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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken Broth Success

This Sunday I made chicken broth. It's something I always feel I should do, but it takes a little planning and a fair amount of time. (OK, I know most of the time is passive, but you do need to stick around while it simmers on the stove.) When I took Back to Basics at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, we had a whole class on stocks and soups. The instructor extolled the virtues and superiority of homemade stock, as do many a cookbook author and chef. So maybe that's why I'm feeling so pleased with myself. That and the fact that an earlier attempt yielded a watery, flavorless result.

I'm sure there are many out there who are thinking, "What's the big deal? I always make my own stock!" Well, to you I say, "I'm not worthy!" Especially after the last time I tried, I was feeling kind of apprehensive and unsure. If I can't make a good chicken broth, what kind of cook am I? But I dutifully continued to save chicken bones and organs in my freezer. I was starting to run out of room and this weekend I found myself sticking around, so it seemed like the time to try again. I used the instructions from CSCA.

Like the last time, I roasted the bones in the oven, probably the equivalent of two whole chickens. I think I did them at 350 degrees for about an hour. Roasting is supposed to bring out the flavor more. (I think I threw the organs in with them last time, but this time I set them aside during the roasting.) And, like the last time, I barely covered the bones with cold water. But this time I noticed the instructions said to 'Bring to a simmer slowly." I think this is the key. Last time I brought it to a boil over high heat and then turned it down. This time, I put the heat on low and patiently waited for it to come to a simmer, which took about 1 hour. Once simmering, I added a chopped onion (I used a red one I had on hand), two small thickly sliced carrots, and two large celery stalks, chopped roughly. I didn't add salt so that I'd start with a clean slate when using it for cooking and add the salt at that time. I simmered the broth for another couple of hours, then added Bouque Garni (parsley stems, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf) and simmered another hour. After I let it cool down, I discovered the bowl of organs in the fridge (That sounds kind of gross, doesn't it?) so I added them in, brought the broth slowly to a simmer again and continued to simmer for another 30 minutes. I'd skimmed the scum from time to time, but didn't save and strain it to use in cooking like the CSCA instructions suggested. Once the broth cooled, I lined a strainer with paper towel, placed it over a bowl with a spout, and poured the broth through. If my math is correct, it made about 3 quarts of broth. I poured two courts into individual 1-cup freezer containers (I like the Tupperware freezer mates or whatever they are called), put 1 quart in the fridge to make soup, and used the rest to cook last night's rice with dinner.

The result this time was a rich, flavorful broth! I think I might be ready now to tackle veal stock! If you're a seasoned (pun intended) broth maker, please share your tips in the comments!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sometimes, What Seems like A Good Idea At The Time, Really Is One

There’s an awful lot of steak in my freezer right now.

Is that a problem?

Well, yes…because it’s CSA steak.

For the most part, I’ve been very happy with the meat we’ve gotten from our CSA. I really do think it tastes better (the chicken tastes more like chicken!), I totally support the farming methods that they use, and I feel good about feeding their stuff to my boys. But for me, the steaks have been, um, tricky to deal with.

I read somewhere (probably on the CSA’s website) that pasture-raised beef is leaner and therefore cooks quicker than supermarket beef. So you need to be careful to not overcook your steaks. No problem, I thought: I love medium rare steak. Getting that perfect medium rare, however, was tricky: my first few victims were sadly overdone (ugh). To be fair to the CSA, it was my lack of experience with beefy behavior; I simply needed enough practice to recognize when the goods were cooked right.

So now I have a plan: when I pull a sirloin from the freezer, it gets a bulgogi-style marinade (i.e. soy sauce, lots of crushed garlic, a bit of sugar, sesame oil, and some chopped scallions) for at least half a day. I get a cast-iron skillet screaming hot, sear the steak on each side for about 3 minutes, then transfer it to a baking sheet (with sides: don’t want to spill tasty beef juices all over my oven). The steaks are usually thick (more than one inch) so they need an extra ten minutes or so in a 350 degree oven to finish cooking. After a brief post-oven rest they are a beautiful medium-rare. I finally feel like I can handle the sirloin.

