DIY: Dirty Rice

Exactly one year ago today, I was invited to attend an Ottolenghi dinner party. At this party, attendees cooked recipes from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. We have been meeting regularly ever since. For me, it has evolved into a type of exclusive club where I feel honored to be able to participate. I have met great friends here and feel I have challenged myself by cooking foods that I have never made before. As of now, we are called Foodies by the Bay.
I am about a month behind as this post is about the party last month where we gorged on Cajun/Southern food. I made two dishes, but one is worth writing about and sharing the recipe.  
I found a recipe for Dirty Rice on a website called simplyrecipes.com. At the first moment that I saw the picture of the recipe, I was sold on it. It looked that delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chicken livers, chopped
  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Instructions:

Wash the rice a few times through. Cook the rice as you normally do with 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock and 1 1/2 cup of water. While the rice is cooking, chop everything including the bacon, chicken livers, onions, celery, jalapeños, and green onions.

Heat up a large pan or wok at medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Add the ground pork and increase the heat to medium high. 

 Mix in the celery, jalapeños, and onions.

 Add the minced liver (I know this looks weird, but trust me) and cook for a few minutes more. Flavor with the Cajun seasoning.  

 Combine the cooked rice and mix thoroughly.

   

Remove from heat, add the green onions, and serve.

 This version of dirty rice tastes fantastic. It is like a fried rice with bold Cajun flavors. Although it’s been about a month since I made it, I’m still thinking about it. It’s also quite easy to make so I can’t wait to make it again. I think this dish can be served as a side or even stand alone.
Here’s a collage of other dishes we had that evening.

  
Happy Anniversary , Foodies by the Bay!

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Hard Water: Easy to Enjoy

Today is National Best Friend’s Day so I am writing about last night’s outing to celebrate my best friend’s birthday. She had been wanting to try out a place called Hard Water at Pier 3 in San Francisco. We had dinner reservations for three at 7:15pm. My sister, my BFF, and I showed up about fifteen minutes early prepared to have a drink at the bar. To our surprise, the restaurant pretty much is set up like a bar. About a third of the seating surrounds the bar that is located in the center of the room. Another set of seating is counter space on the right and left walls. There are two community tables in the front of the restaurant on the right and left side. The coolest thing was the back wall filled with hundreds of bottles of whiskey.
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The place was packed so we waited about ten minutes before we got seated at the bar. With the strange set up, we were happy to be seated there. The cocktail list was quite attractive to me. My sister’s first drink was the Pimm’s Cup which had gin, vermouth, amari, cucumber, strawberries, and bitter lemon soda.
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In celebration of the Belmont Stakes, my first drink was the Mint Julip. This was made with bourbon, gum syrup, crushed ice, and loaded with mint and served in a cute stainless steel cup and straw.
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The birthday girl had a craft bourbon flight that included two local ones. I was happy she didn’t order the $250 flight! The one that stood out for her was the Brimstone from Texas that smelled of campfire.
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Our second round of drinks included more cocktails and beer. My sister got a pretty pink drink (no photo) called Roffignae cocktail made of Redemption rye, lemon, grapefruit, red hembarig syrup, and soda water. My BFF ordered an Abita Amber. I got the Presbyterian which was Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, lemon, ginger, and soda. It was delicious and I loved the candied ginger on top.
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We did have food to go with our drinks. We ordered three appetizers to start. The Dirty Rice had ground pork and chicken liver. It was delicious especially with their homemade hot sauce. Oddly, it seemed to have mellowed off the spiciness in the rice. The secret to the hot sauce is chilis from Fresno.
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Another appetizer we ordered was the cornmeal crusted alligator with aioli. It was actually my first time having alligator, aside from a piece of alligator jerky I’ve tried. The alligator was fried so I couldn’t make out any unique flavor.
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The third appetizer was the one I was most looking forward to which was pork belly crackling with a Cajun spice, lemon, and scallions. They were a combination of piping hot, crispy, fatty, and flavorful pork. They were amazing!
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We picked one entree to share and agreed on the shrimp and grits. The shrimp and sauce blended well with the creamy cheesy grits. It was a great choice.
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Birthday girl chose the chocolate cream pie for dessert. It was made with a peanut butter ganache and a peanut butter crumble. With the first spoonful, we were all in heaven. It was supercalafragalisticexpealidocious!
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We thoroughly enjoyed the experience at Hard Water. I may have walked in a bit skeptical, but I walked out a happy customer.