Friday, March 23, 2007

R is for...

R is for Rice.
Who: Rice
What: A grain, and a primary food staple for most of the world's population.
When: Rice has been cultivated since at least 5000 BC, and archaeological explorations in China have uncovered pots of rice that may be up to 8,000 years old. Rice was first cultivated in Asia.
Where: There are two main ways of growing rice. The first is Aquatic or Paddy rice and is grown in flooded fields. The second is Hill-grown rice that can be grown in almost any tropical or subtropic terrain. In the US rice is grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Missouri and Texas. Rice is grown in more than 90 countries worldwide.
Why: Rice is the world's third largest crop, and is the most consumed grain. Rice is low in fat, sodium free, cholesterol free and gluten free. Rice contains B vitamins, Calcium and Potassium.

Did you know?

Wild Rice is not really rice at all. It is actually a grass.

The only continent rice is not grown on is Antarctica.

The by-products of rice have many uses including making rope, paper, wine, crackers, beer, cosmetics, packing material, and even toothpaste.

This delicious dish below is Route 79 Bell Pepper and Chicken Pilaf from the very excellent Naughty Curry. Click on the link above to take you to the recipe with a vegetarian option.

I can't recall ever making rice salad before, but this is goooood. I prefer it a bit warm, and I think it's best eaten the day it's made.

Mixed Bean and Rice Salad

1 19 oz can mixed beans rinsed and drained well
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp cumin
2 cups cooked rice

Toss together the beans pepper and onions and set aside. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, hot sauce and cumin. Taste and season with salt to taste.
Toss together the rice with the bean mixture and add the dressing - start with half the dressing - and gently combine. Add more dressing until you are happy with the taste and texture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Can you guess what this is? Rice? No!

This is Ruth from Once Upon a Feast's Cauli-Fried "Rice" and it is good, very very good.

Cauli-Fried "Rice"
from Ruth and Once Upon a Feast.

1 large cauliflower, trimmed
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp curry powder (optional)

Grate the cauliflower, including the core using the grater attachment of a food processor or the medium holes on a box grater if you don't have a food processor. With your hands, squeeze out as much water as you can. (This may not be necessary for some cauliflower as they vary in degree of wetness).

Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute just until the garlic sizzles and smells awesome (1-2 minutes). Add the cauliflower, sprinkle with the salt & pepper and stir-fry until tender-crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes. The length of time will depend in the cauliflower. Stir in the curry powder, if using.

Stir in the green onions and taste for seasoning. With your eyes closed, you'd swear you were eating rice.

Last month I came across this post on Food for Thought for rice burgers. Having never heard of such a thing (the "bun" is made of rice!) and with the letter "R" looming, Scott and I decided to try to make them ourselves.

Rice Burgers

You'll need:

Prepared sushi or sticky rice (I cooked 1 1/2 cups rice in 2 cups water. Sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and rice vinegar.)
Onion slices
Beef and/or Tomato slices

The night before, prepare the marinade. Thinly slice the beef, onions and tomatos. I made two batches of marinade, one for the beef and one for the tomatos and onions. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


4 tb soy sauce
2 tb sherry
1 tb grated or finely chopped ginger
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 tb brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Wet your hands and form the rice into patties ("buns"). Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add a thin coating of oil. Carefully add the buns to the pan. Brush the buns with soy sauce or if you have marinade that wasn't used with beef, use that. Cook until lightly golden and carefully flip the buns and continue cooking.

Separate the tomatos and onions and cook the onions in one pan and the beef in another.

To assemble, lay one bun on a plate. Top with the toppings you desire - lettuce, tomatos, onions, beef. Top with another bun.

These are MESSY and a bit fussy, but great.

Previous Alphabet Posts:
A is for Artichoke
B is for Beet
C is for Carrot
D is for Dogs
E is for Egg
F is for Fondue
G is for Garlic
H is for Hamburger
I is for Indian Food
J is for Jamie Oliver
K is for Kaffir Lime Leaves
L is for Lobster
M is for Mushroom
N is for Noodle
O is for Onion
P is for Pub Food
Q is for Quinoa


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Your creativity blows me away. The rice burger is so amazing! and I will have to be trying the cauli-fried rice! That is just fun. and I'm always on the lookout for new rice salads, nothing more versitile!
Great post!!

Brilynn said...

I've seen a risotto dish done in the same style as the cauliflower rice, but using potatoes.

Up until your quinoa post I didn't know quinoa flour existed and hadn't used quinoa. I've since bought quinoa flour and plan on baking with it and I make a quinoa and bean dish that was really good!

Cate said...

The rice burgers look really good! I have a tried-and-true recipe for rice salad that The Husband loves. Haven't made it in awhile; might be time to dig it out.

Freya said...

Fun article! I love the idea of the rice burgers!

Mallika said...

very interesting and the food looks great. I love naughtycurry too. Now about to check out your I is for Indian...

Ruth Daniels said...

Great post and I love this whole alphabet thing going on.

I can't wait to see what you come up with for x and z

Thanks for sharing.

Lis said...

Get out!! Sticky rice buns?? Cauli-rice?? How cool is that?! I'm so trying both - can't wait!

Uhhmm... how would the sticky rice buns and regular hamburger patties do?

Sara said...

Tanna - thank you!

Brilynn - if you have any quinoa cooking tips, send 'em my way.

Cate - thanks! rice is so great and rice salads are super for when the weather warms up too.

F&P - thank you! there were fun, but fussy.

Mallika - thanks for coming by to visit.

Ruth - if you have ANY suggestions for the end of the alphabet, email me! it's getting tricky.

Lis - glad you liked them! and regular burgers? why not?

Emmy said...

Rob is a big fan of bean and rice salads. He'd love this one. The Cauli-Fried "Rice" is wild. I've never heard of such a thing before. It sounds delish.

Sara said...

Emmy - Ruth is one smart should give it a try!