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Rice is nicer when you dress it up

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rice is nicer when you dress it up

This is my kind of meal: broiled, steamed, grilled fish of any sort but especially salmon served with sugar snap peas over a mound of rice. What's not to like?

In fact, it's the subject of Wednesday's food get-together in the Sun Herald, rice and some things to serve over it. Be sure to check it out.

But you needn't worry about getting creative in the cooking process if you have others to feed besides yourself. You can do it after the rice is cooked, even do it serving by serving.

While the rice -- and we do mean any kind, from long-grain white to short-grain brown and every other shape, flavor or color you can think of -- is still steaming at the end of the cooking process, stir in one or more of the following "dress up" add-ins. Some of the following are from Recipes to Go, some are just common sense.

-- Scallions, raw or sauteed.

-- Fresh chopped herbs of any flavor, particularly one that compliments whatever you're serving with the rice, say, cumin if you're piling it on beside barbecue.

-- Any and every sort of curry powder, though this really is better cooked in.

-- Golden raisins.

-- Toasted nuts of any kind.

-- Grated citrus zest, and do get one of those long plane graters; so far superior to box graters, I couldn't believe it till I caved and bought one.

-- Parmesan cheese.

-- Even finely minced fruits or veggies, such as summer squash or apple.

Knock yourself out with whatever rice you like. You may even do what I do occasionally and just heat leftover rice in a bit of butter to which you've added minced onion and a clove or two of minced or pressed garlic. Stir some Boca crumbles or similar soy "faux meat" into the skillet to soak up the flavors and be warmed and browned, then stir in the leftover rice, heat it all up and enjoy, with or without chopsticks.

Personally, I tend to fling food across the table when I try to use them, but I'm learning.

Recipe Doctor photo from MCT