But one of the quirks of a CSA is that you don’t get to choose the cuts – you take what you get. A couple of months ago, we got a London Broil in our cooler. I eyed it every time I went down to the freezer; having conquered the sirloin so recently, was I ready to tackle another cut? Tonight, I decided, was the night.

In the fridge, I had some gorgonzola cheese and romaine lettuce: a steak salad came to mind. Then I remembered the loaf of bread in the bread box (yes, I actually have AND use a bread box) and envisioned an open-face steak salad-sandwich sort of thing. So I marinated the steak, using this recipe from Emeril Lagasse instead of my usual marinade, because I though the mustard would be good with the gorgonzola. I seared it in the cast-iron skillet but skipped the oven-baking step, since the London Broil was only an inch thick (but I still let the steak rest after cooking). Sliced thin and arranged over cheese and bread, it tasted just as good as I imagined it would. Which doesn’t happen everyday, you know…my imagination has pretty high expectations.


Open-Faced Steak Sandwich (for four servings)

About 1 lb London broil steak
Steak marinade of your choice
Some country-style bread with big holes, lightly toasted (I used Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane, which has a slight sourdough flavor)
Gorgonzola or other bleu cheese, sliced thin or crumbled
Romaine or other lettuce, or argula, or spinach, washed and sliced into strips
Cucumber, peeled and sliced thin, or some roasted red bell peppers or both
Salt and pepper

Prepare the marinade and place it in a plastic bag, along with the steak. Put it in the refrigerator for 4 hours up to overnight, turning it over once or twice.

About 30 minutes before cooking the steak, take it out of the refrigerator. Heat a heavy skillert (preferably cast iron) over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until very hot. Remove the steak from the marinade and wipe off the excess. Place the steak in the hot skillet and sear for about 3 minutes. Turn the steak over and sear on the other side for another 3 minutes, or until medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a plate or cutting board and cover (I used the lid to a large stockpot) and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the steak onto a cutting board, reserving any juices that have accumulated on the plate, and cut it into thin slices (1/4’ thick or less).

Lightly toast one or two slices of bread per person and place them on a plate. Drizzle some of the reserved steak juices over the bread. Arrange some of the Gorgonzola cheese on top, followed by a few slices of steak, then the romaine lettuce or other greens. Add the red bell peppers (if using). Arrange the cucumber slices on top of everything and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Eat with a knife and fork!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Flavor Thesaurus

Last weekend, I was browsing the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston store after seeing the Dale Chihuly exhibit (breath-taking!). I naturally gravitated to the cookbook section, when I came across a relatively new (2010) book by UK author Niki Segnit called The Flavor Thesaurus. At first glance, I didn't get what it was about, but something made me take a second look and I ended up buying it.

Segnit was motivated by a desire to gain a deeper understanding of how flavors work together and, ultimately, become a better, more improvisational cook. She identifies 99 flavors, from Almond to White Fish, that she organizes around a "flavor wheel" classified by categories she calls "flavor families" such as Fresh Fruity and Sulphurous. You can look up a family, or a flavor within a family and get a list of pairings. For example, looking up cauliflower (grouped under Sulphurous), I find pairings with ingredients as diverse as anchovies, chocolate, and saffron! The entries include descriptions about the combinations. Some entries include recipes. In the back of the book are a bibliography and several helpful indices: a recipe index, a general index, and a pairings index. The latter lists the 99 flavors alphabetically as headings, and then the pairings underneath. BTW, it must have been "translated" to American English, because she talks of eggplant and zucchini, not aubergine and courgette.

Although, based on research of combinations commonly used in different cultures' cuisines and those used successfully by innovative chefs, there is also an element of subjectivity, which she explains forthrightly in the introduction. For example, she does not include one of my favorites, zucchini, because it is not a favorite of hers. (You can find it in the general index, in a pasta recipe under "Basil & Mint,") Nor did I sees spinach or chard and kale gets only a passing mention. But you can always look for something close or browse the flavor family and go from there.

I'm hoping this book will serve as an inspiration, especially as I struggle to deal with the impending bounty of my veggie CSA. I will keep you posted (no pun intended)!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Survival Mode

I believe that cooking is a habit, and that the more you do it, the easier it gets (or, if you don’t actually enjoy cooking, the more you do it the less onerous it becomes). All those years of cooking for myself, then myself and my husband, came in handy when our first child arrived: dinner carried on. The arrival of our second child, though, has thrown the proverbial wrench in the works.

