Will I sound crazy if I admit that sometimes I daydream about my old kitchen in America? It's true. Before coming here I was a pretty good cook, and an excellent baker. It's the baking I miss. It's such a calming process. You start with all these raw ingredients, but when you combine them in just the right way you end up with a beautiful product. And I love to bake for people. Well, it's hard to do that without an oven.
Lately I've been focusing more on cooking, and I've learned a lot. My techniques are improving, and I''m learning a lot of delicious recipes. (Thai peanut noodles for dinner tonight with homemade raspberry sorbet for dessert) One way that my kitchen has improved though, is that I own a rice cooker now. Cooking rice has always been a pain, but now it's so simple, and the rice comes out perfectly every time. It's amazing!
|Rice Cooker Love!|
A couple weeks ago I discovered that you can bake in a rice cooker. Crazy! I've got a lot more experimenting to do, but I've already had some pretty exciting results. Some rice cookers have a cake function, but mine doesn't, I've just been doing everything on the regular setting.
The first thing I tried was a banana bread recipe specifically for rice cookers. After the first round of baking it wasn't done, so I let it cool for a few minutes and ran it again. (It won't restart when it's too hot) And then a third time. At that point I was afraid the bottom was burning, but the top still wasn't done, so I took a deep breath and flipped it over I cooked it once more and it came out perfectly. The bottom (now top) had browned a lot, but although it looked burned it didn't taste that way. (This has been my experience with all three baking attempts). The texture and flavor were exactly what you'd hope for with banana bread.
|Look! I baked something in my own house!|
For my second attempt I got a little bolder. I decided to make my regular corn bread recipe (The Pioneer Woman's recipe to be exact). It's a fluffier, buttery corn bread, not a super dense or super sweet recipe - sort of like a corn muffin in texture. I whipped up the batter and put it in, imagining it would take 2 or 3 "sessions" of baking, but it came out perfectly the first time.
|Inside the rice cooker bowl|
My third attempt was the least successful, and honestly I'm not sure what the problem was yet. (I need to test more recipes. ) I made a lemon yogurt cake (The Barefoot Contessa's recipe), and after the corn bread expected it to be finished after the first round of cooking. Yeah, nowhere close. So, I ran it again. And again. It was still gooey on top, so I decided to flip it like the banana bread. Well, the batter was not as solid as the banana bread, so it sort of slopped all over when I flipped it. I was pretty sure it was going to be a total disaster. But after that round of cooking it was done. The middle was probably a little softer than it should have been (though that might have just been the lemon syrup), but we still ate it.
|Not too ugly, huh?|
I've done some more reading, and now think I might be able to roast potatoes, and even cook full meals in the rice cooker. It must seem a little crazy, but I'm actually really enjoying this new hobby. I'll update you when I've got more successes (or failures) to share.