Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This and That

I love you guys for wanting an iced coffee recipe. It's, like, coffee? With, like, ice in it? No. I'm kidding. Because the truth is: I happen to have an excellent method. It involves my trusty Melita Coffee Cone--one of those plastic things a filter sits in, and then you stick it on top of a mug and pour boiling water into it. (Although now I just hurt my own feelings by looking it up on amazon and seeing that it comes in porcelain! Oh! Mine is cruddy old brown plastic. Sigh.) I put a lot of dark ground coffee in it and brew the coffee right into my to-go glass: strong and short, that's how I do it. An inch or so of nearly espresso-strength coffee. Then I fill the glass with ice cubes and then with milk. If I'm needing something sweet, then I add a dash of vanilla and a small spoon of agave syrup or sugar. Voila!

But I forgot to say that there's another to-go cup option you can use in a pinch, and it's this:

Can you see that? It's a mason jar, but instead of the metal lid insert, you screw a piece of wax paper under the ring, poke a hole in it, and insert a straw. Voila! It's not as leak-proof as the one below, but it has the added advantage (if you use a skinny jar) of fitting in a cup holder.

Okay, moving on from summer drinks. Wait--not yet. Okay, now. I have some recipes over at Family.com that I'd love for you to check out. One is meat on a stick, more graciously known as satay, that has actually inaugurated a crazy eating-everything-on-a-stick phase at our house (we actually did make that Greek salad on a stick, and it was awesome). And then there are homemade corn tortillas, which are a delight in every way. I'm going to post a related recipe soon for classic Mexican rice, but I keep trying to make it work with brown rice, because I've just completely lost any remaining shred of interest in white rice. So I've been trying to adapt my excellent white-rice Mexican-style pilaf, but with poor results--the brown rice seems so disinclined to cook. Thoughts? I'd appreciate any ideas you have on this front. {edited to add: the actual cooking of brown rice is not the problem--I do that in a rice cooker, which I love. It's the pilaf-style cooking of it with broth and tomato sauce that's not working so well: the rice persists in its rawness for an almost uncannily long time.}

And, finally, another book give-away! My friend Jennifer has just published her first book, and it's this:

and it's here and it's beautiful. It's a memoir about raising her two hearing-impaired daughters, who happen to be two of my favorite kids and also very good friends of Ben and Birdy, and it's moving and real and redemptive in all the best ways. She has given me a copy to give away here, so I'm going to do just that. Leave me a little comment if you would like the book. Don't worry if there are also comments about Mexican brown-rice pilaf or to-go cups. I will figure it all out.

xo Catherine

66 comments:

  1. Would LOVE to win the book. No clue about the rice. We eat fruit kabobs here - fruit on a stick! Goes over great at parties, by the way. Would also love the greek salad on a stick recipe. Maybe I missed it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous2:52 PM

    I also would love to read the book! My daughter was born with a vision impairment and I imagine our journey has some parallels.
    Love, Beth

    ReplyDelete
  3. Teafortwo3:07 PM

    I would love to win the book! We are out of school this Friday, so I'll be thinking of foods on sticks. That would be a hit, especially at the pool. And then, I'm working on recipes for a luau dinner club in a few weeks. At least one of those will be SPAM on a stick, perhaps with pineapple. Can you tell I'm not looking forward to the end of school?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would love the book! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jonana3:38 PM

    We don't do white rice either and cooking (read: watching to make sure it doesn't stick/overcook) brown rice was just beyond the time I had with two kids and homeschooling. Anyway, I found a great recipe for baking it in the oven. Google Cook's Illustrated oven baked rice--that's the recipe that I use. Except don't try to add the salt to the boiling water, just sprinkle it over the raw rice in the pan before pouring the boiling water over. And you don't have to double the aluminum foil regardless of what they say. The recipe calls for an 8 inch square pan but you can easily double everything, bake it in a 9 x 13 and you have brown rice for days for wraps and other dishes. Anyway, back to the pilaf, I have made Mexican rice this way just adjusted the amount of water I added by how much liquid was drained off of my tomatoes, peppers, etc. But even if this doesn't work out for your Mexican pilaf, I'm telling you this is the easiest, best way to cook brown rice and it turns out a yummy texture.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would love the book!
    Also, I tried to make lamb kebabs for my husband's birthday and got so icked out by chopping the meat that I ended up just making veggie kebabs and lamb chops. But now I have all these skewers left, so I'll have to try more kinds of food on a stick!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Spedrson4:22 PM

    I would love a copy of the book! It sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, Joanna beat me to it! I would heartily second everything she said about the Cook's Illustrated method of cooking brown rice. It's THE way to go! We double it in a 9x13 and use the leftovers during the week, I've even frozen it with great success making Chinese fried rice dishes later. If for some strange reason you can't find it, I'd be happy to email you the recipe. It's easy and makes brown rice perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Alicia4:39 PM

