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Go see Julie & Julia

Julie and Julia is a great date movie. Watch the trailer here. It’s a comedy and it really is fun for both genders. I love Meryl Streep; she is one of the great ones in the movies these days. I would love to be able to act like her. My mom was right, there is amazing food in that movie. You think you know what good food looks like and then you see this movie. I’m not going to give anything away but it really made me evaluate whether I’m living up to my culinary potential…as it turns out, I’m not.
I have the book by Julie Powell in front of me. Ashley C. gave it to me as a wedding gift. I miss her. She’s a person who has learned to listen well enough to her friends to really “get them.” The book is easy and fun to read, but skim before you make a commitment because the language, on a scale of Relief Society to a typical hallway in a public school, it leans more toward the public school side. One of my English teachers used to say, “sometimes !@#$ is the only word that makes sense at the time!” I have found that is true, to Brandon’s disappointment. I like what the book says about rice cookers. This is from Julie and Julia, pg. 182:
Isabel, as usual, came up with a contribution to the Rice cooker Debate both imminently diplomatic and irretrievably odd:
I think perhaps there’s a slightly removed parallel universe that we can all gaze back and forth across, in which rice cooks without hitch and easier for some of us in pans, and for others in rice cookers. Across the Rice Veil?
I got a rice cooker for my wedding and was religious about its use until one day it tried to tell me that I didn’t need it and begged me to release it to kitchen appliance heaven and when I wouldn’t listen, it self-combusted out of exhaustion. It also left a note that read: Alicia, you need new clothes and I’ve noticed you have a few gray hairs. I couldn’t afford to buy a new one because I had pretty smelling soap to buy. So I decided to make rice on the stove top. I felt so lied to with the rice cooker. That whole first year of my marriage, I thought I needed it to survive the obstacle course of pleasing-Brandon-with-food-land. You don’t need a rice cooker is my humble opinion. My rice cooker said: add 2 parts water to 1 part rice and press “on”. Since it broke, I’ve been adding 2 parts water to 1 part rice to a pan and turning the stove top to “medium”. Takes about the same time, and turns out just as good.
I don’t think it’s the cooker, I think it’s the rice you use. I have a thing for good rice, none of this minute rice c!@#$ (this is a mannerly blog, after all). I always used Jasmine, but then I discovered Basmati. Jasmine is your wonderful, sticky, gooey, great-with-Thai-and-Indian-food staple; but Basmati is amazingly nutty and as Ina Garten would say, you can really “turn up the volume” with Basmati. Plus, “Eat This Not That” says this about Basmati: “Basmati has a milder effect on blood sugar than other white rice.” So it’s healthy, right? *wink* Wrong. Ashley C. says, “I am racist against all white food.” And she’s in great shape so there’s some merit in that.
I learned how to cook rice from that science guy on FoodNetwork. Try his method, it’s amazing:
Turn stove top to medium heat
Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a pan
Add 1 cup of Basmati rice and stir until all the rice is covered in butter
Keep stirring until you start to smell the Basmati nuttiness and you notice an ever so slight change in color
Carefully add 2 cups of very hot water from the tap but add slowly and step away so you don’t get burned from the steam that shoots up
Let it simmer on medium until all the water is absorbed
Now the fun part, “turn up the volume” by adding freshly cut herbs of your choice. I used chives and cilantro because that’s all I had but I’m sure there are better herbs to add.
Fluff with fork and serve. You’ll never use a rice cooker again.
At this point, readers are like, “well, duh, it’s just rice.” But to me, rice is a big deal. I always ruined it and it was in using the rice cooker for a year that now I know what it was trying to tell me all along about rice: right amount of water and time.


Raquel said...

Rice is good when its done right, otherwise its very bad. Minute Rice is a naughty word in my kitchen, and the rices there know of no such evil and less healthy cousin.
I still love my rice cooker, I'm dating a man with Japanese blood - what can I say?

Alicia said...

Ask Mark what I should do about rice. Ask him if 1) I need a rice cooker and if so what kind he recommends and 2) what varieties of rice are healthy and tasty. I only know 3 kinds of rice: minute rice, jasmine and basmati now. But I know there's tons of varities. I mostly like the white, sticky kind but if there's better ones out there that are healthy but still really tasty, let me know!

Lindsay, Shaun, and Enoch Weldon said...

HOMAI Rice--which can be purchased in bulk at Costco (in 10lb or 25lb bags)is the staple rice in our home. The Koreans I met and lived with (while I think this rice is a has a Japanese branding--but is made in CALIFORNIA) on my mission, were really picky about their rice and this is the one they liked. Make sure your washing/rinsing your rice. Swish water in the pan with the rice, then drain it out and repeat. Technically, it you should be done when the water is clear insead of cloudy white. It gets ride of the extra starch and gives you the ideal grain of rice after it's cooked.
I grew up with my dad teaching me how to make rice on the stove. We never measured anything out...we just filled the pot up until on finger knuckle's depth of water covered the rice. TO COOK--In all it would take 20 minutes from the momenet the pot was put on the stove, so, start the timer. Then I was told to put the rice on high (covered always!!) until it boiled, then turn the heat down to VERY low until the timer went off. Perfect rice.
Now, when I got married, my Japanese mother in-law bought us a rice cooker at a Japanse grocery store in Seattle. It's a Zojirushi Model NS-MYC10. We love it. It's so much easier for me to forget about the rice and focus on what's being served with it.
Alicia, I'm happy to hear your more interested in cooking! Good for you. It will be fun teaching Gloria those basic life skills someday.
(Hysssss... to Minute Rice.)

Alicia said...

At Costco, where do you see the Homai rice? What color is the bag? I need a visual aid.

love.boxes said...

I love and use Basmati as well, but I love Lundberg short brown rice ... It always turns out and is brown rice, but also soft and fluffy and with a little extra water.. makes a pretty good sticky. :)

Jason and Shalise Staples said...

I love my rice cooker too! It makes the best rice and is way easy. I don't know about healthy, but my fav is jasmin rice.

Jacquelyn Sherry said...

You know what? I had a similar experience with rice recently. My first Korean roommate had a nice rice cooker that she let me use, and it seemed to be perfect every time, but then I started using a lame rice-cooker after she moved out(I should have known it was no good if even my friend Yujin stopped using it in favor of a pressure-cooker) and I got so sick of it not being moist enough or of cleaning off all the rice that was stuck to the pan. So then I went back to cooking it on the stove. I always used to ruin it on the stove, but I discovered that if I just watch it (even though you're not supposed to lift the lid because that let's steam escape) then you can take it off the heat when it's perfect...and it's never dry that way. It was kind of a 'duh' moment. Point of that overly long story is that I no longer use a rice cooker either, and I'm a huge fan of the brown jasmine.