My rice cooker makes magic

My rice cooker makes magic

This is day 6 of my week long series of posts called "Take Back the Weather!"

This afternoon I was actually signed up to do the Lakeview Polar Bear plunge. Guess what? It's too cold! They canceled the event because it's just not safe. Apparently instead of running on the sand into the water, there are now mountains of ice which would mean you have to jump into 3-4 feet of water and probably wouldn't be able to get back out because you would have to climb up slippery ice mounds. Bummer.

Chicago has a colder forecast than parts of Alaska and even the real polar bears don't want to come outside. What's a Chicagoan to do? Eat comfort food, that's what.

Yesterday I bought my first rice cooker. Exciting, right? Really, I was pretty stoked about the whole thing. Let me tell you why.

First off, I thought rice cookers were used for making enormous quantities of white rice. When I was in college we used to have a Panda Express in our food court. Not the mall, but my actual dormitory. I was forced to choose my three squares from Panda Express, Pepe's, Sbarro, Chick fil-A and Ben and Jerry's, I kid you not. Combine that with beer. College was healthy.

Anyway, I used to see those rice cookers at Panda Express and other buffet type restaurants. I just found out this week that you could cook real meals in those things. I'm talking desserts, chili, bread and all kinds of edible business. Check out this article from BuzzFeed if you don't believe me.

I was intrigued so I picked up a reasonably priced one at Target. (Target is like my version of Cheers. I spend too much time and money there and everyone knows my name.)

Call me Julia Child

Call me Julia Child

I decided to test out my new magical cooker this afternoon. I started off simple. No chocolate lava cake or anything crazy. Instead, I made a spicy split pea soup.

The cool thing is, the rice cooker has a saute then simmer button. You can saute your onions, garlic, veggies, spices, etc. and then add your split peas and water (or stock) and it will simmer.

I'm all about using one pot because 1. I don't like doing dishes and 2. I'm getting dish pan hands. Seriously, I need to get rubber gloves which will solidify my status as a cool girl. Lady? Woman?

I made my recipe, which you can find by clicking here and it turned out perfectly. It's hard to make this dish look tasty, unless you're a food photographer, but it really was delicious. The only difference is that I used green split peas because I didn't have yellow.

We just had a tiny bit left after dinner. Fran announced that I should save it because he would put it on tortillas later. If it's good enough to grace his corn tortillas, then you know it must really be something.

Have you ever used a rice cooker for something other than rice? I need your recipes!

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Filed under: cooking, recipe, winter

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