Recipes

Rice with Peas and Seafood

Family dinners can be… overwhelming. Long. Intense. Loud.

I made the mistake of inviting my brother and father to dinner at my house while my father’s girlfriend is out of town. When she doesn’t cook we all assume my father doesn’t eat. After I sent out the invitation I immediately wanted to rescind it. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my family. I talk to my father daily and I try to communicate with my brother regularly. It can be a little difficult because sometimes the carrier pigeons can’t find him. But my family can be a lot when they are in the same room together.

A lot.

There’s always a lot of shouting. A lot of gestures. A lot of noise.  Growing up I thought that was normal but now that I am older and have seen how other families communicate, I recognize it for what it is.

A lot.

But sometimes in the middle of the night I miss the constant movement and noise. I miss the slamming doors and conversations across four different rooms. I miss a house full of people.

Until they are in my house.

Then I want to open the door and fling myself out on the lawn.

So, my genius plan was to invite them to an early lunch that ended well before the game (what game, you ask? Any game. My father likes them all.) and before weekend traffic from the coast ramps up (because the boy won’t drive in traffic).  Dinner was on the table, eye numbingly sweet iced tea in the cooler and watermelon ready for the cutting at 1 pm.

We didn’t eat until 2.

They didn’t leave until 4 pm.

They ruined my plans.

A lot happened in those two hours. Most of it was loud. Apparently, we could be heard halfway down the block. Most of it were the same nonsense fights we have been having for years. And while we were disturbing the neighbors, which is saying a lot for the neighborhood I live in, they ate the food.

Boom. Mic Drop. I win.

Feeding my family is not easy. My brother hates everything I make on principle. I do not know why. He just does. My father has zero taste buds. Long story short, he used to be a smoker, he thinks black pepper is the perfect condiment for every possible meal you can eat, and he does not understand that red pepper does not need to follow black pepper to the table.

For some reason, they loved the rice, peas and seafood concoction. My father had several bowls (always a glowing review) and my brother said he didn’t hate it. I personally agree. This is a good recipe. And, as usual, quick to assemble and put on the table. It’s not one of my most versatile recipes. There are only a few vegetables I think you could substitute if you didn’t have or like peas. (asparagus is a good idea. But isn’t it always.) However, you can play with the spices, which I encourage.  I used fresh wild-caught fish but I assume that frozen would be acceptable in this dish.

 

Happy eating!

~SB

 

P.S. I added more salt to my dish because I like my rice salty but for most people the salt in the broth is sufficient. I always top this dish with fresh parsley (from my garden) and a squirt of fresh lemon because it adds that extra special specialness.Snapseed

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Tuna Not Tuna Chickpea Salad

Operation Tighten our Beltstrap is still a go. It’s a hard, difficult, sad-faced go. That’s not true. It’s been fun. More fun than I thought budgeting can be. And I have learned a lot about myself. And, most importantly, my shopping habits.

I LOVE shopping. It’s my go to feel good. It’s my joy. And my shame. I can drain a bank account in less time than most people can tie a shoelace. It’s disturbing when I think about it. So, of course, I take it to my therapist and try to figure out why I shop. I won’t make this into therapy cry session version 2 but let’s boil it down to, it feels good so I do it.

Same goes for food.

If you’ve read any of my posts you well know how much I love food. As much as I love shopping and impossibly high heels. And I, in a quest to be more plant friendly, and budget friendly, am searching high and low for new recipes. Oftentimes, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this too, you stumble across a recipe that makes you look at it cross-eyed. For example, vegan loaf. vegan fried chicken.  Cauliflower Hot Wings. Not exactly what I’m thinking can be delicious veganized.

Put Tuna salad on that list.

Seriously.

Tuna salad can be as simple as tuna and mayonnaise. Or it can be fancy and involve a laundry list of ingredients. But it always is tuna. And mayonnaise.

How can you make tuna salad without tuna?

Fun fact: Chickpeas are ridicule versatile.

I have read a zillion (not quite. But definitely more than 10) recipes for chickpea salad. They all had cute names like, “Not Your Momma’s Tuna Salad” or “Chickpea of the Sea” Salad. But basically, they were telling me that chickpeas were going to be just as good, if not better, than my beloved cans of tuna in a stinky sandwich.

