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I Have Been KnittingOctober 29, 2008

I swear I have. I've just lost all motivation to blog about the knitting process, not that I ever had that much to begin with. You know I love to spring 'em on you, all completed. Voila!

But I've been designing a sweater, and the cool part is that it's for the book! My main character is a knitter, natch, and through the book she's been knitting and designing a russet man's sweater. It's an unconventional Gansey (narrower chest design, zig-zag on sleeves rather than plain or cabled). I wrote the book, then wrote the pattern to include with submission, and NOW I'm actually knitting it. The pattern I sent with the book is a rough draft -- I've still got to figure out the neckline and write the chart and different sizings. For all I know, if you followed the pattern, you'd end up knitting a ranch house.

But isn't that fun? Pattern sold with book? I love it. It's like novels that feature food having the recipes at the end.

I adore how my lust for yarn increases so rapidly this time of year. Unable to think about knitting anything for so long, it feels like coming back into myself every year. (If you look at my Finished gallery, you can see that most of the sweaters are banged out in fall and winter.) I need to cast on some more socks, and finish another sweater for me, and start another one, a stripey one.... Ahhhhh. I like to think about knitting on the couch almost as much as I love BEING on the couch, knitting.

PS - Is there a way in hell to make brown rice not suck? I hate it, hate the stuff. I've tried cooking it in all kinds of broth, cooking it plain, adding spices, adding vegetables and tofu.... I might just be bad at cooking it or it might just be as awful as I think it is. I'm about ready to give up, but if you have a miracle recipe, lay it on me. Puh-leeze.

PPS - Miss Idaho says Too Many Cats Here:

Toomany

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Comments

Brown rice does suck. But if you can find the Brown Jasmine or Brown Basmati rice, they suck less.

There is a nice lemony/parmesean sauce in the Laurel's Kitchen recipe book. I can never remember the name, but look in the index under rice, sauces. Make a double batch and let it soak into the cooked brown rice. Approaches edible...

I used to hate brown rice too, until I tried the brown jasmine (I think) at Trader Joe's. This stuff I LOVE (as far as rice goes). I even PREFER it to white rice. I usually do the 2:1 water/stock:rice ratio after rinsing once and letting it soak for 20-ish minutes. I also throw in a half pat of butter & any herbs/spices other than salt. Cook on low until water has absorbed and then let stand covered for another 10-ish minutes. IF I'm going to season with salt, it's usually at this point when I do the "fork fluff" thingy. If I don't do the fork fluff while still warm it just seems to solidify into a gross mass that I am not going to eat. Give it a try; I hope it works for you!

See, I love the brown rice...there's something about the chewyness that is just awesome. If it is the flavour you don't like, try adding a tiny bit of nutmeg...it seems to totally cancel out the weird flavour of the rice.

I'm so entertained that you're knitting your character's sweater! That's awesome. Can't wait to see pictures.

The secret to brown rice, as I was told and through experience have found to be true is to buy the smallest sized grain available. Then it has more of a nutty taste.

Brown rice should not be mushy. I don't know how well you are cooking it. It should be slightly chewy and nutty flavoured. And add salt. Especially if you're not going to eat something salty with it.

And as the other's said, not all brown rice is the same. You might not have found the one you like, yet.

But then, you may just not like brown rice. My family is not keen on it, which is sad, as I love it.

One of my childhood comfort foods was brown rice with steamed broccoli and cheese sauce. A complete protein, dontcha know?

I could just about live on brown rice, fish and mesclun mix salad . . .

Thank all that is holy, I though I was the only one who didn't like brown rice, but I'm trying so hard to be good. I'll try the Jasmine Brown rice next time! Whew! I am not as picky as my family thinks I am!!!
Designing a sweater????? You are a brave amazing woman.

Yeah I hate brown rice too, the dogs love it though :) I will have to see if I can find some brown jasmine or basmati, it has been recommend to me as well. I have to agree that overcooking brown rice makes it inedible ..even the dogs won't eat it at that point!
I can't wait to see your finished sweater design :)

i detest the brown rice myself.

