So after a frazzled day of work, a kid practicing independent decision-making on just about everything from dinner to bath to bed, a shocking shortage of wine in the house, and then (yet another) rejection from an editor for one of my manuscripts, the unthinkable presented itself in my mailbox: a love letter from the Motor Vehicles Commission.
Skip the Trip, it said! Renew your driver’s license by mail! No day-long trip to Zootopia’s Flash, no clearing work schedules or arranging extra child care. The Garden State MVC dropped a touch of unexpected sweetness into my day, which made me think of iç pilav – a rice pilaf with a hint of sweetness from currants, pine nuts, tomato paste, and cinnamon.
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
- 2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups bald rice (a short-grain rice, similar to arborio), washed, soaked with a tsp of salt, and drained
- 4 tbspns olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 tbspn tomato paste
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbspns finely chopped fresh dill
- fresh Italian, flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste (Anne uses 1 tbspn of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper when preparing with water…if preparing with chicken broth, which is already salted, go less…)
- soak currants in warm water for about 15 minutes
- in medium-sized saucepan, saute diced onion, pine nuts, and olive oil on medium heat for ~7-10 minutes
- add tomato paste
- drain currants
- add rice, currants, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper, continue to stir
- add water or chicken broth and bring to a boil
- lower the heat, cover, and simmer for ~15 minutes; all the liquid should be absorbed and rice should be tender, so add additional water if needed
- stir in dill
- mold and plate using a small glass dish…remember your sand castles? same idea! pack it in, plop it upside down on the plate, tap with a wooden spoon to release
- garnish with parsley and enjoy!