Sunday, September 7, 2008

Annatto... Flower, seeds and a food coloring

Anatto or achiotte, (bixa orellana L.) is a plant is grown mostly in South America and Brazil is the main producer and exporter. Known here as urucum or colorau the seeds are used as a natural red food coloring in the food industry, comestics (lipsticks) and also in the Brazilian cuisine. The color result is similar to paprika, although it does not alter the flavor of the food. Also, Brazilian indians and other Latin-American indians use the seeds to make body paint.

The most common way to make annatto powder is to heat the seeds in oil, then transfer the seeds to a mortar, add fine cornmeal and grind them with the pestle. Pour through a fine mesh to separate seed skins from powder and you are ready to go.

Anatto Flower on Foodista

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ginger Ribs with Red Rice

My mother-in-law introduced me to red rice some 15 years ago... At the time, I came back home with 2 pounds of red rice and tried it different ways, using different ingredients like chicken shrimp, codfish, sausage and even sweet potato. This whole grain rice (sativa L specie) was carried to Brazil from Portugal, back in the XVI century. Some people call it Camargue rice, if grown in France. Even though it has been in our country for many years, just now it is gaining popularity with Slow Food.

This is my entry for The Royal Foodie Joust that has whole grain, citrus and ginger as the main ingredients.

For every cup rice, use 4 cups water. Soak the rice at least 2 hours before cooking.

Ingredients for the rice
2 cups red rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
8 cups water

Heat a large pan and sauté garlic and onion. Add rice, salt water and cook for about 45 minutes in low heat. After 30 minutes add the cooked ribs.

Ingredients for the ribs
2 pounds pork baby back ribs
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon salt
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pepper to taste

1) Marinate baby ribs for 2 hours in lime juice, salt, pepper, onion, olive oil, garlic and ginger powder.

2) In a large pan or pressure cooker, add the meat without the marinade and brown lightly, adding a little more oil if necessary. Add the marinade, cover and cook in low heat for one hour or until meat is tender. Add water as needed, then allow water to dry at the end.

3) Add the cooked rice to the meat, cook it for another 15 minutes. Serve warm.