Update & I Heart The Rice Cooker, Part 2

by Valerie on December 17, 2010 · 0 comments

Before I get into how much I heart the rice cooker, the sequel, a little update.  The Today’s Lunchbox series is going back on hiatus until January 3.  Just a lunchbox series hiatus, not a blog hiatus.  My schedule the next couple of weeks is going to involve fewer lunchboxes than usual (seeing as I will be off for a few days) and the New Year’s seems like a great time to restart the series with a little bit of a backlog of lunchboxes. As I have written before, much as I love the idea of posting a lunchbox the day I actually eat it, more often you see it the day after or, sometimes, the week after.

And, I promise there is lots of inspiration for lunchboxes during this little lunchbox hiatus.  I realized this morning there are 72 lunchbox posts up on the blog.  In addition to regular work-day lunchboxes, there are weekend and travel lunchboxes.  If you are travelling by car, you can check out this post, and for plane travel, check out two transatlantic lunchboxes (aka sacks of food, as I pack a lot of food for long flights).  Also, if you want any inspiration on kitchen time savers, this post might interest you.

I heart the rice cooker, the sequel
Having just finished my favorite cookbooks post (and looking back at my favorite books post), now I am thinking about kitchen items.  I love cookbook and kitchen items as gifts because I use them all the time.  I know some people always say that their kitchen appliances collect dust, but I put mine to use often.  I also spend an inordinate time thinking about which really are the best appliances for whom, usually because I often get asked for recommendations.

That said, kitchen appliances are personal. I think you could do everything you need with a good blender, particularly if it is a high-speed blender.  And yes, I think the Vitamix is worth the investment – despite my trepidations at the cost, I use it an average of at least once a day.  But, I do find a food processor better than the Vita for certain tasks – within that category, I love this three-workbowl model, but honestly, it is a bit fussy to clean, and it is terribly heavy.  If it lived on our counter, I would not be as aware of its weight, but it lives in a cabinet under the counter, and as much as I love it, there are times I wish I had bought this or that model  – both are great.  A food processor is more efficient for things like hummus or pestos and, also, easier to clean.  I also used to think a mini-prep type thing is great, even if you have a blender and/or a food processor.  I love our first mini-prep and was not surprised it eventually died – I used it all the time.  I had a gift card, so bought the slightly larger mini-prep, but I am not loving it as much and no longer recommend it –  if it ever dies, I may go this route instead.
Rice Cooker
You get the idea – there are lots of permutations depending on one’s cooking needs.  That said – the one appliance I recommend to everyone is a rice cooker.  I have an older version of this Panasonic which, at the time, was very similar to the Zojirushi model. It seems that  now the Zojirushi model has moved ahead a bit, but both are great.  I do so many things in the rice cooker other than make rice, including
  • Steam vegetables and tofu
  • Make vegetable broth
  • Make beans
  • Cook quinoa
  • Cook perfect brown rice
In fact, I only make rice in it occasionally at this point, but use it at least 3-4 times a week for the other tasks.  And yes, I do know that other appliances can do all this – there are vegetable steamers and pressure cookers and crockpots.  Maybe it is because I have limited space in my kitchen, but I find the rice cooker’s compact size and versatility to be a winning combination.  Other bloggers, like Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl or Kim of Affairs of Living, are also fans of of rice cookers.  I love Carrie’s post on using a rice cooker while traveling and Kim’s basmati pilaf bowls maximize the rice cooker’s versatility.  
And, with that, goodnight. 


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