Have extra Olive Oil Rice? Combine inspirations and make this:
Take it back here for the recipe (I simply substituted seasonal veggies and ham for chicken in this case)–> Rice Chicken Pizza Top Salad
Rice is naturally gluten-free, and is, thus, a natural friend of us Bubble Children. How come, then, so many of us are surprised when we have a simple rice that tastes surprisingly delicious? It’s really easy, and can be a staple for many many dishes… and you don’t need packaged mixes.
To make a perfect rice that is dairy, gluten, soy, etc.-free and matches basically any plate, protein, or ethnicity of flavors, follow this!
1. Measure out one part rice and one a half times water. (Example: if you measure out 2 cups rice, measure out 3 cups water). Thai, basmati, and other “Eastern” rices work best for this method. (No risotto rice here!)
2. Bring your water to a boil. Add about 1/8 tsp. sea salt for every 1/2 cup rice (you’ll add more later, don’t worry). Add rice and a bay leaf. Stir once. Bring to a boil, cover with a fitted lid, reduce heat to low. Let simmer for anywhere from 20-35 minutes, depending on your rice, until the water is just absorbed.
3. Remove heat, fluff once with a fork, and cover again. Let sit 5 minutes. Add 1/2 tbs. nice extra virgin olive oil for every 1/2 cup rice and another 1/8-1/4 tsp. sea salt, to start. Stir, taste, and add more salt and olive oil if your palette is calling for more!
As much as my native California Bay-Area-self has an appreciation for the “San Francisco treat” (Rice-a-Roni and other various pilaf variations), this rice is so perfectly past al dente and infused with just the right amount of flavor from the bay leaf and olive oil and sea salt that I will have to pass on the butter, box, or any other added flavorings.
So nice. Good rice.
For those with lactose intolerances or sensitivities, there is always the question of cheese. Not only does it taste so good, but there are rumors that eating cheese after a meal is actually good for you. That’s great news! Why then, as a Bubble Child, would you want to eat cheese, and why wouldn’t you?
1. Digest: Cheese that has been produced artisanally (i.e. not American cheese singles) through some method of aging through bacteria actually has digestive properties! The “good bacteria” in cheese helps break down whatever you just put in your body post-meal. This doesn’t mean eat one pound of aged cheddar to think you’ll make more room in your stomach, but a few very decent sized bites goes a long way with processing that meal.
2. Lactose-light: Through the aging process, cheese loses its lactose. Have a lactose sensitivity? Go for really aged cheese and feel light and satisfied.
3. Non-dairy: Those with sensitivities find typically that cow’s cheese is more difficult to digest than sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses. For something really fun, try buffalo milk cheese.
DON’T EAT CHEESE:
1. It’s not aged: Super soft cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella have not been aged as long, thus making them essentially an altered form of milk. As yummy as they are, if your stomach bloats from dairy, these are the ones to avoid.
2. It’s not cheese: As mentioned above, as much as you may love those American cheese singles, they’re not really cheese. Granted, nice aged cheese or fresh goat cheese may cost a touch more, but if you have a sensitivity, you wouldn’t want to eat too much of it anyways, so simply buy less! Quality over quantity… always.
3. You have a dairy allergy: Intolerances, sensitivities, and allergies are related but not equal. If you have a dairy allergy, meaning you have an immediate immune response to dairy, this whole aging bit will not change with that bite of cheese. Also, some cheeses are aged using nuts, beer, or nut leaves, making those with gluten sensitivities and nut allergies a potential threat. If it’s got a colored rind, ask how it was made.
4. It’s been cooked: If you’re looking for digestive properties, consider the fact that cooking something kills its bacteria… fortunately. However, if you want that bacteria because you want to digest items after eating them, that 4-cheese pizza will not be the best bet.
5. It’s processed or filled with hormones: Your body doesn’t like that stuff. Why make digesting something that would already be more difficult all the more challenging?
My little brother got married two days ago:
It was a beautiful occasion on the top of a mountain and we all finished off the evening at a French restaurant in Denver, Colorado with great food, wine, and cheers to the young couple. The majority of the table ordered the duck, and everyone at the table who didn’t wished they did.
Duck is such a beautiful thing: it is tender, full of flavor, but not overwhelmingly heavy. It has enough fat (that’s for sure) to cook itself in its own flavor, without any need to add oil or butter. Thus, for those with soy, nut, and dairy sensitivities or allergies, you don’t need to ponder what butter or oil to cook the meat in, because you don’t even need it!
