Putting Some Buzz into Your Starch

StrykWhenever I’m ironing a shirt I have to keep running outside to make sure I didn’t leave my car running. It happened again last week, and since I was also feeling a little punk, it reminded me of Henry, my roommate at the hospital one year.

He was an OK kid, laughed a lot, and could fall asleep in three seconds. The main thing was that he’d never eaten rice before. His Asian parents had wanted to raise him as American as possible. One night, as the nurse lifted the hoods off our plates, he was delighted to find a scoop of ice cream in the middle of his creamed welsh rarebit.

“That’s not ice cream,” the nurse said. “It’s rice.”

I was standing outside in the cold, looking at my “silver” Toyota. Of course, it wasn’t running. The keys were in my pocket. Still, I pressed my hand in the hood to be sure. The odometer read 93,000 miles, so it had to have been doing something.

And maybe it was all the piles of snow but I couldn’t get ice cream out of my head. And I was thinking, boy, I could really use some coffee-flavored ice cream right now. But there wasn’t any ice cream in the freezer.

coffee riceI wondered, what if I made a pot of Basmati rice, and instead of adding water to cook it, I used coffee instead?

For this recipe, I used a dark roast. Starbucks tends to char their beans—their French and Italian roasts are usually just the over-cooked remnants of their lighter coffees—so you might want to use a better brand. Peets would be my choice.

I used 1 and ½ cups actual water, and ½ cup of coffee, and two or three rubs of salt. I kid you not, this made the best rice in the world…brown in color, not tasting of coffee at all, but carrying its sweet, nutty notes. Like brown rice, but without all the heaviness.

I ate two bowls of it, thinking about sweet Henry and wondering whatever became of that poor sick kid forty five years ago. Then I remembered the iron.

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