They were right.

Chickpea salad is quick. It is cheap. And it is delicious.

Just like in a good tuna sandwich, a good chickpea salad sandwich is all about the ratios. There has to be a perfect balance to the celery, mayo, chickpeas and spices. Too much spice and it overwhelms the bland chickpea. Too much mayo and you just have a soupy mess. But the recipe I finally concocted is perfect. It is everything. And just like tuna salad, it tastes amazing the next day.

Happy Eating!

~ SB

Tuna Not Tuna Chickpea Salad Recipe

Veggie Fritters

 

My co-worker has a theory. She is a big home chef. Anything you ever want to eat, but don’t want to cook yourself, she is willing to make for you. And her food is always amazing. Always. And because her closest friend in the office is a vegetarian and I am a gluten free mostly vegan she has been reading vegan recipes on reddit (Yes, I said reddit). The other day she came to me completely serious, which is rare in my office and had a moment. It went something like this.

“What is with vegan recipes?”

“What are you talking about?”

“They are the worst!”

“Worse than M.S.?” (Inside joke about a famous lifestyle mogul whose recipes can be questionable.)

“Close.”

“Worse than R.O’D?” (Another inside joke about a comedian who decided to own a magazine that became known for how nasty all the recipes were.)

“Ok. Not that bad. But some of these are completely defying physics. Your recipe cannot defy physics. It’s not a real thing.”

“I don’t know if they do.”
“They do. And they are nasty.”

The conversation wasn’t very compelling but it was interesting for five minutes.

Her abrupt, completely random and somewhat entertaining conversation made me think. Vegan recipes aren’t always easy. And I think, they should be. There’s no meat, no crazy amounts of marinating. No special cuts you need. But it feels as if I always need to buy every last vegetable in the market and every spice known to man. Of course, I’m exaggerating. That’s my thing. But, one does have to admit that it’s hard to find a tasty, easy to replicate vegan recipe.

For example, vegetable fritters. When I was younger my mother made veggie fritters

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that’s good looking fritter batter

fairly often. They were a quick snack that used up all leftover veggies before they went completely bad in the refrigerator.  Prior to becoming (mostly) vegan, I had never made veggie fritters before. I have no good excuse. I just didn’t. But a few months ago I started thinking about them. A lot. I wanted a fritter. So, I bought them from a few restaurants but they were never right. The fritters were either too bland, too salty, too floppy, too greasy… just too.

 

And every recipe I found online was a disappointment.

Just so you all know, fritters do not require sea salt, fancy cheeses or fancy dips. You need flour, water, veggies, and salt. That’s it. Anything else is a bonus, and possibly a distraction.

So I made my own recipe. Which is something that I am learning more and more I love to do. I guarantee, that you will have these fritters on the table in less than half an hour. And that everyone who tries it will love. Plus, per usual, these are totally customizable. fritter imagesHate zucchini? No worries, corn, and broccoli are good options.

Happy eating!

~SB

P.S. You can really use any veggies you want in this recipeYou can use any flour you want in this recipe. You can use any oil you want in this recipe.  It’s the most customizable recipe you will ever try.

 

veggie fritter recipe

Brown Butter Makes Me a Happy Girl

Austerity month(s) have forced me to become really creative in the kitchen. I am experimenting and doing my best to empty my pantry and freezer before I go to the market. I could say it’s because I’m trying to conserve money and be more responsible. That’s partially true. I am saving for a house and a few trips. But what’s more honest is that I am afraid of what will happen when I go into the market.

The grocery store is my downfall. It’s my kryptonite. I go to the grocery store and I want to try everything. Literally everything. If I see something new it calls my name and I have to have it. I have to hold it in my hand, I have to let it run through my fingers. I have to smell it. And I have to taste it.

And, I have to buy it.

And there is always more than one new thing in the market. I think it’s a conspiracy to get all money.

