Have you ever looked in the fridge and realized you've got a bunch of stuff that MUST be cooked right away? Well, that's exactly what happened to me.
We seem to always have leftover brown rice hanging around. My husband is the "Rice Captain," so he's the one that takes care of it for me. Lately he's been mixing regular brown rice with some Lundberg Black Japonica rice. We have a rice cooker and usually end up fixing 3 cups of raw rice at a time. But it makes for a lot of leftovers. So that's the first thing I noticed.
Then I discovered a plastic bag full of green beans and a couple of jalapeno peppers from my local CSA in the crisper drawer. They needed to be cooked pronto. And hiding under all the tomatoes & fruit from the farmer's markets was one very ripe avocado. Oh, my pot of chives growing outside needed a haircut too.
OK, so I had my ingredients. I just had to somehow turn them all into a meal. The rice part was easy. Usually I just whip up a quick stir-fry. But ever since Lucy of Sweets, Savories, etc. posted about Italian rice balls I've been craving an old favorite -- rice patties. They've always been a special treat. Crispy on the outside, chewy (from the brown rice) & flavorful inside. Sometimes I'd make a Chinese sweet & sour sauce to go with them. And sometimes we'd just eat them plain.
My recipe is similar to Lucy's. The biggest difference is that she does a great job making perfectly rounded spheres. I'm not as talented; it's always patties for me. The thing that makes rice patties an interesting low sodium dish is simply the fact that they're fried. Believe me, anything crispy tastes good even if it doesn't have any additional salt in it.
2 cups leftover brown rice (cooked in unsalted water or broth)
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. milk/cream
1 tsp. salt free herb/spice blend
1/4 cup finely chopped onions, scallions, chives, or shallots
1/4 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese (Swiss is naturally low in sodium)
Oil for frying
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Heat a 10-12 inch frying pan with about 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, drop spoonfuls (about 1/4 cup) of rice mixture into oil. Fry until lightly browned on one side; then turn and fry until other side is also browned. Remove and drain on a baking sheet that has been lined with paper towels; keep everything warm in a 250 degree oven.
I made guacamole with the avocado. Nothing complicated. Just peeled & seeded a ripe tomato from the farmer's market. Then finely chopped one of those jalapenos. A crushed clove of garlic, some lime juice, mashed it all up, and I was done.
I steamed the green beans and marinated them in a simple balsamic vinaigrette, sprinkling on a couple of crumbles of goat cheese before serving (goat cheese is usually fresh & soft, so it is much lower in sodium content than harder cheeses).
I served everything up and called it dinner. Actually it was pretty good thanks to a lot of different tastes and textures. And my refrigerator is cleared out. Hmm, it may be time for me to go to the farmer's market again. And so the cycle continues...