Too late, I realized how much I depended upon naptime to get a jump on dinnertime. But with two kids on different schedules, there is precious little time alone to think about dinner, let alone cook it. Plus the little nippers are home most of the day so they’re wanting breakfast AND lunch from me, too. It’s a constant carousel of cook, feed, clean, repeat. (And yes you, with four kids and a job outside the home with no help inside the home but who still manages to get supper on the table at 6 o’clock you, I am not you. And I’m OK with that).

Our meals have become noticeably less gourmet. On more than one occasion I have served my children “naked burritos” for lunch: a bowl of brown rice (the shelf-stable, precooked stuff from Trader Joes, warmed in the microwave) topped with canned black beans and pre-shredded cheese. Nutritious? Yes. Fun to cook and eat? Not so much. (But the kids ate it anyway).

On top of the time constraints, I’m locked into this CSA/organic/attempting to be healthy thing, which comes with its own set of constraints. But now that I’m into it, it’s really, really hard to think of going back to the regular old grocery store – darned healthy food/CSA/organic addition has turned into a habit, too. (Last week I joined a fish CSA. When I told my husband about it, he looked at me very seriously and said, “Honey, I think you have a problem.”)

So once again, I’m learning to adapt. Here’s how things have changed:

1. Component cooking. I spend some time at the beginning of the week cooking a few things that can be incorporated into a number of dishes. Thus when it comes time for dinner I am not cooking so much as assembling. Burritos, quesadillas, Korean pancakes, and stir-frys of all kinds make a frequent appearance at our table. Note: I do not meal-plan this, so some weeks it works out better than others. One week was an absolute slam dunk, though: roasted butternut squash, heirloom soup beans, sautéed kale and some roasted chicken were combined in various ways to make a great weeks’ worth of meals that ended in an empty fridge (look ma, no waste!). But then the next day I came down with the flu and…there was no food in the fridge. There’s a dark side to everything.

2. Soup. Hallelujah, my boys like to eat soup. Whip up a little dashi or anchovy stock, add some veggies or frozen dumplings, and dinner is ready. Or put the rice cooker to work – a chicken breast, scallions, ginger and water and hit the magic “chicken soup” button. When it’s done, take out the chicken and while it cools enough to shred, add a package of frozen udon noodles to thaw in the broth. And did you know that you can make chicken broth in that rice cooker, too? Put the carcass from a roasted chicken in, add water and aromatics, and hit the magic soup button again. Too easy.

3. Keep it simple, stupid. Hallelujah again, my boys still eat their veggies. So supper can be as simple as broccoli, noodles, and a protein of your choice. CSA steaks get marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, scallions and sugar (say it with me: bul-GO-gi) and seared in the trusty cast-iron skillet. Chicken breast gets roasted in the oven or stewed in the rice cooker. Chicken legs go in the rice cooker too, though sometimes I get fancy and make a sort of stew with carrots and potatoes. Pork chops usually get an adobo treatment. And lamb chops I save for just the hubby and I; I do share the koftas made from ground lamb with the kids, though. Now that I have a fairly predictable list of meats and cuts to choose from, it’s been easier to identify a few simple preparations for the rotation.

4. When you just can’t resist the urge to NOT keep it simple, go back to component cooking. I adore Indian food but sometimes I just don’t have time to wait for the onions to cook properly. So I make an entree or two and a couple of side dishes on the weekend. We eat the freshly prepared stuff that night, and then for the next few days we enjoy the leftovers – along with another dish or two that I make each day. I cook a lot of Korean food this way, too, since the side dishes will usually last in the refrigerator for a few days.

5. And finally, figure out what staples you should have on hand to achieve #s 1 through 4. For me, it’s become: whole milk plain yogurt, cheese, pasta, broccoli, frozen dumplings and udon noodles, dried anchovies and seaweed of various kinds, eggs, rice, and scallions. Oh, and tortillas, too. So the kids don’t ALWAYS have to have their burritos naked.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working With What You've Got

I keep meaning to write about my transition from a typical grocery store shopper to CSA junkie. CSA stands for community supported agriculture; the idea is that the farmer organizes their own distribution system and you, the consumer, pay upfront for a season’s worth of whatever the farm produces. Generally, the food costs more than what you’d pay at the supermarket, but the quality is much higher and your food dollars support the farmer directly.

