A new (old) method of cooking rice. And it works just fine.

brown rice

Brown rice cooks up even faster and fluffier in the boil-like-pasta method, IMHO. Photo by Laura Groch

I have to confess I am late to this rice-cooking party. But I’m here at last, so here goes:

It’s not easy cooking rice on the stovetop. This seemingly simple task is the bane of many home cooks (and why those boil-in-bag rices, which are parboiled, were invented):

Two cups water to one cup white rice, or two and a half cups water to 1 cup brown rice. Heat it up in a saucepan and boil it, but not too hard. Keep the pot lid on but a little askew so some steam can escape. Cook 15 minutes for white rice, closer to 40 minutes for Continue reading

Safe at home: Those pesky ‘best by’ dates

"Best by" dates aren't absolutes. Most canned foods are perfectly fine for up to five years. (Photo by Laura Groch)

“Best by” dates aren’t absolutes. Most canned foods are perfectly fine for up to five years. (Photo by Laura Groch)

 

For the past three months, I’ve been feeding myself poison.

That is, if you count “Use by,” “Best by” and “Sell by” dates as absolutes when it comes to wholesome food.

Obviously, I don’t.

We’ve recently seen stories about how wasteful Americans are with their food, and how Continue reading

Lettuce try some new ways to do salad

Radish leaves are edible, so why not try them in a salad?

Radish leaves are edible, so why not try them in a salad? (Photo by Laura Groch)

With California’s winter rains flooding out some lettuce farms, greens are going up in price nationwide. Some reports say that lettuce is going for $3.99 a head.

Well, if you use your head, you can still enjoy salads without going broke. Stores and farmers markets still have plenty of less-expensive green leaves to fill your salad bowls.

Green and red cabbage come to my mind first, especially green. Just slice the leaves into Continue reading

Happy birthday freebies to you!

birthdaycookie copy

Free cowboy cookie from Black Angus. (Sorry, we had blown out the candle by the time we rememberd to take a photo.) This was in addition to a free birthday dinner, available by signing up on the restaurant website. (Sorry, the dinner was already eaten, too.) Photo by Laura Groch

Who doesn’t like free stuff on your birthday? This family sure does. Let’s see — on or around my birthday recently, I got a free steak dinner from Black Angus, a free seafood meal from Rubio’s, a free chicken dinner from El Pollo Loco — are you starting to see a pattern here?

 

If you sign up for the birthday gig — sometimes it’s called “the birthday club” — at your Continue reading

Will you like lychees? You’ll have to find them first

lychees

Lychees are a delicious fruit, hidden behind a nubbly reddish-brown shell. Photo by Laura Groch

If you’re a fan of the Honeymooners (and I hope you are), you might remember the phrase, “sweet and sour leechee nuts.”

That was the treat Ralph Kramden offered his long-suffering wife, Alice, as the finale of dinner at her favorite Chinese restaurant, Hong Kong Gardens.
I thought “leechee nuts” were a figment of someone’s imagination until I ran into

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It’s spring, so let’s eat some flowers!

Tofu Lettuce Tacos With Cilantro And Mint

Tofu Lettuce Tacos With Cilantro And Mint from “Edible Flowers” by Kitty Morse. Photo by Mike Pawlenty.

I’ve been smelling the delicious scents of just-opening flowers on our evening walks with the dogs. Spring really is in the air!

So this is the perfect time for me to tell you that “Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion” by Vista cookbook author, teacher and expert Kitty Morse is in its second edition, published by Chefs Press. Kitty graciously let me share some of the recipes (and photos) from the new book. (Also, these two are vegetarian recipes, please note.)

All her books, by the way, feature beautiful photos to go with the recipes. And if you are at Continue reading

It’s all about those beans, ’bout those beans — and Restaurant Week, too

Lima Bean Festival

Cooking instructor Mary “Cooking With Klibs” Dralle was among those exhibiting bean ideas at the 2014 Lima Bean Festival at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Some very local goings-on in this post, starting with:

— Encinitas’ San Dieguito Heritage Museum, which is hosting its 7th annual Lima Bean Festival from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. I’m helping judge the entries in the cooking contest, which is always a fun part of the festivities. But it’s not all about the beans, though — there are other attractions, including a plant sale, silent auction, kids games and tours of the historical Teten House. Come on by and taste-test (from 12:30-2:30 p.m.) the different concoctions dreamed up by area chefs, amateurs and Continue reading

PB pickles, and how to get into the San Diego County Fair for free

deep-fried peanut-butter-filled pickle

Deep-fried peanut-butter-filled pickle at the San Diego County Fair, slightly busted open to show the PB. It actually tasted kinda good. (Photo by Kelley Carlson)

Deep-fried. Peanut-butter-filled. Pickle.

Guess what time it is? Oh yes, it’s San Diego County Fair time, starting Friday, June 5 and running through Sunday, July 5, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Before we go any farther, let me just say that the above-mentioned DFPBFP wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I could have done without the deep-fried part, really, but the actual peanut-butter-pickle combo was — kind of tasty.

That’s when I remembered: A long time ago, the newspaper’s Food section ran a Continue reading

Collecting poptops? We know you mean well, but …

soda can

What makes more sense: Recycling a whole can…? (Photo by Laura Groch)

My boss once gave me an assignment: People were collecting a million poptops from beverage cans and using the money made from recycling them to help a little girl who couldn’t afford dialysis treatments. What a great human interest story! Find out who the little girl was and what was going on. Here’s the phone number of the woman who called it in.

OK, fine. I called the nice lady. Let’s call her Mrs. Smith.

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Make the ‘Bean Scene’ in Encinitas this Saturday!

crowds at the lima bean festival in Encinitas, California

The bean scene was lively at the 2013 Lima Bean Festival held at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas, Calif.

Time once again to make the bean scene! I’m referring to the sixth annual Lima Bean Festival and cooking competition put on from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 27) by the San Dieguito Heritage Museum at 450 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, California. Folks, when other tasting events can run you upward of $35 a pop, this is a nicely priced alternative at $15 adults and $5 kids (for advance tickets) or $20 adults on event day. Buy them at www.sdheritage.org/limatickets.php.

And the cuisine on call isn’t just lima beans — other legumes are in play, in

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