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Archive for June 5, 2013

TIP OF THE DAY: 5 More Uses For Rice

We overdid it recently, purchasing a jumbo bag of white rice that we’re not likely to make a dent in anytime soon (we try to eat whole grains like brown rice, which we especially enjoy in rice salads).

So we searched for other ways to use the rice, and found five more ways to employ uncooked rice in the kitchen.


You can buy pie weights to blind bake your crusts, or you can use the rice or beans you have on hand. In this case, reserve the “pie rice” for this exclusive purpose; you don’t want to cook with it after it’s been dried by oven heat.


Clean your coffee and spice grinders—every month, if you use them daily. Beyond brushing out leftover particles, clean the undersides of the blades and absorb other buildup with a “rice treatment.”


Too much rice? Beyond cooking it, we’ve got five ways to use it in the kitchen. Photo courtesy United Rice Mills.


Fill the cavity to the blades with rice, and run it through the grinder. Leading coffee roasters use this trick, and some say it works even better with instant rice.


A grain of rice tells you when the oil is ready. Photo courtesy



How do you check if your cooking oil is hot enough? If you don’t have a deep fryer with a temperature dial, you could use a thermometer. Or, just drop a grain of rice into the oil.

If the rice rises to the surface of the oil and begins to cook, the oil is ready for frying.


Want to ripen fruit faster? If you don’t have an apple*, store the fruit in a container of rice.

Check on the fruit twice a day so it doesn’t over-ripen. The rice is still good for cooking.

*A favorite trick is to place the unripe fruit in a paper bag with an apple. The ethylene released by the apple ripens the fruit overnight.


If you live in a humid climate, your salt make clump. Rice comes to the rescue: Add a few grains of rice to your the salt shaker to prevent clumping.

For open boxes of salt, put the rice in a tea ball or tie it in a piece of gauze or cheesecloth like a bouquet garni.


You can also make rice milk from scratch (other than rice, of course!) is water and salt. Here’s the recipe.

Here are more ways to use rice, for non-kitchen tasks in your home.


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FATHER’S DAY: Chocolate Marshmallow Pops Recipe

Make these treats for Father’s Day. Photo
courtesy La Chocolate | Australia.


We saw these inviting marshmallow lollipops on the website of La Chocolate, an Australian chocolatier. “Make a batch of me,” they called out.

So we decided to make them for Father’s Day—and also for July 4th with white chocolate and red and blue sprinkles.



  • 10 large marshmallows
  • 2 cups chocolate chips or other chocolate for melting
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Sprinkles or other decorations*
    *You can vary the color and type of decorations by holiday: little Valentine hearts, stars for July 4th, etc.


    1. MELT chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds; stir and continue to microwave and stir at 30-second intervals. Take care not to scorch the chocolate. If there’s just a slight amount of undissolved chocolate, for example, whisk it to melt it instead of overheating the chocolate.

    2. DIP the marshmallows into the chocolate with a fork or other utensil. Place on waxed paper or aluminum foil. Sprinkle with decorations. Allow to set (you can do this in the fridge).

    3. INSERT sticks.


    Marshmallow pops lying on a tray is one option, but you can get more creative in your presentation.

  • Bowl or vase. Fill a deep bowl or small vase with another food that will anchor the marshmallow pops: M&Ms or other small hard candies, rice, lentils or beans, etc.
  • Loaf cake. Buy a pound cake or other loaf cake and let it get slightly stale. Insert the pops into the top. Afterward, you can toast the pound cake and serve it with ice cream, or use it for fondue. You can make a Rice Krispie Treats recipe in a loaf pan for this purpose, and eat it after the pops are gone. If you have a fruit cake in the pantry, its dense texture makes a worthy pop holder.
  • Melon. A watermelon or other pretty melon can serve as your base. You may need to trim the bottom to create a level base, and use an ice pick to make holes for the sticks. But you can still eat the melon afterward.
    Other ideas? Let us know!


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    WEDDINGS: Religieuses, A Wedding Cake Alternative

    The bride and groom are cream puffs. Photo
    courtesy Dominique Ansel Bakery.


    Don’t want a wedding cake or cupcake tree? Check out these religieuses (ray-lee-ZHOOZE), from French pastry chef Dominique Ansel, who currently provides New Yorkers with dazzling desserts.

    A religieuse is a pastry made from two cream puffs, one larger, one smaller, joined and decorated. It was originally designed to emulate a nun in her habit, and filled with vanilla pastry cream.

    Pastry chef Ansel has used is creativity to turn religieuses into brides and grooms. In his charming alternative to wedding cake, the bride is filled with blueberry pastry cream, the groom with chocolate pastry cream.

    In the photo below, Chef Ansel shows his flair with a salted pistachio religieuse.


    If you find yourself in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City, stop into Dominique Ansel Bakery to see what flavors and décor await you.


    The traditional French wedding cake is an unusual creation called a croque-em-bouche (CROAK-om-boosh), a tall stack of cream puffs in the shape of a large cone.

    The puffs are held together by caramelized sugar and finished with a garnish of caramel and optional decorations that range from candied almonds or a chocolate glaze to flowers and ribbons. Here’s a photo of a chocolate-covered croque-em-bouche.

    Croque-em-bouche means “cracks in the mouth,” which describes the caramelized sugar.



    Salted pistachio religieuse, lovely for any special occasion. Photo courtesy Dominique Ansel Bakery.



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