Thursday, August 27, 2009


In the college dining hall, I often drew curious stares and comments for my unorthodox applications of yogurt. Plain, unsweetened, creamy, white yogurt can be an unassuming hero, especially in places like dining halls where there is very little available that couldn't use a little moistening and tartening up. Back then I spread it on untoasted bread (the flabby, nominally whole-wheat kind supplied by Sysco), added it to the plain marinara sauce they offered for pasta, and mixed it with cottage cheese to lob on top of my salads. Later, I started putting it on my cereal instead of milk, which for some reason seemed a lot less weird to the unimaginative critics of my other creations. But I have a feeling that my current breakfast of choice would raise a few eyebrows, however similar it may be to the classic in its foundations.
No, it's not oatmeal you see there. It's brown rice, the Japanese koshihikari genmai that surpasses the long-grain brown rice sold cheap in America and exceeds it proportinately in price as well. Of course, compared to buying a box of cereal (especially here, where it's foreign and therefore sold at a premium), at about $7 for a kilogram, it's still a deal. It takes me about 2 weeks to go through a 2 kilo bag, eating rice two or three times a day.
I cook 6 servings at a time in my indispensable rice cooker and heat up the leftovers in the microwave as needed (no doubt consuming radiation and poisonous plastics at the same time but what can you do?). For breakfast, I put about 100 grams (4 spoonfuls) of yogurt on top, add fruit (or even veggies), and stir. If the rice is hot enough, the fruit cooks a little and releases more sweetness. It's hard to pick a favorite - I've used the strawberries and bananas pictured here, but peaches are divine and blueberries, apricots, figs, plums, and probably anything slightly squishy would work. In winter I did the same thing using cooked carrots and cabbage I had leftover in the fridge, and it made an extremely fortifying cold-weather breakfast. But summer is all about buying way too many overripe fruit from my neighborhood produce stand, and desperately trying to eat it all up before it goes bad. This breakfast is the perfect solution.

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