Rice Recipes

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Octopus Sushi (Cooked Sushi Recipe) Recipe

We've been setting up my little sis-in-law’s school lunch menu as she's about to enter 1st grade tomorrow. She participated in the entire process. The little munchkin mentioned that she loves sushi and wanted to have some for lunch this school year. It's a fast and easy way for her to have a quick lunch, so I was happy to oblige. She also mentioned she loves baby octopus but she doesn't want to scare her friends away with weird food so I coarsely chopped them and used them as the filling along with other vegetables. I cooked each ingredient separately, let them cool completely and then combined then into sushi rolls. The sushi got an “A” from my sis-in-law, so I'll definitely be packing them for her this school year.

Involving children in preparing their own food encourages them to eat with more enthusiasm. Cooking in a fun environment is also a way to learn. If your kids aren’t adventurous enough for octopus, you can try some of my other school lunch recipe ideas.


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Parmesan Risotto with Wheatberries and Morel Mushrooms Recipe

My husband Lulu was craving risotto lately. Unfortunately, risotto can be pretty rich, which doesn’t exactly mesh well with our exercise routine. I don’t think exercising should be a form of punishment, so I took Lulu’s craving as an opportunity to be creative.

After thinking about it, I decided to make mushroom risotto using fresh morels. I chose morels because they are packed with flavor. Instead of using heavy cream and other calorie-packed ingredients, I let the mushrooms provide most of the flavor in the dish. I also added wheatberries to the Arborio rice for texture. Just make sure to soak the wheatberries overnight, so that they aren't too chewy.

Fresh Morels


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French Rice Salad Recipe Recipe

French Rice Salad Recipe

06.09.10 by Jackie

Salade de riz aux légumes is my attempt to serve my family healthy food that doesn't sacrifice flavor. As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to make food that is a bit rich. We're all trying to workout more and get into good shape, and while I won't ever give up butter and cream, I've learned that I don't have to put it in every dish.

The rice salad is made with a blend of both brown and white rice for a balanced texture. I also added a mix of vegetables that are available this time of the season (the zucchini and squash are from our garden). I used fresh steamed corn, roasted bell peppers, diced tomatoes, grilled eggplant, edamame and tofurkey.

Since there is no cheese involved, I was afraid the rice salad would lack flavor, so I made spicy vinaigrette. Since I still need "real" protein besides the edamame beans and tofurkey, I added smoked turkey in a separate batch. Everyone enjoyed it, myself included!


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How to Cook Basmati Rice Recipe

How to Cook Basmati Rice

04.15.10 by Jackie

Ah, basmati rice. I don't think there is a food that better represents the similarities and differences of Indian Subcontinent and East Asian cultures. Rice is the staple starch in both of these Asian regions, but the preparation couldn't be more different. In the Far East, sticky jasmine rice is typically prepared with every meal. Chopsticks are the utensil of choice, which helps explain the popularity of rice that can stay clumped together on the journey from the bowl to the mouth.

By contrast, the quality of cooked basmati rice is judged primarily by how separate the grains remain. Traditionally, people of the subcontinent eat with their hands, and the various dals and kormas do a great job of creating cohesion.

Preparing basmati rice at home is not nearly as challenging as it may seem, but as is the case with many simple dishes, precision and care are required. Like pasta, if it's cooked past "al dente", basmati rice will become mushy.

I didn't have much experience with basmati rice until I got married. After more than five years, I have not only learned how to make it, I have come to love it. In our home, we make both sticky Asian jasmine rice and Indian basmati rice everyday to satisfy the different palates. We typically eat it with dal, but the girls love to have basmati rice with a little butter and sumac. Sumac is a common Middle Eastern spice and has a deep reddish, purple color. You can see it sprinkled over the rice in the photos.

If you don't have well cooked basmati rice on a regular basis, you don't know what you're missing. I know that for a long time I didn't!


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California Sushi Rolls Recipe

California Sushi Rolls

02.24.10 by Jackie

Making sushi is a lot easier that it seems. The real key to well-presented sushi is having good utensils, such as a sushi mat and a sharp knife. Each ingredient can be prepped in advance and assembled when you're ready to serve, and when you make it at home, it's a fraction of the cost!

Though there are many wonderful forms of traditional makizushi, or rolled sushi, feel free to experiment with the ingredients you have on hand. I got my inspiration for the sushi pictured above from ingredients native to California; I used Hass avocados, goat cheese and baby Persian cucumbers. I wrapped these ingredients in the traditional combination of nori sheets and Japanese rice.

In standard California roll fashion, the rice is on the outside of the nori. If you've ever wondered why this is the case, the story goes that Japanese immigrants who came to the US turned the sushi inside out to hide the nori from culinarily unadventurous Americans. I don't know if that's true, but it's the story a sushi chef told me once. It certainly is a great tale!

I served the sushi rolls with wasabi paste, homemade pickled ginger and soy sauce. It may seem daunting, but a sushi dinner is really as easy as 1-2-3.


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