I used to HATE brown rice too-- it's only in the past 2 years that I've been able to eat it and last year I was shocked when I realized I actually like it now. 2 things have been important for me: 1. I realized that my mom always undercooked brown rice. It is much much much better if you cook it thoroughly. 2. I started buying short grain brown rice. I think it's the right texture, and I like the flavor better.

Also, I have to say it's a lot easier in the rice cooker. The built in soak helps soften it, and letting it steam for an extra 10 minutes helps too.

Watch out, you're gonna be converted!

I eat brown rice like hot cereal. I put brown sugar, raisins, walnuts, wheat germ whatever I have on hand in it and then heat it in the morning and eat it for breakfast. I put milk on mine but soy or rice milk works too.

I like brown rice to begin with but recently figured out how to make it even better!
Spanish rice:chop up some onion and garlic and fry in some olive oil then add 1 cup of short grain brown rice and toast it all together for a few minutes. Then add a 8oz can of tomato sauce, some chili power and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer and cook forever (like 90 min). You could use chicken stock for even more flavor (or throw a couple of chicken legs/thighs in towards the end and call it a meal). I eat this with pinto beans, jack or queso cremoso and some sauteed veggies. Hope this helps a little!

Huh. Never thought much about brown rice. I make it for me the same as I do white, only cooked 40 min instead of 20. I like it just fine. But the kiddo says he doesn't. Maybe overexposed in preschool? But these suggestions all sound lovely.

The idea of a whole sweater pattern with a book tickles me! If only the yarn was included too...

When I can't sleep and keep thinking about work, I switch to knitting instead. Planning lots of projects. Troubleshooting. Not quite as fun as actually knitting (or actually sleeping), but pretty good!

My favorite way of cooking brown rice? I got it from Cooks Illustrated. Alton Brown from Good Eats cooks it pretty much the same way--baked in the oven.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-brown-rice-recipe/index.html

I love brown rice, but only the really short-grained stuff. I'll eat it plain!

Short grain brown rice should cook up like the sticky rice you get at good Japanese restaurants. I use my steamer.

brown rice + lots of cheese + bacon = AWESOME!!!
though it may negate any health related reason you have for cooking it in the first place. Im just sayin. Awesome.

I grew up on brown rice, but I've never really liked it either. I'm a short-grained japanese rice person now.

Yay, brown rice! My mom sent me an awesome recipe:
2c br rice
3c boiling water
1. Toast the rice in a skillet for about 5 min. Don't wash the rice, or add oil to the pan. Take off heat when the kernels start to pop.
2. combine toasted rice and boiling water in a casserole, and bake at 350 for 45 mins.
Super yummy!

ooh! I LOVE the idea of a knitting pattern with the book - how fun would it be if your book was made into a sound recording and your readers could knit the sweater while listening to the story? - but brown rice? it sucks, sucks I tell you! Even jasmin - frankly I think some people like it and some don't - I've switched to quinoa when I'm trying to be healthier than plain white jasmin which is rare.: )

Have you tried quinoa instead? I love it, especially with a touch of toasted sesame oil in the cooking liquid.

Make sure and rinse it well before cooking or it will be bitter (ask me how I know)!

I don't even have any words. Because I love brown rice. Perhaps you need a short-grain brown rice or cooking it long enough, usually 35-40 minutes. I could have it all the time. I don't usually have to do much to it. It has a lovely, nutty taste.

jesus on a stick! can you believe it's taken this long? anyway...

dear rachael,

you may remember me from many moons and a couple of giggles ago. i'm nakachi and i live in east oakland with my boo, the lover. have for a minute, actually, and there is something hella wrong with the fact that i've been here hella long and still hella need to see you even though we probably live hella close to each other. really, it's just hella crazy to me that i haven't seen you and we hella need to rectify that shit hella quick.

holla.

our trick: Start with enough water for 2 cups of rice, then add 1 cup of brown rice and 1tsp or so of salt. let that cook for 20 minutes, then add 1 cup of white rice and let that cook for another 20 minutes. Even picky little-boy white Chinese food rice loving people like it. it also makes the best fried rice ever.

