If you missed yesterday’s post about safe starches and white rice, check it out here first.
I’m very picky about the companies I work with – because I am very picky about my food and where it comes from. But I don’t try to be perfect – because that’s not living (and I’d probably starve) so I do try to seek out the best options.
I’ve worked with Minute Rice in the past (after doing some research on the company and their products) and was excited to attend their event last week!
The event was held at the culinary school at George Brown College, which was a super great venue and amazing place! I didn’t know any of the other bloggers there (they were mostly “Mommy Bloggers”) so lucky for me, I got to bring a plus one (which is so not the norm for my life… #single) who fit right in.
We took our seats in a beautiful demonstration kitchen and got ready for the evening ahead, which began with individual plates of appetizers.
I nibbled on most of the veggies…
Followed by rice samplings: white/brown, made with coconut milk, citrus and tea!
I stuck with the white rice – the coconut milk was my favorite!
Then the evening got underway with Chef John Higgins – a Chopped Canada judge and all around prettyyyy famous chef. He started off by talking about Minute Rice and sharing some tips. I was really happy to find out that Minute Rice is GMO free! It was also interesting to learn more about how they make the rice cook so quickly – it is simply long grain rice that is pre-cooked and dried. Yes, I want to find out more about the drying process…
Chef Higgins then demonstrated the first dish of the evening: a lasagna made with rice (and a whole lotta cheese). The dish was beautiful and really creative and you bet I asked how I could make it dairy free. Once I experiment (and if it’s successful) I will most definitely share! Sidenote: I do eat dairy on occasion (usually in the form of pralines n cream) but I did not want to risk a breakout… I had some events upcoming.
What I loved most about Chef Higgins was the emphasis he placed on “keeping it simple”. His advice about cooking rice with some spices or in a stock or in coconut milk is genius (and so easy) yet too often overlooked, by myself included!
Next, he demonstrated dessert: a rice mixture (made with coconut milk and citrus) with pear and cranberry. It smelled so good. The butter and sugar probably helped.
Then it was our turn to get in the kitchen!
Okay, I may sound excited but I was kinda terrified. This was like a REAL kitchen. You know, the ones you see on MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen… and I was supposed to cook in it! Eek, we know that I am not a chef!
Following a recipe (kind of, more on that) and being around other people who clearly knew what they were doing made me super nervous… which just meant I giggled a lot and looked kinda spastic.
We all had our own cooking station to make the Pear Cranberry Rice Pudding that Chef demonstrated – I modified it to make it Amy-friendly (no sugar, no Chex cereal, etc).
I wasn’t bugging anyone by making changes so rocked it out.
Okay, I didn’t actually rock it… I felt so out of my element!
Thank goodness Mama Honey Bee was a huge help because everything was moving pretty fast and I had trouble with the simplest things… like turning on the stove. One blogger beside me kept giving my sharp looks – pretty sure she thought I was the most annoying and uncoordinated person in the world.
I’m better at eating than cooking anyways – I think we were supposed to use both pears in the dish but clearly I had other plans…
Even with my kitchen un-coordination (and nearly losing my pan of rice in the fridge), I was quite happy with how my dish was turning out: browned the pears and cranberry, cooked the rice in coconut milk and orange zest, and sweetened it all with maple syrup.
I think Chef Higgins forgot about my dairy-free question earlier because he saw that my rice needed more liquid so dumped about 1/2 cup of milk in my pan… whoops… there goes dinner and dessert for me! No biggie, still had a blast cooking.
I was most excited to blow torch some marshmallows (just for the fun of it). That thing is powerful! I totally need one.
They provided adorable mason jars (which I am so excited to have and re-use) to assemble our puddings in and take home.
One of my finished products… not so pretty but I tried… and Mama Honey Bee said it was delicious, yay!
It was such a great evening! I had lots of fun, learned a bunch and made a mess in the kitchen (and didn’t have to clean it up!)
We know that rice isn’t a nutrient-powerhouse but since eating sweet potatoes 24/7 can get a little repetitive, I’m glad to have the option to cook up some rice in a few minutes and get my carbs in.
A big thanks to Minute Rice for an amazing event!
You can grab a coupon here for your next Minute Rice purchase!