Coconut & Ginger Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

It is October 6th & LA is facing yet another triple-digit temperature weekend & I am so fucking over it!  My mood could not be gloomier & all this fucking sunshine & heat & “what a gorgeous day – we should go do something” shit is crushing my soul.  I want cold & rain & Nick Cave & stuff like THIS Lucy Rose video for Shiver.  Or – moody music like Banks’ Brain – and THIS magical pole dancer who is like a jewelry box ballerina – or just the right amount of Bon Iver (because too much makes everything worse).  I want cold so I can bundle up in clothes and cook things that smell comforting and warm the house.  I want a fire & red wine.  I do not want to feel exactly as fat as I am as my shrinking clothes cling to me in the sticky heat & the thought of cooking or eating – or even red wine – seem cloying & claustrophobic.  How I managed to gain weight during a month-long heat wave can only be explained by an excess of the champagne I use to chill myself down & cheer myself up.   But – I want to un-think some things & I want even worse to un-know other things.  And – I know – some things cannot be unseen – and some things cannot be unfelt.  But – I still wish we were at least having weather that supported my killing (dulling – at least) my feelings with food – and the distraction of creating it & photographing it & blogging about it.

Ah, well.  Life goes on & I did make this rice pilaf today & it is tastier than I expected.  It is my third dish in recent days using the seeds (arils) of a pomegranate.  They add a nice burst of things that are good for you (including fiber) and a sweet surprise & gorgeous color.  You need to learn to power past any instinct you have to try to spit the seeds out.  Just crunch through them or you will be in Hell.

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Coconut & Ginger Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side


1/2 cup orzo

1 cup rice – white or jasmine or basmati

2-3 TBS coconut oil

2 TBS minced ginger (I had some in a tube)

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Pomegranate seeds (arils)

Cilantro or mint – chopped as garnish

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Heat the coconut oil over med-high heat & toast the orzo until it is golden – which happens in just a few moments.  Add the rice & toast a bit more (being sure not to burn the orzo).   Add the ginger, stir – and then add the stock.  Bring to a rapid boil & reduce to the lowest heat.  Cover (wrapping a kitchen towel around the lid helps create a tighter seal) and cook about 20 minutes.  Fluff & serve with pomegranate arils & chopped herbs.

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Easy Work Lunch! Cold Orzo Pasta Salad


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


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So – I have joined the ranks of the masses & accepted a full-time job.  I am story assisting on an Esquire TV show called – appropriately enough – “Best Bars in America.”  The job is challenging but fun & the hours are long.  The long hours have really cut into my indulging in cooking & lunches, in particular, have been a challenge.  I want something that is good at room temperature (because there is no oven & I loathe microwaves) and it can’t be something stinky, like curry or egg salad, lest I gross out my peers.  I want it to be relatively healthy & light (so I don’t get sleepy) and I want it to be satisfying.

Initially, I bought expensive pre-made things – like quinoa or kale salads.   That got $$ and boring really fast.  My vegan chicken salads have worked nicely – wrapped in lettuce, but you can’t eat that 5 days a week.  So – one morning – with 30 minutes to go before work – I whipped this up from just what I had around.

Like most of my recipes – it is infinitely customizable.

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You can add anything in this bad boy.   I will list what I used in just a moment but the real secret to this salad is the dressing.  I just used a Newman’s Own Italian once & a Ken’s Steakhouse Caesar another – but you can make your own or use a different dressing each time.  I made a TON of this stuff & the real secrets are two-fold:

1) Do not add the tomatoes until the day you are going to eat it because tomatoes really do not do well in the fridge and

2) do not dress it until JUST before you eat it.

So – I would bring a little container of this to work each say & bring a little dressing in a plastic bottle & dress it just before I ate it.  I ate it 4 days in a row.  Here are the ingredients I used:


The bulk of a package of orzo – cooked as directed (but any pasta – shells, penne, butterflies, whatever – will do) and drained & rinsed

Cherry tomatoes – halved

Garbanzo beans

Sliced radishes

Sliced black olives

Chopped cucumber

Chopped red cabbage

Diced basil

Chopped mint

Salad dressing (I used Newman’s Own Lite Italian & Ken’s Caesar alternately but you can use any you prefer – or MAKE yourself)

And I just tossed various portions or each ingredient together & stored it in the fridge (sans tomatoes – that is – because, as I said, tomatoes get yucky in the fridge).

Other things you might add:

Avocado (but not until just before you eat it)



Chopped kale

Feta (or other) cheese

Diced carrots

Diced celery

Diced red onion

Sliced mushrooms

Raisins (or other dried fruit)


Anything, really.  Even vegan (or real) chicken or some cooked shrimp.

See?  EASY!

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