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Rice, Rice, & More Rice

  1. Rice in cupboard1

Our 2nd blog email is going out just as we’re about to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary. The whole family is off to Colorado on Saturday to get introduced or re-introduced to my beautiful home state where we got hitched 50 years ago.  Unfortunately, the Presbyterian church where we were married was torn down shortly thereafter.  An inauspicious event.

Before I blog-on about recipes, let me tell you about our new page feature (see menu at the top) – Food for Thought.   In Food for Thought we’re posting articles that we’ve really enjoyed and found thought-provoking – and sometimes just provoking.  We promise to stay far far away from politics – unless/maybe/if/possibly it relates to food.  Our first article is about why today’s poultry is so flavorless.  I’ve been griping about that for years.

Now back to our blog:  Two weeks ago I couldn’t stop thinking about Curry.  Go GG Warriors!  Now I have another obsession – it’s rice.  RICE.  Maybe it’s because I was looking through old wedding photos and found this one.  There we were, 50 years ago, RiceThrowing2 starting our life adventure together – and being bombarded with rice.  For fertility? For wealth?  Apparently, Ann Landers said that we were just killing birds by that old custom, but that belief has been discredited.  Some of my FCHS Besties will recognize two very special mothers in that photo, and our Chino relations will see special family members.

But on to rice as our almost most-favorite food in our simplify-our-cooking efforts. Continue reading

Food for Thought

And now for something completely different (to shamelessly borrow from Monty Python), we are sharing links to items we have found thought provoking (and in some cases, just provoking).

How Goya brought ethnic food to white America Washington Post; 9/23/2013 (posted by BLM 5/3/2020)

Don’t Soak Your Dried Beans Los Angeles Times; 9/11/2014 (posted by BLM 4/21/2020)

The reasons why food tastes better in a bowl than on a plate Quartz; 4/11/2018 (posted by BLM 1/25/2020)

The Comfort of Bowl Food The Wall Street Journal; 1/16/2020 (posted by BLM 7/13/2018)

8 Health Benefits of Nuts Healthline; 1/17/2019 (posted by BLM 1/16/2020)

Super Seeds and Nuts You Should Include in Your Diet  Microsoft News; 1/20/2019 (posted by BLM 1/10/20)

The Primal Thrill of a Cherry Tomato New York Times; 8/27/2019 (posted by BLM 10/20/2019)

Weeknight Dinner Around the World New York Times; 8/24/2019 (posted by BLM 10/20/2019)

We Don’t Need to Be Saved From Making Smoothies New York Times; 5/30/2019 (posted by BLM 6/1/2019)

EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce Environmental Working Group (EWG); 3/20/2019 (posted by BLM 5/6/2019)

Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered – How to shop, cook and eat in a warming world. New York Times; 4/29/2019 (posted by BLM 5/7/2019)

There Should Be More Rituals! The small acts that keep a society together. New York Times; 4/22/2019 (posted by BLM 4/24/2019)

Dining-In and Dining-Out Handbook.  U.S. Army Pamphlet; May, 1994 (posted by BLM 4/23/2019).

A Wintry Braise Inspired by a Warmer Place: Vietnam. New York Times; 1/18/2019 (posted by BLM 1/18/2019).

Sweet Discovery in Leafy Greens Holds Key to Gut Health.  Science Daily; 2/15/2016 (posted by BLM 10/20/2018).

Fiber is Good For You. Now Scientists May Know Why. New York Times; 1/1/2018 (posted by BLM 10/20/2018).

The Root of Autoimmune Disease Can Be Found in the Gut, Well Being Journal; Sept/Oct 2018 (posted by BLM 10/15/2018).

In Praise of Mediocrity New York Times; 9/29/2018 (Posted by BLM, 10/9/2018).

Three very cool sources about memory:

Memory and Forgetting.  Radiolab podcast; 6/7/2007 (Posted by BLM, 9/25/2018).
Three Reasons Not to Trust Your Memory Psychology Today; 5/7/2016 (Posted by BLM, 9/25/2018).
Free Brian Wilson.  Revisionist Historya podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply, Season 3, Episode 4 (Posted by BLM 9/25/2018).

