How to Steam Vegetables

March 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

One of the easiest ways of preparing food, especially vegetables, is by steaming. This is not my favorite method of cooking, because you don’t get the depth of flavor produced by roasting or the ability to layer flavors produced by sautéing. However, steaming is hands down the easiest, quickest and healthiest way to prepare food. Since this blog is about breaking down cooking to it’s most basic components, I figure this is a great technique to write about.

First, you will need a steamer basket to suspend food above boiling water. You can find either a metal, plastic or bamboo basket that has small holes or slits in the bottom. This allows the steam to cook the food, instead of submerging food in water, as with boiling or blanching, so you don’t lose nutrients into the cooking water. Metal steaming baskets are common in any grocery store that sells kitchen supplies, and you can find them on-line for right around $10. You can also find bamboo steamers at an Asian market or on-line for about the same price. « Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Use a Rice Cooker, part 02: rice variations & scallion rice

December 21, 2011 § 33 Comments

So, in part one of the rice cooker series, I gave a basic overview of how to use a rice cooker in the most basic, straightforward way. And while I enjoy plain rice with flavorful, saucy dishes like stir-frys, sometimes plain rice is just, well, plain. Boring. Thoroughly unexciting. So the rest of the rice cooker series will be devoted to giving you ideas for how to expand on basic rice without putting out a lot of extra effort.

There is a basic formula for seasoning and enhancing grains, and rice is no different. Salt and pepper are always essential to bringing out the best flavor in grains. From there you can try substituting the water in your rice cooker with using stock or broth to cook your rice. Other options include substituting a small portion of wine or soy sauce for some of the cooking liquid to add a greater depth of flavor. You can also add a bit of oil or butter to your rice, if you are feeling really decadent. « Read the rest of this entry »

How to Use a Rice Cooker, part 01: an introduction

December 15, 2011 § 6 Comments

So, one of the easiest things you can do to simplify your home cooking is to buy a rice cooker. This article will give you a basic overview of how to use a rice cooker. While a rice cooker may seem like an intimidating investment – “I thought this was supposed to be cheap cooking!” – let me start by saying two things.

First, I will periodically recommend products or tools I think will be useful. You do not, of course, need to buy these to cook at home, or even perform all the techniques I want to share. They will simply make your life easier. The more time you spend in your kitchen, the more you will want to expand your collection of tools. After a few key purchases, you will wonder how you ever lived without some of them. More on this later. « Read the rest of this entry »

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