I was skype-ing with my daughter, M. this morning when she skipped into the kitchen to show me the dish that had just finished cooking in the rice cooker. To my astonishment, she spooned out what can only be called a melange of rices (arborio, minnesota wild rice, sweet brown rice, Japanese medium grain rice). She then proceeded to tell me, between mouthfuls of rice, that she had not eaten meat, dairy or eggs for the last four weeks, nourished mostly by grains, vegetables and a few treats (like sugarless reese’s peanut butter cups) that she had made herself.
Since she also goes to school, she sometimes presses the rice into the palm of her hand, adds fresh edamame (soybeans) and sometimes wraps the rice balls in nori (seaweed sheets) and brings them for lunch or mid-afternoon snack. By this time, I had mentally scuttled my plans for dinner tonight. I had a cornish hen in the fridge that I usually cut in half, make a little herb bread dressing and then roast the halves on the dressing, basting the hens with melted orange marmalade. This is after I’ve browned the cornish hen halves in a little olive oil and a pat of butter.
Changing gears, I rummaged around my pantry this afternoon and came up with Chinese sweet sticky rice, brown rice, white rice and some wild rice packets. M. had also said that sometimes she cooks the rices with a bit of shoyu and fresh cut up button mushrooms. So my first experiment with this was to combine the three rices with the wild rice packet including seasonings. Then, I cleaned six button mushrooms, sliced them in chunks and plopped them into the rice mixture along with spring water, scantly twice the amount of the combined rice in the rice cooker.
I looked at the cornish hen, rinsed it in cold water, dried it and then cut it into small pieces–legs, wings, and split the breast. Then I marinated it in a small amount of Korean Bulgagi barbecue sauce, sliced green onion and fresh ginger root for about an hour. Broiled the pieces with a quick brush of honey to crisp the skin.
The rest of the meal consisted of cucumber salad, the tiny crisp cucumbers quarter sliced, then dressed with a small mix of Ohsawa unpasteurized soy sauce, Marukan flavored Japanese vinegar and a little sesame oil. I boiled up a handful of edamame beans to serve as garnish on top of the rice when it was served.
This meal was far more interesting and contained a lot less fat than the dinner I had planned earlier (stuffed cornish hen with baked potatoes.) My thanks to M. for her ideas–she looks radiant from her new regimen and is moving toward vegan/macrobiotic eating. I took a macrobiotic cooking class at Kushi Institute years ago when I had a form of viral meningitis and was determined to heal myself with food and Chinese herbs. G. enjoyed the new rice melange with mushrooms and we made up a plate for our tenant who lives downstairs.
With a blizzard forecasting anywhere from a foot to two feet of snow this weekend, I’m already thinking about the best time to make a large pot of beef shin and vegetable soup with fresh cabbage. On Friday before the storm hits, I’ll slow roast a large chicken that was on sale at the grocery store today along with a handful of baked potatoes. If the power goes out, we’ll have food to provide for all who live here. And then some.
Postscript: I’ve found that by starting three rices (brown, sticky and white rice) in the rice cooker using chicken broth earlier than usual, then letting the cooked rice steam in the cooker for an hour or so afterwards produces delicious, chewy, rice that goes well (better!) with just about everything than plain white rice. I cook twice as much as I need because the leftover rice is also tasty the next day with our evening meal.