The right rice

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Los Angeles, February 10, 2014- For more than 8,000 years the world has been consuming rice. It’s one of the most versatile and widely used grains across the board. It can be used in almost any style of cooking by adding seasonings, broths or ingredients.  Rice can become a perfect side dish, main course or stuffing. It just depends on your preference.

Rice comes in three sizes; long, medium and short grain.  Long grain rice is very meaty and is the most universal It tends to become sticky upon over cooking.  Medium grained rice is a cross between long and short, but is best eaten hot because otherwise it becomes sticky and slightly mushy.  Short grain rice is used in paellas or risottos and takes more time, energy and patience to cook properly.

 

HMFGPineapplerice

  • 1-cup white or brown rice
  • 1 each dried bay leaf
  • ¼ of yellow or white onion minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-cups water
  • ½ tablespoon to 1-tablespoon salt
  1. In a large saucepot sauté the onions in the olive oil until they are aromatic and glossy.
  2. Add the rice and toast for a few minutes on medium heat.
  3. Next, add in the bay leaf and mix it into the rice.
  4. Add salt and water.
  5. Bring the rice and water up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 30-45 minutes.

 

All types of rice are a good source of magnesium.  Rice helps to reduce diarrhea and relieve hypertension. By thinking outside the box you can make rice into a dessert, breakfast cereal or even a fried cake (sweet or savory).

HMFG rice

Brown rice has become more and more prevalent in homes because of its higher content of nutrients compared to its plain white counter-part that has been hulled and polished to the extreme.

 

Rice with carrots and peas

  • 1-cup white or brown rice
  • 1/4 –cup diced carrots
  • ¼- cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • ¼ of yellow or white onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-cups water
  • ½ tablespoon to 1-tablespoon salt
  1. In a large saucepot sauté the carrots, then add onions and peas in the olive oil until they are aromatic and glossy.
  2. Add the rice and toast for a few minutes on medium heat.
  3. Next, add salt and water.
  4. Bring the rice and water up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 30-45 minutes.

 

A few other varieties include wild and perfumed rice. Wild rice is very common and found in many restaurants across the country.  Its flavor is a bit nutty and the consistency can be a slightly crunchy. Perfumed rice is more prevalent in ethnic cuisine. The floral scent is overpowering at first bite, but after a few tries the sensual flavor overwhelms the senses in a refreshing way.

 

Cooking Ratios:

  • Wild Rice- 1 part rice to 4-5 parts water
  • Basmati/Jasmine Rice- 1 part rice to 1 ½ part water
  • Long Grain Rice- 1 part rice to 2 parts water
  • Brown Rice- 1 part rice to 2-3 parts water
  • Arborio Rice- 1 part rice to 3 parts liquid (substitute water for stock)

 

The most important part of cooking rice is the preparation.  It’s so important that Japanese chefs spend years learning how to clean and handle rice before they can move on to the fish. The preparation is a series of long rinses to remove the grit on the outside of the grain to prevent the rice from becoming gelatinous.

Grains are an essential part of our daily diet and it’s best to eat brown rice versus the processed white, however, “life in moderation”.  We all need to feel like we can eat what we want, so we actually eat what we should.

I wish I had a romantic story about my rice recipes and how I went on a special journey to its origin in South East Asia learning the time honored tradition of harvesting and that it was there my love for rice really took place.  Alas, that’s not my story and that’s not where my affinity for rice began nor how my recipes were created.  My story is from my family. We gathered nightly for delicious meals and our favorites usually included some kind of rice dish. The simple shape, size and consistency of the grain captivated me instantly. Rice became a favorite in our house and there was never any leftover. As an adult and a chef I have taken those early childhood favorite rice dishes and enhanced them into something a little more tantalizing.

Recipe: Pineapple Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 –cup diced pineapple
  • ½ yellow onion finely diced
  • 2 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1-teaspoon chili flakes (more if you like spicy.)
  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Add rice and wait for it to come back to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer and cover it with a lid.
  3. Cook the rice for 20 minutes (or as the directions on your bag of rice indicates)
  4. Next in a large saucepot sauté the onions on a medium-low heat in olive oil until they’re aromatic and glossy.
  5. Add the pineapple and continue to cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the chili flakes and continue to cook until the pineapples are just starting to create a liquid at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Next, add the rice and incorporate everything well.
  8. Then add green onion, salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Add salt and water.
  10. Bring the rice and water up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 30-45 minutes.

 

For more great cooking tips, recipes and stories from

Chef Mary, visit her website at marypaynemoran.com

Follow Chef Mary on Twitter @chefmarymoran

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Upon graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts in 2002, Chef Mary Payne Moran began her professional career shelling crabs at the world-renowned restaurant, Michael's in Santa Monica. Simultaneously, she launched her own company, Hail Mary’s, founded upon the belief that good food nurtures the soul, and began catering weddings, parties and large corporate events. In the fall of 2008, Mary began teaching her culinary skills to others. Currently she can be found at Hollywood School House teaching her after school cooking class, and teaching her popular "Vegetables or Not Here I Come" assembly. Most recently, Mary has launched another division in her company as well as a chef she is now also a Certified Nutritionist for high profile clients. She helps her clients discover their healthy way of eating. Mary has recently been published in the Los Angeles Magazine, & The New Jersey Star Ledger. Daily she addresses cooking aficionados through her blog - Cooking with Chef Mary as well as her how-to webisodes on You Tube.