Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fun Facts about Rice

Yesterday I worked on, and created, a new Chicken and Rice recipe for the crockpot.  Today as I was adding this recipe to my collection of those that will make it into my cookbook I thought it would be fun to do a little research on Uncle Ben's Rice.  I found out some interesting facts as well as some other uses for rice so I thought I would pass them along to you, my readers.

Uncle Ben's Converted Brand Rice can:
  • Remedy intestional disorders.
  • Prevent moisture from clumping up salt.
  • Make a Maraca for children.
  • Clean stains from a thermos bottle.
A Short History

Until the end of World War II, Converted Brand Rice was produced for use solely by military personnel.  Then in 1946, Converted Rice Inc., brought this special rice to American consumers for the very first time, using the familiar portrait of Uncle Ben as its trademark.  Consumer response was so great that in just six years Uncle Ben's Converted Brand Rice became the number-one packaged long-grain rice sold in the United States.

Strange Facts
  • The original Uncle Ben was a black rice farmer known to rice millers in and around Houston for consistently delivering the highest quality rice for milling.
  • In the 1980's, the company dropped Uncle Ben from the rice boxes for two years.  Sales plummeted, and the company quickly reinstated Uncle Ben's portrait on the boxes.
  • Adding one tablespoon of butter, margarine, or oil to the water before adding the rice will prevent the rice from sticking.
  • To reheat cooked rice, put it in a coffee filter placed in a vegetable steamer and heat over boiling water.
  • Rice is thrown at weddings as a symbol of fertility.
  • Rice is grown on more than 10 percent of the earth's arable surface.
I hope you found this interesting and that you learned a little something about rice that you may not have known.  I had a professor in college that would call this an IFNWK, an important fact not worth knowing.  I thought that we could all use this kind of knowledge to impress our friends and family with.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is not an original however, I really enjoyed it and I spiced it up to make it my own when I made it.  This is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant.  Traditionally eggplant parmesan is breaded and fried before baking.  I made this by roasting the eggplant in the oven instead, using reduced fat mozzarella and fat free ricotta.

Enjoy and have a blessed day!!!

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan (6 servings)
  • 1 large eggplant (2 lbs)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz fat free ricotta
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups reduced fat mozzarella
  • 1 jar roasted tomato and garlic pasta sauce
  • salt
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Lightly salt the slices and put them into a colander to release excess moisture for about 1/2 hour.  Lay on paper towels to soak up any extra moisture.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Brush eggplant lightly with olive oil on both sides and place on cookie sheets.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through until eggplant is golden brown.

In a medium bowl combine ricotta, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

In a 9x12 baking dish, put a little of the sauce on the bottom of the dish and put a layer of eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish.  Top with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese and sauce.  Add another layer of eggplant and repeat the process until everything is used up.  Top with sauce and the mozzarella and the remaining grated cheese.

Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted and everything is bubbling, about 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Another note worthy use for rice is in drying cell phones that have found themselves in some water. If you throw the phone in a zip lock bag with some rice in it and leave it in there for about day it will (hopefully) dry out your phone. Luckily, I don't know this from experience but know others who have had to use this technique after getting their phones wet. It apparently works pretty well.