The Brown Rice Make Over
Growing up, Uncle Ben’s white rice was a staple at our dinner table. It was prepared, as directed, with salt and butter (of which I am sure my mother added extra). On top of our white, fluffy rice we ladled meat drippings or gravy until every grain of rice literally swam in a sea of cholesterol. Ignorance was not only bliss, it was tasty too!
When I grew up and started a family of my own, I continued to follow in my mother’s footsteps—minus the extra salt and butter. Well, then it happened. I became nutritionally educated. So the formerly enjoyed white rice had to be shelved in lieu of a much more nutritionally powerful option, one that wouldn’t make my family’s blood sugar spike. Hello, brown rice.
I know what you’re thinking. Brown rice; ho hum. My original thoughts exactly! At first I treated it like white rice and tried to cover it up with gravy. But that didn’t sit well with my new nutritional conscience. So I decided that if this healthy grain was ever going to be a welcomed guest at my dinner table, I’d have to give it a makeover.
Here are two of the ways I found to “dress up” this powerhouse of a carbohydrate:
Thai Style Brown Rice
Prepare 1 cup of dry brown rice as directed (with a bit of salt). Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 cup of chopped, fresh cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Cuban Style Brown Rice and “Gravy”
Prepare 1 cup of dry brown rice as directed (no salt added). Separately prepare Cuban black bean “gravy”.
Begin by sautéing 1 minced shallot and 1 minced clove of garlic in 1 tablespoon of EVOO until translucent. Add one 14 oz can of black beans (with all the ‘sauce’), and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Cook through and simmer on low, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Finish by adding some S&P to taste.
I find the Thai-style brown rice pairs well with fish and poultry, while the Cuban style rice and beans tastes best with pork.