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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Cooking, & Recipes #72

Updated on February 19, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

Will She Survive?

If you read my friend BillyBuc's weekly article "The Writer's Mailbag" you are aware that in the Pacific Northwest we have experienced not only an unseasonably cold winter weather event, but a significant snowfall that crippled our area, canceling concerts, closing schools, shutting down roads and leaving grocery and hardware store shelves empty. However, we were pre-warned. In the 24 hours prior to the beginning of the storm, there was not a sack of de-icing salt or a loaf of bread to be found.

Despite the inconvenience, I must admit that it was beautiful.

Twilight on the path to the forest
Twilight on the path to the forest
the glow of a single streetlamp
the glow of a single streetlamp

My family had plenty of food; we were safely tucked within our home, we were warm and cozy with not a worry. But in the middle of the night on Day #3, I awoke with the frightened thought "what has become of my rosemary?"

I have a rosemary bush and she is more than a mere potted plant. This rosemary is massive, about 3 feet in height and 5 to 6 feet in width. She puts on an amazing floral display in the spring, and throughout the year provides fresh piney-leaves for soup and focaccia, homemade shortbread, and Tuscan salad. Thick older stems are stripped bare and used as skewers for summer grilled kebabs. And, she sits next to the grave site of my kitty, a quiet corner that, when all else fails, will always be weeded and lovingly tended by me.

But rosemary is a Mediterranean plant. She isn't accustomed to icy blasts and thick blankets of heavy snow. What will happen to her? In the spring will she still reward me with dazzling blue flowers? Will her branches continue to have supple fragrant leaves, or will they turn black, wither and die?

In the grand scheme of things, I know this is trivial. Nevertheless, I'm anxious to see what will come.

But That's Not Why You're Here

You want to talk about food. I'm happy that you are here today. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

How to Make Brown Rice More Popular in My Home

Please, Linda, help on making good-for-you brown rice as easy and tasty as white. We do corn and we do potatoes. But truth be told that is when mom is working ;-) we do have fun here.

Eric, I'm glad that you want to move away from your daily ration of white rice and introduce more whole grains into your diet. Personally, I prefer brown rice over white. Yes, it takes longer to cook, and if you like the texture of Asian sticky rice, brown will leave you somewhat disappointed. But it has such great flavor and is so good for you (it has six times the fiber of white rice).

Here's how to cook brown rice:

First, ignore the instructions on the bag or box of rice and unplug the rice cooker. This method will ensure separate grains that are not overcooked and turned to mush. You will need:

  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 12 cups of water
  • salt to taste
  • strainer or mesh colander
  • large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid

Place rice in the strainer and rinse for 30 seconds under cold running water. Meanwhile, bring 12 cups of water to boil in the large saucepan. Add the rice, stir once, and allow to boil uncovered for 30 minutes.

Pour into a strainer set in the sink; allow to drain thoroughly, and then return to the hot saucepan. Cover the pot and allow to stand off heat for 10 minutes. (This will steam the rice). Fluff with a fork, season to taste with salt, and serve.

And, here is a Carb Diva recipe that uses brown rice:

Healthy Brown Rice Salad with Turkey and Mango

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup of cooked turkey breast, diced (you could substitute chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons green onion (scallion), minced
  • 1 medium mango, peeled, pitted and diced (about 1 cup prepared)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar, (or other mild vinegar such as apple cider or rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour cooked rice into a large bowl.
  2. Dice the turkey, mince the scallions, prepare and finely dice the mango. Place each of these in the large bowl with the brown rice.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic. Add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over the brown rice/turkey mixture. Toss gently.
  4. If making ahead, cover and store in the refrigerator up to one day.
  5. Just before serving stir in the cashews. Top with cheese if desired. I like Gorgonzola, but another salty-crumbly cheese (such as feta) could be used.

With the change of just a few ingredients, this salad could take on a totally different taste and appearance.

  • Instead of mango, cashews, and Gorgonzola, you might try sun-dried tomatoes, briny black olives, and shaved pecorino Romano cheese.
  • Or some fresh tomato, cucumber, garbanzo beans, and feta cheese.
  • Instead of turkey or chicken use some ham and replace the mango, cashews, and Gorgonzola with fresh or frozen peas, walnuts, and Swiss.
  • In place of the turkey use tofu and swap out the mango, cashews, and cheese for red bell pepper, water chestnuts, almonds and a splash of soy sauce.

Eric, you have inspired me. I'm working on an article on whole grains—barley, brown rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa, maybe even farro. Stay tuned!

P.S. Rinita provided this additional information on brown rice:

About brown rice, my natural health practitioner says that although brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, there are always chances (even in the organic version) the brown rice would contain traces of arsenic. Hence, he recommends to have limited amounts, and to avoid consuming every day. Also, in my experience, I found that soaking raw brown rice in water for 1 hour speeds up the cooking time.

Quiche for One?

I recently posted an article on how to make the perfect quiche. That prompted this question.

Hi Linda. I love quiches, but don't make them often. Since both of my daughters are watching their weight and my husband doesn't like them, I don't make them, but I miss them. Thanks for all of the information, it is making me even hungrier for them.

Blessings to you. Rachel Alba

Source

Rachel, there is a solution to your dilemma. You can not only create a quiche-for-one but make one that is, if not guilt-free, at least low-guilt. I found a really good adaptable recipe for a crustless quiche for one at Foodie Baker. Her measurements are in the metric system. I have translated them to the U.S. customary units of cups and teaspoons/tablespoons.

