May 24, 2008

He: Rice pretty pictures this time. This is just an information post to help clear some nutritional information out of my head. This is just about rice, spurred on by an article that I read earlier today in cook's illustrated that was talking about the best ways to cook brown rice.

Just so that I don't run into any potential issues with Cooks Illustrated getting pissed off that I put up their cooking method on the internet, I won't. The way that I normally cook brown rice is basically the same way that I cook white rice. I usually do a ratio of 1.5:1 of water to rice and steam it until tender (at least 45 minutes). you can get more complicated than that, but for basic rice that works. When you have significantly more rice you need to add more time, but for simplicity's sake I'm just putting up this. Now, you don't have to be limited to just water for cooking your can use just about any liquid under the sun. I have found over the years that you need to be careful not to use any sort of high acid liquids (tomato juice, wine, orange juice, Dr. pepper) to cook your rice because it has a tendency to cause the grains to split down their length. Also, I personally prefer to add salt before cooking, while Brandy prefers to season her rice after cooking (my method is see as the more western technique, her's is the more eastern).

The next big topic that I want to share is nutritional information when dealing with rice. For many years now in assorted cooking circles I've had people blast at me for not having issues with parboiled rice (Uncle Ben's rice). They say that it's basically a white rice, and when white rice is made it's pearled, or tumbled to remove the outer bran and with it goes most of the nutrients. While the glycemic freaks are right that plain white rice isn't all that good for you and will cause a glycemic spike in your system that will cause you to store most of the calories in the rice as fat, Uncle Ben's/parboiled rice isn't quite the same thing. The way that parboiled rice is made is that it's flash steamed while it's still a whole grain (brown rice basically). What happens is that a lot of the nutrients that are in the bran layer actually adhere to the inner white part of the grain, and when this rice is tumbled it doesn't lose all of the nutrients that unsteamed white rice does. True, you will still have a glycemic spike by eating parboiled rice, but at least you will get more nutrients into your system while this happens.

The last thing that you should think about when you are out shopping for rice is, where is your rice coming from? You can get just your basic old Uncle Ben's rice, or Minute rice (if you really want to support Kraft foods and mega-agribusiness) or you can purchase rice from a legitimate American company that grows fantastic rice. The company that I'm imploring you to try is Lundberg Family Farms . All of their rice is grown right here in California...actually I've met some of the people in the company and cooked for all of the growers and they're just fantastic people. They actually produce rices that the world market sees as being the best in the world. If you try nothing else you have to try their short grain brown rice just once. I also wholeheartedly recommend their wild rice's just some really tasty stuff

If you need recipes for what to do with rice let me know and I'll put some up here.

May 17, 2008

He: Coco Cafe Rehersal Dinner

Okay this post is only just barely about food. This is mostly about our rehearsal dinner at this really tasty little spot on Kauai called...yep Coco Cafe.

Without going into all of the reasoning why we picked this one let's just say that it really suited us well, and the price was right (inexpensive..evrything else was going to be $50 + a person...not cool). We loved the open air part of it, we loved the lack of alcohol sold on premise (actually I loved whole family seemed to be against it...that's all they seemed to talk about).

This is one of our best friends Kris, Krumrie to all of his friends and the name that he was introduced to me as. That's his girlfriend Naiomi....the first one that Brandy and I both approve of. The last one is Domo...if you don't know Domo I feel sorry for you ha! ha! Actually look him up, and all of his small furry buddies (they're just some of the many neat little toys that we have in collections here at the house). The other site that sticks out in my head is a designer in L.A. called the monster factory...or something like that?

At some point later on I'm sure that Brandy will put up some more pictures of Domo's fabulous Hawaiian vacation. The shots are just hilarious. But I digress....

That's some more of the family. The one with the camera is Amber...and the one that looks a little too white is Brandy's mom (it's just the flash...she has a fabulous tan).

Brandy has the great idea to get a bunch of disposable cameras and give them out to everyone to take pictures of the wedding, and the reception and whatever else. on the packaging for the cameras we taped on a message to give them back to us at the end of the reception. Brandy's family latched onto this idea and went nuts. We gave 'em 5 cameras and they filled 8 or 9...along with a ton of shots on their own digital cameras. Can't say the same thing happened with my family...they didn't like the cameras...couldn't figure out how to use them....blah blah blah. I don't know what the deal was, but it was really disappointing. I guess I've lazily protested it all by not talking to any of them since we got back. I will, I'm just bad about communicating...and talking to most of them is just dysfunctional and painful.

