Rice, Veggies, and Chicken Dish

As you may have figured out by now, I truly enjoy food. I go to different places and try different foods. I also like cooking and preparing my own meals from time to time. Today was one of those days. I had an idea for what I wanted to make, but it was a matter of getting some special ingredients and having a good block of time to be creative.

Here are the Ingredients for today’s dish:

1 1/2 lbs malanga

1 lb sugar snap peas

8 ounce can – diced water chestnuts

1 pound ground chicken

1 1/2 cups rice

3/4 cup multi-grain

6 cups water

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp dried marjoram

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

3 Tablespoons Sesame oil

There was a nice flow to the preparation of this dish. Malanga is a root vegetable that is similar to taro. The cooked flavor is similar to a potato (I think it’s in between a potato and sweet potato). This is a very difficult vegetable to cut, so please use caution when cutting. I cooked the malanga with the rice, so I wanted to make sure it was cut up in bite-sized pieces to make sure it would cook properly in the rice cooker. Rinse before you start cutting, make sure the outer skin is removed, and then rinse again after the malanga has been cut into bite sized pieces.

The next bit of prep work was for the sugar snap peas. These took a bit longer than expected, so I’m glad I did them first. I rinsed the peas first. Next came the preparation. You need to take off the ends and slide them along to remove the membranous string. This is the part that takes the longest. Once the preparation is complete, rinse again.

Next is the cooking of the rice. I added the rice and the multi grain mix (the picture is the one I like to use). I then added the water and swirled it all around. I put in the cut up malanga and then swirled the water around again. I set the rice cooker to cook. This should take 20-25 minutes, depending on the rice cooker, which leaves you plenty of time to prepare the rest.

I started by putting the sugar snap peas in a wok with a little water. I cooked this for about 5 minutes. I didn’t want to overcook the peas, and I knew they would do some more cooking later on. I removed them and the water from the pan.

The next step was cooking the ground chicken. Once it was completely cooked through, I removed the fat.

I then added in the can of diced water chestnuts, including the liquid, and mixed these together. If you would prefer to remove the liquid, then that will work as well.

I added the sugar snap peas and mixed them in. I then reduced the heat to medium low and let it continue to cook while the rice was still cooking (about 10 minutes).

Once the rice cooker clicked off, I added allspice, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, marjoram, and rosemary to the chicken and veggie mixture.

When the rice finished giving off steam, I opened the lid to make sure it was looking good. The malanga has a slightly purple color (I think taro is usually a bit of a darker purple).

Next is the combining of the meat and veggie mixture with the rice mixture. Once these have been combined well, drizzle in three tablespoons of Sesame oil and give it another stir.

The end result was delicious. You can definitely use different veggies and different seasonings to make it your own. Sometimes when I cook, I try to find lower sodium alternatives, so I don’t always add salt. But if that’s something that you enjoy doing, then you should do it. When I make this again, I’ll probably add some minced garlic and minced ginger. I added some specialty sauces to a couple of bites, but it was good without them as well. The ground chicken flavor wasn’t prominent throughout, which meant that it went according to plan. There are times when one portion of the dish will overpower everything else in terms of flavor. I prefer having an overall balance, where you can have individual bites to taste how each component stands out, but when eaten altogether it just provides a special greeting to the tastebuds.

I hope you try this dish and give it your own unique spin. If you do, I’d love to hear about how you made it and how it all worked out.

Stay Positive!

Old Mill Cafe and Little Market Cafe – Ellicott City, MD

I visited Old Ellicott City on Sunday morning and in addition to all the walking around and enjoying the historic buildings, I also made a couple of stops for breakfast.

This is just over the bridge, on the other side of the Historic District. This has been opened since summer of 2018. I’ve driven past it several times and walked in once (just to see what they had). After seeing what they had, I knew I would eventually go to order some food in the future. This past Sunday was that day.

I was only focused on the pastry cases. They have traditional breakfasts and some specialty foods, but I was planning on continuing my walking around and didn’t want to have something that might be impacted by the cold weather.

I ended up ordering a chocolate beignet bite and a mini banana chocolate chip muffin. The beignet bite was okay, but the muffin was great. The muffin had a nice texture, but there was a strong (but not overbearing) banana flavor that worked really well with the chocolate chips. The cinnamon mix was not just on the top, but there was also a layer around the muffin. The bites that had all of those elements made this a fantastic treat, and was something I would be happy to order again. I asked if they make ice blended drinks, and they do, but I will have to go back another time to try. I had Little Market Cafe on my agenda, so I wanted to stick with that plan.

Since I had something to eat, I needed a drink to go with it. I made my way over to Little Market Cafe. There is a little cluster of shops, and the pictures above share the historical background of this area as well as a picture of the group of row houses.

This sign was inside the store and I thought it was cute.

This is a shot from outside the store. I considered taking pictures inside the shop. It’s a small shop and very tight. I have to duck while I’m in there, since the buildings back then weren’t necessarily built for 6’5″ people. I ordered a Cookies and Cream Frappe. This had nice flavor to it, nice consistency, and was a good pairing with my breakfast. I’ve been to the Little Market Cafe several times, and I will continue to come back. Good food and drink as well as wonderful scenery made for a positive start to the day!