    I would love to win the book! Just reading the title and tagline has my nose tickling the way it does when I see something touching that makes me want to cry.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Whoops, sorry Jonana beat me to it, not Joanna!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That sounds like a great book, I'd love to win it! No ideas about the brown rice, but I'll be eager to cook the results of your research!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I too would love to read this book! (And I also have no rice advice). :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your blog and your articles and would also love to win the book!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Meat on a stick is one of my faves! Can't wait to try it out. I usually get it from the tiny local fair and it's heaven for me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oooo, I love a copy of the book. And now I'm going to make myself some iced coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would love a copy of the book! My husband barbeques a delicious marinated veggies-on-a-stick which is so great. (He adds steak for his veggies-on-a-stick) The veg are marinated in a mix of worceshire sauce, honey, lemon, and herbs. Usually I take it off the stick and top it with goat cheese. Mmmm.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Me! Me! Me! Pick me! I'd love to read that book!

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  18. canadian_fan8:42 PM

    No surprise here, but I would LOVE that book! I'm a social worker, working with parents with kids with disABILITIES, and love to read stories from parents who have faced challenges-- and be inspired. The shrimp recipe is FANTASTIC, but I would love to make it with precooked shrimp, because the nasty grey seafood thing gives me the heebie jeebies. Also, please tell us about Micheal's next encounter with clams!!! I'm addicted to your barf stories. It's like staring at a car wreck -I just can't look away . . .

    ReplyDelete
  19. Susannah8:48 PM

    Sounds like a great book- and I always love your book recommendations.

    ReplyDelete
  20. would love the book. memoirs are my favorite, the candy of the book world for me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Karen T.9:03 PM

    I would so love that book...I would read it and then pass it on to a very good friend who I know would pass it on and on and on and on...just as a good book should go on..Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous9:59 PM

    I too would love love love the book! I work in a preschool with several kids with hearing problems and it sounds like a wonderful read!
    Love, Amy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for the great blog and recipes. I make brown rice in the microwave. 2 to 2.5 parts water to 1 part rice (1 cup rice:2 to 2.5 cups water) I add jarred salsa (also contains water), minced onion, lots of garlic powder, cilantro, olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoonsful), and flaked dulse seaweed. I microwave it for about 35-45 minutes (until water is absorbed), then let it sit and fluff with a fork. My family loves it. We have it on taco night. We call it our "spanish rice" You'll need to peek in every 20 minutes or so to make sure the water has not been used up & add a bit more if needed. Hope you'll test it out - it usually comes out very well.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Melanie11:08 PM

    Hi Catherine. I'd very much like to win this book. I purchased the glasses with lids from your previous post, and my husband thinks I am infinitely clever! Thanks!

    Also, thank you for being so gracious when I ran into you in Thornes Market on Mothers Day! I enjoy your work so much, and admire your take on motherhood, it was just terrific to be able to shake your hand and tell you so! I hope Birdy liked the flowers you bought!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I would love to have a mexican rice recipe; and I think if it is good with the white rice, stick with it! The book looks lovely.
    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  26. I would love the book, and I would also love some iced coffee right now. I don't expect you to give that away, though.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I use medium grain brown rice and do it in the oven, after it starts boiling on the stove with all the chile-tomato goodness in it (in an enameled cast iron pot with lid). It does take about an hour but it is good. And the book looks great too!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Cheryl10:44 AM

    Try adding the tomato sauce after the rice is fully/mostly cooked. Sometimes adding acid too early can slow things down.

    Have you or Ben checked out the book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, yet?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous11:53 AM

    I would love to win this book!

    ReplyDelete
  30. dale_in_denver2:19 PM

    *I* want to run into you in a local market some day! I'd try not to fawn too much and creep you out.

    Books, sigh. My 3 kiddos (9, 7, 4) are now getting old enough where we don't have to read to all of them every night - some can fend for themselves - and while it is a bittersweet milestone, I can finally pleasure read in bed instead of passing out with exhaustion. I love when you do your book surveys so I can add things to my library request list. Right now I'm reading "The Moral Underground: How ordinary Americans subvert an unfair economy" by Lisa Dobson. Interesting, but I definitely like to mix it up with some memoirs as well. Loved "The Glass Castle." This one sounds lovely as well.

    Yesterday my husband came home with "Brown Rice Cous Cous" - not that we are avoiding wheat or anything, I think he just wanted to show he was on board with the whole grain movement going on in our house. Anyway, it looked to me like they just ground up some brown rice into cous cous sized pellets - cooking directions were identical to white rice. Perhaps your recipe could make use of brown rice run through a coffee grinder or blender for a few turns?