I keep meaning to write a Manifesto about why I chose to go the CSA route, how it’s changed the way I shop and cook, etc. etc. but I finally realized that it’s just too big a topic for a single blog post. Suffice to say that my cooking has shifted away from a meal planning/listmaking approach. I used to think about what I wanted to make; now I think about what I have to use up.

(This approach to cooking was surprisingly liberating. No matter how much I used to “meal plan” for the week, something would invariably throw the plan out of whack. We’d decide go out for dinner one night, or when Thursday came we just weren’t in the mood for goulash. So there I’d be with leftover groceries and no desire or time to use them).

I keep meaning to write more posts in general, but since I’ve gotten into the CSA groove I’ve been making a lot of the same things again and again. That’s a change for me, too, and it’s not all due to the CSAs – some of it’s because it’s just a LOT harder to make dinner now that I’m a Mom of Two. So instead, I’ll going to try sharing some small stories. If nothing else, my experience will hopefully show a CSA-non-believer how to make it work. And with that, I bring you,

The Pork Problem

Everyone who joins a CSA has a few items that they really don’t like. For example, kohlrabi is not my favorite veggie, but it grows well in New England so it shows up in CSA boxes frequently. Most of the time I can foist it off on my hubby by putting it in a salad. But if not and it spoils I don’t feel too guilty putting it on the compost pile.*

The meat, though, is a different story. We get pasture-raised beef, chicken, pork and lamb from Chestnut Farms. Their prices are comparable to other meat CSAs that I’ve looked at – $8 a pound. At that cost, I don’t want to waste anything. The meat comes frozen and will last a while in the deep freeze, but at some point you’ve got to use it all.

I could try to trade the cuts that I don’t prefer with a fellow CSA member, but to me that goes against the spirit of the CSA. Each chicken has just two legs, and there are only so many steaks in each cow.** So I sort of like the challenge of finding a way to use everything that arrives in the cooler each month.

One item that I’ve really struggled, though, with is Breakfast Sausage patties. I love breakfast sausage, but these are very peppery (too spicy for the kids, and almost too spicy for me) and too salty for my taste. The last time we got sausage patties, they hung around in my freezer for quite a while. I’d give them a guilty glance, then quickly grab something else and shut the lid. At last, however, I had a breakthrough and thought of not one! But two! different ways to make this product into a tasty meal:

Solution #1: Tomato gravy. This one was so obvious that I let out a big DUH when I finally thought of it. My favorite recipe for tomato gravy calls for a pound of Italian sausage, sweet or hot. I substituted the breakfast sausage and added a bit of crushed fennel seed. Yummy!

Solution #2: Meatloaf. Some time ago I started messing around with the ratio of ground beef to ground pork in meatloaf. A 2:1 ratio of beef: pork (we get both items in the CSA) worked best – the pork lightened up the loaf, but it still tasted beefy. So I tried swapping the sausage for plain ‘ole ground pork, and it worked great – and the extra seasoning in the sausage compensated for the salt that I forgot to add to the meatloaf mixture. (DUH).

I’m heartened by my small successes. The next time Breakfast Sausage patties make an appearance in the cooler, I’ll be ready. Now I just need to figure out how to cook Flap Meat (hint: it’s beef).



Recipe: Judy’s Tomato Gravy

I found this recipe in Gail’s Recipe Swap. It’s simple to make and oh so yummy. You can make it with you own homegrown or home-canned tomatoes. The sauce can be frozen so you don’t have to use it all at once.

Olive oil
1-2 lbs Italian sausage, sweet and/or hot (or breakfast sausage), casing removed
1 large onion, chopped
2 or more cloves of garlic, minced
2 28-oz cans Italian whole tomatoes
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Dried basil & dried oregano, to taste (I use about a tablespoon of each)
½ to ¾ cup dry red wine

1. Put the tomatoes through a food mill or blender to puree them (if you prefer a chunky sauce, you can just dump them into a bowl and squish the tomatoes with your hands).