Here is the recipe from the Bubble Child cookbook for Crisped Duck Breast, as well as the Red Wine Reduction to serve with. I prepared it in Paris right before I left to come home for the wedding (see right). Yum nom nom. –>
Have it with a glass of Gigondas, and you’ll be smiling for days.
Mmmm. Caramelized leeks in olive oil. Do I need say more?
Traditionally, when you get leeks that have been julienned and brought down to a tender moist consistency, there is butter involved. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to the use of butter (see Clarified Butter post last week), but sometimes I just don’t feel like straight milk fat. And my body doesn’t, either.
This side dish is ridiculously tasty, and supremely simple to make. The hardest part is cutting the leeks. It’s not hard.
3 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 shallot, diced
1 large leek
enough water to cover leeks while cooking
1/4 tsp. sea salt + more to taste as needed
pepper to taste
Preparation time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Serves 3-4 as a small side, 2-3 as a larger side
2. Heat 1 tbs. oil in sauté pan over medium heat. When warm, add shallots, and sweat out for 3 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges. Add leeks, and add water just up to the height of the top of the leeks.
3. Top with remaining 2 tbs. olive oil and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Increase heat to medium high. Cook until water has reduced down completely, and leeks are soft and tender. Stir occasionally only as water is just about evaporated.
Turns out clarified butter, ghee, whatever you want to call it culturally, is not only useful for all cooking intents and purposes, but it is not such a little demon on your digestive system as regular butter could be.
Clarified butter is made from gently melting butter to separate the impurities, the clarified butter fat part, and the whey. What happens is you melt the butter, the bad bits foam up at the top, you skim those off once it seems like they have all come up (about 5 minutes), and then you scoop out the clarified butter from the top of the solids you see at the bottom, which is the whey.
The result? A pure butter ridden of impurities and whey, which many who avoid dairy avoid as well.
What’s more (and the most useful in culinary terms) is that clarified butter has a higher smoke point (see “Why Use High Heat Oil”), so it can reach higher temperatures when sautéing and cooking in the oven than regular butter.
A better butter for specific requirements, and so easy to make. Melt.
While some people have allergy lists as long as the end of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”, (I swear I was born after 1980), just because you use the “right” ingredients does not mean that you are eating safe for your digestive system. Ingredients are clearly a determining factor in food indigestion and allergic reactions, but so is technique in cooking.
You know when you go into a hot tub in a public vicinity and there is a “sexy” layer of froth on top? Those are all impurities that have been brought to the surface, quite literally, through the bubbling of the water. The same principle applies to cooking: when you bring something to a boil, or even keep it at a simmer, the bubbles in the water naturally bring all of the bad things to the surface of your liquid. The things not suitable to eat, digest, or add to the flavor of the dish (moreover take away from the flavor of the dish).
What to do about this? Skim it off!
<–See the opaque bubbles on the top of this sauce? Those are nasty bits I do not want to have to take down internally.
<–now we’ve got one clean bubble. Yum.
Whenever you are cooking with a sauce or liquid, keep a bowl or glass with warm water and a spoon nearby, and scoop just the impurities off of the top of the surface. It’s almost like it washes your food for you, and makes everything easier for those with sensitive systems to chemicals, additives, whatever-other-nastiness has made its way into your food out of the picture and your belly. Want the jus from the steak to the right? It won’t be that clear without skimming. Nor that light to ingest.
COOKING YOUR FLOUR:
It doesn’t matter if it’s rice, buckwheat, wheat, sorghum, you name it: if you do not cook your flour, it will be more difficult to digest. Something I have picked up cooking in France is the emphasis all of the chefs I have worked with put on making sure the flour added to a dish is cooked. I did not hear the same reinforcement cooking in The States, where there is a far higher percentage of those claiming gluten intolerances.
This relates to pastry, boulangerie, breading meats, making purees, anything. If your flour is not thoroughly cooked through, meaning at a temperature that would induce boiling for at least 30 minutes, it will be, as they say, “heavy in the stomach” or “flour stomach”.
<–a very bad example of me with flour stomach at age 18. I am on the left. My dear friend Mindy, equally aroused by flour stomach, on the right.
I am not saying that if you have celiac go ahead and eat a bunch of wheat flour because it has been properly fermented, handled, and baked to a black color (that’s bad, too.), but try not to eat all of that rice flour cookie dough if you can help it– proper cooking and making sure your dishes and dry ingredients have received a breakdown through heat will assist your body in breaking them down, as well.