    We are big fans of adding cilantro and lime juice to cooked rice. I look forward to your recipe to add to my arsenal.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Me too! I would love to win the book! I have also had weird things happen with brown rice - although I usually love it anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  32. And also? If you could provide helpful tips on how to cook the brown rice so that it's not like eating little crunchy gnawing twigs? I would LOVE that! I use a rice cooker, and cannot get it to turn out right. What proportions do you use?

    I looked at the to-go glasses on Amazon, and I'm really just to cheap to order any . . . so I am *very* excited to try the bell jar method. Maybe I drill a hole in the top of one of the metal sealing lids? We'll see. As always, thanks for the great ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I don't have any advise, but wanted to finally say hello. I've followed you for about 8 years...since BabyCenter. Uhmmm, yes, lurking one could call it. But that makes it sound so wrong! I love your style of writing. It makes me feel like we are old friends. Keep up the fabulous work...my kids are 8 and 4 so you're right on my track. Well, maybe I'm right on your track. Anyway...HELLO from Tennessee (and even from California for a few years)!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Count me in for the book too! As from brown rice...I cannot figure it out in the rice cooker either, so maybe the next post will have to be devoted to the wonders of brown rice!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous9:30 AM

    Count me in! And I'm jealous of Melanie too! --Cathy K

    ReplyDelete
  36. We love kebobs of all kinds in the summer, and always serve them over rice. We lovingly refer to it as "shish", as in "should we have shis for dinner this week?" It's kind of fun, just because shish is a fun word to say.

    I would love to won the book!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I would also love to read this book. :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Yes, thanks for the iced coffee recipe, because, as I suspected, you make it just DIFFERENT and probably BETTER than I have ever attempted! I mean--you brew it right in your cup? How cool is that? Am getting ready to stock up on vanilla now!

    Food on a stick? Oh! And just in time for bonfire Saturdays!

    I would love to read the book!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Would love to win the book as my good friend has a hearing impaired child and I could give it to her.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I just finished a mediocre book. Meh. And I have none pending on my library hold list. And I'm feeling book-destitute. I would love to win this. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I'd love to read the book. I've enjoyed nearly all of your recommendations for kids and grown-ups. Cheers!
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  42. Read the first pages of the book on Amazon, and it sounds great! Please toss my name in the hat.
    Here in Japan, land of white rice, I stick with brown rice, too. Pre-soaking can help. I also find that when making "flavored" rice, tomato doesn't let the rice soften properly. Maybe try adding it after the rice cooks in broth? Do you have a brown rice setting on your rice cooker?

    ReplyDelete
  43. That looks like an awesome book. Enter me plase.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hello friend! Look at what I've missed~ iced coffee and glass straws AND meat on a stick? My, oh, my. The book looks just lovely, and also, I cook (on the stove, the boring old fashioned way) brown rice, pilaf style at least four times a week. I do two cups liquid (water or broth) for every one cup rice. Let it simmer and then put the heat on low for 20 minutes (about half the time I think most brown rice calls for)-- I make sure I have a tight lid on the pot, turn the flame off and just let it sit for another 10 minutes. Honest to pete, works like a charm every time.

    One more thing: Ann Patchett wrote a beautiful piece for the Times on my town, and even better, on my bookstore (*I claim "my" by the amount of dollars I funnel through there, and also by the fact that my dear friends are the owners). In any case, I'm linking it here, so next time you need to go on tour, you'll ask your people to put us on your map. Because we have pie. And cherries. And rooms with a view. :: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/t-magazine/23talk-michigan-t.html

    ReplyDelete
  45. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/t-magazine/23talk-michigan-t.html?pagewanted=1

    hmmm-- don't really know how to hotlink I guess. Anyway-- this is the article, from the beginning. The photos alone make you want to visit, don't they?

    ReplyDelete
  46. I would love to read that!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'm not a huge fan of brown rice, but I LOVE barley (pearled). It cooks about the same as white rice - bring water to a boil, add the barley, return to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, cover and let steam for 20-25 minutes. Sometimes I add a vegetable bouillon cube for seasoning. I've also toasted the barley in a little hot oil, then dumped a can of tomatoes with their liquid, and a little can of diced green chilies on top and just let it steam for the same amount of time for a Mexican rice type dish. But there is nothing as good as the rice at the local Mexican restaurant. And they do use white rice.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Catherine, you have the gift. Your observations are so precise, and your descriptions so spot on, it just floors me every time. Yes, it is true, your biggest fan lives in Norway. (I would be honored if you would stop by and read my mile long post on catastrophe fantasies, aka horror scenarios, as I think you would appreciate the approach. rosaker@blogspot.com)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Elizabeth9:25 PM

    Oh, I would love to own this book! Even if(when?)I don't win, I'll have to buy it anyway.

