First MacroChef Gold Star Award for Excellence Goes to Lundberg Organic Rice Cakes

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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!

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Rice cake spread with homemade miso-tahini paté

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Look What I Found Today at Costco!

I bought this today at Costco–and for a very fair price (just over $13 for a 12-pound bag). Because I do catering for groups on retreat, I find Costco, the membership big-box store, very useful. They carry a wide range of decent quality food in large sizes, and at very competitive prices. Naturally, I wish they’d carry more organics, so when I spot an organic product I can use, I make sure to buy it.  But seeing Lundberg rice, really stopped me in my tracks.  For generations, Sacramento Valley-based Lundberg Family Farms has been the leading grower and marketer of organic rice and rice products in North America, and the standard against which all others are measured. Their rice cakes, for example, are so much better than the rest, they are really the only ones worth buying. While they are now a successful business with some 200 employees and 17,000 acres of rice under cultivation, when they started growing organic rice decades ago, it was a risky business on which almost no one else wanted to gamble. For upholding high standards, for continuing to be family-owned,  and for making their superior foods widely available, I salute Lundberg Farms. If whole, organic foods are ever to make it onto a majority of America’s tables, they will have to be reasonably priced and much more widely distributed. Finding Lundberg’s rice at Costco gives me hope in both regards. I thank both companies, and hope this is not a one-shot deal, but a sign of the acceptance of high quality, whole foods in a mass market setting.