Because of austerity month(s) my budget is tight. Like best friends sharing the same hair tie tight. I have to buy enough food for one week on a budget of $60. I have a girlfriend who can spend only $5 in a month but her meals, I think, are typical and not fun. I like to eat creative and well. And creative and tasty meals aren’t cheap. they cost money.

Or so I thought.

These past few weeks have taught me a lot about my resourcefulness and creativity in my kitchen. I can stretch that $60 and eat like I have no budget. I can use up everything in my fridge, create delicious, mostly plant based, meal and not feel deprived. I’m starting to sound like an infomercial.

Not to brag or anything, but this is what I ate this week:

  • Veggie calzones stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and vegan mozzarella
  • Chickpea spinach curry with cauliflower florets
  • Moroccan spinach rice
  • Vegetable fritters
  • Spicy spinach, mushroom and rice cake stir fry

Sounds amazing, right? All my meals took less than half an hour to make and were so delicious I started eating them from the pot, or pan, before I could plate it for the particularly terrible pictures that I take. And because I never learned how to cook for one person I had enough from each pan for leftovers. There’s nothing better than spicy rice cakes for breakfast. Trust me.

I could go on but I’m in the middle of planning my grocery shopping for the week and that $60 won’t stretch itself.  Here’s an easy recipe you can have on the table in less than 30 minutes.  It delicious, filling and plant based. And budget friendly.

Happy eating!

~SB

PS… This recipe is totally customizable. Want more veggies? Throw them in there. Want more butter? Go for it. Do what you want. For the record, my spinach was frozen when I threw it in the pan and I definitely was having a butter-deserved day.

 

brown butter mushroom pasta recipe card

Easy Rice Cooker Spanish Rice – Adulting 101

It’s no secret I’m always looking for the easy way to do something. I like to say it’s because I’m super busy. Which I am. I have a full-time job. And a business. And I’m starting a second business (because sleeping isn’t necessary for my life.)  But, most importantly, I am never interested in anything that lasts more than an hour in duration. This could be attributable to my untreated ADD but it also might be that, and this is more important,  I don’t think anything should take more than an hour of my time.  Ever.

Laundry? If I think it’s going to take more than the time to study for my weekend religious meeting, it can be dropped off and picked up. I don’t have time to waste it standing staring at the wash and repeat cycle.

Bill paying? It better be online or auto-deducted. Otherwise, I have no patience for it.

And cooking better be quick, painless and with a relatively short number of steps.

After work, the last thing I want to do is… anything.

I want to sit and be still. I want to read a book, research something and hang with my lady Judge Judy. I do not want to be in the kitchen all night.

But the conundrum (spelling bee word) is that I want to eat well. And I want to eat well in the middle of “Austerity months”.   (Side note: I’m saving for a house so I’m being more financially responsible. Austerity sucks.)  But austerity month means I do not have the variety of food that I normally have in my house. And because austerity month means I am reducing my purchases, I, also, have limited my takeout calling. (It’s not a good thing when the delivery man knows your first name and greets you like a friend when you run into them at the market.)

The struggle is real in my house.

And I’m freaking hungry.

I told you in my “How to Cook White Rice- Adulting 101” post that my rice cooker is my best friend. It’s my man. My boyfriend. My everything. Between the rice cooker and the air fryer, I can eat well and quick They are both so versatile.  And easy to clean. And easy to store. And don’t require too much labour to get a lot of food.  (Woo! all those “ands” made me want to go bust out my air fryer and get something going in my kitchen). My air fryer makes that moment when you just want some fries and “meatballs”, not a hard decision. No need to heat up the oven and wait 30 minutes for it to get warm before you put the food in. Nope. All I have to do is plug in my air fryer. And when I need rice, which is at, literally, every meal, all I have to do is plug it in.

A few nights ago, I wanted rice and beans. A grandmother’s rice and beans. Not greasy and heavy like the rice I get it if I go the to the corner store. And I didn’t want to wait for someone else to make it. So, I, in my SB wisdom, decided I can do this. And I don’t need to bring out the big, steel rice pot (you know which one I’m talking about). I’m a one-person household. I need at most 4 servings of anything because that fifth serving is definitely going in the trash. So, the rice cooker is the perfect size for my one household needs.

