Sunday, September 13, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

I wanna try this recipe for vegetable pulao but need fresh ginger, bay leaves, and garam masala. If we actually get paid tomorrow, i'll make it!

maybe a yogurt marinated, oven-baked chicken?
or incredible oven-fried chicken

mashed potatoes w/ gravy made from french onion soup
and corn

i need a crockpot dish for monday: tex-mex chicken & rice?

baked tilapia

not really meals, although it should be...

I love the IDEA of brown rice, and usually make it in the rice cooker, which usually turns out oookaaaay, but often boils over and honestly has inconsistent results. Lately i've just been making white rice, because it's easier and tends to turn out better. But i found this recipe which promises to be great, and need a place to stash it! pasting it also, in case the link goes dead, which i hope NEVER happens, because this is my new favorite site!! With a freezer shelf full of brown rice, i can't lose the recipe :)

In the past year, only white rice has appeared on A Veggie Venture. So you'd never guess that the 'house rice' is brown rice and how often it makes the menu. Here, brown rice is a kitchen staple, right along with broccoli and chicken stock.

Why the recipe reticence, then? Well, my 'house recipe' comes from Cook's Illustrated, the folks who test and test and test again, until a dish comes out exactly right, defying myth and tradition -- unless myth and tradition actually work. So like most food writers and food bloggers, I hesitate to give away their hard-earned techniques, as much as I appreciate them.

But brown rice is so good for us -- and the Cook's Illustrated rice so nutty- and buttery-tasting and yes, foolproof -- that I asked for permission to share it online. And lo, they said yes!

So if you've struggled with brown rice -- wet and soupy? burnt and crunchy? -- look no further. This is YOUR recipe, just as it's been mine week-in and week-out for almost two years.

If you're not a Cook's Illustrated subscriber, let me recommend it as a great resource for experienced and new cooks alike. The recipes are real and reliable and without pretension. The testers go out of their way to eliminate unneeded steps and calories both. But if extra steps and calories pay off? well, they'll say so and why. The technique tips, the product tips, the tool tips, the appliance tips -- well, they're terrific too.

And to fulfill (or encourage!) yearnings for country living, sit down with a fresh cup of hot coffee and a thick slice of fresh bread to savor Christopher Kimball's essays about rural Vermont. It's a must-read for me, something to look forward to and to think back on.

So yes, Cook's Illustrated, many thanks. For permission to reprint a recipe, to be sure, but for issue after issue of reading and recipes worth both time and dare I say? the price of a subscription.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 80 minutes
Makes 4 cups

To minimize any loss of water through evaporation, cover the saucepan and use the water as soon as it reaches a boil. An 8-inch ceramic baking dish with a lid may be used instead of the baking dish and foil. To double the recipe, use a 13 by 9-inch baking dish; the baking time need not be increased.

1 1/2 cups long-, medium- or short-grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8-inch square baking dish.
2. Bring water and butter or oil to boil, covered, in medium saucepan over high heat; once boiling, immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Bake rice 1 hour, until tender.
3. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with dinner fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer; serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from the May/June 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine. For a trial issue of Cook’s call 800-526-8442. Selected articles and recipes, as well as subscription information, are available online at

I make this so often that I keep a jar of brown rice in the pantry, with the recipe written inside the lid.
I bought an inexpensive eight-inch square Pyrex baking dish just for making brown rice but have found it to be useful otherwise too.
I boil the water in the microwave in a two-cup Pyrex measure.
For Hurricane Rice, I cooked the rice in beer rather than water.
I add the salt and butter (or some times, bacon grease) directly to the uncooked rice, then stir them in when adding the boiling water.
I put the rice straight in the oven as soon as it's ready, even if the oven's not completely preheated, then set the timer for 60 minutes plus whatever preheat time is left.
Recycling works -- I save the foil to reuse several times.
The cooked rice sticks to a clean kitchen towel so I use a paper towel.
2008: These days, I often use this same technique to cook brown & wild rice together.
2008: I've also begun collecting vegetable and rice recipes. Many call for cooked brown rice so are good ways to use up leftover brown rice.