Making Do on the Macon Ridge: the Eating Patterns of Southern Farm Families During World War II.  Academic Paper by Joseph B. Parker; 10/8/1993 (Posted by BLM 9/11/2018)

Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch  New York Times; 7/29/2019 (Posted by BLM 7/29/2018)

Seriously, Juice is not Healthy New York Times; 7/7/2018 (Posted by BLM 7/12/2018)

Researchers Now Have a Much More Nuanced Understanding of Whether We Should Eat Pasta Washington Post; 7/6/2016 (Posted by BLM 6/17/2018)

Canned Foods Linked to BPA Risk in New Study CNN; 6/29/2016 (Posted by BLM 5/22/2018)

Packaging Food with Food to Reduce Waste New York Times; 5/30/2017 (Posted by BLM 5/22/2018)

Home Cooking  The New Yorker; 4/15/2018 (posted by BLM 5/8/2018)

Most of America’s Fruit is Now Imported.  Is That a Bad Thing? The New York Times; 3/13/2018 (posted by BLM 4/10/2018)

How Millennials Compare with their Grandparents 50 Years Ago  Pew Research Center; 3/18/2018 (posted by BLM 3/20/2018)

Restaurants that Serve Oysters Sometimes Toss Out Hundreds of Tiny, Juicy Crabs a Day – Why Aren’t They Making Their Way Onto the Menu Instead?  Taste; 3/14/2018 (posted by BLM 3/14/2018)

Mescal Sunrise: Searching for the Ultimate Artisanal Distillate The New Yorker; 4/4/2016 (posted by BLM 2/27/2018)

Is the Secret to Campari Red an Insect?  Daily Beast; 2/14/2018 (posted by BLM 2/14/2018)

Does Red Dye Really Affect Kids’ Behavior?  Epicurious.com; 10/25/2017 (posted by BLM 2/13/2018)

These Crazy Pictures Show How Companies Use Bugs to Make Red Dye for Food and Cosmetics BusinessInsider.com; 10/24/2014; (posted by BLM 2/13/2018)

Is Reintroducing Acorns into the Human Diet a Nutty Idea? Scientific American; 5/16/2014; (posted by BLM on 1/16/2018)

The Kosher Salt Question  Taste; 10/11/2017; (posted by BLM on 12/31/2017).

Nutritious Acorns Don’t Have to Just Be Snacks for Squirrels  National Public Radio; 10/2/2014; (posted by BLM on 12/14/2017).

Unscrambling the Nutrition Science On Eggs  National Public Radio; 3/6/2017; (posted by BLM on 11/28/2017)

Egg Makers Are Freaked Out by the Cage-Free Future BuzzFeedNews; 3/22/2017; (posted by BLM 11/28/2017).

Why the U.S. Chills its Eggs and Most of the World Doesn’t National Public Radio; 9/11/2017; (posted by BLM 11/28/2017).

Definition of a Heritage Turkey  The Livestock Conservancy, © 2017 (posted by BLM on 11/14/2017).

Americans Have Stopped Eating Leftovers  Washington Post, 10/31/2017; (posted by BLM on 11/3/2017)

An Ode to Sloppy Joe, a Delicious Mess  New York Times, 10/9/2002; (posted by BLM on 10/24/2017)

How Safe Is Your Shrimp?  Consumer Reports, 4/24/2015; (posted by BLM on 9/12/2017)

I Want To Eat Fish Responsibly.  But The Seafood Guides Are So Confusing! National Public Radio; 3/15/2017; (posted by BLM on 8/26/2017)

Why Salad Is So Overrated The Washington Post; 8/23/2015;  (posted by BLM on 8/12/2017)

It’s the Umami, Stupid. Why the Truth About MSG is So Easy to Swallow Smithsonianmag.com; 11/8/2013; (posted by BLM on 8/12/2017)

How MSG Got A Bad Rap: Flawed Science and Xenophobia, FiveThirtyEight; 1/8/2016; (posted by BLM on 8/12/2017)

Why Do Puns Make People Groan? The Atlantic; 7/15/2015; (posted by BLM on 7/30/2017)

The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More than Some Antics  by John Pollack; 4/14/2011 (posted by BLM on 7/30/2017)

Sesame: Little Seeds, Big Benefits BerkeleyWellness.com; 8/2/2016 (posted by BLM on 7/16/2017)

Sesamum orientale – from the USDA (posted by BLM on 7/16/2017)

An Ingredient Yotam Ottolenghi Can’t Do Without New York Times; 6/16/2017 (posted by BLM on 7/5/2017)

