Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rice, rice, baby!

In our quest to become healthier eaters, we have discovered rice has become an ingredient we turn to time and time again. The fact that rice is available in so many types and forms makes it an incredibly versatile food. Rice is sodium, cholesterol and gluten-free. It is also nutrient-dense, contributing over 15 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and other B-vitamins, iron and zinc. Plus, rice contains only a trace of fat and has no trans fat or saturated fat. Go rice!

Not only is rice a healthy food, it is also cheap and easy to store. A half-cup cooked serving of white or brown rice costs approximately ten cents. Is that ridiculous? We store our rice in air tight plastic tubs and have never had a problem with bugs or spoilage. White rice will keep nearly indefinitely while whole grain rice has a shelf life of 6 months. You may also freeze uncooked rice to extend that period.

A few people (fine, it was me) have complained that brown rice is more difficult to cook than white rice. We recommend that you try Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice Recipe. This is a no-fail recipe that yields fluffy, tender brown rice every time. And since it's baked, no babysitting a pot on the stove, or discovering a pot of scorched rice that you failed to watch closely enough (me again).

There are endless combinations for dishes using rice. We use brown and jasmine rice in rice bowls, stir-frys and salads, while I prefer arborio for puddings and risottos. Check out USA Rice Federation for dozens of great rice recipes. Cheddar Rice Latkes and Rice Stuffed Fish Fillets are shown above.

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