So, I put my trusty rice cooker to work. And the results were good.  Now I won’t lie and say that these rice and beans are the best you’ll ever have. If you have a Spanish grandmother who likes to cook, these won’t hold a candle to what she can do with that ridiculously oversized pot.  But this recipe is delicious, quick, and totally made my week. (I loved it so much I made it twice.) I think you’ll like it just as much.

 

Enjoy!

~SB

 

Spanish Rice

Tips: I like to heat my rice cooker before I add the ingredients and swirl oil on the bottom. I think it helps the rice to not stick which won’t be a problem for you if you have a new(er) rice cooker.

Another tip: You can find Sazon in the Spanish food section of your supermarket.

 

You’ll Thank Me for This… Scalloped Potatoes

There’s something about cooking that is so cathartic. When I am having a rough day, I look forward to coming home and standing in front of my stove, stirring and frisking, chopping and sautéing. An hour in front of the burners and I feel like everything bad is alright. And now that I am mostly vegan and have so many food sensitivities it’s even more healing to be sure that what I am putting in my body is good for me and made just for me. I don’t have to worry about that first bite. I don’t have to wonder if I’ll need an allergy med after I put my fork down. I can just eat.

That’s a good feeling.

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mandolin joy

But lately, there’s been so many times where I get annoyed while I’m cooking. I have a taste for something I can’t have. The other day I craved meatloaf and gravy. The day before that I wanted a good Greek pizza with extra cheese. And before that cheesy garlic bread.

It can be difficult to not eat what I want when I want it. This has been the year of indulgence. When I want something, I let myself have it. (within reason because I still have a budget and responsibilities.) I’ve been drinking champagne. And having fancy dinners by myself. It’s been wonderful. Until I have to tell myself ‘no’.

I hate the word ‘no’.

This morning I wanted scalloped potatoes.

*Sigh*

I have always had a good relationship with scalloped potatoes. My mother didn’t make

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superior slicing abilities…

them that often but when she did I loved every bite. Scalloped potatoes combined my favorite foods; potatoes, cheese, milk, and cream. Seriously. I used to live for anything dairy. And when you combine the trifecta that is cheese, milk, and cream… DECADENT.

Well decadent if you aren’t lactose intolerant. Then it’s painful.

Very painful.

But I woke up wanting scalloped potatoes. Desperately. And in the year of indulgence, I’m going to find a way to eat it.

So, what’s a gluten free, dairy sensitive, almost vegan girl to do?

Veganize it!

(That sounds so silly when I see it in writing. In case you were wondering, I sang that word. And pranced a little.)

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superior roux moments…

The search was on. I had to find the right milk for it, the right fake butter, the right potato to milk ratio. It was a process. It was a fun and delicious process. I read so many recipes. Simple ones that didn’t quite taste the way I needed them too. Elaborate delicious ones that will never again, on God’s green earth, be replicated by these two hands. I have some requirements for my recipes. They need to be easy. They need to be quick. And they need to be low on the “annoying to put together” scale.

From all my research, I have created the most awesome scalloped potatoes recipe. And this bad boy is customizable. Because sometimes you need to get fancy with your meals. I do not. So, this basic recipe has been my very happy breakfast for five solid days.

I can’t wait to hear how much you love this too!

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Slow Down and Enjoy.

 

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I am the worst photo taker ever. I am super sorry. 

 

Italy knows what life is about. There is a science to the eat and sleep balance. It involves daily naps and leisurely meals. It involves spending time friends, laughing over morning espresso and chatting over nights of pasta.

Eating and sleeping.

That’s what makes life enjoyable.

I learned that in Italy.

My word! There is so much food in Italy. Every time you turn your head there is a restaurant, there is a food truck, there is a gelateria, etc. etc. etc. There is food. And near the food, you see people, sitting and relaxing.

As an American it is confusing.

What do you mean you are to sitting to eat the hamburger? Wrap it up and take it with you?

Why are we standing in an alley eating a slice of pizza? Swallow that thing and let’s go.