What the Heck Do I Do with Annatto?  Smithsonian.com; 4/13/2011 (posted by BLM on 7/2/2017)

Beyond Blades of Grass New York Times; 6/16/2017 (posted on BLM 6/18/2017)

What America’s Changing Bread Preferences Say About Its Politics Washington Post; 6/19/2014 (posted on BLM 6/18/2017)

White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf Published by Beacon Press, 2012 (posted by BLM on 6/18/2017)

People Like Us PBS; aired 11/18/2013 (posted on BLM 6/18/2017)

Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be WronNew York Times; 5/8/2017 (posted on BLM 6/4/2017)

A Chicken that Grows Slower and Tastes Better  New York Times; 5/1/2017 (posted on BLM 5/21/2017)

Vegetarian and “Healthy” Diets Could Be More Harmful to the Environment Carnegie Mellon (posted 5/21/2017)

In the pantry

Pantry1

From the spice rack

  • Rice vinegar
  • Diamond Kosher Salt (it really makes a difference which brand you buy!)
  • Tabasco
  • Tellicherry whole black peppers
  • Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (we’re almost addicted to it)
  • Accent (yes, it’s MSG; I’ll blog about that one day)
  • Gumbo File Powder
  • Red Chile Flakes
  • Hungarian Paprika
  • Bay leaves
  • Coriander – both ground and whole seeds
  • Cumin – both ground and whole seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Mexican and regular oregano
  • Star anise
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Peanut Oil
PantrySweet1

On the sweet side

  • Organic agave syrup
  • Local honey
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Active dry yeast
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cream of tartar
  • Whole vanilla beans, Madagascar vanilla and Mexican vanilla (be sure it’s truly vanilla)
  • Almond flavoring
  • Organic corn starch
PantryCanned1

Pantry staples

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Black beans, Great Northern beans, Garbanzo beans
  • Bush’s Best Cocina Latina Pintos a la Diabla (veggie) and Frijoles Negros Machacados (smashed beans with seasonings.  Delicious.)
  • Tuna fillets in olive oil
  • Hominy – because we fix lots of Pozole
  • Tomato paste
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced Fire-Roasted tomatoes
  • Canned chopped clams (clam chowder is quick and delicious)
  • Long-grain white rice, Jasmine rice, and Basmati rice (and, of course, brown rice is great to have too)
  • Thai thin rice noodles
  • Our home-grown dried hot red chiles
  • Frank’s Original Red Hot pepper sauce
  • Savory Choice Chicken Broth concentrate in little packets – it’s on Amazon if not in your store; perfect when you need just a little chicken broth – and has a great flavor (not pictured)
  • Canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (also not pictured)

Stocking Up

WHAT’S IN OUR FRIDGE:

Frig2a

  • Carrots, celery, finger cucumbers, green/red bell peppers, avocado (if ripe), jalapeno chiles, green onions
  • Red miso
  • Whole yoghurt
  • Half & half and whole milk
  • Sliced/slivered almonds, California walnuts, Louisiana pecans
  • Fresh pasta (purchased, not homemade; I have limits!)
  • Cheese – parmesan to grate, cheddar, gruyere, queso fresco and queso anejo
  • Homemade rhubarb jam and rhubarb, if it’s season
  • Organic Better Than Bouillon – both Vegetable and Chicken
  • Butter (I have a strange addiction to Land O’Lakes butter.  We make special runs to Safeway – where we don’t usually shop – just to stock up on it)
  • Eggs from free-range chickens (if the chickens from Sandy and Stacey, our neighbors, are laying – they’re the best.  Seek out a local chicken owner, and you’ll be happy 🙂
  • COOKED RICE (an absolute must)
  • Bacon
  • Almond and peanut butter (lordy – we just bought almond butter today.  If it was organic, it was about 3 times more expensive – like $23 a jar.  So much for going organic!)

