Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rebellion of the Rice Cooker

Last night I thought that I would like to have a healthy rice pudding for breakfast this morning.  However, rice and I are not friends.  I have NEVER been able to cook rice.  I can't even make Minute Rice turn out right.  I spent a year in a Caribbean third world country where all we ever ate was rice, and I STILL can't cook it.

A friend of mine gave me a rice cooker.  It's just a simple one, no programming or options.  You just put in the rice, the water, and hit the cook button.  That's hard to mess up, right?  I've even managed to make decent enough rice in it a couple of times, though mostly I use it to cook millet.

Well, since I can't make rice on the stove, I figured I probably couldn't make rice pudding there either, so I decided to put it all in the rice cooker.  I wasn't making real rice pudding anyway.  I just wanted to cook up some brown rice with a lot of liquid so it got a thick pudding like consistency.  Last night before bed I put one cup of brown rice and two cups of soy milk into the rice cooker.  I thought that soaking the rice would help break it down and make it thick and sticky when it was all cooked.  

This morning I added a dash of cinnamon, a dash of all spice, half of a diced apple, and a handful of orange flavored dried cranberries.  I also added another half cup of soy milk, because I was going for thick, sticky, soupy rice.  I turned on the machine and walked away.  I went to get the baby dressed, and I could smell it cooking down in the kitchen.  It smelled amazing.  I figured it would be done by the time we came down.

What followed was  unmitigated disaster.  I walked into the kitchen to find my counter covered with milk, and more was boiling out of the top of the rice cooker.  I unplugged it and cleaned up my counter, and I dumped everything that was left into the cooker into a bowl.  I was determined to at least attempt to save it, because I hate wasting food, and because I hoard those cranberries like mad.  I don't even remember where I got them, but they are so good, and they don't have any sugar or sulfur, and I can't find them again!  Anyway, after I got everything all cleaned up, I dumped the rice and what little milk was left back into the rice cooker, and I added another half cup of soy milk and hit the button.  It didn't boil over that time, but it also wasn't enough liquid to completely cook the rice.  I had to add half a cup again before the rice was finally cooked.

The end result was amazingly good, but it sure did take a lot of stress to get there.  Surely there has to be a better way, and now I'm on a mission to find it.  Anyone have tried and true methods for making the rice cooker produce a good rice pudding?

I topped it with an awesome sauce that I made from these few ingredients:

Head on over to Happy Healthy Mama for that recipe.  You will not be disappointed.  It's a totally yummy dip that is so healthy!

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