Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rice Patties

I love to do the fancy stuff...but I am also a simple girl from simple roots. Working in the greenhouse lately has made me terribly homesick. I miss my dad. Have I mentioned my dad is a gardener by trade. I spent a lot of time at his feet watching him tend plants. Now he runs our church's greenhouse growing literally thousands of flowers a year. He is probably the reason why my soul is so creative. He is amazing. One of the most calm and gentle men on earth. What does this have to do with my food? When I was growing up, we had these little rice patties for breakfast all the time. Dinner too. In the giant world of culinary arts, I realize they aren't really high up there on the scale of difficulty...or complexity of flavor. They are however, one of my most cherished comfort foods. On any given day I can be instantly transported back to my childhood kitchen and see my dad smiling over a plate of fresh rice patties. Heaven on earth. I have more memories of my dad making this dish than any other food. Well, these and fried 'taers and onions with egg. Ironically, my mom was the one who first introduced my dad to this dish. My Grandma Dorothy used to make them. However they came into the family, they are still a part of me. So, in honor of my dear ol' Pappa (and Mama for showing dad the way)'s how to make rice patties. They taste a lot like fried rice, but hold their shape and are a great way to use up leftover rice. I love them made with rice-a-roni too. Yes, very fancy-schmancy.

You will need:
cooked rice (chilled 3-4 hours in the fridge... so great for leftovers...see?)
1 cup cooked rice (measure after cooking) to one egg.
I use 1/4 cup eggbeaters so it's heart healthy. Yes, you can use brown rice or pretty much any cooked grain. Barley is amazing. My mom uses cold cooked cracked wheat. Yea, those are good too.
Here's the difficult part...mix it up.
In a large skillet with a heavy bottom, cook over medium heat. Make sure you use a non-stick pan, or one you have oiled well. I scoop them into little patties like this little artistic dude. See how it looks like the sunshine. Yea, it is happy isn't it? Cook 3-4 minutes on one side and then carefully slide a spatula under the pattie and turn over gently. Cook 3-4 more minutes. We also like them with a slice of cheese on top...Top with butter while hot and season well with salt and pepper. Hello daddy.
There you go. Simple, comforting and easy. What a wonderful world.

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