Things on Tuesday: Pilaf Edition

Happy New Year!

Five things you should put in rice:

  1. Other rice! – wild, brown, black, etc. Fun, colorful, tasty
  2. Crispy, fried onions (and probably the oil they were fried in), yum!
  3. Nuts – whatever you like; toasted or raw; give ’em a coarse chop; they add protein, fat, texture & whimsy
  4. Toasted rice – I saw this done w/ quinoa. Super easy and wow. Mix your soft fresh cooked rice w/ cooked rice that you fried or baked to crispness (up to 50%). Great for color, texture and flavor.
  5. Olive oil, tamari, and lemon juice – This was the simple dressing on the ‘fish lunch’ at Paul & Elizabeth’s, a favorite eatery from my childhood in Western Mass. Proportions are up to you but you need enough evoo to taste the fat. Heavenly.

Five things you should not do with rice:

  1. Believe there’s only one way to cook it – Last year a cookbook introduced me to cooking rice like pasta. More water and more vigilance but lots more control (and easy for small amounts).
  2. Over cook it – Overcooked rice is a sin. And it’s easily avoidable (see above). Mushy rice is yucky!
  3. Only eat white rice – If you grew up on Uncle Ben’s or Carolina, it’s not too late for you, but don’t be complacent. Push your palate. Try Jasmine or Basmati then start mixing brown rice with your white rice. There is a world of flavors in rice (literally). It’s easier to understand why so many people eat it every day when you know what’s out there.
  4. Cook brown and white rice together – They require drastically different cooking times. Cooking them together will result in disaster.
  5. Leave it out and eat it without reheating – Allow your rice to cool and then refrigerate it. When you want some more, thoroughly reheat it. If it works for your lifestyle, make rice in small batches and consume it all at once. There’s a nasty bacteria that thrives in room temperature rice. Easily killed with heating though.

And while we are thinking of rice and its possibiilties, I refer you to the World Food Programme’s Free Rice game. A fun way to let those in need enjoy the same meal you are having (note the “change subjects” button at the upper right of the frame if English Vocab is not your thing).

Bon Appetit!

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