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Monday, February 25, 2008

Great Gifts: Black and Decker Rice Cooker

My husband and I went the first year of our marriage without having much rice at all. Then we worked at Cono Christian School, which is a boarding school that has a large population of international students. The two years we worked there, the dining center served rice multiple times a week, which encouraged Ethan's desire for meals with rice.

I probably wouldn't have choosen to have a rice night once I started cooking after our move, but some of my husband's favorite meals are stir fry and Mexican dishes - and he had become quite accustomed to having rice on a regular basis. So tonight is Monday night, which is rice night around our house.

The first year or two after we moved, Ethan tried making some of these rice meals by the stove top method. At Cono, however, the rice was steamed, and he was never happy with his results. So a few years ago for Christmas I got him a Black and Decker 16 Cup Rice Cooker. You can check it out a bit more on this link.

Although I would rather have a non rice meal, I do have to admit that it makes really good rice. It will make up to 16 cups of cooked rice, and it is very easy to use. The pan that inserts in to the cooker has very clear and easy to follow marks on it. If you put 3 cups of rice in the cooker, you fill the rest of the cooker with water up to the 3 cup mark. If you put 6 cups of rice into the cooker, you fill the rest of the cooker up with rice to the 6 cup mark.

Once you have the rice and water in, all you have to do is plug it into the wall and push a button. Then you can walk away and forget about it! When it is done cooking, the button pops up and the cooker goes to a warm setting to keep the rice warm. The end result is perfectly cooked, fluffy rice. It isn't pasty nor does it stick together.

There are two things that some people don't like about the cooker. One of these things is that if you put too much water in, water will splatter out of the steam vent while it is cooking. It can make quite a mess, but there are two solutions that I have found. One is to get familiar with your cooker and know just where the water level needs to be in relation with the line. I was able to do this after just a few uses and had no more splatters. Until I figured it out though, I just put a bowl loosely over the top of the cooker's vent to block the spray.

The other issue is that rice does tend to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, especially if you leave it on the warm setting for quite awhile after it is done. This doesn't bother me either though. I just listen for the pop of the button and turn the unit off. The rice stays plenty warm if you keep the lid on. Any rice that is stuck to the bottom I just leave. (It is a bit dry if it is stuck.) After the meal, I put a couple inches of water into the cooker and let it set for about 15-20 minutes. The rice that was stuck rinses right out.

So although rice isn't one of my favorite meals, I would say that this is one of the Great Gifts that I have given. My husband loves it, and I like to see him enjoying his food. I enjoy eating rice from the cooker more than from the stove top, and best of all . . . sometimes Ethan takes over the cooking on rice nights!

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Anonymous said...

It's always nice when hubby takes the rains on cooking for a night huh? I would have to agree with you, rice is not one of my favorites. I guess if God made us all the same, life would surely be pretty boring right? Great gift for hubby!

Reflections. said...

I'm so glad you wrote this. I've been thinking about a rice cooker for a long time but wasn't sure about getting one. I will have to remember this for a Christmas or Birthday list.

Do you know if you can cook anything else in it? Maybe like couscous? Or only rice?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

This rice cooker is listed under "Rice and Vegetable Steamers" on the Black and Decker website. It doesn't have anything in the instructions about making anything other than rice, however.

I don't see why it couldn't be used for vegetables as long as you have enough water in it so it doesn't dry out. The vegetables would sit in the water a bit though.

I'm not really sure about couscous since I have never tried making it.

You can contact the customer service number at 1-800-231-9786, and they might be able to give you some more info. My rice cooker is series RC400-RC550. I hope that's enough info.

Diana said...

I'm a little late on this, but I got the same rice cooker as farmer's wife today, and it says you can cook soups and stews in it, as long as they cook in less than an hour. The booklet that came with it has recipes for chicken vegie soup, spaghetti w/ meatballs, teriyaki shrimp and several other "non-rice" recipes. I just checked out "The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook" from the library, and there's all sorts of other recipes in that, also; also recipes for other grains, including couscous.
Beginning farmer's wife-
Just chanced on your blog (looking up rice cookers!), but it looks very interesting and useful...thanks for reminding us to save milk jugs to put over the tomato plants! I forget this every year!

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