Zuppa as a literal translation is simply soup, but the Italians have managed to win me over with their heartier and more flavorful versions of just plain soup. This Tuscan soup with bacon, spicy sausage and a few potato chunks satisfies pretty much every palate and every craving, and by adding a nice thick slice of Italian style bread to go with it tops it all.
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
1 lb bacon
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 lb small potatoes, quartered
2 cups kale, chopped
4 cups beef stock
1 cup heavy cream
Brown the sausage and bacon in your rice cooker using Steam or Saute-Then-Simmer and set aside. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant and softened. Place sausage and bacon back into the rice cooker. Add chicken stock and potatoes and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes have softened. Add cream and kale and serve with crusty Italian bread.
My son had a science project where he needed to make a cell model of a plant cell. After contemplating on different strategies and ideas, we decided to build a jello mold with layers of clear jello sandwiching different edible items representing parts of an actual plant cell. We used a stuffed olive as the nucleus, kidney beans as mitochondria and Brussels sprouts as chloroplasts, etc…you get the point.
We made a base layer and let it set before adding the “edibles.” Finally we covered it with a second layer of gelatin and let it set.
We used the Aroma water kettle to prepare the gelatin, and the project was a blast as well as educational.
With the weather finally cooling down, I’ve resumed pushing myself to start running again, and with that, trying to eat healthier, more nutritious meals. Unfortunately for me, my friends happen to have some of the best sugary recipes to go along with their fantastic cooking skills.
A few days ago my friend Lauren brought over a batch of chocolate chip banana bread she made and boy was it good. So good in fact, I just had to whip up some more. Instead of waiting for the oven to heat up and searching for my bread pans, I decided to take the low maintenance rout and use my rice cooker. Roughly an hour later I had warm, moist banana bread all to myself.
Feel free to add any nuts, fruit, or candy pieces you’d like to jazz up your banana bread. In this recipe I ended up swapping the chocolate chips for walnuts. That makes it sort of healthy, right?
RICE COOKER BANANA BREAD
1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 large bananas
⅓ cup butter, softened
¼ cup milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts (or any other add in)
optional: powdered sugar
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Put the bananas in a large freezer bag and mash with hands until there are no more lumps. Cut a hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze the mashed bananas into your mixing bowl. Add the butter, milk, egg, and vanilla extract and mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in walnuts and put bowl aside.
Using a paper towel to spread, coat the inner pot of your Rice Cooker with cooking oil to prevent the bread from sticking. Pour the batter into the pot, select the Cake function and set for 60 minutes. If your rice cooker doesn’t have a Cake function, simply select White Rice or Cook. Using this method may require multiple cycles for the bread to cook thoroughly.
Once your rice cooker switches to its Keep Warm setting, check to see if the cooking is complete. Invert the banana bread onto a plate, top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar if desired, and enjoy while warm.
Pot roast is one of my favorite meals and, when done properly and patiently, there really are few other meals that make me feel as American as accomplishing this task. Just like many other comfort food meals, a good pot roast cannot be rushed. The tough fibers in the chuck take time to break down and the flavors take time to meld. There are so many great pot roast recipes out there. Every family has their own either handed down or recreated by the cook in the family and that history is what makes this meal so comforting. My recipe is a compilation of all the great roasts I ever had the pleasure of eating in my family’s kitchens and my friends’ houses.
There are many vehicles used to cook a great pot roast and I have tried them all… the classic Dutch oven, the modern-day slow cooker and now the Super Pot, coming to the rescue once again to deliver a great down-home meal. The biggest advantage about using your Super Pot is that you can sear/brown and then slow cook in the same pot which makes prep, cooking and cleanup a lot easier.
The most important thing is to give this meal time to cook and of course to season liberally. For the following recipe I used a 2.5 lb chuck roast to be able to fit it in with the stock. I cooked it on low heat for about 3 hrs and the results were as good as always.
SUPER POT ROAST
2.5 lb boneless chuck roast
3 onions cut in large quarters
4 carrots peeled and cut in large pieces
4 garlic cloves
1 sprig of rosemary
2 tblsp tomato paste
10 fingerling potatoes or 4 large ones cut into quarters
1 cup red wine
5 cups beef stock
salt and pepper
Liberally sprinkle all sides of the roast with salt and pepper. Heat the Super Pot to 400 degrees and brown roast on both sides.
Add wine, tomato paste, rosemary and enough stock to cover roast about halfway. Turn heat down to 200 degrees, cover and let cook for 2 ½ hours.
Lift roast and add vegetables underneath and continue cooking until meat falls apart easily, about 30 minutes. Add remaining stock and extra water throughout the cooking process, if needed.
I tend to fall into a routine of making the same dinners over and over, due to efficiency and the initial 3 weeks of Oohs and Aahs. But then all of a sudden, dinner entrees that were a hit become Blahs and “Oh no, we just had last that week!”
So to combat the routine while still basically making the same meal, I tend to vary the presentation or add a few small changes here and there.
This Chicken Tikka Masala wrap is a perfect example of how to preserve the place for this delicious meal at the dinner table while fooling everyone around you into thinking you have created something completely new.
In previous posts you can find the recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala and pair it with basic long grain jasmine rice.
For this dish all you need to do is to assemble everything inside a Middle Eastern flat bread called Lavash, topped with some fresh cilantro and a dollop of Greek yogurt and roll it up.
I call this dip my secret weapon and as my Aroma test kitchen family you can now add this to your cooking arsenal.
This dip is perfect for any potluck or get together for a few good reasons. First of all, you need to make it a day in advance, leaving you free time on the actual day of festivities, and secondly, it has the appearance of being labor intensive and thereof making you the master-chef to envy.
Additionally, the complex flavors of this dip works for every palate; it’s spicy but the sour cream mellows out the bite so your non-spicy friends will love it as well. And lastly, since everything is better with bacon, this dish won’t disappoint the bacon lovers.
ZESTY CORN DIP
4 ears of corn
6 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups of sour cream
8 oz of Cotija cheese
4.5 oz can of chopped chiles
4.5 oz can of spicy chopped jalapenos
1/2 cup scallions, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add 2 cups of water into your Aroma rice cooker and set to steam for 15 minutes. Add the corn and let steam. Let cool and cut the kernels off the cob.
Mix all ingredients together and let stand covered overnight in refrigerator.
Serve with your choice of tortilla chips.
One of my favorite sweets when I was little was macaroons. Almond. Vanilla. Coconut. Chocolate. It didn’t matter, I loved them all. Unfortunately, it was a treat exclusive to the holidays for my family, which is only fair when you consider that they would all be gone within minutes of me finding them.
Although I’m still in Summer Mode, I found myself specifically missing this holiday treat and decided to whip up a batch myself. These macaroons are made with a few simple ingredients and come together rather quickly. The initial steps of forming the mixture can get a bit messy, but I’ve always found messy projects to be the most fun, and in this case, tasty as well.
3 cups shredded coconut
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and salt until frothy. Add in the coconut and mix until evenly saturated, then put aside.
Cover the included lower rack with parchment paper and place it in your Turbo Oven.
With wet hands to prevent sticking, form the coconut mixture into small sized balls and place evenly on the paper, about an inch apart. Carefully push the tops of the balls down to create a flatter surface so that the macaroons cook more evenly.
Set your Turbo Oven to 350 degrees and let the macaroons cook for 10 minutes. Flip the macaroons over and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Once finished, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.