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

Updated on February 19, 2019
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Linda explores 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


  • 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)


  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


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


  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


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


  • 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


  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.


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:

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

© 2019 Linda Lum


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