Italians expect you to linger over your food. You are expecting to sit down and enjoy your meal. Bite, sip, chat and repeat. There is an art to it that is not easy to master. My trip mate and I went out to dinner in our second week. We thought we had the Italian dinner thing down. We sat down, ready to sit and people watch, enjoy our meal and close the place down.

We finished our plates in half an hour.

The owner strolled by us laughing and chatting, backed up and said, very gently, “Slow down. Enjoy.”

He was right.

We were still eating like Americans. Getting it in and not enjoying every wonderful bite.

There is a joy in savoring your food. In lingering over the tastes and flavor, enjoying the feel of it in your mouth. And there is a joy in sitting and talking, really talking, to your meal companions.

This is not a behavior that is encouraged in America. Waiters rush you through your food, throwing down the check while you are still chewing and expect you to vacate the table. Now. Not in five minutes. Now.

Fun fact: In Italy, the waiter does not bring the check until you ask for it. Period. You have to flag them down and ask for the check.

It’s revolutionary. Once you learn to sit and relax every bite is more enjoyable.

Please, make it a goal to have a four-hour dinner. It is fantastic. At the end, you feel satisfied, not just gastronomically but emotionally. You will not regret slowing down with your friends and family and enjoying time together.

Stew So Good You’ll Forget There’s NO Meat

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So the world is no fun right now. Everything is bad all the time. And scary.

I was on an upswing for a while. Positivity was flowing out my mouth like pretty vomit. “This awful thing will be great, you’ll see.” “Smiling will make this better.” I was so sickening. My coworkers called me naïve and patted me on the head. My friends ignored me. and the cat puked on the floor.

But I was switching it up.

My superpower was sprinkling rainbows and unicorn dust wherever I walked.

Then I started reading the news again.

What the holy snack cakes on fire?!?!?!?!

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I dream of veggies

 

And we come back to our first statement. So the world is no fun right now. Everything is bad all the time. And scary.

Here in the US, we have a new president. We won’t discuss him. But we will discuss the mood.

The mood is bad, folks. I’m sure in some places the mood is good. Not around here. every store, every business, every purchase, and every interaction involves a crazy amount of negativity. People are scared. They are scared for the future. They are scared of the current. They are scared of people. Of places. Of buzzwords and phrases.

And their scary is making me scary. (don’t correct my grammar. If you are an old black lady, this makes total sense, and you know what I mean.)

So when I’m not embracing my inner unicorn, sprinkling glitter and trying to figure out how to handle this, (because hiding in my warm comfy bed is not an option)  I’ve been cooking. Woah, baby, have I been burning up the stove. No recipes, no cookbooks. Just me, random food, and some pots.

It’s been freeing. Super liberating. And completely chill on my wallet.

My usual when I’m stressed is to shop. You know how much I love the grocery store. But… I don’t have grocery store every night money. I have no money. That’s a lie. I have money. Just not grocery store every night money. In fact, I have a new fun game I’m playing. It’s called (dunh, dunh, DUNH… I love drum rolls) EAT THE PANTRY!

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clearly, I need new pots and pans…

 

 

This is where you applaud.

I have so many things in my pantry. I am one person. One person with one cat.  But if you guessed my family sized based on my pantry you would think I had a couple of teenagers. Or a large ravenous tapeworm. No one needs as much pasta as I have. No. one. Or beans. Canned. and dried. Or cans of lychee fruit.

I need to eat that junk.

  • Step 1. Cook that junk
  • Step 2. Eat that junk
  • (You get 1000 cool points if you get that reference.)

And it’s been good eating over here. I made black eyed peas (without a ham hock or turkey neck) that were just as flavorful as delicious as if I had shoved half a pig in the pot with the beans. I made a faux egg salad with soy curls (love those soy curls).  And a hearty beefless beef stew. Banh Xeo. Faux omelet. Pulled “pork” made with jackfruit.

 

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I can’t describe this smell…  2 words. A. Mazing.

 

I’m so full. And I have a positive balance in my bank account.

 

WOOT WOOT.

This post was supposed to be another “Adulting 101” feature but I think we all would be better served if I showed you how to save a dollar, reduce waste and have a hearty meal. It’s the vegan, single girl trifecta.

