While there are many people who inspire me in the kitchen (Jessica being the first), Meredith McCarty is the only person I study with at least twice a year. A dedicated macrobiotic eater, and chef, Meredith has been teaching about the benefits of a healthy diet for most of her life, and she has the looks to show it (older than my mom, she looks younger than my sister). One of the best things I have learned from Meredith is to always make a pot of rice, a pot of beans and a pot of broth every week. This way, you’ll be eating plenty of whole grains, healthy proteins and nutritious vegetable broths and won’t get stuck eating pasta with bolognese sauce every other day. In previous posts we wrote about beans, and broths. Today I’m going to share with you one of my best secrets: how to make the perfect pot of rice!
Rice is a terrific staple for the modern kitchen as it is inexpensive, easy to make, simple to pair with dozens of foods, and (if you stay away from the processed white stuff) pretty healthy. While there are thousands of different strains of rice today, white rice accounts for most of the rice eaten worldwide; nevertheless, brown rice is by far more nutritious because it consists of the entire grain of rice including the outer bran layer, which is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals such as niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and even vitamin E. These elements pack a powerful punch, so you don’t need a lot of rice to get the benefits – and that’s good, because rice is high on the glycemic index. Consider using your pot of rice the way the Europeans and Asians do, as a small side dish, about the size of an ice cream scoop.
While I’ve made rice in many ways, including risotto, or my children’s favorite milk rice, nothing beats a plain pot of rice as side for a meat dish, to bulk up a soup, or to provide the basic layer for your grain salad. With a little help from Bon Appetit, and a lot of encouragement from Meredith, I have perfected the recipe for a pot of rice and I share it with you today. Come and cook with us!
1. Combine a cup of brown rice with 3 cups of water or broth in a heavy sauce pan. Do not mix, only swirl the pan to combine. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt – i normally don’t include it but my mom – and thus probably many people – think my food could use a little more salt…
2. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce to simmer and cook for 40 minutes. There should be enough liquid – if the lid fits tightly – for the rice not to stick to the bottom.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and place a clean kitchen towel between the pot and lid to capture the moisture. Let the rice rest for 10-15 minutes.
4. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and serve immediately. Remember that the best place to store rice is the fridge, as it can otherwise grow harmful bacteria known as Bacillus cereus.