; Supermarket Serenade: Free Rice, Gratis, Complimentary

Friday, May 2, 2008

Free Rice, Gratis, Complimentary

As the parent of a 16 year old, with PSATs and SATs looming in the not too distant future, I'm finding it difficult to not make every interaction we have an "SAT moment". Instead of simply asking my son to take the garbage out it has to be: "S" finish the following sentence: The kitchen garbage should be transferred to
the outdoor_______. a)road b)relevant c)redundant d)receptacle.

Obviously I'm not alone in my desire to get my kids SAT ready. But one resourceful man was cleverly able to parlay a study method not just into getting his kids to do chores around the house but more significantly into a way to feed the hungry- freerice.com .

(Yeah great, I'm just worried about my own trash and this guy's feeding the world.)
If you haven't heard of it freerice.com is a nifty (addictive) site where you can donate 20 grains of rice just by selecting the correct definition to a word. It's an SAT word bonanza that I find myself playing almost everyday...in fact I just know if I took the SATs again tomorrow, this time it would be different...

On a recent break from improving my vocabulary and "winning" free rice for the hungry around the world, I found what I think is an exciting find in the supermarket to feed the hungry that I am charged with feeding on a daily basis.

I have for a while been a fan of Birdseye Steamfresh frozen vegetables , which cook perfectly in the microwave right in their bag in just a few minutes. But the other day I noticed a new option in their Steamfresh line: Steamfresh Whole Grain Brown Rice.

To me making brown rice-good brown rice, not the sometimes mushy ready in a minute rice, can be somewhat time consuming-so this caught my eye. It is prepared in the same way that the vegetables are. The rice is ready in 3 1/2 minutes but I thought it had the texture of the brown rice you've cooked for the usual 45 minutes or so. I used it for the base of a spicy pilaf tossed with shallots, celery and toasted pepitas. It was prodigious. (How's that for a nice SAT word?)

Spicy Orange Pepita Pilaf

Spicy Pepitas:
2/3 cup pepitas
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 package Birdseye Steamfresh Whole Grain Brown Rice, cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the pepitas, in a small bowl combine the pepitas, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, ancho chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and kosher salt; stir to combine. Spread the pepitas onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the rice, in a medium sized skillet heat the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Stir in the shallot, celery and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the Birdseye rice, orange zest and orange juice; cook for an additional minute. Stir in the pepitas and season the pilaf with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Yield: 4-6 servings


nicole said...

Everything on your food blog looks good.

Veronica said...

Thanks, Nicole!

Tracy said...

I have to laugh ... I never gave a second's thought to studying for the SAT! Life for kids is sure different these days. Luckily the SAT is a ways off for my sons!

Veronica said...

Tracy...you have no idea! It's crazy. The bio and chemistry that my boys are doing is more like what I did in college-I'm pretty sure I might not survive high school if I were there today-especially that chemistry-yikes.