern India and Sri Lanka.
  • It is part of the nightshade (Solanacene) family and like all other edible members of the nightshade family, the eggplant is a fruit.
  • Tobacco is also a member of the nightshade family. Like tobacco, eggplant and other nightshade plants contain nicotine, though to a lesser extent than tobacco.
  • Eggplant and other members of the nightshade family may worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
  • An eggplant is almost 95% water.
  • Salting eggplant will reduce the amount of oil absorbed in cooking.
  • China is the top eggplant producer in the world.

Fresh Eggplant& Chicken Risotto - fancy, shmancy chicken and rice

1 Medium Onion, Chopped
4 Tbsp Olive Oil, Divided
2-3 Clove Garlic, Chopped
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
6 Cup Chicken Broth
3 Small Eggplants, Diced
1/4 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chopped
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cup Arborio Rice
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine, Warmed
3 Boneless Chicken Breasts, Diced
1 Cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
4 Slices American Cheese

Heat the chicken broth and keep just below a simmer.
 Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan, brown the chicken.  Transfer to a plate.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan you used for the chicken and sauté the garlic and onions until the onions are translucent.  Add the eggplant and sauté until browned.   Add the rice to the pan and add the warmed white wine and stir as it is absorbed. 
 Add a soup ladle of the heated broth and stir, keeping the mixture just at a simmer. Keep stirring until the broth is nearly all absorbed into the rice. Continue this process until the rice is al dente. This process will take about 25 minutes, and at the end a creamy sauce will form around the rice grains that are tender but firm.
At the moment the rice is no longer crunchy, stir in a last ladle of hot broth, add the cheeses, and serve the risotto at once.
This dish is a meal in itself.  Rich, flavorful and satisfying.

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