Umami Grain Bowl

by Anh-Minh on March 20, 2015

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I admit: Sometimes, when I’ve got deadline after deadline, I don’t eat as well as I should. Thankfully, Melina Hammer is back on the blog today sharing a recipe that will help get me back on track! —Anh-Minh

This recipe is a continuation, in a way, of the elemental eating created for the start of this year (with the Aromatic Poached Salmon recipe). Centering delicious eating around simple foods can be a challenge, but is hugely rewarding, if done well. With spring officially having arrived (what!?), the vibrant foods we’ll all soon have available don’t need much to make them shine. This kind of meal means we can all eat well, with carefully chosen ingredients that make for a special resonance together.

Added to this is my continued play with flavor superstars like anchovies, seaweed, and bottarga. I tackled anchovies a few years ago after vehemently hating them for years. At some undefined point, I realized I probably didn’t know what a good anchovy experience was and so started to explore. I’ve been in love for a good while, and I add anchovies to any foods where an extra punch of flavor seems like a good idea. (um, hello everyday) The secret is in using good quality anchovies, and the right proportions for the other flavors of whatever it is you’re making.

Same with the other umami stars. In an effort to demystify exotic (to me) ingredients, as well as to adapt them to my own cuisine preferences, here’s the scoop: After roasting my own seaweed for another project—so easy to do, it turns out—I’ve wanted to put it on everything. It’s like potato chips from the sea …  So good. And good for you.

Bottarga is my newest foray into “weird food.” Bottarga is the cured egg pouch from mullet (or tuna), and is briny, tangy, and basically delightful. Like caviar but served shaved or grated—more fruit leather than jam, if that makes any sense. In the Mediterranean, bottarga is a traditional food, but it has also gained a widespread gourmet popularity thanks to chefs and foodies.

General rule of thumb with each of these flavor stars: A little goes a long way. You don’t need to be knocked out by these flavors, unless you like that type of thing. But, a little “Mmm … What is that??” as you eat, is a good thing. Taste a tiny bit of each. Get familiar. Then taste as you go, to season appropriate to your own preferences.

This tasty grain bowl can be eaten warm, but the nice thing about it is that it doesn’t have to. Each element can be cooked in advance and allowed to cool to room temperature, or refrigerated and then pulled from later. Which, because you didn’t have to sweat doing it all at once, makes the layers in color, texture, and flavor even better! Perfect for getting out to enjoy this much-anticipated spring.

Umami Grain Bowl

Serves 4

for the bowl

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 2 cups veg or chicken broth (use homemade for better flavor)
  • 2 handfuls broccolini, woody ends of stems trimmed
  • 2 heads radicchio, cut into wedges
  • 1 cluster beech mushrooms, ends trimmed and separated into smaller clusters
  • 2 farm eggs
  • olive oil, for sautéing
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

for the vinaigrette

  • 3-5 anchovies (buy jarred so you can see if they are still pink—a sign of freshness)
  • 7 cloves roasted garlic (sometimes I roast heads of garlic, but this time around I bought a ready-made jar of roasted garlic to simplify)
  • 1-2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • juice from half a lemon
  • pinch red pepper flakes

to garnish

  • bottarga
  • roasted seaweed, cut into thin strips
  1. Make a paste of the anchovies and roasted garlic in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, use the flat side of a knife to flatten and smear each on a cutting board. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, pepper flakes, parsley, and olive oil, and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Set aside.
  2. To cook the rice, pour the broth and rice in a saucepan. Heat on high to bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for a half hour or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice al dente. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and then carefully lower in the eggs. At a gentle boil, cook the eggs for 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl filled with ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel away their shells. If you’re assembling the bowl later, refrigerate the eggs after the ice bath, and wait to peel the eggs until that time. The cooked eggs will keep 5 days refrigerated.
  4. For the attractive vegetable piles nestled on top of the grain, I prepared each veg in separate sauté pans. You don’t have to for practicality’s sake, but if this presentation appeals to you, do the same.
  5. Over medium heat, sauté the mushrooms until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. A small sprinkle of sea salt and pepper is okay here, but keep in mind the salty-savory flavors you’ll be adding and hold back the usual salt.
  6. Even more briefly, sauté the broccolini in a little olive oil. Add a splash of remaining stock or water, just to soften the membranes a little. As soon as they have become shiny and bright green, remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Over medium-high heat, get the skillet nice and hot and hard sear the radicchio wedges in olive oil. Three minutes a side is a good starting point. Transfer to a serving platter.
  8. Toss the rice and vinaigrette together. Portion out the rice into bowls. Add a cluster of the mushrooms and some broccolini. The natural curve of the broccolini stems makes a perfect home for a half custardy 6-minute egg. Either allow people to add the radicchio to their plates table side (they are dramatic arranged on a plate for everyone to appreciate), or waive ceremony and nestle a couple wedges beside the other veg.
  9. At the table, Use a microplane to grate a little bottarga over the earthy mushrooms and bitter-sweet charred radicchio. Add a cluster of seaweed strips over top, and dig in. The sweetness of the broccolini, the custard egg, the flavorsome rice, and all the other flavors make for a punchy symphony that is incredibly satisfying.

