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This past weekend I made a successful batch of jalapeno pepper jelly. It was a blast especially ‘cause I got a chance to shoot the breeze with a friend while we worked our way through the recipe. It was amusing to discover the recipe did not call for a water bath even though we had done the prep for it – proudly prepped – we stood humblized after re-re-re- reading the recipe and realized it did not call for it. But that is not what I am here to talk about this week.
Last night I hadn’t a clue what I was going to make for dinner. My son mentioned beef curry just before I sailed off into my after-work catnap. When I awoke I looked up a recipe to work from. It was called Fragrant Beef Curry with Rice. I thought perfect and headed downstairs to the kitchen to begin. As I browned the cubes of beef I thought about how Julia Child stressed to brown a few at a time on all sides to seal in the juices for her Boeuf Bourgeon. I sliced the onions and minced the garlic as I searched for the spices. Most of them I had on hand. However when I realized the recipe called for chutney and crushed red pepper a bell went off. I was a little nervous about using the jalapeno jelly I had just made but my inner gut cook said it would be perfect. When I saw the recipe called for milk I thought that would be too heavy so replaced it with a can of coconut milk. Then simmered it for two hours.

About a half hour before it was done I got the rice started. The house smelled delightful. When asked how my rice comes out so fluffy I was taken aback. For me rice is one of the simplest things to cook though my memory still serves me and I do recall the sticky pots of goo or the hard rice and tons of water left when I swear I could it for the time they said. So for those of you who are still struggling with how to make perfect rice every time and ponder about getting yet another gadget in the kitchen, in this case, a rice cooker. Ponder no more. Just follow this simple procedure. Ratio is two parts water to one part rice. Bring water to a rolling boil, add rice, boil for about one minute, cover, turn heat down to low. Put timer on for 25 minutes and here is the key – leave it alone. When the timer goes off, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Avoid the temptation to open the lid to stir and see how it is doing. When that is done all the moisture is evaporating. Trust is the key to good rice.

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