2. Heat a large pot and add a little oil. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a fork or spatula, and cook until it is browned. If there is a lot of fat in the pan you can pour some of it off. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring often. Add the pureed tomatoes, sauce, and paste and stir well (you can rinse out the cans with a little water and add that to the pot, too). Add the wine, bay leaves and dried herbs and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, partially covered, over low heat for at least 30 minutes – longer is better, I usually let it go for at least an hour.


Meatsloaf: A guideline

This is loosely based on a recipe for meatloaf in an old "Best Recipes from the Los Angeles Times Cookbook". It’s a lighter loaf, not dense, that is great for meatloaf sandwiches the next day. It makes one big loaf or you can shape the mix into 2 smaller loaves. Eat one tonight and freeze the other for a busy day. Use as many of the different vegetables as you’d like or skip them altogether – but I recommend that you add them. They add a lot of flavor and they help to lighten the loaf.

2-3 slices of bread (or a leftover bagel, English muffin, whatever)
Milk
2-3 eggs
1-2 tablespoons ketchup or 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Olive oil, butter, or rendered fat (pork or chicken)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium-to-large carrot, shredded
1 salad turnip, or a 2-3” chunk of daikon or Korean radish, peeled and shredded
½ of a red or green bell pepper, or a couple of slices of roasted red pepper from a jar, minced.
1 small zucchini, shredded, or some thinly sliced and chopped green cabbage, or napa cabbage, or kale, or other leafy green from your veggie CSA that you need to use up
As much chopped garlic as you like, or a handful of garlic chives, or a couple of garlic scapes, finely chopped
About ¼ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine, optional

2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork or breakfast sausage

1. Place the bread in a large bowl and rip it into pieces. Add the milk and toss the bread around, letting it soak up the milk while you sauté the veggies.

2. Heat a large skillet and add 1-2 tablespoons of fat, oil, or butter. Cook the onion over medium heat until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the shredded carrot, radish, and bell pepper and cook until they wilt and soften, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage or zucchini and continue to cook until the veggie are soft and limp. Add the garlic/garlic chives/garlic scapes and cook for 2 min more. Add the vermouth and bring to a boil; let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper and then let the veggies cool a bit.

3. Use your fingers to rub the milk-soaked bread into small pieces – they to break up the lumps, unless you like lumps in your meatloaf. Add the eggs and ketchup and mix well with a fork. Carefull add the vegetable mixture and stir well.

4. Add the beef and pork to the bowl, then use your hands to mix everything together. I like to start by squishing with my fingers and then finish by kneading it together. Wipe your hands with a paper towel and then shape the mixture into 1 or 2 loaves. Place in a baking dish and bake at 350 for at least an hour – use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. I cook it to at least 160F.

5. Let cool for ~10 minutes, then slice and serve.



*I should note that I do try to avoid wasting food. Even though I spend more food dollars on CSA veggies and meats, I think less food goes to waste overall in the use-what-you-have approach to cooking.

** Kim, from Chestnut Farms, explained this a lot better in one of their newsletters (scroll down to November 2009, "Prime shares").

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda

Yesterday, I began my holiday biscotti baking marathon. I make 14 to 17 batches every year: orange-hazelnut, classic vanilla-almond, and anise pignoli.(See http://www.neighborhood-dish.org/ for recipes). I didn't manage to do any baking last year, so it took me a while to get back into the groove. One of the things I forgot to do was check on my ingredients, so while he first batch was baking the second time, I ran out to Stop & Shop to pick up more flour and eggs, and to replace my almost-expired baking powder. There was a choice of single-acting and double-acting. Afraid the double-acting would raise twice as high, I opted for the former. (This shows you my screwed-up sense of logic.)

