Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Starch...A Fear....and Now A Friend

Rice, aside from dough, has always been something that I found intimidating. While my mom always made a perfect pot of yellow rice and gandules (pigeon peas), and has managed to teach each of my siblings how to successfully pull off this family staple, I was never so lucky. In culinary school we had a class entitled Legumes and Grains, however I was very ill and was unable to make it to class that day. Go figure, the only class I ever missed covered the thing I feared most! Till this day I can't believe I missed my opportunity to learn how to make a perfect pot of rice, not to mention the class covered risotto!

Fortunately for me (and the thousands like me) there is "The Rice Cooker"--a convenient kitchen appliance that makes perfect rice in minutes without the fuss. Although I depend on this machine, I know deep inside I should learn how to perfect rice the good old fashion way! Something tells me that there would come a time when I would be asked to make it with only a pot--The Nerve! Don't get me wrong, I know the how to's on making rice, but today I am attempting to make a batch!

First I measured 2 cups of long grain rice and rinsed it until the water ran clear.

Secondly, I added it to my pot, with about a tbs of canola oil and a nice pinch of salt.

Next, I added coconut milk (I am making jerk chicken and carrots today) and then some water. You just want to make sure the liquid covers the rice by an 1 inch at least.

On medium high heat cook rice, without stirring. Soon the rice will absorb the liquid and little dimples or craters in the rice will appear. At this point place pan cover over pot and cook on simmer for 15 minutes more.

Lastly shut off heat and fluff with fork. Serve warm.

Not bad I must say, and it tasted delicious, and no rice cooker needed!

In fact, I took my quest for perfecting rice further and made rice pudding. I must give you the recipe as its equally delicious!!! And a fantastic day to reward yourself for a job well done!

1 quart of milk
2 slices of lemon peel or zest
1 cinanmon stick
a pinch of salt
Simmer above until little bubbles warm and ingredients let out their perfumes.

Add 1/4 cup of long grain rice
Stir for a few minutes to prevent it from sticking. After this point stir every 15/20 minutes for a 2 hour period. (I know, but guaranteed it's worth it!)

Add 1/2 cup sugar (may vary on taste) during the last 15 minutes along with to a tsp of Frangelico (hazelnut liquor) and some Barcardi Rum.

Shut off heat and add raisins....I added regular and golden raisins

Allow to cool and enjoy!!!

Now if I can only perfect my mom's yellow rice and beans!

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