All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Better Brown Rice

I just came across the article "Better Brown Rice" in the September issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and was intrigued - their food editors say to ignore the cooking instructions found on most brown rice packages and use less water and cook it for a shorter period of time, yielding "fluffy, nutty-flavored grains that hold up well in the refrigerator or freezer."  I can never seem to get my brown rice to turn out right - I usually end up burning it or end up with a mushy mess.  And, because of my dilemma, I was considering purchasing a rice maker, even though I hated the thought of adding another appliance to my cupboard.  So, I thought it was certainly worth giving this method a try.  And it was definitely worth it!!  It resulted in almost a totally different product!  I'm eager to try this with fried rice and several other salad recipes using cooked rice.  Hooray!

1 c. long-grain brown rice
1 1/4 c. water (1 1/2 c. if using short-grain rice)*
1/4 t. sea salt

Bring rice, water and salt to a boil in a wide, shallow pot with a tight-fitting lid.  Cover and reduce to a slow, steady simmer.  30 minutes should be plenty. 

After 30 minutes, remove from heat and let the cooked rice sit for 10 minutes, covered, to absorb maximum moisture.  Remove the lid, and fluff the grains with a fork.

Yields about 2 1/2 c.

*Note - I found that I preferred using 1 1/2 c. water even when using long-grain brown rice.  Also, you may wish to add more salt, depending on how you will be serving the rice.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fort Hunter Day 2012

I had another enjoyable day at Fort Hunter Day this year,

demonstrating hand quilting,

hand applique, and yo yo's (gotta love those yo yo's!).

It was so much less work than last year or the year before - all I had to do was load up a few things and enjoy a day of stitching and interacting with the guests!  I also had the chance to pop in to see the quilt display over at the Centennial barn.  The African American Quilters Gathering of Harrisburg, a newly formed quilt guild, put together an amazing display of their quilts - I had never seen or experienced anything like it.  So much energy and life eminated from their quilts!!  It was fun meeting and chatting with some of their members.

It was a beautiful day,

 and a wonderful setting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This is what happens....

... when you wait too long to pick your eggplant!  I'm ashamed to even admit it - I had two beautiful, glossy purple eggplants hanging from my plant, but I kept procrastinating picking them because I just didn't know how I wanted to prepare them.  I know they're best eaten immediately after harvesting, so I didn't want to pick them until I was ready to cook them.  I had tried cooking eggplant a few years ago, and wasn't impressed, but since them I have collected a number of yummy-sounding recipes.  So, even though I was determined to find a better way to prepare this gorgeous produce, I just didn't have the time or mental energy to tackle it.  Then, the plant blew over in a rainstorm and ended up being hidden by a huge bunch of  kale; I basically forgot about it until the other evening when I was cleaning up the garden.

Since I had been so irresponsible in letting these precious vegetables get this mature, I decided I would eat them anyway as pennance.  I remembered an Italian co-worker telling me that mature eggplants are fine to use as long as you peel them.  So, I selected one of the eggplants, held my breath and cut it open, expecting it to be brown and nasty-looking inside. 

It wasn't!  In fact, it looked just fine to me (but what would I know?!).  I proceeded - I peeled it, cut it into cubes, tossed it in olive oil and and roasted it (my favorite way to cook any vegetable these days).

I was very pleasantly suprised to find that not only was it edible, it was delicious!!  (No pennance whatsoever!)  The texture was perfect, and it wasn't even bitter!  (I'm sure the roasting helped to sweeten any bitterness.)  I was so, so pleased!  I simply tossed it with some fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, a roasted red pepper and some wonderful sweet balsamic viniagrette.  (This basically ended up being a simple version of one of recipes I had collected.)  You can view my recipe (if that's what you call it!) here.