I had a question from Andrea about using rice. I do think a lot of us have things stored that we are unsure about using. The last thing you want to be doing in a crisis is experimenting  with food so now might be the time to begin a weekly night of eating out of storage and concentrating on the things you think might be preparing if the lights go out, especially those things you don’t eat now.

I have always thought of rice as a an exotic. I store it but assumed I could never get it locally. Then, last night, at our sustainability meeting, I was hearing from several people who grew it this year right here in Massachusetts. I know nothing about it but they said it was relatively easy. They are even putting in actual paddies and increasing their planting next year as it did so well. What a boon for us if this works out!

We used to eat a lot of rice when I was little but it was that awful Minute Rice. We also ate Rice-A-Roni which could be called Salt-A-Roni as it is pretty much sodium. Real rice is cheap, healthy and versatile. It stores for a long time unless it is the brown rice. Now I have read that brown rice can be vacuum packed and that it will then store for years but I have no personal experience with it. I keep brown rice in the refrigerator and white rice in six gallon buckets. My kids love rice for breakfast. I cook it in half water/half milk, add some raisins and top it with a bit of butter and maple syrup or brown sugar. Leftover rice is a lunch staple. I usually make twice what we need so I can stir fry some with vegetables and leftover chicken, pork or beef and some soy sauce or tamari. For dinner, one of our favorite meals is cooked rice topped with a chunky tomato sauce and chicken and seasoned with curry. We also like it with beans instead of chicken and red pepper flakes instead of the curry. I can a sauce with a lot of vegetables like summer squash, peppers, onions and garlic just for this dish. It is so easy the girls can put it together with no help. I cook the chicken in the sauce (the crock pot works for this) for a long time so it is really tender. I usually use boneless, skinless thighs so this is a cheap meal too. I like to saute my rice in a bit of olive oil then add chicken, beef or vegetable stock. The grains stay fluffy that way.

Adding rice is a good way to thicken up a watery soup. If I have just a bit leftover I will sometimes add it to a bread dough.  Do you remember porcupine balls? We had them a lot when I was little. It was cooked rice with ground beef and peppers and onions, cooked in tomato sauce. the first time I made it on my own I didn’t cook the rice first. It was pretty bad. The rice just stayed hard. It was like eating gravel. A baby cereal can be made from rice that is well cooked and blended until smooth. I really like a rice custard, thick with eggs and rich milk and baked until the top is browning just a bit.

Rice is prone to getting bugs. The best way to avoid this is to put every bag of rice you buy in the freezer for a couple of days before you put it in your storage buckets. I have no trouble since I started doing this.

Short post today. My Phoebe is still sick and I need to go tend to her as I hear her stirring. I want to extend a warm welcome to all of our new readers. Please jump in with your own recipes and ideas for using the food we grow and store. I read all of the comments and post back when I can.