So you hear a lot about brown rice being so much healthier than white rice. And I don’t dispute that. However, if you can’t cook a healthier food so it is palatable, what good is it? That was my dilemma with brown rice. My family didn’t like how it turned out and neither did I.
So I decided to investigate a better way. The first solution I came across was to sauté the uncooked rice with an egg until dry before cooking. This turned out well enough to try again. But I also wanted to keep looking to see if there was an easier way than having to include the egg.
One method said that to improve the brown rice texture you should presoak the rice for 7 hours in an acid base. Another method I came across was “Perfect Brown Rice” posted on the Saveur website. Since I didn’t have time to soak my rice for that evening’s meal, I went ahead and just used Saveur’s recipe. Based on what I had read on this blog, I cut the water down from 12 cups to 6 or 8 cups. (I figured I would go in between the two sets of instructions.) It turned out with a decent texture.
Tonight, since I actually planned ahead, I soaked 1 cup brown rice in 2-1/4 cups water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice for 7 hours. I then drained and cooked it using the Saveur method. I will have to experiment with the boiling time after soaking because I think the rice was a little bit soggier than my first attempt in which the rice was not soaked. But it still turned out very useable. Next time, in addition to experimenting with the boiling time, I want to use chicken stock instead of water.
I am encouraged that with these new soaking and cooking methods I can come up with brown rice that my family pronounces edible.
PS. I read somewhere that you should never use brown rice in stir fry. Well, I have made at least 3 batches with brown rice and they have all tasted just fine.
This week has been interesting. I have felt really good and have gotten a bunch of things accomplished.
I just wanted to pass on an easy chili recipe that has tasted really good the last few times.
Heat thoroughly. Serve with cornbread and raw vegis or a salad.
(The cornbread baked in my new cast iron pan turned out awesome!)
We all want to live up to our potential, right? Without understanding the processes we undertake, we limit our potential. The rules are important but to truly apply the rules we need to understand the workings of that process. It is amazing to me how many areas of my life in which this principle is apparent. From my cooking to schooling to my Christian walk, all these areas shout to me the importance of true understanding.
Using is not always understanding. My mom has made sourdough pancakes since I can remember. And I have made them since I’ve been on my own. But that is all I ever did with my sourdough starter. And even there, all I knew was that I took the starter out of the fridge the night before, put milk and flour in it, and let it sit overnight. Then the next morning I was to take a portion of the starter out to put back in the fridge and continue on making the pancakes. I didn’t know that sourdough is actually alive and putting it in the fridge puts it into a dormant state. So taking it out of the fridge just wakes it up so I can use it. It is adding the flour and milk (or water) that feeds those little critters and makes the starter grow.
I wanted to try sourdough bread but was always afraid I would ruin my starter somehow. All because I did not understand how it worked. So I never ventured out past pancakes . . . until recently. I found a book that had a recipe for bread that started out the same as the pancakes. This led me to investigate sourdough further. Wow! Was I missing a lot. What is sourdough? How does it work? How do you know it is weak or strong? You get the picture. What does this understanding do for me? It makes it so I can experiment with replacing the leavening in my other recipes with sourdough. It makes it so I can experiment with different rates of feeding and different amounts of flour and water to see what keeps my starter the healthiest. It makes it so I can leave my starter on the counter and use it day to day for muffins, biscuits, bread or even pizza dough.
Does understanding the process negate the need for the recipes? Definitely not! But without the understanding of how sourdough worked, I was locked into a box fearing to venture out lest I ruin my starter which I received from my mother, who has had hers for over 40 years. Thus my potential of using this nutrient-rich food was greatly diminished without truly understanding the process.
But not only does the importance of understanding present itself in my kitchen. It shows up in my homeschooling as well. The first area it manifested itself was in math class. Using math in real life is more easily accomplished when you truly understand how the formulas work. You can go through your math classes clicking through the math facts and working all the right steps of the formulas. You can even get the right answers. But a student can do all those things and still be unable to explain the process. Understanding is crucial to being able to use math where it really matters – the real world. There is no way you are going to be able to take a real life situation and apply the correct formula to it if you do not understand what the formula is all about. So knowing your math facts and formulas is very important. But if you cannot identify which formula applies to which situation, the rote information is pretty useless in helping you find your solution. Thus both elements are important.
The attitude that all we need to know are the facts and formulas can permeate into our Christian life as well. We can have our checklists and formulas for being the perfect Christian that we are continually striving to meet. But is that what Christianity really is? Do we really live in the fullness God has for us if we are just walking a facts and figures path? Do we truly understand that God wants a relationship with us and that our righteousness is not won through any of our checklists being completed? Is it important that we follow the rules as a Christian? Yes, it is. James 2 clearly states that faith without works is dead. However, we follow the rules because of our love for God not because it earns us our salvation. And it isn’t even a following of the rules. As we live in relationship with Christ being led by the Holy Spirit, we automatically do the deeds that fulfill the Law because they are what please God.
So just knowing the rules or the formulas isn’t enough although they are important. Whether I am cooking, learning, or living my Christian life, only through true understanding of the process can I be free from a life of rigidity and become open to the possibility of venturing into heights and depths unknown.
Well, my days on the TOS Homeschool Crew are officially over. Thank you to those of you who followed me on this journey. It was an interesting time for me and it may take a while to realize the lessons gained. It is a bittersweet parting. I do know that it will be good to get back to concentrating on other aspects of life. The Crew took a lot more time and energy than I anticipated. But I am also walking away from a journey that is continuing. And that is hard to do.
So where do I go from here? I’m not sure. I hope to continue to blog at least once a week although I am not sure on what subject matter. I did learn from being on the Crew that I only like to write on things about which I am passionate. So it might be a little bit about school products I am really liking, methods that are really working, or topics that I have been cogitating on for a while. We will just have to see what happens.
To those of you who will be disembarking at this point, thank you for reading. I wouldn’t mind hearing if anything I’ve posted has been helpful. For those of you who will continue on with me, hopefully something I post will be a blessing or at least helpful.