You are welcome.

So on to the recipe.


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Lazy Day Fried Rice

I probably would die if I did not know how to make fried rice. It’s the one thing I can prepare no matter what size pan I have and what vegetables are in the freezer (or lingering a slow, sad death in the refrigerator).  In my meat tolerance time (a long and distant memory) I would add whatever leftover meat I had in the refrigerator and, of course, egg.

Oh, how I miss the egg.

I thought that when I went mostly vegan I would not be able to enjoy my favorite foods ever again. It got really dramatic in my world for a while.

True, there are some things I have not eaten since my allergies took over my grocery list. No more egg foo young (if you need a moment to google that and drool, please feel free). No more frittatas. Or dump omelets. Or scrambled egg on toast.

Oh, how I miss the egg.

Now, as a mostly vegan human being I always have rice in my refrigerator. Lots of rice. And I must do something with it.  I have said it once, and I will say it 100 times, I HATE throwing food away. I think it’s an allergy more than an aversion. But that means that I need to cook up all that leftover rice that takes up space in my refrigerator.

So, what to do?

Well, as a single girl I want time and again to fall back on the old recipes that I know how to make in a few minutes. There is nothing worse than walking in from a longs days’ work, opening the fridge, hating everything in it, but still needing to eat. And there are only so many days one can eat peanut butter toast without starting to loathe the smell of it.

So, one night, staring into my fridge I decided to make fried rice. No egg? No problem.

And without the egg, and the meat, I surprisingly wasn’t dissatisfied.

Over the months, I have perfected my fried rice. It is an art. Quick to make. Delicious to eat. Very little mess to clean up.  The perfect recipe.

So, I was more than a little disappointed when I found that I couldn’t write a recipe for fried rice.

How much rice? The leftover pot in the fridge. How much is that? IDK. Two cups. Maybe. 1 1/2. maybe.

How much vegetable? Or oil? Oh, my word! I don’t know! Leave me alone.

Ugh!

I want you to understand that the recipe below was painstakingly rendered. PAINSTAKINGLY.

You are welcome.

Tip: This can be made in any pan. I prefer a wok, because, well, it’s a wok. But I have made this in a sauce pan, a stew pot and a pot so small I could barely move the spoon.

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the littlest portion left after i started eating 

Lazy Day Fried Rice

  • 1 C cold rice
  • ½ chopped vegetables (I used frozen mixed vegetables)
  • 2 TBSP oil (I use coconut and olive oil interchangeably)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce

Warm oil in pan. On medium heat, Heat rice through, breaking up any lumps and allow some to brown but stir often. When all rice is coated in oil and warm, create a hole in the center and put vegetables in the hole. Let rice and veg warm together for 1 minutes. Then stir together for two – three minutes. Don’t let rice burn. Add soy sauce and salt and combine.

Eat.

Making White Rice AKA Adulting 101

How to Make Rice

I’m not kidding. This is the topic this week. Do you know how many adults (i.e. people over the age of 21) do not have a clue to make rice? It’s not hard. At all. But for some reason it’s frequently on the list of “must know recipes” and for good reason.

No one knows how.

(What in the world! Seriously, this is another topic for another day but I must say if you are over the age of 20 and you do not know how to make rice call your parents and give them heck. They failed you.)

I learned how to make rice in the microwave when I was 7. 7. I couldn’t cross the street without someone holding my hand but I sure knew how to feed myself.

Jeez.

And now that I have cut out most meat (don’t judge… I won’t lie. If someone else is paying I wont say no to a little mahi mahi) I eat more carbs than I used to and I make a pot of rice every 3 days.

Why?

