It’s All Rice.

Whoops. Damn autocorrect! I meant it’s all RIGHT, not it’s all RICE. But now that I think of it – all rice isn’t such a bad idea. I wouldn’t want all rice every day, but I do like the thought of a container full of left-over rice in the fridge to help get us through the week food-wise. And speaking of fridges, Andy has developed a fridge fetish. It’s a little weird. See today’s Andys Corner.

Leftover rice is in our blue-lidded Oxo glass container; note also the Black Elderberry syrup – my immune system support 🙂 – plus, lots connected to our blog: dog and cat food, bourbon sauce, strawberry sauce, feta cheese, lots of wine, buttermilk, fresh noodles, red and green cabbage, iced tea, and more butter and nuts than any normal couple could ever eat.

It’s all right...doin’ the best you can.” A motto for this day and time – or a line straight out of my-favorite-song-video-ever from The Traveling Wilburys? Both! If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that the 1988 album by Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty can pretty much always make me smile (and maybe dance and sing)…even in the midst of a pandemic. As Petty croons, “I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive.”

(Another pandemic-worthy album suggestion is 2000’s O Brother Where Art Thou. I’m enjoying exercising – daily to the music of “You Are My Sunshine” written by one-time governor of Louisiana, Jimmy Davis, and sung by Norman Blake and, on a bit more joyful note, “Keep on the Sunny Side, Always on the Sunny Side” sung by The Whites. It’s kind of interesting to think that a star in that 2000 film was George Clooney – and Clooney is in the news right now for his new production – in which he also stars and which is getting mixed reviews – Midnight Sky. )

As for “all rice,” I grew up eating Uncle Ben’s Converted Long Grain Rice – and, admittedly, never thought about the implications of the picture of the black man pictured on the box. Now – about 70+ years later – Mars, the parent company, announced that they intend to rebrand the rice, acknowledging that the company “understands the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand.” Aunt Jemima is being rebranded as well. Neither image was all right.

Of course, today, being a bit of a food snob, I wouldn’t even think of eating par-boiled rice. I’m even so uppity that our well-known Mahatma extra-long grain rice from Texas has been replaced in our cupboard by Basmati and Jasmine rice. And organic is preferred. As for brown rice, I know all the pros and I recommend it highly for health reasons – and I’ve made countless meals using my grandmother’s Brown Rice Casserole (with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup), but I still prefer white rice when push comes to shove.

The Zojirushi 3-cup rice cooker is perfect for the two of us.

As for cooking rice, I’ve given up on my mother’s method – which – in addition to most likely being “converted” – had no rinsing (unheard of back then!), lots of water, stove top, covered pan, maybe some butter. Today we use either our Zojirushi rice cooker – or bake the rice in the oven (see recipe below). And, to be absolutely fair, I have to admit that Andy cooks more rice around here than I do. He should be writing this,

I picked out just a few of our BigLittleMeals’ recipes that work great with leftover rice. You can pick and choose from Mexican to Vietnamese to Israeli to Chinese to add some cultural excitement to your stay-at-home life.

Mystery Mix Rice Salad

Cazuela-de-arroz-con-hongos (mushroom and rice casserole)

Bo Kho (Vietnamese beef stew – served over rice)

Bob’s (Deconstructed) Pastel – Israeli Meat Pie – if deconstructed as Bob recommends, it would be great over rice with a little broth added

Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Fried Rice

Rice Pudding

AND, if you want rice and Louisiana flavors (how can you not?), here’s a recipe which comes from Marcus Samuelsson’s new cookbook, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food , which is dedicated to Leah Chase, who was considered the grande dame of New Orleans restaurateurs until her death in 2019. Though not a gumbo in the traditional “first you make a roux” sense of the word, Samuelsson’s gumbo is a great recipe inspired by this legendary woman.

Leah Chase and Obama at her restaurant, Dooky Chase
A Simplified Leah Chase Gumbo

A Simplified Leah Chase Gumbo

This recipe can easily be cut in half.  Adapted from the Marcus Samuelsson recipe which was inspired by the seafood gumbos served by Leah Chase at her restaurant, Dooky Chase, in New Orleans.  Samuelsson simplified the gumbo by omitting the flour-based roux.  Outrageous?  You decide. My suggestions are in color.

  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c diced celery
  • 1/2 c diced red onion
  • 1/2 c diced red bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. ground chorizo (this is Mexican chorizo, not Spanish links; omit if you can’t find it)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 oz. fresh or frozen okra, sliced (frozen is fine – but fresh is a definite cut above)
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 T filé powder (many large grocers sell filé in the spice section; normally it’s added to the gumbo as you serve it, but Samuelsson uses it as a thickener)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (note: I used only half that much and found it to be plenty spicy)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 c fish stock or clam juice (or substitute chicken broth – for a total of 4 c chicken broth; if you want more soup-like gumbo, add a bit more broth)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb smoked andouille sausage, sliced ¼ inch thick (or substitute kielbasa)
  • Salt to taste (it will depend on the chicken broth you use, the chorizo, the sausage, etc).
  • About 6 cups cooked rice, for serving
  • Chopped green onions, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until cooked through. Add the tomatoes, okra, paprika, filé powder, and cayenne and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stocks and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the shrimp and andouille, and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked through and the andouille is hot. Taste and add a little salt, if needed.  Serve the gumbo over rice, topped with green onions and parsley.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.
Perfect Oven-baked Rice

Perfect Oven-baked Rice

  • 1 1/2 c rice (any kind), NOT rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 c boiling water

    Preheat oven to 400°F.  

    Spread rice in the bottom of a pan about 9″x 9″.  Add salt and oil. Pour in boiling water, stir, cover with lid or aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes for white rice or 1 hour for brown. 

    Remove from the oven and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes, then remove the cover and fluff with a fork.  Cover the rice again if you’re not serving it right away.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

5 Comments

  1. Bob Carleton says:

    Our rice cooker and method are simple! We use a Tupperware rice cooker. Put the rice and water and a pinch of salt in the cooker… put into the microwave on high for 5 minutes. Then re-set to 30% power for 45 minutes. No looking, no stirring, no wondering; perfect every time as long as you remember both the rice and the water. We always use brown rice nowadays. It isn’t sticky at all, so those who like lumps of rice wouldn’t be happy. The Tupperware cooker doesn’t seem to care which type you prefer.

    Like

      • Bob Carleton says:

        If “cheating” means using the slick and easy (and low-cost) method, that allows one to have an appliance which has no cord and requires no counter space, then, Yes! it is cheating.

        Like

      • Bob Carleton says:

        Ah! No parties this year, not even for the equinox or the Super Bowl… and I don’t think Tupperware does so many parties, but there’s a local rep just about everywhere (one can Google her) and one can order on-line. Their stuff, in the main, always is high quality and does exactly what is intended. We use one of their popcorn poppers as well; two-minutes in the microwave with about 1/3 cup of popping corn and viola! a nice bowl of popcorn appears. I’m just now learning to “enjoy” it with only salt (no butter). Just another lazy approach to food.

        Like

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