Diced celery and chopped parsley contrast with white rice to produce a very attractive side dish. Dishes based on rice can be very easy to put together, and they take little cooking time-two reasons why rice is always on our shelf. We generally use basmati rice, but a generic long grain will do handsomely.
2 cups long-grain white rice
3 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ribs celery finely diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
Place rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water for a few seconds. Shake dry and place in a 3-quart or larger saucepan. Add the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, add salt and celery seed, and cover. Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand 10 minutes, covered. Add pepper to taste, celery, and parsley, and stir to blend. A single chopstick stirred in one direction is an efficient way to blend seasonings into rice without compacting rice into a gluey mass. Taste for salt and add more if desired.