a bowl of irony & a jar of sunlight
Spree’s been down with a stomach bug – blech! The doctor has called for bland. For the last several days, no appetite at all. My husband’s gone to the store (twice) to fill my wish list – and then, not meaning to be ungrateful – I turn my nose up. How in the world does spree do bland? What an irony!
Spree’s White Rice
- 2 teaspoons clarified butter (or olive oil if you haven’t any)
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white basmati rice
- 2 cups water
- chopped cilantro as garnish, optional, but just about perfect
Put clarified butter (Ghee, in India) into a heavy pot. Add cumin, fennel and coriander seeds and toast over medium-low heat until (as my friend from India says) “they go chit chit,” which is to say they crackle and get medium-toasty brown. Add the rice, salt and stir to coat with butter. Add your water and bring to boil. Stir once. Reduce heat to simmer for 18 minutes. (Don’t peek.) Turn heat off and allow rice to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve with something colorful and savory…if you can. (But even unaccompanied or unadored, it satisfies.) A sprinkling of chopped cilantro over top, nice!
A Jar of Sunlight – Clarified Butter
Butter is a combination of butter fat, milk solids and water. Clarifying removes the water and milk solids, leaving pure buttery goodness and elevating the smoking point. With clarified butter, you can now turn up the heat without risk of smoking up your kitchen or blackening your lovely meal plan. It has an absolutely wonderful aroma and delicately-toasty taste. It keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a month. (Some grocery stores will sell ghee in the refrigerated section.)
- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- a heavy pot
- a jar
- a piece of dampened cheesecloth
Put butter in a small to medium pot and raise the temperature to medium-low, and bring to a slow boil. You’ll see the watery bubbles rise to the top and evaporate off. The milk solids slowly sink to the bottom of the pot. If you allow them to brown just slightly, you’ll have imparted that delicate toasty flavor to your butter. This will take approximately 5 minutes or so. In the meantime, dampen a piece of cheesecloth and put it over the mouth of your jar, securing with a rubber band if you like. If after the heating process is completed you still have foam on top, you can skim it off. But if you pour the whole pot’s contents through the damp cheesecloth, you’re very likely to end up with only the delicious jar of sunlight you were hoping for.
Tomorrow I hope to share my favorite comfort-food drink – chai! Good steaming in your cup or poured over a glass of ice!