Rice Attempt #3

Recently I tried to reacquainted myself with the food guide pyramid.  It does not exist.  I’m sure you know.  I’m probably one of the last remaining few that believes my plate should be guided by this image:USDA_Food_Pyramid

Your plate should look like this now:myplate_blue

In any case, it’s recommended that you get six servings of whole grains a day.  To me that’s a lot of whole grains.  If I don’t make the effort to add whole grains to my day I think I’d end up with two servings a day thanks to oatmeal.  Do you get six servings of whole grains in a day?  I’m sure I’m lacking in other food groups, but this post is about rice.

We had tacos for dinner on Sunday and to help us get in a whole grain or two Sean decided to add brown rice to the menu.  His search started with Spanish rice, but then he found a recipe for Mexican rice.

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As with our previous attempts we have no loyalty to this brand.  We were just looking for organic brown rice and this is what we found.

For the rice, Sean added more than one tablespoon of serrano chiles.  The same is true for the cilantro dressing, and he added more than one teaspoon.  In both cases he also added some seeds because we really like spice.  We were really happy with the level of spice with our extra additions.

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Sean’s continuing with this year of rice project so he can learn a little bit.  But, he still believes that he’ll never be able to make really great rice until we have a kitchen with a gas burner.  Again he had to move the rice on and off the burner.

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It was a little mushy, but better than attempts #1 and #2!  Luckily the dressing helped perk up the dish.

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This recipe makes a lot of rice!  You should half it if you’re making it, although we’ve really enjoyed having the leftovers.  It reheats well.  We had some leftover rice with simply grilled chicken breasts on Monday and it was great.  We also had a little leftover dressing, so Sean added some mayo to create a tasty dipping sauce for the chicken.  We haven’t tried it but I think leftover dressing with mayo added might make for a nice sandwich spread, too.  We also had taco and rice leftovers last night.  If you’re looking to increase your whole grains on your taco night, this one is a winner.

Rice Attempts #1 and #2

photo 11Sean’s first attempt to master rice happened last Monday.  He bought brown rice at the store and followed the directions on the back. photo 12

Finding non-instant rice in the grocery store was quite the task, so this brand isn’t a favorite or even one we’d used before.  It was simply the brand available.  I wasn’t there for most of Sean’s cooking process, but he remembered to take pictures for me!  photo 2

Sean likes butter so our version definitely included the optional butter.  photo 3 photo 5

We think that one of the difficulties we’ll have with mastering rice in our kitchen is the fact that our stove is electric instead of gas.  Or maybe it’s more that it’s difficult to maintain the right temperature on our stove.  When you set the burner to a low number it barely heats up but when you change it to a higher number it gets too hot too quick.  It makes cooking on it tough.  At the beginning of his process, Sean moved the Le Creuset on and off the burner in an effort to keep the rice at the right, lower temperature.  photo 6 For this first attempt Sean choose the Le Creuset.  He wanted to see if the heavier lid would remain tight during the cooking process.  He doesn’t think it worked any better than using a regular pot (which he did the next night, Tuesday night, his second attempt).  photo 7photo 8Sadly, not all of the liquid cooked off and the rice was still a little underdone at the end of the recommended cooking time.  We cooked it a little longer and it was better.  photo 9On its own it was a little mushy yet still a little underdone.  An odd and disappointing combination.photo 10This is no the best picture, but we ended up throwing this into our version of chicken tortilla soup (minus the tortilla this time since we used rice).  It was a great addition to the soup and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t cooked perfectly.  We were happy with the result overall even though this first attempt at rice wasn’t successful.

Sean’s second attempt was pretty much the same.  Fine in the soup but not the best example of rice on it’s own.  Again, the only difference in the process was a pot instead of the Le Creuset.photo 13

And this is why we’re calling it the year of the rice!  2014 has plenty more weeks and months left for our continued attempts!