I Burned the Rice

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I often burn the rice.

Burned rice

It’s an unfortunate habit I have. Here’s how it usually goes down:

I’m making sushi rice. My sushi rice preparation technique, adapted from a recipe by Nobu Matsuhisa, involves bringing the rice to a boil, cooking it for five minutes at a regular temperature, then blasting it even more briefly with high heat, and then turning it off and letting it steam for 15 minutes. Where I go astray is usually in the last step, where I turn the heat on high, and instead of waiting the minute it’s supposed to take, wander off to do something else. (For example, the idea for this post came as I was working on another post when I suddenly smelled the rice burning.) More

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Tropical Thai in the Dusty Desert

Our last Cub Scout camp out ever — and I wanted to make something special for the Saturday group dinner.

Already being in the cultural mash-up mode, I opted for traditional Thai — a tropical cuisine whose flavors might adapt nicely to the particular leisurely pace of a desert camp out.

Willa, the desert and stormy skies

Willa, the desert and stormy skies

We got to our friends Greg and Mary Ann’s private property, Camp Nylen in the Joshua Tree desert around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the first ones to arrive. After opening camp and getting settled in, I began simple dinner preparations for the three families that would be there that evening. I had made a pesto pasta and brought a couple steaks. Greg arrived with his son Gram, pal Vic and his sons Miles and Logan got there with five different kinds of Aidells sausages, and we got ready to throw some red oak logs on the Santa Maria grill. More

Pattaya Pesto

Whilst shopping for my New Year’s Eve dinner at my favorite 99 Ranch Asian megamarket, I grabbed a big package of Thai basil.

I’m not sure why. I rarely use Thai basil. But I’ve been making vaguely Southeast Asian rice noodles lately as my wife takes one of her periodic breaks from gluten, and so I suppose the zeitgeist was right for the herb to capture my passing eye.

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Thai basil is different than Italian basil. When you hold it in your hands and then smell it on your fingers, it evokes not vineyards and villas but temples and tuk tuks. It’s scent is exotic and sultry. Because it is spicy and insistent, I find it less useful for the wide variety of applications appropriate to Italian basil. So I made noodles, I used a little for a sauce in my Asian-accented New Years Eve dinner. And still, the bulk of it was left on the bottom shelf in my fridge. More