He’s 80 years old this year and the iconic face of America’s best-selling brand of rice from 1950 through the 1990’s. Ever since I was a little girl, Uncle Ben was a regular at our dinner table. It was the brand of rice my Mom trusted. Therefore, it’s a brand I still trust today. Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice was actually revolutionary when it was introduced in the 1930’s. It was the first rice to be parboiled which offered several benefits. Parboiling retained more or the nutrients in the rice, it cut down on cook time and it was resistant to weevils, a common problem when storing rice. So I was thrilled to have stumbled upon the Uncle Ben’s 50th Anniversary Cookbook in a thrift store this week, and what a bargain! It was half off fifty cents! The cookbook celebrates Uncle Ben’s recipes from 1943 until 1993 and features dishes like Sweet Pepper Risotto and Pacific Paella. But the recipe that caught my eye was the Spinach, Bacon and Mozzarella Salad with Warm Rice Vinaigrette Dressing. I love the idea of soaking the cooked rice in a sweet and sour combination of vinegar, oil and brown sugar eliminating the need for additional dressing for the salad. It can be made with either the Uncle Ben’s Original or Uncle Ben’s Instant Rice. (I prefer the original.) The rice mixture is delicious served warm over the spinach or cooled down. I added a pint of grape tomatoes to the recipe since they go so well with the mozzarella. This is a great salad for the start of a new year, and if you’ve never had rice in a green salad, it’s the one to try! By the way, here’s a bit of trivia about Uncle Ben. From 1971 to 1983, his face was removed from all packages. But in 2007, Uncle Ben’s image was back on the box and he was promoted to the Chairman of the Board by a new advertising campaign. Way to go, Uncle Ben!
I taught a fabulous Provence cuisine class today that let us all channel our inner Julia Child. Two star recipes emerged and I wanted to share them with you! Please enjoy a gorgeous, eye-appealing and tantalizing salad with light and delicate homemade French rolls. C’est Manifique!
It’s everything you would want in a party dip. The combination of a sharp cheddar and jalapeno pepper jack, a kick from the poblano pepper, sautéed onion and ground beef, diced tomatoes with chiles all stewing in your favorite taco sauce makes this Cheesy, Beefy Taco Dip a real contender for your holiday buffet table. Add a platter of homemade flour and corn tortilla chips and let’s get this party started! I know that we’re always looking for great party foods this time of the year, especially for game days and holidays. This one will not disappoint. You can certainly choose to buy store bought chips, but there’s something really delicious about frying up some fresh tortillas that are crispy, warm and salted. These chips and dip are a match made in south of the border heaven!
They should be called “Angel” eggs because it seems as though just about everyone loves them. In fact, Deviled eggs are generally the first things to be gobbled up at a gathering like Easter Brunch. There are hundreds of variations on the popular party food that Julia Child simply called Stuffed Eggs. Can you just hear her, reading a line from her own book, Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook?
“I do think eggs look most attractive and professional when filled with a pastry bag and cannelated tube!”
Once I found out what the heck “cannelated” meant (fluted or grooved) I agreed with her! So, just in case you have some extra hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator after Easter egg dyeing this week, or you are hosting a get-together tomorrow, let me share one of my favorite recipes for Deviled Eggs. I found it in one of my oldest cookbooks called Quantity Cookery from 1922. I didn’t think you’d appreciate a recipe, however, that calls for 96 halves (or 6 pounds) of hard boiled eggs. I got the recipe down to a manageable size and started with an egg yolk and mayonnaise base. Softened butter and cream cheese add a rich, smooth texture while spicy mustard, prepared horseradish and Worcestershire sauce all add the kick. In fact, many Deviled eggs recipes I came across had dashes and splashes of flavor like lemon juice and hot sauces added to the base, which just goes to show that when it comes to Stuffed Eggs, the Deviling is in the details. Happy Easter and happy brunching!
What if you captured all of the delicious decadence of a chocolate brownie and transferred it to a cookie? A cookie that is so chewy, chocolaty and crinkly that it will win the hearts of crispy cookie lovers and soft baked cookie lovers alike? Well, head to the kitchen, because here it is! I discovered this delicious recipe for Chocolate Brownie Cookies in one of my go-to magazines, Cook’s Country, a spin-off publication of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen. I love these cookies right out of the oven, but now I know to make an extra batch to freeze. Because, you know, you will have one of those nights when you must satisfy your chocolate craving and lucky you! You’ll have just what you need in an airtight container in the freezer! Enough said. Trust me on this. You’re going to get lots and lots of brownie points when you share!
It’s a scrumptious sight to behold! This week I’m sharing with you a Christmas cake bedecked on the outside and hiding a swirl of surprise color inside! It looks like you’ve slaved over it for hours, but really, all you need to make it happen is one box of cake mix, some white icing, food coloring and sprinkles! This is what I call a gorgeous plate of holiday happiness, and it couldn’t be easier to create! Treat your family and friends to this wonderful bit of holiday cheer with a nice spot of tea or a luscious cup of cappuccino!
Watch my How to video for The Christmas Cake here!