Coconut Rice

Rice is a staple in many people’s diets, but it doesn’t have to be the same over and over. One of the delicious variations for either white or brown rice is coconut.

There’s nothing mysterious about making coconut rice. It’s a delicately flavored side that accentuates most Oriental foods with a subtle sweetness and aroma.

Simply substitue one 15oz can of coconut milk for part of the water as you are making rice. Note that a cup of fluid is 8 ounces, and the canned product comes in just under two full cup measures.

Coconut milk is thicker than water and more difficult for the rice to absorb. Be sure to add an extra quarter cup of water to the pot.

I have found that using the full can works extremely well when making up 2 cups of dry rice. Anything smaller batch and the coconut becomes overwhelming and the rice doesn’t cook up as well.

Coconut rice is a sticky rice rather than a fluffy one. Be prepared for this result.

Add coconut rice to your favorite Oriental dishes, Jamaican jerk, Hawaiian dishes, and anywhere else you would like a little bit of coconut flavor to accentuate your meal.

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

Advertisements

The Cotton Patch Cafe – Round Rock, Texas

The Cotton Patch Cafe in Austin is just what it looks like when you first step in the door. It’s a family restaurant in the vein of Black-Eyed Pea or any of dozens of mom-and-pop places that serve “home cookin'” style foods.

The entire place was clean as a whistle, bathrooms and all.

The menu was well organized and easy to read. Between my self and my party, we were able to order a wide variety of foods to taste and share. No one went away disappointed.

Our appetiser, the Bacon Cheese Fries, are for the win! The potatoes had a good flavor, even after being fried. They were emplated with a smother of grated cheddar and real bacon crumbles. A small dish of Ranch dressing was served on the side. They also do a sweet potato fry that may be treated this way.

I was in the mood for chicken, so I ordered the Chicken Fried Chicken. The breading was nicely crunchy, and not overly salted for my palate. The meat inside was a pleasant surprise, being tender and juicy. The standard cream gravy with black pepper is normally served on top, though I asked for it on the side. The pepper was noticable in the flavor, but not overpowering.

0343 Cotton Patch Austin TX 2013 0428

My first choice of side was Macaroni & Cheese. This is a menu staple across the South. In this case, it was rich and creamy with plenty of cheese coating aldenteĀ  elbow pasta. To say that the dish was also sticky, gooey, and yummy should go without saying. This is how I remember my grandmother’s mac and cheese from when I was a kid.

My other side was Broccoli Cheese Rice, which was also very heavy on the cheese. This is never a bad thing for me. It included long grain white rice and chunky, tender broccoli florets without a lot of stem. Another throwback to my grandmother’s cooking.

The sweet tea was light and refreshing, rather than being of the heavy Southern variety.

One of my fellow foodies ordered the Turkey Melt with Fries. This is a warm sandwich with smoked turkey on toasted rye, with Swiss cheese and slicedd tomatoes. While I did not get a great photo, I did get a bite. Tender, tasty, with good textures; it was an extremely friendly sandwich.

0342  Cotton Patch Austin TX 2013 0428

The staff was so friendly that our waitress went out of her way to give me her heart!

0344  Cotton Patch Austin TX 2013 0428

On the 1-5 scale, Cotton Patch gets:
Cleanliness – 4
Service – 5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – Moderate
Overall experience – 4.5

-Ann Cathey