Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

It’s a cereal killer. 🙂

Rice cereal is a popular first food for babies. It’s also kind of high in arsenic, says the Food and Drug Administration, so if your kid gets a steady rice cereal diet, it’s time to diversify.

Source: Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

Boiling it and discarding the water (like how you make pasta) reduces the arsenic content, so that might help. The FDA’s fact sheet has some more info.  I’ve covered arsenic in rice in the past.

Toast and Season Your Rice Before Boiling for Unbelievable Flavor

The secret to a better pot of rice lies in seasoning and flavoring the grains before they even hit that pot of boiling water.

Source: The Tastier Way to Cook Rice

Instead of transferring it to the boiling pot, you could combine this tip with Alton Brown’s pour-over method to really take your rice to the next level. Either way, it’s an easy enough step, and it makes for extra tasty rice.

The Best Way to Freeze Cooked Rice and Other Grains for Easier Reheating

For quicker weeknight meals, packages of pre-portioned cooked grains stashed in the freezer are one of our secret weapons. No waiting for rice or other grains to cook while your dinner companions prowl hungrily around the kitchen. No need to plan ahead. No need to do much more than pull a package out of the freezer and carry on with making the meal.

Source: How to Freeze & Thaw Rice, Quinoa & Other Whole Grains

The article says the vacuum sealer is optional, but seems like it’d be the weapon of choice.  A sealable plastic bag will take up less space in the freezer, and most importantly, it will thaw much more evenly later on. You won’t be left with frozen grains in the middle of your rice clump while the outside is ready to eat. You can also write the quantity and day it was cooked right on the bag.

Give Your Grains a Creamy Flavor Boost by Cooking Them in Coconut Milk

From chewy farro to a simple pot of rice, barely a day goes by that we’re not cooking or consuming some kind of grain. Still, as with any staple, we can grow weary of the same old flavors day in and day out. Isn’t there an easy way to shake things up in the grain pot? Something that doesn’t involve more chopping or fancy ingredients? You bet there is!

Source: The Easiest Way to Boost the Flavor of Rice and Grains

Uplift your vegetables by smothering them in cheese!  Coconut milk is good and all, but yikes… calories.

Cooking porridge oats in apple juice is also fairly common. Other options for steel cut oats include:

  • Whey for sweet/ sour (depends on the whey)
  • Beef stock for savory
  • Dark beer for curiosity
  • Cocoa powder for fun

Keep Rice from Sticking Together with Lemon Juice

You can keep your rice from clumping and sticking together by washing it a few times until the water runs clear and then set it aside for 20 minutes or until no water remains. Washing the rice rinses a lot of the starch off of the rice which allows it to cook without clumping.

Source: Tips for Cooking Rice

Depends on what type of rice you’re cooking.  Longer, thinner-grained varieties like Basmati are less sticky and starchy, and cook up looser. Shorter, fatter-grained varieties such as Japanese rice or glutinous rice (so-called because it is gluey—it contains no gluten, like all rice) are more sticky and starchy. In fact, glutinous rice is called “sticky rice” and is used to make joong/zongzi.

Steam Rice with Orange Rind for a Brighter Flavor

There are many ways to perk up a bland rice routine, from adding a few pinches of saffron to steeping rice in beer to enhance its nutty qualities.

One method to boost the flavor of plain rice without upping the calorie count is to throw a few orange skin peels into a boiling pot of rice or a rice cooker.

Source: Steam Rice with Orange Rind for a Brighter Flavor

Another good use for orange peels (or any citrus): Toss them in the garbage disposal to clean, de-stinkify it.

Five Useful Cooking Techniques No One Teaches You

Most of us learn to cook through trial and error, the Food Network, or being forced to feed ourselves when no one else will do it. So naturally, no one’s born knowing how to sauté chicken, or blanch vegetables. Here are some basic (but useful) cooking techniques chefs use every day, but the rest of us rarely pick up.

Source: Five Useful Cooking Techniques No One Teaches You

#6: Sous vide 101.  How much did you know already?  Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” is a good show – last I heard, most was available on Netflix.

Make Fried Fish Cakes with Leftover Rice

Everyone loves a rich, creamy risotto. But big, pricey bags of special arborio and carnaroli rice take up precious pantry space, and unless you’re making enough risotto for an army, you’re going to have leftover grains. So we asked a panel of pro chefs from around the country for other ways to make your way through your risotto rice—beyond risotto.

Source: Hey Chef, What Else Can I Do with Risotto Rice?

“leftover salmon”?  I understand these words individually, but not when placed in this order… 😉

I can be bought with rainbow/steelhead trout.

Quickly Rinse Rice and Other Grains With a French Press

Without fail, every single time I’d cook rice it would either be too dry or too wet, and always I’d find this out moments before it was to be served. It was irritating — how could I manage to always mess up such a simple dish? But I decided, rather than give in and buy a rice cooker (I’d still like one if I could justify the NYC-sized cupboard space), it was time to take control of my rice.

Source: 6 Tips That (Mostly) Cured My Fear of Cooking Rice

It’s more efficient with it’s water use, makes making smaller portions simpler, and seems like a little bit less of a hassle than a bowl and strainer.  But if you’re doing larger portions, a bowl of water and a strainer would be a better idea.

Use Sugar and Salt Instead of Soy Sauce for Perfect Fried Rice

…a couple of months ago, I called Bowien, who has soared to success by riffing on the classics at his Mission Chinese Food restaurants in San Francisco and New York. (He made Andrew Knowlton’s Hot Ten list way back in 2011, and this year’s Top 50 list.) Would he teach me how to make fried rice the right way? Before I knew it, I was in the basement of his Lower East Side outpost. We cooked MCF’s Malaysian beef jerky fried rice, which he and his executive chef, Angela Dimayuga, concocted one night after seeing Nine Inch Nails in Brooklyn. Like the best versions, it’s eminently satisfying but subtly flavored.

Source: Mission: Make Danny Bowien’s Addictive Fried Rice at Home

It’s not authentic fried rice…