Monday, October 8, 2012

kitchen uni-taskers

Alton Brown, one of my all-time favorite television cooks, has this vendetta against what he calls "kitchen uni-taskers."  It's just what it sounds like.  Things that only do one thing in the kitchen.  A garlic press (use a knife).  A citrus juicer (use your hands).  You get the idea.  The only acceptable uni-tasker, he says, is the fire extinguisher - which we just happen to not have in our kitchen. 

We do have one that I finally decided was a good idea.  I caved and bought a twenty dollar rice cooker at Target after burning literally dozens of pots of rice.  Nothing makes you feel like more of a kitchen incompetent than messing up rice.  I've heard of a method where you boil it like pasta and then drain it - too late.  I'm hooked on the rice cooker.

Whenever we have a stir-fry night, I cook up a batch of brown rice.  I usually soak it overnight first to render it a bit more digestible.  The cooker is magical and knows how to adjust its timing based on how saturated the rice is.  There is inevitably leftover brown rice.  Fried rice is a nice way to use this up.  So is brown rice pudding. 

Now that we are into the cooler season, I crave this rich, creamy dessert.  Adding cocoa powder might also be a good idea.  If you're into that kind of thing.  Also, this could conceivably be an amazing breakfast. 

Brown Rice Pudding
2 C milk
1/2 C cooked brown rice
2 T honey
1/4 C raisins or dried fruit of choice
pinch cinnamon

*A note on rice:  I prefer brown jasmine or basmati rice.  It's a long, slender grain.  It may not cook up quite so fluffy and kind of gooey for this recipe.  But it's much better as an accompaniment to stir-fry, in my opinion.  So, if you're making the rice just for pudding, maybe try a short- or medium-grain brown rice?

Combine milk, rice, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, stirring carefully to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom.  When it starts to thickcn, stir in raisins and cinnamon.  Cook and stir for another ten minutes.  Try the rice and make sure its soft and well-cooked.  Serves 2 or 3. 

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