Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dorky dreams

Last night I dreamed about cooking brown basmati rice.

I bought some yesterday for DJ. He is such a health nut. Today in his lunch he packed two sandwiches made of roast turkey breast (the real kind without nitrates, I roasted it myself) and 100% whole wheat bread. Period. No butter. No mayo. No mustard. No salt. (I probably could have talked him into adding some leaves of romaine lettuce, but I didn't think of that.) I asked him if that wasn't rather an unappetizing lunch and he said, "Well, when you are used to eating raw eggs, oatmeal flakes and skim milk warmed in the microwave, and poorly dissolved chunks of whey protein powder in water, turkey breast on whole wheat is a real treat."

No wonder he eats 6-7 pounds of fruit every week.

So anyway, I try to cook things he will enjoy, and he is a good eater. The only things he won't eat are the unhealthy ones, like refined pasta and pizza made with white flour.

So I bought brown basmati rice. The package didn't even have any directions on it, so I looked it up on the internet when I got home. What I learned was...

1. Brown rice isn't all that good for you, not that much better than white rice, although it does have more fiber and a better (lower) glycemic index, which means it takes longer to metabolize and is less likely to spike your blood sugar, and also less likely to make you fat.

2. Brown rice is tricky to cook nicely.

3. There are many, many methods and preferences for the preparation of brown rice, and many different expectations for how it ought to turn out. I guess this is a good thing. Maybe however it comes out, I can say, "It's supposed to be this way." Hmmm.

4. You can cook it the way you cook white rice, only double or triple the cooking time. Or, one person claimed to cook it exactly the way you cook white rice, with good results. Some people oven bake it with water in an open dish.

5. The most intriguing method for cooking brown rice was described as cooking it "like pasta" in a large amount of boiling, salted water, and then draining it when it is tender. I want to try this, but I don't know if I have a collander with small enough holes to drain rice. Hence my dorky dream...

I must have been rather concerned about this rice issue, because all night I was cooking rice, boiling it and trying to figure out how to drain it. I went looking for a cheesecloth with which to line my collander. This is odd, because I have never had a cheesecloth, and "in real life" I would probably have to use a thin kitchen towel or a pillow slip or something.

(BTW: To finish a sentence with "or something..." is a Minnesota-ism.)

I wonder if there is a deeper underlying issue at stake here.

Anyway, it beats cat dreams. I am phobic of cats, and at stress-points in my life, or when I sleep in an overheated room, I dream horrible cat dreams and wake up in a shaking sweat.


Hope T. said...

Unfortuately, my children eat just the opposite of your son. They only want refined pasta and pizza. I'm the health nut. Sigh.
I cook 2 cups water, 1 cup brown rice, a pinch of salt, a shake of olive oil, bring to a boil. lower heat cover and simmer for 45min.

ruth said...

Do you like brown rice? I was going to try substituting it for white in your chicken and rice recipe, but in the end chickened out and used white. It was very good, by the way. Everybody liked it. Shannon would not have liked it, because she hates peas, but she was not home for dinner that night, so it was all perfect.

Hope T. said...

Glad you like the recipe! I have not tried using brown rice in that particular recipe. I do like brown rice, though. My favorite way to eat it is to put it in a big pot (about 6 qt.) and put in a little more water than usual and then put a whole chicken (about 3 lbs) on top of it and simmer it on the stove-top for about an hour. The rice is so flavorful and moist from the chicken juices cooking with it. After we eat it , I make a wonderful soup in the same pot to eat the next night. I leave the carcass and a few bits of rice in and fill up the pot with water and simmer it for 24 hrs. If I have also roasted a chicken (because one 3 lb. chiken is not enough for all of us), then I add the carcass and juices from that and it makes an even better soup.

Shannon said...

you know, that's funny because I had no idea that it was a Minnesota-ism to tack "or something" onto the end of one's sentences... because I do it all the time!