  • Because I like rice pudding, veggie fried rice and rice soup and want to eat them when I want to eat them.
  • When I am in a restaurant I can almost always order two things, plain rice and broccoli and be able to have a meal with friends.
  • This is the one thing my father’s girlfriend doesn’t automatically add butter to.
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“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something.”- Mich Ehrenborg

So, why don’t adults know how to make rice? It would be easy to blame the parents (see paragraph 3 above) but it’s not that easy. Of course, some parents have failed their children.  I have one girlfriend that learned how to make rice at the ripe old age of 25 because her mother had and still maintains a “non-working kitchen”. IIt is a beautiful state -of -the -art, high gadget everything,  dream kitchen but  I don’t think I have seen her mother make anything more involved than a garden salad. Another friend, 31, has a mother who cooks every single day and doesn’t let this so – called adult cook for themselves. Once he made ground turkey. That was two years ago. But then there are those who are blessed with living in a good city with great delivery. Why should they cook?

(Seriously, If this is you, bravo. Im trying to get on yoru level.)

But the vast majority of us do not have loads of expendable cash, moms on call or have non-working kitchen. Those pots aren’t for show and food is a necessary life requirement. And so we must labor in the kitchen. Peeling and chopping. Stirring and Burning.

And not only do we have to feed ourselves but we have to occasionally feed those folks blessed enough to bask in our presence. Everyone needs that one meal that takes fifteen minutes to assemble. A pot of rice  (at least in my house) is the cornerstone of that “don’t panic but company is here” meal.

If you’re a meat eater the basic recipes you need to know how to make are generally agreed to be:

  1. Scrambled eggs
  2. Grilled cheese
  3. French toast
  4. Mashed potatoes
  5. Rice
  6. Oven roasted vegetables
  7. Roast chicken
  8. Stir fry
  9. Spaghetti and sauce
  10. Chicken soup

For the non-animal product eating peeps among us, the list is not that different from our meat loving friends. It is:

  1. Scrambled tofu
  2. Grilled “cheese”
  3. French toast
  4. Mashed potatoes
  5. Rice
  6. Roasted vegetables
  7. Stir fry
  8. Spaghetti and sauce
  9. Hearty soup
  10. Bean chili

If you have good recipes for these meals then you will always eat and always be able feed your friends. Seriously. Over the next few months we will be making these recipes together. Call it our “grow the F up plan” or if we’re being classy “Adult 101 staples”.

Lesson 1

How does one make rice?

The easiest way is to buy a rice cooker and follow the directions. I live for my rice cooker. Without it there would be many a time I would have to run to the local Chinese and buy rice. But I hate that because:

  • I cant stop at rice. Next thing you know MSG is all over my house and im out for a 2 day nap.
  • They charge you $3 for something that costs $1 to make

So cheap me is going to plug in that rice cooker and get that  rice bubbling away while I am chained to the stove making other yummies. And the good thing is with the rice cooker you don’t have to calculate ratios or times. Put the rice in, add water, close top. Walk away.

Boom.

Mic drop.

Food.

If you are making rice on the stove or in the microwave it gets more involved. You will need to measure and know ratios. But it isn’t hard.( Because 7 year old’s can do it.)

For white rice it’s a 1:2 ration, that is, 1 Cup rice to every 2 Cups water. If its brown rice there’s a little more water. Its 1 C rice to every 2.5 C water. White Rice will generally cook for 25 minutes (whether on the stove or in the microwave) and brown rice will cook for 35- 40 minutes.

 

Basic White Rice Recipe

  • 1 C Rice
  • 2 C Water (or broth)

Stovetop Directions: 

Bring water to boil, stir in rice. Cover and lower heat to simmer. Simmer rice until water is evaporated for about 20 – 25 minutes. (Simmer is that notch below the lowest notch.)

Microwave Directions: 

In microwave safe bowl put water and rice. Stir. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 20-25 minutes based on your microwave power.

 

That’s it.

You can be fancy and add stuff to the rice. I like to add herbs, fresh and dried, to my rice when it’s cooking to give it flavor, such as, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes. Or if I am making rice in the rice cooker I will add canned beans or frozen veggies and let them all cook around each other.

One last tip: if you are using the rice cooker I always add an oil to my rice cooker and let that get warm before I add the rice and water. My rice cooker is older than dirt and I do not want to replace it and as a result, the non-stick lining is gone. Melting oil in the cooker before I add the rice and water prevents the rice sticking to the cooker. If your rice cooker is also older than dirt – do yourself a favor and melt some coconut oil in there before you use it.