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Thursday, January 28, 2016

rice cooker spaghetti sauce

Hey!  This is "ramblings on cast iron", not "ramblings on rice cookers!"

Well, yes, but, it's my blog, and I really like rice cookers.  So I am experimenting with things to cook in them.

Today I cooked spaghetti sauce in a 16 cup* basic rice cooker.  As in, just one switch for "cook" and "warm".  Not a bunch of fancy settings.

*If you have a 14 cup rice cooker, that will also work.  The pots are actually the same size.  Most companies call theirs a "14 cup", but Black & Decker calls theirs a "16 cup".

It's pretty much the same as if you would cook it in a pot on the stove.

Brown 1 pound of ground chuck, a chopped onion, and 1 spoonful of minced garlic on the "cook" setting.  This is not a "set it and forget it" task; You have to stir the mixture around to make sure it cooks evenly.

If you want to also add raw sliced mushrooms, or raw sliced zucchini, then add that too.

Of course, since you are stirring, you won't be using the lid.

When the meat is browned and the onions are soft, drain, and put back in the pot.  You will have to reset the "cook" setting.

Add a can of diced tomatoes, and the tomato sauce of your choice.  I also added a can of mushrooms, because I didn't have any raw.

Stir the sauce on the "cook" setting for a few minutes.

Then switch to "warm" setting, put the lid on, and keep warm until ready to serve.

You can boil pasta in a rice cooker, too.  The same way as you boil pasta on the stove.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

how to use the makin bacon



Pictured above is called a "makin bacon" microwave bacon maker.

"What?  You don't make bacon in the microwave!  You make bacon on cast iron!"

Actually yes, that is correct.  I wanted to try this to see if it was easier and less of a mess.

Well... it is fairly easy, but, not less of a mess.

You drape the bacon pieces over the "T" racks, put a paper towel over it, and microwave one minute per strip.

Be aware that the strips on the edge will cook faster than the strips in the middle.  

So, you will have "just right" bacon on the edge, and "under done" bacon in the middle.  Or, you will have "too done" bacon on the edge and "just right" bacon in the middle.

To remedy this problem, don't cook too many strips at one time.  Only enough to have them hanging on the edges.

It is an easy way to cook bacon, but not "no mess".   I don't think there is a "no mess" way to cook bacon.

Personally, I much prefer bacon cooked on cast iron.  



my first use of the "whirley pop"



This is a whirley pop.

It's a stovetop popcorn maker.  

So, why use this?  Why not just use a plain old pot?

The whirley pop has a crank, that you turn while cooking, so that the oil and salt is evenly distributed all over the corn, and also keeps the corn on the bottom from burning.

Believe me, it's a lot easier to turn the crank, than to continuously shake the pot while you cook.

They sell "kits" to use with the whirley pop, but you don't have to use a kit.

Just use 1/2 cup of popcorn, 3 tbsp of oil, and 1 tsp of salt.

I was very happy with the results.  It didn't take very long to pop at all, there were very few unpopped kernels, and NO scorched kernels.  Which is my pet peeve!

I'm not fond of microwave popcorn, because it usually results in either half the kernels being unpopped, or, it's all scorched.  Yuck.

Monday, January 18, 2016

stir fry using stuff in the pantry

So, after two years, I am finally in a place where I am able to cook.  As a result, I will be posting a lot more often.

There were a few items in my pantry that I wanted to do something with.  So I decided to make a stir fry.

I had a box of rice noodles, a jar of satay peanut sauce, a can of bean sprouts, and some salted peanuts.  I figured I could do something with that.

So I made the rice noodles according to the directions on the box, which came with a seasoning packet.

I threw the seasoned rice noodles into an electric wok.  Added the can of bean sprouts and peanuts, along with some fresh cilantro, and some raw shrimp.  Then turned on the wok and stir fried until the shrimp and cilantro was done.

After it was done, I opened the jar of satay peanut sauce and stirred it in.

I regretted that I did not have chow mein noodles.  I love to add chow mein noodles to stir fry.

It looked like shrimp and peanut flavored slop, but as I love shrimp and peanuts, I really liked this stir fry.