Frig1

  • Mexican crema
  • Red Boat fish sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
  • Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste
  • 2 kinds of mustard (Dijon and Creole)
  • Bubbie’s Horseradish
  • Annie’s Organic Ketchup
  • Best Foods Mayo

WHAT’S IN OUR FREEZER

InTheFreezer

  • frozen organic corn
  • frozen chopped spinach
  • frozen petite green peas
  • frozen edamame beans
  • frozen home-made chicken broth
  • a frozen baquette
  • frozen curry leaves (from a much-cherished and protected-from-the-cold  curry tree, which is about 3′ tall and 3 years old – though I keep cutting it back)
  • frozen home-made bread crumbs
  • Fiorello’s Gelato (which should be Bourbon Pecan instead of Vanilla Bean – but I ate it all up)
  • several frozen dinners-in-waiting, including the Mexican Mushroom and Rice Casserole
  • frozen date muffins (which are hidden beneath)

WHAT’S IN OUR PANTRY

Pantry1

From the spice rack

  • Rice vinegar
  • Diamond Kosher Salt (it really makes a difference which brand you buy!)
  • Tabasco
  • Tellicherry whole black peppers
  • Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (we’re almost addicted to it)
  • Accent (yes, it’s MSG; I’ll blog about that one day)
  • Gumbo File Powder
  • Red Chile Flakes
  • Hungarian Paprika
  • Bay leaves
  • Coriander – both ground and whole seeds
  • Cumin – both ground and whole seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Mexican and regular oregano
  • Star anise
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Peanut Oil
PantrySweet1

On the sweet side

  • Organic agave syrup
  • Local honey
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Active dry yeast
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cream of tartar
  • Whole vanilla beans, Madagascar vanilla and Mexican vanilla (be sure it’s truly vanilla)
  • Almond flavoring
  • Organic corn starch
PantryCanned1

Pantry staples

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Black beans, Great Northern beans, Garbanzo beans
  • Bush’s Best Cocina Latina Pintos a la Diabla (veggie) and Frijoles Negros Machacados (smashed beans with seasonings.  Delicious.)
  • Tuna fillets in olive oil
  • Hominy – because we fix lots of Pozole
  • Tomato paste
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced Fire-Roasted tomatoes
  • Canned chopped clams (clam chowder is quick and delicious)
  • Long-grain white rice, Jasmine rice, and Basmati rice (and, of course, brown rice is great to have too)
  • Thai thin rice noodles
  • Our home-grown dried hot red chiles
  • Frank’s Original Red Hot pepper sauce
  • Savory Choice Chicken Broth concentrate in little packets – it’s on Amazon if not in your store; perfect when you need just a little chicken broth – and has a great flavor (not pictured)
  • Canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (also not pictured)

Picadillo

Picadillo

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

Updated from a Cuban-inspired recipe which I cut out of a magazine probably 30 years ago....maybe Ladies' Home Journal - isn't that where everything came from back then?

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large Yukon Gold or red potato, diced (no need to peel) – about 2 cups after dicing
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced – about 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1/3 c tomato paste
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 c dark raisins
  • 1/2 c sliced pimento-stuffed olives
  • 2 T catsup
  • 1/2 c frozen green peas

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the diced potatoes and cook,  stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, .  Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic and cook just until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes more.  Add the tomato paste and water, stir it all well, and simmer another few minutes.  Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 7 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks.  Add the cumin, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, raisins, olives, catsup, and frozen peas and cook another 5 minutes or so.  Stir in the catsup and frozen green peas, cover the pan slightly and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serve the picadillo with rice.   Or open a can of black beans (we love Bush’s Cocina Latina Frijoles Cubanos), heat, and serve them along side the picadillo.

Or refrigerate and eat it tomorrow (by the time I’m done cooking even a big little recipe, I’m ready to eat something else for dinner).  It will re-heat nicely in the microwave.  Freeze what’s left in proportions just perfect for you.  Another day use the left-overs to make a taco or burrito.  If you’re really wild and crazy, bake some sweet potatoes, cut them in half, mash them a little in the shell, and then serve them with the picadillo on the top.  Or use the left-over picadillo for breakfast with an egg fried sunny-side up and put over the top.

Here’s the really important stuff:  don’t get stuck on following the recipe exactly.  If you don’t think you’ll like the sweetness of the raisins, leave them out.  You want it a little more liquid-y?  Add another little bit of water till you like the consistency or even some white wine or chicken stock. Lots of picadillo recipes call for more tomato; you could add the rest of the 6 oz can of tomato paste, if that’s what you used.  Or substitute a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes for the tomato paste and catsup.  And we added LOTS more Tabasco.   After all, we lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 26 years.

Recipe provided by Big Little Meals and Andy and Ann

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