Archive for July, 2011

Andrew’s yellow rice

Posted in Rice on July 27th, 2011 by admin – 3 Comments

Andrew: Now that’s lazy blogging.
Me: What, letting you cook and writing about it?
Andrew: Not even cooking, I’m throwing stuff in the rice cooker.

I asked Andrew to make me some yellow rice since I failed my last attempt, and it’s a known fact that food tastes better when someone else makes it for you. Some good examples:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Toast
Garlic toast
Cheesy bread
Cheesy garlic bread

We’ll just say anything bread related tastes better when it comes out of someone else’s toaster.

Ingredients

  • Rice. Andrew says he uses the long-grain but it probably doesn’t matter. It’s just the only rice in the kitchen that isn’t already claimed for a specific purpose.

    When I asked how much he said, “This much,” holding up the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker.

  • Butter, about a tablespoon. This is also why someone else cooking for you is better, because the calories don’t count as much when you can’t see them going in.
  • “Yellow” aka Turmeric. Sprinkled on, unmeasured, but definitely not tablespoon(s?) like I did.

Directions:

  • Turn on rice cooker. Shower. Let the rice cooker god do it’s magic.
  • Enjoy magic yellow rice.


Also here is something not lazy I did recently:

It started with a box… specifically the box the blurry cat is laying on in the background. The project was delayed a few days due to unexpected cat-on-box-ness.

And when you finish this, you’re going to learn how to focus the camera on the right object, right?”

Three sides were cut out and a seamless background panel added. Morgan inspects the work before I’m allowed to proceed.

After adding tissue paper the sides, I have a decent photography light box for about $5 of material, that much because I insisted on buying the box new. I ran out of the fancy white tape I’ve had since who knows when and had to finish with the black masking tape I’ve definitely had since art school, but outside aesthetics don’t matter here.

Now I can take fancy pictures like this:

The cleaver

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23rd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

So Michael wins again, assuming the game involves keeping me from eating cheesy rice. (Just one bowl. I can stop anytime, I swear!)

Friday nights at the coffee shop are usually followed by a shopping trip at the pathetic Safeway (so called because, well they are), a tradition started back when I wanted to atone for using their parking lot. I go home with thoughts of dinner, real food to balance out the bagels and Italian sodas. Then I walk in the door and suddenly The Tired hits. I don’t want to cook anything that takes more effort than boiling water, and I don’t want to wait for the water to boil in the first place!

After debating with myself over whether I wanted chili from the freezer stash (it’s a fact that debating whether to make something or not will always kill more time than just making it in the first place) I pulled out a frozen block:

Chili makes the perfect freezer food. It reheats from frozen on the spot, or thaws in the fridge overnight if you’re planning ahead. “Too bad I can’t cut this in half somehow,” I said.

“Well there’s the cleaver,” Andrew said.

“Which I’ve always wanted to use!”

The cleaver is the only unused knife in our block. Andrew says it’s for cutting through bones, but I choose to live in the naive supermarket world where meat doesn’t have real bones. My pork chops and chicken breasts come from pig and chicken blobs that ooze around their free-range farms.

I took a swing and… made a small dent completely off center. Another swing made another dent, on center, not the same place I hit the first time like I was aiming for. Andrew took a couple tries with similar results.

The aftermath…

Best first use for a cleaver I can think of myself. And then I ate some chili.

Cheesy Rice

Posted in Rice on July 22nd, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

After one of our writing nights, where I was told I had to get a post up before leaving even if it meant sitting on the sidewalk after the coffee shop closed, Michael was giving unsolicited diet advice and said something about cheesy rice. I think the words “don’t” and “eat” were in there but what I heard was “cheesy rice”, eat cheesy rice!

So I went home with cheesy rice in my head. The problem was the idea I had in my head wasn’t clear enough to figure it out myself, but none of the recipes I was finding matched what I wanted either. I ultimately went to bed cheesy-rice-less (sad) but saved a cheddar risotto recipe for a couple days later when I felt like putting some real effort into satisfying my craving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. risotto rice
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 c. chicken stock, heated
  • 6 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 3 T chopped chives

Risotto is Italian and I believe translates roughly to ‘more trouble than it’s worth’.

It also has a subtext of ‘really expensive rice’. Arborio is the recommended but she said sushi rice can be used as well. The kitchen’s always stocked with Niko Niko.

