I went through a phase when I sought to read books that had been banned or requested removed from library collections; if a book were controversial, it was probably on my nightstand during that period in my life. Think - Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and more. Okay, you can almost tell when I was in that phase...since I didn't mention any of the Harry Potter books or Captain Underpants.
So, when I glimpsed a bag of "Forbidden Rice" at Cornucopia in Carmel a few years ago, it went straight into my shopping basket. It's been a family favorite ever since.
Called 'forbidden' because originally, in China, it was considered the Emperor's rice and was forbidden for anyone else to eat it. Black rice is an heirloom variety and is extremely high in nutritional value including iron. It is a deep black color when raw and turns deep purple when cooked.
I don't remember what we ate with this batch originally, but I had a container full in the fridge and decided to make them into cakes for our appetizer course tonight for dinner. I love revamping leftovers into something new.
2 C leftover forbidden rice (or whatever rice you have leftover)
1 shallot minced
1 slice of nitrite-free bacon, diced
2 carrots, washed, dried, and diced
splash of olive oil
1 t soy sauce (I used a gluten-free tamari)
2 T ground almonds
1 T sliced almonds
4 C baby spinach
splash of soy sauce (again, I used gluten-free tamari)
splash of sesame oil
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Cook the bacon and shallots until fat is rendered and shallots are softened. Add the carrots and cook until fork-tender. Add all of that to the rice. Stir in the ground almonds and sliced almonds and season with soy sauce. Stir to blend well. Once the mixture is cool enough to touch, press tablespoon sized portions into balls and flatten them slightly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are firm.
In the meantime, cook the spinach in a splash of olive oil until wilted. Place spinach on individual serving plates. Top with two or three forbidden rice cakes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce.