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May 2002 Issue
Mother’s Day, 2002
by Victoria Smith
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My mother began a new job last week. She likes it very much, but, as usual, that woman is a workaholic and comes home tired. She tells me that exhaustion is a common condition of all mothers, and if I want to do something really nice -- not just for her -- but for many mothers, I should put together a fistful of easy recipes that require next to no time and very little effort.

The stuff should also taste good, and around here -- of course -- it has to be vegetarian.

Before I get to the recipes, however, I want to say a word about the medicinal and therapeutic value of rice.

Any of you good folks who spend long hours bent over a computer keyboard have to try this. For that occupational pain in the neck, pour about a quart of uncooked rice into a clean tube sock, tie it shut, and give it 40 seconds in the microwave, set on high. Wrap it around the back of your neck until it cools down. You can re-heat and re-use it. Don’t eat the rice from the sock. Use fresh rice to make these quick and easy dishes for Mother’s Day.


California Pilaf

  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1 (14 oz) can vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • salt and pepper to taste
In 3-quart saucepan, combine first 5 ingredients. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in almonds and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


Sweet-Potato Rice Pilaf

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions (white part only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups diced, peeled sweet potato
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat and sauté scallions and garlic for one minute. Add rice, and cook for 2 minutes, or until grains are golden. Add water and sweet potato and bring to boiling. Cover and simmer over low heat 15 minutes, or until liquid is almost absorbed. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer, covered, 5 minutes longer or until apple is tender.
  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes


Chick Peas and Rice

  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 2/3 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chick peas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring 1 ½ cups water to boiling in a small saucepan an add rice. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 40 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a large skillet, heat oil, and saute onion and garlic until soft, but not brown. Add rice, remaining water, and chick peas, parsley and seasonings. Cover skillet, and simmer mixture over a low heat 15 minutes, or until ingredients are well-flavored.
  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 ½ hours

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