For reasons of laziness and lack of will, we decided to fast only on Wednesdays and Fridays for the coming Easter Holly days this year. Anyway, even so, we just couldn't eat only the easy to make boiled potatoes with some olive oil or plain rice or just bread with all kinds of nasty commercial spreads.
So I had to engage in a little cooking on fasting days. That's how we ended up eating even better (not necessarily healthier, but tastier altogether) on the days we fast. And everything in line with the restrictions of the christian orthodox faith, that means no products of animal origin.
Next I'll tell you about a meal so easy that you put it together in minutes.
INGREDIENTS (serves four):
FOR THE RICE
- 1 & 1/2 cups regular rice;
- a handful green olives;
- half a red bell pepper;
- 1 medium yellow onion;
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil;
- salt, pepper, ground cumin, time,
- fresh parsley;
- water or vegetable stock;
- fresh chives to garnish.
HOW TO MAKE:
Heat up some vegetable oil in a thick bottomed pot and chop up the onion into fine bits. Sweat the onion with oil and salt until it becomes glassy (don't let it burn to a brown color, if possible), then add the red bell pepper sliced julien (thin long strips) and stir. Add the rice and stir some more (1, 2 minutes) then add the water or vegetable sock to cover well the rice. Let boil on low heat for as long as the rice needs to get soft. If necessary add more water. Add condiments: pepper, cumin, time. In the last 2 minutes add the green olives and as you turn off the heat add a handful of chopped fresh parsley. It's done when the rice is soft and the water is gone.
FOR THE MUSHROOMS:
- 5-6 medium to large champignon mushrooms;
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil;
- 1 clove garlic;
- 2-3 twigs with cherry tomatoes on;
- salt & pepper.
HOW TO MAKE:
In a thick skillet, heat up 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. While oil temperature isn't yet very high, crush a garlic clove, chop it fine and throw it into the skillet. Make sure it doesn't burn. Next chop the champignons into quarters (or thick slices, if you like them better that way) and throw them in. Sote for about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper. They will absorb most of the garlic infused oil, but than they will leak water and make a very good sauce. When the mushroom bits are soft (not very soft) and browned a little, get them out of the skillet and into the plate next to the rice.
For maximum effect get the cherry tomatoes and let them fry in the same skillet on high heat for a few minutes, until they become soft and glossy and coated with the garlic and mushroom oil. Salt and pepper! Serve them on the side in each plate and I guarantee they're not only for decoration!
On top of the whole plate sprinkle some freshly chopped chives. Enjoy!