Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Recipe: Breakfast Brown Rice with Fruit and Nuts

At your work, do you always start meetings with "whip-arounds?" Probably not.

 If you've never heard of a whip-around (I know, the name is vaguely S&M), it's where someone asks a get-to-know-you type question and then the question "whips" around the table, answered by each person in turn. It's kind of like an ice breaker, except everyone knows each other already, so the ice is long since melted. 

Of course, many of this week's whip-arounds have been about New Year's Resolutions. So when I said that eating "more whole foods" was one of my goals, many "who's-on-first?"ish conversations ensued, when folks thought I said I'd eat "at Whole Foods" instead of  "eat whole foods."

(I'm sure that you've by now developed a mental image of the type of workplace I inhabit. Yes, we are a bunch of lovable nerds.)
THIS.......................................................NOT THIS

Anyhoos, one way to incorporate more whole foods is by bringing them into breakfast. I've never been a fan of brown rice, but cooked with spices, it makes a great hot breakfast cereal.

You can cook the rice on the weekend, refrigerate it, and then serve it up throughout the week.

Many people say they "can't" cook rice, so the idea of cooking up a pot and banking your future breakfasts on it might feel a little daunting.  A few tips:

  • I always set a timer for a few minutes less than recommended. 
  • When you put the pot lid on, very slowly bring the stove top temperature down to low. If you do it too quickly, the water can stop simmering.
  • When the timer goes off, slowly lift the lid of the pot, and see - does the rice have a flat surface with several holes in it? If yes, push some of the rice to the side and see if there is water on the bottom of the pot, underneath the rice. If there is, it's not done. Give it a few more minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.
  •  If some rice burns and sticks to the bottom, don't try to scrape it up and serve it. Just let it die. Gently fluff the rice on top with a fork so you don't get the burned pieces.
I usually get nice fluffy rice when I follow these tips.

Breakfast Brown Rice

Ingredients for the brown rice:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 c. brown rice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom or nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 c. water

To serve:
1/3 c. vanilla soy, hemp, or almond milk or 1/3 c. skim milk
your favorite dried fruits or berries (like apricots, cherries, raisins, or blueberries)
slivered toasted almonds or other nuts that you like

To make rice:
Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Pour in the rice, and the spices, and stir. Cook, stirring, until the grains begin to become opaque and the spices are fragrant - 2-3 minutes. Pour in the water and stir once or twice. Heat water until boiling, then put the lid on the pot and gently lower temperature. Cook for 38-40 minutes before checking for doneness.

If you're not serving right away, refrigerate rice.

To serve:
Put about 2/3 c. of the cooked rice into a bowl and pour in the milk or milk-like beverage. Add the dried fruits. If the rice is coming out of the fridge, microwave for about 1 min. 30 sec. Sprinkle on the nuts after heating.

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