Ingredients for Filling

  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • ¼ small onion, peeled and finely diced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 large (or 4 medium) fresh button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup vegetables, finely diced (spinach, bell pepper, steamed broccoli, or crisp-cooked asparagus are suggestions)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for Custard

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried herbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheese

Equipment and Other Ingredients Needed

  • a small amount of butter for greasing dish (or non-stick cooking spray)
  • 12-ounce ramekin or shallow baking dish that will hold 1 1/2 cups liquid
  • baking sheet
  • medium-size saute pan
  • slotted spoon
  • wire whisk
  • small bowl

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease ramekin or baking dish and set aside.
  3. Heat saute pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ramekin.
  4. Drain remaining bacon grease from the pan until only about 1/2 tablespoon remains.
  5. Add the onion to the pan and cook until it is soft. Next, stir in the mushrooms and vegetables. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mushrooms are browned and have shrunk in size and the vegetables are soft. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the ramekin.
  7. To make the custard, whisk together the cream, egg, herbs, salt, black pepper and cheese in a small bowl. Pour the mixture into the ramekin.
  8. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the quiche is almost set. The center will jiggle slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes.

Makes one amazing serving

Source

Here's a soup recipe that's easy-peasy but full of rich flavor. A perfect bowl of comfort for these cold wintry evenings.

Ingredients

  • 2 15-ounce cans white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour into large stock pot and simmer over low heat until heated through.

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

If you like this series, you'll love this! Consider it my gift to you.

Source

I hope that we can continue share in this food journey together. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address: lindalum52@gmail.com.

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2019 Linda Lum

Comments

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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      RInita, thank you for the advice on brown rice. You have made a valuable contribution to this article, and I will incorporate that in the narrative.

      I'm glad you appreciate the humor involved in using every letter of the alphabet. "Unbelievable" could have positive or negative connotations, right?

      Thanks for stopping by; have a wonderful week.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      4 weeks ago

      I hope the rosemary survives. It is always hard for foreign plants to get into gear, I guess.

      About brown rice, my natural health practitioner says that although brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, there are always chances (even in the organic version) the brown rice would contain traces of arsenic. Hence, he recommends to have limited amounts, and to avoid consuming every day. Also, in my experience, I found that soaking raw brown rice in water for 1 hour speeds up the cooking time.

      Adding the word "unbelievable" in front of the soup's name was witty. I expect the soup truly is unbelievable.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I wait for another theme for the party town of my kitchen. I know this is going to be great. I can hardly wait,

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I think you deserve some sort of prize, an award for stumping the chef. Last year there was a tie (Mary for asking about cooking slab bacon with teets and Flourish for her query about roast guinea pig).

      I have NEVER in my life made my own sausage. The hot dog is another story within a story. I will have something for you next week.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, thank you for your encouraging words on my rosemary. I hope those positive vibes are being picked up by her.

      As for the rice pudding, what a great question! Yes, you can make rice pudding with arborio. I'm pretty sure I have a recipe or two (and tell Ian I have the same negative thoughts about tapioca).

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We have a bit of a problem Linda. We just love our hot dogs but we never eat them because of the yuk stuff. I can do the chili and sauerkraut ok and get cool bread. But I just can't cotton that meat stuff. Gabe and I need to make our own sausages/hot dogs. I can cook a wallet to taste like a Porterhouse, but the ground stuff still baffles me. Lean me (get it?) in the right direction.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 weeks ago from Brazil

      Fingers crossed for your rosemary plant. I have read about some surviving in MN and OH outside.

      I have a question for an upcoming Q & A. My husband wants rice pudding. He refuses to eat tapioca even though I bought a small type. Too many bad memories of school dinner.

      Can I use arborio rice instead of a pudding rice? Are they basically the same?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish and Shauna, I hope you'll give that brown rice a try. I think I shared the rosemary bush with the two of you on the "garden tour" last year. Thanks for your kind words. I hope she feels the love.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Linda, thanks for sharing your method for cooking brown rice. Like you, I prefer brown to white for its nutritional value. However, I can never get it to not be a tad gummy. Now I know why!

      I hope your rosemary survives the winter. Hopefully, she'll come back for you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      My husband has tried to get me to switch to brown rice but so far it’s not working. That rosemary bush sounds lovely. I hope it is resilient and lives another day.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, how about a rice quiche? (Just kidding). Yes, I could put together a few rice casseroles for you. Come back next Monday and there will be a present for you in the mailbox. Have a great day my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, time will tell as for the rosemary. Prior to the snow, the temperatures were well below freezing, and that might have caused more harm than the snows (it actually had to warm up before the snow hit). Our snow is a very WET snow. Not powdery (lousy for cross country but great for building snowmen).

      Thank you, as always, for brightening my day. I hope you have a fabulous week.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Chitrangada, your comment is the first one I have read this morning, and you have set the tone for a wonderful day. Your kind words have made me so happy. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love rice; not so much quiche. I'm just a brown rice kind of guy, I guess...throw in a baked potato....casseroles.....if you would like to share a rice casserole recipe I'm all ears. :)

      So nice to see the snow melt but I'm with you, it was beautiful for awhile.

      Have a superb week! I hear Spring is approaching. lol

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Good morning Linda, I like the quiche recipe that would not have a crust, but it has tasty ingredients -eggs, bacon and cheese. Sounds good to me. Thanks for another good soup recipe as well.

      I hope your area thaws out and that your rosemary bush is alive and well. When it gets to freezing temperatures here I cover a couple of my favorite bushes with some old sheets and that seems to be enough most of the time to protect them.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      What a wholesome article—with weather updates, delicious recipes and other helpful suggestions! I liked going through and the brown rice recipe sounds too good. Going to try it your way, next time.

      Another highlight is your table of contents. A very useful, informative and interesting article, which can always be referred to.

      Thanks for sharing this.

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