Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Saturday, December 11, 2004

"brown basmati" rice & how to cook it without a recipe, a bit of most every green or white vegetable I have, a couple raw Minnesota carrots  

new rice

I have been out of the rice scene all millennium. I had assumed most programers had been as careless as I so I bought a 50 pound bag of rice and my girlfriend and I rented a bunch of movies. Waited for the world to end watching FLETCH at her dad's lake home. Been eating rice ever since. Luckily, it's excellent rice; I will be sad to see it gone.

I began to purchase rice again just a couple months ago. First a box of Uncle Ben's boil-in-the-bag. Upon hearing I was eating something cooked in a plastic, my kind master Jen struck me with a cane until the back of my shirt was bloody threads. This put me back on the right path after my misstart.

Yesterday, I noticed that at some point in time over the last 5 years, the "Basmati rice" bin at the co-op had been re-labled "white Basmati rice" so as to differentiate it from the new "brown Basmati rice". My only reader who regularly gives feedback, Beth from Ohio, noted that my recipe for split-pea soup is unhelpful to her as it contains a line reading "2-3 x as much water as beans". I am thinking perhaps an easy book to write would be "How to cook without recipes". It seems a book that would perhaps be more often purchased than read, but if it helps some people and one of them is me, it would be a successful book in my book. Here is the type of thing my book may contain,

How to cook any kind of rice

When cooked, rice fluffs up to twice it's dry volume, so decide how much cooked rice you want to make and measure out half that volume of dry rice. Then measure out an equal amount of water. Look at how much water there is and add 10% more water. Bring that water to a boil. Salt the water to taste if desired, add enough butter or oil to create a sparse film on the surface of the water. Add rice. Don't stir it! Put a cover on it. Allow water to return to a boil, then reduce heat so the water is just barely simmering. Cook, covered, until it seems like there is just a tiny bit of liquid moisture left boiling at the bottom. DON'T STIR IT! Just sample a few grains with a fork - if you have a quick cooking rice, it may be done when the water is just gone. If it's not done and the bottom is almost dry, add some more water a tiny tiny bit at a time and continue cooking, covered. If it almost seems done, but has more than a tiny bit of water in the bottom, do not add more water, but continue cooking uncovered. It may take up to 20 more minutes of cooking and watching, but eventually your rice will be done. Let it sit uncovered for a couple minutes. You may want it uncovered on the heat if there is still detectable water in the bottom, otherwise, just let it steam a bit off the heat.

The sample recipes would be filler. The bulk of the book would be exercises to demystify troublesome lines such as "until it seems like there is just a tiny bit of liquid moisture left at the bottom" - judgment calls like that just need experience from experimentation. I suppose it doesn't occur to some people to pay attention to how the steam sounds, whether it feels like the center of gravity changes when tilting the pot ... etc. They need my book!

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