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Flavorful Grains - The Secret is Out!

I have been getting a lot of requests to publish my secret to great tasting grains. Whether you are cooking rice, millet, quinoa (actually a seed that prepared like a grain) or amaranth the key to aromatic, flavorful dishes is -brining and dry roasting. Brining is simply soaking in salted water.

NOTE: this method also works well with beans, legumes and pulses.

Because this takes a little time dedication, make a large batch. This process is worth every minute. While I mention rice in the instructions, you may substitute the grain of your choice.

Rice and other grains go a long way in a meal and as a meal. Be sure to prep enough rice for a few meals worth of rice. DON'T MISS my meal suggestions, below under Batch Cooking.

I like to use aromatic rice such as brown or white jasmine or basmati. This method enhances the delicious richness and "nuttiness" in both types of rice.


Soaking and Brining

-Add 1 to 3 cups of rice into a bowl that will allow room

for enogh water to completely cover the rice

-Add water and 1 to 2 tsp. Of sea salt

--Stir and cover tightly

-Cover and soak for 4-24 hours.

-If soaking for more than 4 hours, refrigerate the mixture

Draining and Drying

About 2 hours before you begin to cook the rice, drain in a colander and rinse thoroughly

After the rice has drained for 10-20 minutes lay it out on a clean cloth or dishtowel for 1-2 hours

Dry Roasting

Heat the appropriate size pot or a skillet on medium heat. I recommend using a non-coated pan

DO NOT add any oil or butter to allow for roasting

Add rice and let warm

Stir often to allow the rice to dry roast

If rice seems to be roasting too fast lower heat a bit

While the rice is dry roasting, fill a pot or kettle with the amount of water needed in the cooking directions.

Warm the water a bit

After rice has roasted for approximately 10 minutes, remove from heat and slowly add warmed water

Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt

Bring to a boil, lower heat until rice is simmering, cover tightly

NOTE: cooking time may be about five minutes less than package recommendations

When rice is cooked, turn off heat, fluff with a fork

Serving Suggestions

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter

Add sautéed onions, shallots or garlic

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Add fresh chopped basil, parsley, rosemary or sage

Or all of the above

Batch Cooking

I mentioned doing this. If you make enough for 2-4 meals you will have a great meal or side dish.

Here's why this is a great idea:

1-It's healthy

2-It's inexpensive

3-It's a time saver

REMEMBER: Adjust all to your taste and HAVE FUN! Cooking does not have to be stressful. And you can always resort to microwaving to reheat.

As a Meal or A Side Dish

Option 1-On the day you are cooking your rice, make a batch of sautéed leeks, onions, shallots, garlic or a combination in high quality olive oil and store in the refrigerator. To the mixture add salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 to 1 tsp of dried herbs (my favorite combination is rosemary, sage and thyme).

When you come home from a busy day grab your rice and sautéed mixture out to the fridge and warm in a pan with some fresh or frozen (time saver) spinach or peas and and/or a can drained chick peas. NOTE: be sure to run warm water over the frozen spinach and pat dry with a paper towel so your rice mixture is not too watery.

Option 2- After warming the rice and your sautéed mixture add some homemade or store-bought pulled chicken and a freshly cooked or frozen vegetable of your choice

Option 3-After warming your rice and sautéed mixture, add some frozen edamame' or seasoned, baked cubed tofu and your favorite vegetable.

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