Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fruity Pilaf Mix

It's time to begin.......

Some gifts from your kitchen can be made well in advance and are often the most appreciated presents you can give to friends and family. What about a toss of dried fruits and nuts in seasoned rice, so they have a quick and easy side dish in minutes?

Four years ago I found some vintage look jars on sale at Canadian Tire... I like them to store my own rice and beans in... but, couldn't resist buying up a dozen when I found this recipe. They were perfect.

This year I have seen some stainless containers with the same clasp... but, they just don't offer the same effect visually..... think I'll keep looking.....

Copy the "How to Use" instructions on a gift card of some type... tie to jar with ribbon, a strand of raffia or glitzy string or cord... add a bit of greenery or wrap jar or place in a gift bag....

Fruity Pilaf Mix

7 strips lemon rind
5 cups parboiled rice
1 cup golden raisins or currants (any raisin will do)
3/4 cup slivered dried apricots or apples
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup dried instant chicken bouillon
1/4 cup dried parsley
7 bay leaves

Arrange lemon strips on towel; let stand for about 12 hours or until dry,..or for up to 2 days.

In bowl, combine rice, raisins, apricots, almonds, onion, chicken bouillon and parsley; transfer to gift jars, stirring to distribute evenly. Slip lemon rind strip and bay leaf into each jar, placing attractively along side; seal with lid.

How to Use Pilaf:

In saucepan bring 2 cups water, 1 tbsp. butter and 1/2 tsp. salt to boil. Stir in 1 cup Fruity Pilaf Mix and return to boil. Reduce heat to very low; cover and cook for 25 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Discard lemon rind and bay leaf. Fluff with fork. Makes 4 servings.

This is not quite as interesting as the real thing... it's just plain old rice... but, to give you an idea of how festive it can look.... imagine the golden slices of apricots...a soft sage-y coloured bay leaf... the bits of nuts... wish I had a picture of the real thing but the originals are long gone and I haven't made any for this year yet. I better get cracking....this is the time to get a jump on the busy-ness of the season and I know several people with hectic schedules who would appreciate this. A perfect gift.....

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