    Elizabeth
    (emckinney@charter.net)

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hidayah10:42 PM

    I haven't read all the other comments, but I know that brown rice takes almost double the time too cook compared to white. So, you may want to try partially cooking it before you add it to the broth. I have a couple of recipes that use this technique and it works quite well.

    And, we tried the whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and they were fantastic! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Precious book. Even if I don't win it, I will buy it. Thanks for the recommendation!
    Beth G. from South Jersey

    ReplyDelete
  52. i would enjoy reading the book also. Shari b.

    ReplyDelete
  53. The book sounds great, I'd love it.

    I purchased the glasses from your last post, but ordered the set of 12 from Crate & Barrell for 19.95 that Courtney mentioned in a post. The lids were only .50 each, so the whole set ended up much cheaper per glass than ordering the sets of 4. I figure I'll share them with family. We love them.

    Thanks for continuing to share with us! I've been following your blogs since Babycenter. My oldest turns 9 tomorrow and my "baby" turns 6 in October. I really love your writing!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Marion5:54 PM

    I would love to read the book.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Who doesn't want the book?! I definitely do! It looks great, and of course, I'm sure we all feel that if it's someone you love, then we will all love it too!

    I just checked out your polenta recipe--don't know if I can make it work at our house, like thefivedollars said, we had a little polenta mishap early in our marriage, and now polenta is our code word for sh*t! Maybe we can use this recipe to redeem the poor cornmeal in our house!

    Also, Jonana--I am totally googling the recipe for brown rice. Always looking for a better way of making it. Thanks for the tip!

    Thanks, kat

    ReplyDelete
  56. Would LOVE to read your friend's book, and thanks for the iced coffee recipe! I was just telling a friend today that I need to figure out a cold summer drink that isn't too too sugary. Will try tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  57. If you're interested in another (and in my opinion, the best) iced coffee recipe, try this:

    Grind beans. Empty grounds into French press. Cover with cool water (filtered is best). Place mixture in fridge overnight. Press and drink in the morning -- adding ice, milk, sugar, vanilla, whatever. This method makes less acidic coffee because the beans are never heated up and less oil is released. It's delicious and so easy and keeps for days.

    I'm interested in the book too :-)

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I'm really grateful for the iced coffee recipe! I make the worst iced coffee. It seems like it should be straightforward, but somehow it's not. Anyway, I don't think your own feelings should be hurt by the porcelain drip filter! You can't take that on a camping trip or any of another dozen adventures where your sturdy and reliable brown coffee maker will serve you well. Porcelain is for the unadventurous!

    ReplyDelete
  59. I am drinking some iced coffee right now because it's naptime for the kids and the heat is on at 6512 feet. (the trick is a scoop of ice cream plopped in the coffee - makes you feel like you've just spent 5.99 at Starbucks!)
    *and, I would be honored to win that book. Congrats to your friend!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I have a daughter with special needs and I'd love to read the book.

    Here's my favorite recipe for brown rice - my kids call it "Mommy's special rice"
    Use short grain brown rice. Saute some onion in butter or oil and add the rice and saute a bit. Add (a little more than twice the amount of rice) chicken broth. Simmer until liquid is absorbed - about an hour. It's more like risotto than anything else, much yummier than it sounds and goes with everything. My kids didn't even like brown rice until I started making it this way.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Sarah LaBonte1:12 PM

    I would love to win the book because I am actually in Grad school right now studying to be a speech and language pathologist so this is a fascinating topic. I also happen to be a single mom to 2 little boys who have varying degrees of special needs, my oldest has sensory processing disorder and my youngest is autistic so I understand the challenges of not raising a "typical" child, and like to read about the journeys of others. Also being that I am a single parent and a grad student, I do not often have money to spend on books for myself. Thanks for posting this and for considering me. Best, Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  62. I would love to gift this to a friend with daughters. She could use some inspirational words these days.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anonymous8:11 PM

    Hi Catherine
    I would love to win the book - also am desperate for the Hamburger BUN recipe - can you please post it or email
    leeanne24@hotmail.com
    Desperate I say!

    ReplyDelete
  64. I have to chime in on the rice thing (tho I am late, lo and behold) and say that I agree about sautéing the rice. I'm chiming in just to agree! The middle-eastern way of making rice is to rinse it and sauté it and just the other day I did it with brown rice in a little olive oil, until the rice is a little bit browned, and then stuck it in the rice cooker and it was so soft, heavenly, like clouds.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Could someone kindly post the Cook's Illustrated bake rice recipe? I went to the site and one must now join in order to access the recipes - it didn't used to be like this. I don't want to join but would love the recipe!

    Thanks,
    Bette

    ReplyDelete
  66. I have tried, unsuccessfully, for years now to replicate a Starbuck's, shhhh, frappucino at home. They never measure up. Too watery, too much like a 7/11 slurpy...
    Any hints? Do I have to buy an industrial blender?

    ReplyDelete