Monthly Archives: August 2018

Brown Rice: Perfect Every time

Do you like brown rice? Do you hesitate to make it because it’s time consuming, and half the time it comes out wrong? Too mushy or too hard, too runny or too sticky? And then you don’t do it again, because you’re unsure of the final product?

Well let me ease your pain.

This brown-rice recipe isn’t much fussier or time consuming than regular rice, as easy to make, and healthier, tastier, and fluffier–all the reasons you want brown rice instead of white.

I make a lot of brown rice; Liza wants it with almost every meal. So I needed to find a simple, foolproof recipe that was consistent. I tried a dozen different recipe sources, and wouldn’t you know, I settled on Martha Stewart? I’ve honed it to, ahem, perfection. Martha’s recipe is three ingredients: rice, water, and salt. The amounts are different from what you think you need for rice, but it works.

For my recipe I’ve replaced the salt with bouillon cubes (vegetable, chicken, or beef), because I just like it better; it adds a note that just picks up the flavor of whatever you serve it with. But if you don’t want the extra flavor, replace the bouillon cube with 1/4 teaspoon of Morton’s or 1/2 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt. And trust me on the amounts and timing. It won’t seem right, but I guarantee success if you follow the recipe. And by the way, stock works too, if you have that on hand.

Here then, is perfect-every-time brown rice…

Ingredients:

1 3/8 cup water (or stock)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice

2 bouillon cubes (chicken, vegetable, or beef–omit if you’re using stock) or kosher salt as described above

Preparation:

1. Rinse the rice in cold water, stirring and changing the water until it runs clear.

2. Add the water to an enamel-coated cast-iron pan, turn the heat on to medium, and crush the bouillon cubes (or the kosher salt) into the water. Stir to mix, add the rice and stir once quickly.

3. Cover and bring the pot to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to a low setting that keeps the pot at a slow simmer. Give the rice one quick stir and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes (no more!). Remove from the heat.

4. Quickly fluff the rice with a rubber spatula, replace the cover and allow the rice to steam, off the heat, for 10 minutes. Serve immediately, or move the rice to a refrigerator-safe storage container and allow to cool to room temperature. Store for 3-4 days in the fridge or freeze in airtight zipper-close freezer bags (yup! It freezes, too, but defrost slowly, not in a microwave oven).

Perfect every time.

Pan-Seared Scallops and Risotto with Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce

Red wine and scallops? Heresy!

Or not.

This one deserves a try, because A) it’s so damn simple; and B) because at the beach house it’s all I had on hand. What surprised me was just how quick and simple it was to make.

Confession: we didn’t really make risotto–that’s way too fussy for beach cooking–rather in this case it was brown rice cooked a bit too long, then steeped off the stove for a while until it got mushy and gluey. But the pan sauce loosened it up a bit. At home I’d make a real Parmesan risotto with some shredded zucchini and fresh tomatoes (https://jeffskitchen.net/2012/08/06/zucchini-parmesan-risotto/).

But the scallops are fresh and local here in Chincoteague, and the dish was perfect.

Here’s the plan:

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh sea scallops (about 18)

2 teaspoons Meyer lemon-infused olive oil (available at most good gourmet shops)

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons premium Balsamic vinegar

Old Bay seasoning

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh chives or green onion

Preparation:

1. Rinse well and pat dry the scallops–make sure they’re VERY DRY. Season with salt, pepper, and a very light dusting of Old Bay seasoning.

2. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, then add half the olive oil and count to ten. Gently place half the scallops in the pan and sear three minutes without moving them; flip and sear the other side for two additional minutes. Remove to a plate and keep them in a warm oven. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and scallops.

3. Turn the heat under the pan down to medium and add the wine and vinegar, stirring constantly to deglaze the pan. Make sure to scrape up all the brown bits in the pan into the liquid–that’s where the magic happens. Reduce the pan sauce by half.

Serve the scallops over the rice or risotto and drizzle with the pan sauce. Garnish with chopped chives.

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