People tend to be of two persuasions when it comes to rice cakes. There are those who hold a belief that rice cakes look, taste and feel pretty much like styrofoam, and they are not about to be convinced otherwise. Then there are those who, like myself, just as firmly believe that rice cakes are the perfect snack when you want something less filling than bread, and lower in fat than chips. To those of you on the styrofoam side of this argument, I say try Lundberg Organic Rice Cakes, they are truly so superior to all other rice cakes, that you just might change your mind.
Lundberg rice cakes have an inviting crunch, actually taste of the usually few and organic ingredients from which they’re made, and are produced by a family business known for decades of devotion to quality. And that’s why I’m citing them with the first MacroChef Gold Star Award for Excellence, an award I hope to give out occasionally to products of long-standing stellar quality. I’ve long admired Lundberg Farms. They’ve been growing rice organically since 1969 and were the first farmers in the U.S. to grow and distribute brown rice on a substantial scale. Today, they grow or contract to grow 11,000 acres of organic rice, and 6,000 acres of what they call eco-farmed rice, which is grown to a higher standard than conventional commercially-grown rice. Because they control every step of the production process, they can insure quality from field to package and that’s why Lundberg rice cakes are a cut above all the rest, that and the fact that each cake contains almost twice as much rice as other brands. Some of their rice cake flavors do contain added sweetening, so if that’s a concern, stick to the more basic flavors such as Wild Rice, which contains only organic brown rice, organic wild rice and sea salt. The FAQ section of their web site is full of great information, including a chart which compares the nutritional profile of brown rice versus white rice (you’ll never want to eat white rice again!).
Rice cakes are a great blank slate for whatever topping you care to add, and anything you enjoy on toast works well, but one of the most delicious, and easy-to-make toppings is miso-tahini paté. My recipe is after the jump. Enjoy!
Made thick, this is an addictive spread for bread or crackers, thinned it becomes an equally delicious and versatile sauce for grains or vegetables. If you don’t feel like making this topping, you can achieve something similar by spreading a thin layer of tahini on your cracker, followed by a thinner layer of miso (to taste), also delicious.
1 1/2 cups tahini (lightly roasted, ground sesame seed paste)
2-3 tablespoons barley miso, or to taste (you can use most any miso, but if you use a light, sweet variety, you may need to add a little soy sauce to deepen the flavor. Read about miso here.)
2 teaspoons dried, mixed Italian herbs or French herbs de Provence
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or green onions, minced (optional)
Stirring constantly, roast tahini, garlic and herbs in a cast iron or other thick-bottomed pan over medium heat until the tahini smells fragrant and slightly browns on the bottom, about five minutes (watch carefully, this can burn!). Combine roasted tahini and remaining ingredients in a food processor and puree, adding 1/2 cup water or more as needed to create a smooth, creamy consistency. If you intend to use this as a sauce, thin with additional water and check seasoning as you may need to add a little more miso or soy sauce. To use as a spread, serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. For sauce, reheat gently at low heat. Too high a heat may cause the sauce to separate. Refrigerated, this will keep at least a week. Yields 2 cups.