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P.S. If you’re looking for more great springtime recipes, I recently shot the dishes for Mark Bittman’s The New York Times feature on California produce. They’re as delicious as they are beautiful!

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Flowers of Visalia

by Kate on March 19, 2015

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Is everyone else as excited as I am to welcome the Spring Equinox tomorrow? I am sure those of you on the East Coast are aching for a change of seasons, and I can’t say that I blame you. When I think about that magic of spring, it’s not simply the warmer weather and longer days: it’s the COLOR. I am a firm believer in the body’s emotional response to color, and I can already feel the shift happening when I look at these Instagram images of the botanical treasures the grow in and around the town of Visalia, California.

Browsing through this Instagram feed is like diving into paradise; like Gaugin’s first visit to Tahiti or when Darwin laid eyes on the Galapagos—a world teeming with sweet-smelling blossoms and lush green vines. The creator of these images, Sarah Speidel, is adept at capturing her subjects in abstraction, highlighting the often overlooked shifts in color and translucence that occur in each petal or plant leaf. These pattern-like images are a feast for the senses, and a perfect way to celebrate the change of seasons. Happy Spring!

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 { All images via Flowers of Visalia on Instagram }

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Christian Ruiz Berman

by Joanna on March 18, 2015

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Just like fashion, I sometimes wonder if art also follows the ebb and flow of trends. Lately, artforms like weaving and painting are on my radar big time, but what about sculpture? I just haven’t seen much of it. Perhaps this is why I was so jazzed upon discovering these mixed media sculptures by Christian Ruiz Berman.

Not only is his work absolutely gorgeous, it’s deeply personal—reflecting a journey that includes being removed from his homeland at a young age. He parlays this experience into his art, asking “What is the role of the tribal, the communal, and the artisanal in a society where the click of a button can connect you to the rest of the world, and global media conglomerates dictate the styles and cultural norms of millions?” Berman’s pieces feel raw, compelling, and vibrant. My favorite part? His use of feathers, which he states act as “brushstrokes” and juxtapose nicely with the man-made materials he also incorporates.

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 { Images via Christian Ruiz Berman; found on Trendland }

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Danielle Kroll

by Kate on March 17, 2015

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One of the things we at Anthology love most about the editorial process is the opportunity to work with artists from all over the world. It’s been a treat to see so many talented illustrators and designers develop their ideas from a simple sketch into the final image for the printed page. Some of my favorites include Chloé Fleury’s paper-cut cover of Issue No. 6, the illustrated movie scenes in our recurring feature “Screen Play” column, and Beth Hoeckel’s stunning collage-work for Issue No. 16.

I am always excited to see a blend of 2D and 3D elements in illustrative work, and when I came across the portfolio of Brooklyn-based artist Danielle Kroll, it was love at first sight. She has a wide range of projects under her belt, from illustrations to textiles to book designs. Her use of exuberant color and mixed media is simply delightful—I’ve noticed while looking at these that my eyes want to dance around the image again and again and again, discovering surprising new details at every turn. 

Who are some of your favorite artists/illustrators? If you think there is someone we should collaborate with for the magazine, please share!

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 { Images above by Danielle Kroll }

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Confetti Riot

by Joanna on March 16, 2015

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I have a confession to make: If I could, I’d fill my entire loft with pillows and have one giant pillow party at all times. In my imaginary world, these pillows by Confetti Riot would fit in perfectly. The prints are fantastically quirky, while the colors are just neutral enough to work in a variety of spaces.

Shop owner Kathryn creates the prints herself with hand-carved, hand-printed artwork on a cotton/linen blend fabric. Thanks to this process, each pillow is unique. She also offers hand-woven mug rugs—you know, to keep my coffee table safe from spills during my giant pillow party.

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{ Images via Confetti Riot }

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