Saturday, May 14, 2011

For the Love of Gadgets and Sisters

I'm a gadget person.  Yes, I'll stand up and admit it before everyone.  I'm a gadget junkie.  Recently, I bought a microwave PC.  I have a regular PC, but the sales pitch of how it starts cooking in the microwave before it comes up to pressure lured me into getting one.  Of course, the day I received it, I HAD to try it out.

I made a recipe in the user guide that came with it.  It is Quick Mexican Rice and Beans.  I changed the recipe a bit.  I omitted the cheese and used brown rice instead of white, water instead of chicken stock, and cooked (from dry) black beans instead of red beans.  In essence, I had to veganize it.  Here's what I used:

1½ cups of long grain brown rice
2 cups of water
1 cup of salsa
1½ cups of black beans (cooked from dry)
½ teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of chili powder
½ teaspoon of jalapeno flakes

I put it all into the microwave PC and cooked it for about 22 minutes total.  I let the pressure release naturally (took about 10 minutes).

I've been eating the rice all week, but the last few days, I made it into a wrap.  I bought Whole Grain Tortillas that had 13 gr. of fiber per tortilla.  I added Valentina Salsa Picante (the BEST Mexican hot sauce, I swear), shredded lettuce, 1 teaspoon of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and a few (half dozen maybe) jalapeno slices.  It made a very tasty wrap!  I am sorry to say, I didn't get pictures of the rice or the wrap and now the rice is gone.  C'est la vie!

The second gadget I used this week was my Kindle.  I love my Kindle.  Period.  It is one of the best gadgets that I bought for myself.  However, I never use it to buy cookbooks.  I prefer paper cookbooks.  I like to look at the pictures, page through the cookbook, compare different recipes.  It's just easier to do with a paper cookbook.  That's what I thought before I bought a cookbook for my Kindle.  That's actually what I still think, but getting a cookbook on the Kindle isn't bad.

This week, I bought The Vegan Slow Cooker - Quick, Easy, Hot N Delicious for my Kindle.  It was a whopping $3.99.  It only has 20 recipes.  I was thinking it was a nice, little introduction to a cookbook on the Kindle.  I was right.  The Corn Chowder recipe caught my eye.  I've been looking for a good, no make that GREAT corn chowder recipe.  (This one is good, but I'm still looking.)

The funny thing about this cookbook is that it gives the on-top-of-the-stove directions and then, almost as an afterthought, gives slow cooker directions, if you even get them.  An example is the Amazing Lentil Stew states, "Would probably work in a slow cooker too."  I would NOT recommend this cookbook for slow cooker recipes.
The Corn Chowder recipe was pretty straightforward.  So, of course, I changed it to make it mine.  I didn't have any silken tofu, so I used extra firm tofu pureed with some unsweetened almond milk until smooth.  Also, I added about 1½ tablespoons of nutritional yeast.  I doubled the cumin and used dried thyme.

I used my absolute favorite chopping gadget, the Vidalia Chop Wizard.  I did not get mine at  I bought mine at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  I believe Target also sells them.  The choppers are $19.99 at either place.  This recipe called for ¼" chop of the onion, celery, carrot, and potatoes.  I used the small grid for the veggies and every single piece was uniform in size and shape.  I LOVE that thing.  Takes only a few minutes to chop everything versus how long it would take by hand.  There is absolutely no comparison.

Personally, I didn't like the tofu in the soup.  Now, I'll admit that's probably because I used extra firm tofu.  It may have turned out much better if it was silken.  It didn't have a grainy texture, but it had a grainy appearance.  Perhaps that was from the nutritional yeast, but I doubt it.  I'm just not a big person on tofu in soup as a thickener.  Next time, I'll cook the broth down and just add unsweetened almond milk. 
The soup had a nice flavor, but I honestly can't see it reheating well.  It made a fairly big pot.  The recipe called for 5 cups of water or broth and I only used 4 cups.  However, there is way more than I could eat and I just can't see the grainy texture improving upon reheating.  We'll see though.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Tomorrow, I'll be making something with portabella mushrooms as I have 4 huge mushroom caps that I MUST use.  I also have some broccoli rabe and some Brussels sprouts to use up.  Looks like I'll be paging through my recipe books tonight and tomorrow morning.
For the Love of Sisters
Finally, I leave you with a picture of Kobe and Jordan that my son took today.  This picture perfectly captures For the Love of Sisters.  These two dogs, both adopted from the Animal Welfare League 18 months apart, are as close as sisters born in the same litter.  Even now, as I type, they are laying about 1½ feet apart.  Kobe wakes Jordan up in the morning and they go outside together.  They make my heart smile.  I thought I'd share one of the precious moments I get to experience.

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