Chef Jeffrey Nimer feeds some of our favorite faces in town. After a successful career at the helm of some very notable restaurants, this award-winning chef took a leap off on his own to launchHaute Chefs, private boutique chef services here in LA. For the better part of a decade now, Chef Nimer has whipped up some of Hollywood’s best dinner parties and other private, on-the-in events. With his Mediterranean bent in the kitchen and years of experience cooking for the LA crowd with it’s wide array of dietary nuances, we knew this chef would have an insight or two for us on healthy entertaining. We started with the basics and wanted to know what he prepares for his health-minded hostesses on the day of big events knowing an extravagant dinner lay ahead. His simple, mild, macrobiotic-friendly recipe is a perfect fit. Here’s Jeffrey…
The Chalkboard Mag: On the day of a big dinner party, we eat healthfully all day long to offset the indulgences we know we’ll be making later. This must be true for so many of your clients. When you’re cooking in their homes, what is your go-to afternoon recipe for healthy pre-party snacking?
Chef Jeffrey Nimer: I love to make these sesame almond brown rice balls that are easy to make and a great healthy snack. I am always on the move and so are most of my clients. When I have a little extra time, I’ll make these rice balls at the beginning of the week and store them in an airtight container. I also love to stuff them with avocado, which really adds a level of creaminess to these little beauties. These are a great recipe to keep in the fridge while you prepare your own dinner parties to keep you from digging in to everything else – or just to make sure you actually eat something!
Sesame Almond Brown Rice Balls
Yields about 2 dozen pieces
2 cups brown sushi rice (short grain)
3 cups water
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (white/black mix)
3 Tbsp toasted almond slices or slivers, chopped
1/4 cup minced green onions
optional: avocado cubes (toss in lemon juice first), tofu, etc., to tuck in the middle
In a colander or fine-mesh strainer, rinse the rice briefly and drain. If you have time to soak the rice for an hour or two, do it. If not, just proceed. Bring the rice to a boil over medium-high heat in your thickest-bottomed pot. Dial the heat back to low-medium so the water is just simmering actively. Cover with tight fitting lid, and try not to peek too often.
Cook the rice until the water has been absorbed and the grains are cooked through, usually about an hour, less if you’ve soaked the rice. If the grains have cooked but there’s still water to be absorbed, dial the heat up to medium-high until the pan dries out, being careful not to scorch the rice at the bottom. Remove the rice from heat and let rest, covered, for at least 15 minutes, preferably a bit longer. Fluff with a fork, then gradually add and incorporate the sesame seeds, almonds, and green onions. At this point, taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if needed. I let the rice cool quite a bit before shaping.
To form the rice balls, line a small cup with plastic wrap, sprinkle the plastic wrap with a dab of water, then fill the cup 2/3 full with rice mixture. No need to pack it down. You can tuck something in the center at this point if you like. Gather the plastic wrap like you would a ponytail, and twist at the base of the rice. Make sure there is no air trapped, and use your opposite palm to shape into a ball (see photo up above). Carefully remove plastic wrap and set the rice ball in a parchment lined container or on a plate. Repeat with the remaining rice.
©Jeffrey Nimer 2013