"I'm not eating carbs right now!"......Oh how this sentence makes me cringe! Probably because I hear an echo of my own voice. It brings me back to the days when I got most of my nutritional information from a 3 minute sound-byte on the News or a some article in an Entertainment magazine. And yet 7 years later I still hear that phrase over and over!
It still makes me a little crazy , but more often then not it just makes me sad and is a reminder of the confusion still going on in this country. Carbs are essential part of a healthy lifestyle....Essential! However...the term "carb" needs a little clarifying. There are "carbs" in all fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans - these of course are the "good carbs". We should nosh on these regularly (as should our children). But the "carbs" in doughnuts, cheetos, Wonderbread, and cheeseburgers (and even white rice) are the ones to be AVOIDED....like the plague for some of us!
And so.....I write this blog as a little shout out to our good friend, the-all-too-often-forgotten-and-sometimes-lumped-in-with-the-bad-carbs.....(drum roll please)....BROWN RICE!
With the new and exciting fanfare surrounding quinoa these days (which is actually as seed), I can't help but feel a little bad for good old brown rice that has stuck it through with us throughout the ages. So in case we've forgotten, here are some of the finer points of brown rice:
It can also been eaten at every meal!.....yes, even breakfast. I love to eat leftover brown rice the same way I would oatmeal - with a little almond milk, stevia, raisins, and chopped fruit. Much like this recipe. Add it to soups, salads and sauces, wraps, pitas, enchiladas, for great flavor and texture. It even makes a great dessert like this one.
So if it's been awhile since you've enjoyed this little gem (and an inexpensive one at that), it's time you enjoyed it's simpleness once again! Below is a list that I found on saveur.com of some different types. When purchasing these, or course make sure they are the whole grain (brown) variety not their nutrient-depleted counterpart (the white stuff)!
(I learned a great tip today - soaking rice for long periods of time before using it allows for germination to take place within the seed. This process activates enzymes in the rice that add even more value to its nutritional profile. I am definitely going to try it this week!)
There are some fun ways to change the flavor of the rice. Instead of water, you could cook the rice in vegetable broth, or a half and half. Coconut milk also adds a great taste. I've also thrown in some lime wedges with the rice as it cooks. Experiment a little and have fun with it!
1. Some Asian producers package a version called quick-cooking brown rice, from which part of the bran has been milled off, cutting cooking time considerably; quick-cooking brands are sold online and at many Asian markets.
2. Widely available in supermarkets, long-grain brown rice, usually of the indica subspecies, requires more water and more time to cook but yields grains with a springy character that's nicely suited to casseroles and other baked dishes.
3. Medium-grain brown rice, usually of the japonica subspecies, tends to be stickier and more tender when cooked than long-grain rice; it's the most common type grown in Spain and is ideal for paellas.
4. Brown basmati rice, grown in South Asia, gets longer, not fatter, when cooked and develops a firm, dry consistency, making it perfect for biryanis and pilafs.
5. Aromatic jasmine rice has the elegant look of long-grain varieties but cooks up moist and tender, like a medium-grain rice; it's available at most Asian markets.
6. Nicknamed baby basmati, tiny kalijira rice grains could almost be mistaken for couscous; sold at Whole Foods markets, they're a fragrant, quick-cooking marvel.
7. Nutty-sweet red rice, also available at Whole Foods, owes its color to a pigment in its bran layers; some types are sweet enough to use in puddings.
8. Ideal for croquettes and risottos, short-grain brown rice, whose grains are barely longer than they are wide, can have an almost creamy texture when cooked.
9. Expensive and hard to find in the States, Japan's haiga-mai is a partially milled rice from which the bran has been removed but not the nutrient-packed germ, or embryo.