Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rice for Hot Summer Days

The weather in Lansing has been hot. On days like today when the temperature is in the mid-80s, I am in the mood for food that reminds me of summer. Chicken and rice is on the menu tomorrow. I love chicken and rice but I think of it more as comfort food for cold nights. But since I am trying to mimic the childcare center menu, I needed to come up with a rice dish. I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, looked up the ingredient rice in the index and found my inspiration in the recipe, Rice and Eggs with Pesto, Pine Nuts and Tomatoes. It seemed like an unlikely combination but I gave it a try. I cooked 2 cups of white short grain rice in my rice cooker and while it cooked, I made a batch of pesto in one bowl and beat two eggs together in another. As soon as the rice was done, I stirred the eggs into the rice, mixed in the pesto and closed the lid. I served the eggs, rice and pesto dish with chopped tomatoes for dinner tonight. It was delicious. Rice is an awkward dish for toddlers who haven't mastered the spoon. Caroline ate the rice slowly, picking up each grain one by one. Most of the rice made it into her mouth but some of it ended up on the floor. And there was pesto in hair. And tomatoes on her clothes. But she loved it and when she was finished, she asked for more.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, September 6: Breakfast - oatmeal, white peach; Lunch - rice with eggs, pesto and tomatoes; sweet bell peppers, zucchini, Tigger melon; Snacks - corn on the cob, Ryvita cracker

Childcare Center Menu, September 6: Breakfast - oatmeal, bananas; Lunch - chicken and rice with red bell peppers and mixed vegetables, kiwi; Snacks - cheese breadsticks

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