Okay so I have no idea how any of this has anything to do with food...but I don't care. If you don't like it...tough.....I will post more important things in other posts. This post is just for us.

She: Noodles in Kauai

Hamura Saimin Stand in Lihue was one of the best things about chowing down in Hawaii. I lived overseas in Asia growing up, and in my school we didn't have tater tots and chocolate pudding--we had noodles and fried rice. And lord do I miss the noodles. We have lots of vietnamese restaurants here in sacto, but I don't think any of them make their own noodles...there's a zang to the yellow noodles that is lacking, and the consistancy is wrong. Well, Hamua's had fresh noodles, and I practically turned into a puddle slurping them down.

Another fabulous treat while we were there, only served once or twice a week, were the pork filled rice buns. Buck fifty a peice for a softball sized bun-o-heaven. We ate there a day before we were married, and came back the day after for more! Now, I have to say, I rarely put in much effort to the photos on this is "work" and I try to keep this blog casual and fun, which means to serious lighting or equipment. The photo I have here shows an exception to the rule--we took Domo with us everywhere on our Hawaiian wedding trip and he hung out for all the snapshots. Domo rocked the noodle shop (snicker). Everyone talked about the lilikoi (passionfruit) pie they had, but I thought it was sooo light I couldn't hardly taste any passionfruit, let alone zippy tartness, so that was a disappointment. BUT, the overall experience was great, and at 4.25 per noodle bowl, an absolute steal and trip (for me) down memory lane. If you aren't sure if you'd had great noodles, ah, buy a plane ticket to Kauai and try these guys out!

May 15, 2008

She: (mini) Lemon Cupcakes

So, stress baking begins again. I am in the midst of grading portfolios. I gotta say, english teachers can complain about essays all they want--at least they can fit it into one bag! Sigh. Anyways. I made some cupcakes for one of my classes, a classic lemon cake. Usually I fill it with lemon custard, but I didn't have the time, and I was using my new cute mini cupcake pan! Hurrah! Isn't the size just cute? I think I like them better than regular sizes. Fit into your mouth in two bites.

Well, here's what you'll need:

8oz flour, 2.5 tbs corn starch, 2.5 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt, 7oz sugar, 3 oz butter, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, zest of 2 lemons and 8oz milk.

This goes a little differently than normal. First mix wet (except milk, use creaming method) then add dry (except flour). The creaming method, btw, is when you mix the butter til creamy, then add sugar, then egg, etc. After all this is mixed (including zest, yes?) then you alternate adding milk and flour. Bake at 350. If mini cups, 15 mts. If normal cups, 19 mts.

For the icing: cream 4 oz butter with 4 oz cream cheese, then add 1 lemon juice and about 3 cups powder sugar. Voila!

May 12, 2008

She: Absentee

So, we haven't posted in a while, and in particular I haven't posted in even longer...with good reason. We got married! I can assure you that I had very good reason to ignore the blog. First there was the planning, then the pre-emptive push with my classes for while I was gone. THEN we got married, and then its been catch-up for all the things I couldn't preschedule. But we are back. Its exam weeks now, but I assure you I will be adding posts about some of the interesting food we had while in Hawaii, and some of my stress-baking I did in the weeks prior to the big shebang. But for now, I come almost directly from William Sanoma...

Since its exams week, and photo classes use part of that time in critique, I try to bake stuff for my students. As much as I love cupcakes though, with 100+ students, its too much work. So I bought a mini cupcake pan! I love it when I can buy things with the excuse that I need something for work. I'm not fooling my wallet at all, but it's still fun.

However, that isn't why I'm posting. I'm posting because I think I saw the most ridiculous device ever. The "Peanut Butter & Jelly Spreader". It is a knife. One side is for peanut butter and one for jelly. They are color coded ends, so there is no unwanted mixing of peanut butter and jelly. :| This costs 10 bucks with tax! I KNOW there are some things there we don't need but are great toys: premade pancake mixes, once-a-year overpriced cookie cutters, but a special peanut butter sandwich knife? COOOOOOME OOOOON! If mixing is such an issue, use two knifes, but don't waste money on this!