In my cheesy defense, I cut the recipe in half and only used this much rice:

It’s annoying when a recipe can’t just give amounts in cups and makes me break out the scale. On the plus side, It justifies owning the scale.

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in an oven proof pan, add oil and onions. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent.

Andrew and I got permission from a Real Chef to replace onions with shallots (recommended in fact) so I replaced what would have been a quarter onion with a small shallot.

  • Add rice, stir thoroughly so that each grain of rice is coated in butter and oil.

    Now that I’m on the defensive about my cheesy rice, ‘coated in butter and oil’ sounds much worse than it is.

    • Then add wine and mustard, and cook until wine has been absorbed by rice. Add stock, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring until the stock is absorbed by rice.

    Michael nearly had his way because of one simple fact – I. fail. at. rice.

    I have never in recorded history successfully made rice on the stove, whether it’s the simmer and ignore it method or the stir nonstop for 20 minutes. I had reverted to eating Minute Rice until my old roommate showed me the wonders of the rice cooker. The rice cooker doesn’t make crunchy rice. You have to pretty much go out of your way to mess up rice in the rice cooker. The rice cooker is the god of rice.

    In fact you should skip the rest of this post and go to rice cooker rissotto recipes. (That’s just a Google link – keep reading my post.)

    I went through the two cups (halved) of broth, and another two cups. Stir, stir, stir, taste.

    This beautiful closeup… still crunchy in the middle.

    I finally just put the lid on and let it simmer, I guess the “regular” way, while I went to shower. Then continued with the recipe hoping the oven would finish cooking for me.

    • Add 4 oz. cheddar, stir until the cheddar is melted.
    • Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees until the cheese is bubbly

    At this point I forgot the bread crumbs, forgot the chives. I just wanted some cheesy rice that wasn’t crunchy!

    I also forgot that pans right out of the oven are hot. The thing is habits will overrule common sense when you’re used to grabbing the handle of a pot on the stove. After some screaming I felt better.

    It doesn’t look like much but it was pretty decent, however nowhere near worth the effort put into it. The wine flavor definitely came through – that could be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

    Next time I think rice cooker, some broth, and a handful of cheddar cheese. That might even be dinner this coffee shop writing night. (And before Michael comments, we did say Fridays don’t count.)

    Mini raspberry (tidbit) muffins

    Posted in Uncategorized on July 15th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

    I had to order two bags of the raspberry tidbits to make the shipping costs worthwhile so I have to find ways to use up a whole lot of raspberry. Michael says, “I don’t know why you wouldn’t use fresh raspberries,” and the raspberry muffin recipe does use fresh, but as I said, I have a lot of tidbits to use up.

    I also like that it’s a simple one-bowl (in my case, a one Kitchenaid mixing bowl) recipe that my addled mind can handle right now.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup fresh raspberries
    • Some powdered sugar (for sprinkling)

    I think I actually wrote myself a note to take the butter out of the fridge when I got home this time. I’m the worst at planning ahead on these things.

    Directions:

    • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electronic hand mixer.

    I rarely dig out the hand mixer because something is bent inside and it makes a lot of clacking noise. I did a lot of old fashioned mixing with a bowl and wooden spoon before we got the Kitchenaid… now I feel lazy using something that lets me walk away during the process.

    From here an easy add one ingredient and then the next until,

    • Gently fold in the raspberries.

    I wasn’t sure if the tidbits would need more or less than the amount of fresh raspberries so I added them little by little until it looked right (I think 3/4 of a cup in the end.)

    • Lay out a mini muffin pan and arrange mini baking cups.

    Ohhh, I already learned my lesson about making mini things, but this recipe was explicitly for mini muffins. Besides having to make three times as many, I only have one mini muffin(/cupcake) pan.

    So I had to do this three times, with a half hour wait between each.

    • Sprinkle the tops with a little powdered sugar. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned

    I cooked each batch for a shorter time than the last and they seemed to come out progressively better. 25-30 minutes was too long – maybe I have mini-er mini pans than she does.

    This is practically a side-by-side comparison.

    They were complimented as usual but the true test is in the leftovers. There was a pretty good-sized Ziplock bag full of them left at work after the potluck, which I threw out after the three-day weekend. Next time fresh raspberries, and next time forget the mini thing and let it be somebody else’s obsession.