Thursday, March 31, 2011

Risotto in a rice cooker. It is that easy.

If I could leagally marry my rice cooker, I might just do that.  I love it that much.

When you're denied pasta... risotto comes to mind.

I suck at risotto.  I've tried.  And usually had to resort to packaged risotto mixes and they've always been just as bad... as just as attention-consuming.  Always too dry or rice too hard  or just not what I expected.

Not so with the rice cooker.

You start off... put some butter and shallots in your rice cooker, and crank it to high/boil.  I was making a mushroom risotto tonight, so I also added some sliced mushrooms.

Let those cook.  Then add a 1 cup measure from your rice cooker measuring thingy plus and extra 2 tablespoons of rice.

Let that cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add 3 cups (using the trusty rice cooker measuring cup) of stock.  I'm a fan of the Kitchen Basics boxed stuff.  Don't use a real measuring cup for the liquid... use the rice cooker measurer. 

Let that boil away.....

I've found I usually need to start checking rice for done-ness around the 15 minute mark.  It might take up to 25 minutes for the rice to be cooked to your liking.

Add some parm at the end. Because parm is pretty much good on anything.

Lovely, not a lot of fuss risotto.  Yes, you need to  do the chopping of the shallot and the pre-stock steps. but it takes care of itself after that.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The things you miss... (and why I love my rice cooker even more)

"Blue box" mac and cheese.

I know.

I know.

It's so not gourmet... it's trash.... but some days, when you have thunk all you can at work and you have to come home and still come up with something for dinner, it is comforting to know that if you bring a pot of water to boil, about 9 minutes later (after mixing it up) you'll have food.

And I think not only is the pasta a no-no when you need to avoid wheat... they might also put it in the seasoning packet.

I was making some for the hubby, and I wanted to make myself some kind of cheesy rice to try and make myself happy.

I've tried a couple of cheesy rice things off the 'net.... cook your rice and add a couple of slices of processed cheese... and they have not been good.

So I thought.  To make a good homemade mac & cheese (which I actually prefer over the boxed stuff) you cook your pasta, make a white sauce, add cheese to the white sauce and then mix it all.

But.... wait a sec.

I can use my rice cooker to make it's OWN starchy white sauce.

One cup plus 2 tablespoons of sushi rice (it was the only short grain rice I had on hand) plus three cups of chicken stock went into my rice cooker.

And after about 25 minutes you get a lovely risotto (seriously... the price of a rice cooker is worth it for a no-fuss risotto alone....)

Dumped some shredded cheddar and some grated parm.....

And OMG... what a reward.....

Lovely rice.  Cheesy goodness.  Unlike the boxed stuff... it was CHEESE.  And some nice starchy rice.  And just awesomeness. 

I will happily buy another 6-pack of the boxed blue stuff so I can make that for the hubby, and have this working its magic on the countertop for my enjoyment alone.  Blue Box is one of his favorite things.  I am more than happy to not share my rice with his.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Fat Tuesday!!! (and why you need a rice cooker)

Happy Fat Tuesday!!

And Happy Paczki Day!

And considering they brought in the most wonderful looking and smelling paczki at work today and I managed to not stab anyone since I can no longer eat them... I consider the day a success.

This is the first Tuesday before lent in probably the 40 years of his life, my husband has not had a paczki.  His mom usually brings us a couple... she didn't this year.  And I am glad, because I would have made the hubby eat them in a different room than I was in.  Or... you know... stabby thoughts.

In any case... I can still make a good Crawfish Creole for dinner.

First part... that used to be the hardest for me... the rice.

 I love my new rice cooker.

Not only is it red, to match my Kitchen Aid and the one wall in my kitchen, it is the best appliance I have purchased in a LONG time.

I suck at making rice.  Dude... it took me ten minutes to make Minute Rice last week.  Seriously.  So I finally broke down, and went and spent $30 on a rice cooker (you can get an off-brand at Target for half that price).

You put in rice.  (And if you are me, you rinse your rice like 4 times just to be extrasupersure there is nothing "wheat" hanging on to it).

You put in water.

You turn it on.

It turns to warm when it is done.

And you have the most perfect, amazing, fluffy rice.

As for the Crawfish Creole.... I sliced some leeks, a red pepper, green pepper and a yellow pepper and got that cooking.....

Dump in a large can of diced tomatoes...

Add some sliced sausage, frozen okra and garlic and let that simmer away.....

Then throw in a pound of crawfish tails and let it heat thru.


Monday, March 7, 2011

An actual gluten-free baking success

Chocolate-banana bundt cake.  From the Cuilinary Institute of America's Gluten-Free Baking book.

It actually worked.

Baking has been the hardest thing about dropping the wheat.  Ina Garen's "Outrageous Brownies" were the first thing I ever tried just using some Bob's Red Mill GF Baking Flour mix... and that was not a surprise since that recipe relies on the eggs and chocolate and butter to hold it all together.

There was then the Christmas cookie disaster.

Failed creme puffs (burned on the bottom and raw in the center).

Corn muffins that looked fab on top, and were black on the bottom.

I think my problems may have been silicone pans and my silpat... just get too hot and not good in gluten-free baking.

This time... I used the bundt pan I have used for ONE other cake before, and while it was a bit dense (think banana bread) it was still tasty.

I made the cake for my 35th birthday.  I have to get used to that... if I want cake on my birthday, I gotta make it myself.  I'm fine with that.

Especially now that I found a recipe that I could actually make.

We'll see how the next scheduled attempt - soda bread - goes.