Friday, May 13, 2005
The sun setting later in the evening makes life a little bit sweeter, don’t you think? Those of you who work out of the home can do more after work (at least, more things in daylight) and I can, well, continue as I am, blissfully cooking the days away. But with the longer days and the additional time to do things, dinner comes later and later, despite the fact we sometimes still want to eat earlier. It was with that in mind that I had my happy flash, that the perfect solution to a late dinner is the cocktail snack! (Formerly known as after-school snacks) Isnt life wonderful?
I wanted something small, and tasty, that would go well with or without a drink (without?), would not "spoil my dinner" and would not require any additional shopping. So using what I had on hand, I decided to make the classic Sicilian treat, arancini, which are small, fried rice and cheese balls. They normally should actually have a small piece of ooey-gooey cheese melting in the center, but I skipped that part and opted to make them into logs rather than balls just for variety. I was surprised at how easy they were to pull off and how much I enjoyed doing it. They came out so pretty (the pictures really don’t do them justice.) , went outrageously well with a glass of red wine and were a snap to make. Try, and enjoy!
1 cup cold rice
½ cup assorted, grated cheese
1 egg (white and yolk separated)
1 tablespoon assorted dried herbs
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup breadcrumbs (I just toasted one slice of whole wheat bread and grated it)
1 roasted red bell pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon olive oil
Combine the rice, cheese, egg white (reserve the yolk), herbs, and salt and pepper together in a bowl. Using your hands, divide the mixture into six portions. With a damp hand, form the portions into small logs, by gripping the mixture in the palm of your hand. Put the formed arancini on a plate and put into the freezer for about 10 minutes and up to 30.
While the rice is chilling, puree the red pepper, pepper flakes and olive oil together in a blender (or with a blender) adjust seasoning to taste and set aside as a simple dipping sauce.
In a small bowl, stir the yolk to break up. Have ready a small plate with the flour and another with the breadcrumbs. Remove the rice from the freezer. Dip each of the pieces first in the flour (dust most off, you are creating a barrier, not a batter), then the egg (again, let most of it drip off) and lastly the bread crumbs, making sure the entire piece is coated.
In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the arancini and cook until browned on all sides. Serve immediately.
Arancini are from Sicily, the name literally translates to “little oranges.”
Risotto is an Italian cooking technique used for cooking medium grain rice.
The Po River Valley in Lombardy is the richest Italian agricultural region and the biggest rice producer in Europe.
1,000 Ding Dongs are manufactured per minute at the Interstate Brands factory in St. Louis