Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruits (Page 259)

  • Date: Sunday, February 17, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

After the overwhelming success of the Persian Rice with Pistachios and Dill on Saturday night, on Sunday I decided I would make the other Persian rice recipe in The Book. Mysteriously, this recipe didn't turn out as well. The method was exactly the same, except with dried fruit layered in the rice rather than pistachios and dill. Yet, although on Saturday night my tah-dig (delicious rice crust) came out perfectly crunchy and golden brown, on Sunday night it burned. I suppose I must have had the flame set just a touch higher on Sunday... It was sad because I was so looking forward to another delicious tah-dig! This was an execution error though, not the fault of the recipe. The recipe was pretty good. Issues with burning aside, I didn't like this rice as well as the one the night before though. In general I like sweet-savory combinations, but there wasn't enough savoriness here to offset all the sweetness of the dried fruit. The texture of the rice was nice though, and the pistachios (toasted in this recipe rather than cooked in the rice) were a nice complement both in flavor and texture. It was good, but if I were going to make one of these two very similar rice recipes again, it would be the dill and pistachio recipe, not this one.

Here is the recipe.

Well today I am headed back to the scene of the crime. This crazy project started just over two years ago in Palo Alto, CA. I was there for five weeks, visiting friends and working with some of the Stanford mathematicians. One lazy evening I was sitting around in Chris' apartment, flipping through The Book looking for a new recipe to try for dinner, and I decided that I was going to try them all! That first month of my project it was pretty much just Chris, Emilee, and Brian who cooked and ate with me. I remember it being very difficult to choose recipes at that time. For one thing, I was overwhelmed by options. With 1293 recipes to choose from it was hard to decide what to eat for dinner. The other problem was that I didn't have a sense for what all was in The Book. I am not claiming that now I could name all 600+ recipes that I haven't made yet, but I have looked at each recipe at least once by now. I have a sense for what is left to cook. In the first few months though, the content of The Book were a mystery. So at the beginning I used a random number generator to pick all the recipes. It was a bold strategy that I more or less abandonned long ago. I still have a list generated by a random number generator, and I try to cook off it as much as possible, but now I prioritize just getting things made over getting particular recipes made. I don't have tons of time, and sometimes the random number strategy slows things down.

I spent a lot of time around Stanford during the first 8 months of my project, but strangely I haven't been back since. I believe this is the longest I have been away from Stanford since I graduated from there five and a half years ago. In a few hours I will be on my way back to a place that I considered home even long after I moved away. I don't think there is going to be much time for cooking on this trip (although I have snuck a few recipes from The Book onto the baby shower menu!), but it will no doubt be a fun time!


John and Katie Flanagan said...


I have been lurking for a couple of weeks and I love your blog! We are having dinner guests in our new home for the first time tomorrow. Can you recommend anything from the book? I am going to check it out from the library at the school where I teach.



Teena said...


Oh there are SO many good things in The Book. It really depends what you are in the mood for... Here's my recommendation: click on the Project Index link on the right of the blog and then you can sort by grade (using the little arrows under "Rating"). That way you can see all the A and A- recipes together. All of those recipes are excellent.

If you like risotto, all the risottos in The Book are quite good, especially the Red Wine Risotto and the Risotto with Porcini!

Have a fun dinner!