Cooking With Eighth Wonder Heirloom Rice

| 1/25/2010 11:46:00 AM

Tags: cooking, heirloom rice, lamb, farm,

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.Rice is among my favorite starches. I’d rank it well ahead of potatoes, except perhaps waxy new potatoes dug fresh from the garden. Until last weekend when I tried some Ifugao Diket Sticky Rice sourced from Eighth Wonder, Inc. (a purveyor of heirloom rice grown in the Philippines) I thought brown rice was pretty exotic and about as tasty as that grain gets. When given the choice between brown rice and pasta, I probably pick pasta about 65 percent of the time. With this beautifully pigmented and nutty-flavored Eighth Wonder Heirloom Rice added to the mix, the pasta vs. rice decision just got a lot tougher for me.

Last weekend after a day of hanging, taping and mudding sheetrock in my slow-but-sure mudroom repair project (hoping for no more frozen pipes) I felt like dinking around in the kitchen with a partner in culinary crime who tolerates my experiments incredibly graciously. And since I had this package of Ifugao Diket Sticky Rice from Eighth Wonder Heirloom Rice, and a freezer full of grass-fed lamb sourced from GRIT publisher Bryan Welch’s farm, I had a plan.

Ifugao Diket Sticky Rice

I followed the directions on the back of the Ifugao Diket Sticky Rice from Eighth Wonder Heirloom Rice package to the letter. The rice cooked up plump, maroon and sticky. I had to sample it as it was – it tasted nutty and had a nice tooth – not mushy at all. As the rice was resting, I heated up my favorite 12-inch, cast-iron skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. When that was good and hot, I added about a pound of ground lamb along with a diced onion and sliced jalapeño – I stripped the seeds and then rubbed my eye and did some other things that made me remember why I like to just leave the jalapeño seeds alone. I browned the works. Actually I just browned the lamb and by then the veggies were just right.

With the flame turned down low, I added a couple of cups of cooked Ifugao Diket Sticky Rice from Eighth Wonder Heirloom Rice and tossed it around until the rice grains were more or less unstuck. A little sea salt and Northwoods Fire Seasoning (daughter Alaina gave it to me for Christmas) later, I had a delicious dish on my hands. Supper that night also included some awesome simmered carrots with a dill gravy on them and a heavenly, crunchy-crusted, no-knead rye bread – both compliments of my partner in culinary crime (she had a second helping of my lamb and Ifugao Diket Sticky Rice dish, which I take as a good sign).

Not one to let leftovers go to waste, I ate the rest of the Ifugao Diket Sticky Rice from Eighth Wonder Heirloom Rice for breakfast the next morning – it was delicious reheated with a pat of butter and drizzle of homemade cane syrup. I have a couple of other varieties of heirloom rice from Eighth Wonder yet to try. I can’t wait.

Hank Will_2
1/26/2010 8:35:12 AM

Hey Erin -- This particular rice is definitely shorter grained and very sticky, kind of like arborio. I just brought it to a boil and then simmered something like 25 minutes with the lid akimbo. It didn't seem at all as creamy as the Italian risotto rices I've messed with, but it definitely had no tendency to be mushy. I'll have to send you a sampler package for your birthday. Love Dad

Erin C. Midtlyng
1/25/2010 8:05:55 PM

Is it an arborio type rice, cooked like risotto?

Hank Will_2
1/25/2010 2:29:05 PM

Hey Susan -- This stuff is really wild. I have another pack that's pink and another that looks black but is supposed to cook up lavender colored. I can't wait to try them. Who knew that rice could be as variable as dry beans? I like dry beans too. My stuff came in a variety pack. Thanks, Hank

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