rice and pasta

A friend of mine was researching what rice to buy and I told her I like Tamaki haiga a short grain rice with the germ still attached. It tastes like white rice but it's supposed to be more nutritious. Anyway, it tastes good and we use the gaba brown, quick, or white rice regular setting on the Zojirushi so can't really screw that up. Tamaki haiga is better than your usual bowl of rice and it's good for rice bowls, stir fried rice, etc. Some more rice thoughts from somebody else. Also, there's no "best" rice. Buy what you like.

Other rice: Anson Mill's Carolina Gold Rice is good especially for red beans and rice but it's a bit too expensive for the trouble. Carnaroli for risotto, bomba for paella, and Kodafarms has good sweet (sticky) rice, rice flour, and Kokuho rose. I've made but I don't really fool around too much with jasmine, basmati, or long grain rice. And I don't like brown rice.

For pasta we go with Rustichella D'Abruzzo for spaghetti, bucatini, mezze maniche, farfalloni, and orecchiette. There's a couple bulk sales a year at Market Hall for this pasta and I grab some when it happens. Otherwise, Barilla is fine and fresh, home made pasta is easy enough.

Bonus: For rice "seasoning", get shichimi togarashi, Queen's gochujang, and Huy Fong chili garlic sauce. For tomato stuff Rao's marinara and vodka sauce are really good. Bianco DiNapoli canned tomatoes are good and this tomato paste from Mutti.

my cookware recommendations

pots and pans – Mafter Bourgeat

Go with Mafter Bourgeat and get one of their black steel pans (the 11 7/8" one) and get the remainder from their stainless steel collection: the 9-1/2" and 11" fry pans, the 1-3/4 quart and 4 quart sauce pans, the 7-1/2 quart stock pot, and optionally the 4 quart saute pan. Altogether, these should run you about $500-$600.

There's a small detail with these Mafter pots and pans that's not in most cookware. The handles are attached in a way where the rivets don't go through so the interior is clean.


King Cake season

King Cake from Haydel's Bakery
King Cake from Haydel's Bakery

We love us some King Cakes.

Haydel's Bakery is our favorite. We always get the sugar only (the sugar + frosting is pretty sweet) and we get the package with the coffee, bead pack, etc. because why not!?! The high costs of these cakes are due to FedEx shipping but good luck trying to find a legit King Cake outside of NOLA. Buy NOLA and support their economy!

Antoine's and Gambino's are pretty good too.

I have yet to try a filled King Cake which is usually cream cheese but there's lot of different options (flavored cream cheese, brownie filled, praline, German chocolate) so a bit of choice overload.


hibiscus tea

hibiscus tea photo

The new to me hotness -> hibiscus tea and the best is supposed to come from the Sudan.

Benefits of drinking hibiscus tea include weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent types of cancer and depression, and pro-liver; not at high doses.

Every tea seller has hibiscus tea but a lot are in blend form w/ black tea or berries, e.g Imperial Red from Imperial Tea. Luckily Berkeley Bowl has some just plain old hibiscus tea.

I'm not going to link to bad Google results for Karkade recipes which is a sweet hibiscus drink (there are no links to an Egyptian or Sudanese website for a recipe? really?). It's basically dried hibiscus, sugar, and water which is also agua de jamaica.

And I had no idea that jamaica was hibiscus. I didn't know what the red and tart drink was, just thought jamaica tasted good. Who knew? Anyway, it was nice to get introduced to hibiscus tea and will probably need to drink up other teas/mix it up a bit before I go overboard and get sick of it. Hasn't happened yet though.