I use Lundberg's wild rice blend to start rather than just straight brown rice. Cook cup rice in 2 cups of chicken broth in a rice cooker. Makes all the difference in the world. Yum!!

Firstly, there is a lot of poor quality brown rice being sold. I quit buying from bulk bins; I found too many unhusked grains, as well as seeds from non-rice plants. Now I only buy clean, name-brand rice. Secondly, the sole way I cook it is to boil it like pasta in salted water, then drain it. Otherwise, it seems to have an unpleasant, gummy texture. I realize this is sort of a kindergarten way to cook brown rice, but it comes out perfect every time. Just keep testing the grains till they are done to your taste.

For brown rice, just add cheese. ;-)

I love the idea of the pattern in the book!

Have you read "Like Water for Chocolate"?

When can we see your book in stores?

Do you like barley? Can you just eat that instead? I think it's so yummy. I cook up a couple of cups at the beginning of the week, then make a salad for my lunchbox every day: greens, barley, a little goat cheese, a couple nuts, a couple dried cherries. Sometimes a grated hard-boiled egg. No need for dressing.

Oh, girlie, I made this last night. The key is cooking the brown rice (all above have good ideas for that) then making fried rice out of it. After the rice is made or leftover, saute minced ginger (or garlic or whatever aromatic you like) in a good glug of olive oil. Add some scallions or shallots and maybe some zucchini sliced thinly and quartered or broccoli or frozen peas, whatever is in the fridge. Saute until whatever you've added looks like it's pretty well cooked. Add a lesser glug of toasted sesame oil. The toasted kind is the most flavorful. Add the brown rice and keep sauteing, stirring and scraping up the tasty bits on from the bottom of the pan. Add some chopped red or orange or yellow sweet peppers for color and crunch maybe a bit of some sauce you like ex. hot sauce, peanut sauce, what-ev-ah. top with more chopped scallions salt n pepper and bob's yer uncle!

I love the idea of a real knitting pattern in a book! I've read other knitting books with patterns, but the patterns were very beginner and not that interesting for a knitter to read about, either.

I grew up eating brown rice with soy sauce and ketchup. Elegant? No. Tasty? Yep.

Yes, what they said. Brown Basmati or Texmati or Jasmine. All much better than just plain old brown rice.

I only make brown rice in my house. I make it plain with beef broth to serve under chili, and I make a killer spanish rice that I serve with black beans.

You have to try what I think is called the Brown Rice Medley at Trader Joe's. It's in a mixture of a small grain brown rice, black pearl barley and radish seeds (I think. I'm at work so am working from memory here). Super yummy!

I like the novels with the added value. There are a couple series in YA literature that have patterns in them. One series has sewing patterns and another (Chicks with Sticks) has knitting patterns.

Here's another barley recipe, this one much improved on from a basic one by Alton Brown:

2 c. pearled barley (I get mine from the health food store, so it still has some good stuff in it)
4 c. chicken (or veg) broth
sliced fresh mushrooms
3 T butter
salt, pepper and Fresh Thyme (just pull the leaves backwards off the stem)

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a baking dish with Pam or what have you. Put barley, mushrooms, butter, salt, pepper and thyme in dish. Bring broth to full boil and pour over barley. Give it a little stir, cover and bake for one hour. Uncover, fluff, eat and be happy! Really good when eaten piping hot and covered in Parmesan cheese.

My brown rice recipe:
1/3 cup sweet brown rice
2/3 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups water

cook rice by any method until it's done (we use a rice cooker with brown rice phase)

1 large leek
1/4-1/2 lb mushrooms
2-3 tbs. olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Chop, and gently saute leek in olive oil. When soft add mushrooms and gently saute until they are soft, too.

Mix everything together & Eat. Yum!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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