That got me to wondering. I know I learned the difference between baking powder and baking soda in high school cooking classes, but 30+ years later, it's slipped my mind. But now, in 2010, we have the internet and a quick search online answered this question and then some. Here are some key points:
  • Baking powder contains baking soda, which is simply sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is made by combining limestone and salt in ammonia. (Doesn't sound too appetizing, does it?)
  • Baking soda needs an acid to form carbon dioxide, which is what makes the baked good rise. Baking powder contains cream of tartar, which provides the acid. Usually, it also contains some kind of starch. the one I bought contains cornstarch. Adding liquid activates leavening.
  • Double-acting baking soda is so-called because it starts leavening when mixed with liquid and then again when it is heated. So when you use single-acting, you need to bake it right away, but when you use double-acting, you can wait a bit. So, I guess I should have opted for the double-acting!
  • You can substitute baking powder for baking soda (adjusting quantities), but not vice versa. However, you can make baking powder by mixing baking soda (1 part) and cream of tartar (2 parts. I suppose you could add some cornstarch, too.
  • Both baking soda and baking powder expire. I'd thought it was only baking powder. Use vinegar to test baking soda (1/4 t. baking soda to 1 t. vinegar), and hot water to test baking powder (1 t. baking powder to 1/2 c. hot water).

Well, those are the basics. I'd better go test my baking soda!

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Secret Affair

I have a confession to make - I’m a little bit in love. He’s short, cute, and has a bit of a belly. He usually keeps things all closed up inside, but sometimes he lets off steam. And he says the cutest little things in Korean.

I’m talking about my new son, right? Well, yeah, I’m in love with him too – but I’m talking about my new rice cooker.

My old rice cooker was cheap but functional. I bought it 20 years ago, at a small appliance store in West Los Angeles that’s no longer in business (I think the store left LA before I did). It cost about 20 bucks and man, I thought that thing was miraculous. How the heck did it know when the rice was done? The whole rice cooker thing, in general, was new to me.


If you don’t have a rice cooker, you may wonder what the big deal is. For me, who tends to use every pot in the kitchen when I cook, the ability to cook rice without using a stovetop burner is incredibly liberating. (This has become even more important now that I have kids and pretty much never use the front burners on my stove – too easy for little fingers to reach). In addition, the rice always comes out so much better than when I try to cook it in a saucepan. After a few uses, I was hooked.

The one drawback to my old cheapo rice cooker was its tendency to burn the bottom layer of rice. We got around this for years by simply unplugging the cooker a soon as the rice was done, but after a while (a long while) I started to think that I deserved better. After all, that burned layer of rice was wasteful, wasn’t it? Even if we got to the cooker in time and it wasn’t totally inedible, it was still stuck to the cooker and we were wasting rice. And then there was the vanity aspect. I am not much for keeping up with the Joneses (or should I say, the Kims?) but for heavens’ sake – I’m over 40, I’m on my second set of good knives (you can’t sharpen them forever, ya know), IT’S TIME TO GET A DECENT RICE COOKER.

And then paralysis set in, once I started to research all the different types of cookers. Fuzzy logic? Is that related to fuzzy math? I’d stand in front of rice cooker displays and my eyes would glaze over. Finally, a friend recommended a brand that is very popular in Korea and (even better) went to Hmart with me to pick one out.

Here it is. I think it is a fuzzy logic/pressure cooker type, but since I still haven’t read the whole manual I’m not too sure:

Isn’t it adorable? It has all these fancy functions, too, for cooking old rice, sushi rice, chicken soup, and multi-cook (which I think is like pressure cooking). The manual came with an English version, but the recipe book did not. So my friend kindly translated a few of the recipes and I have been having sooo much fun learning how to drive this puppy. It makes beef stew in under an hour! AND keeps it hot until you get home! So much better than a crock-pot, in my opinion, which I never really grokked with anyway.

And oh yeah, it makes awesome rice. The best I’ve ever made, anyway. I am blessed with children who think that seaweed and rice is a perfectly acceptable dinner (though they’d prefer if I make some broccoli, too). Since this baby has a timer, I can put the rice in before we leave for swim class, and when we get home, ta dah! Dinner is ready.

A fuuny thing, though, is that my friend who recommended it told me that she hadn’t used many of the fancy-cooking functions –she was only making rice. But now I’ve got her trying out the multi-cook thang, too. I’m not really ready to post a “recipe” because I’m still in the “getting to know you” phase with my rice cooker, but if anyone has some ideas or suggestions for what’s worked in their Cuckoo, I’d love to know.