Every time I promise to cook something for a get together with friends I end up spending hours mulling over what to make that everyone will enjoy. The one get together that takes the cake for time spent mulling over food options is the end of the school year pool party. The rule is that the hostess takes care of all the kids’ food items and the rest of us bring an adult dish to share. Sounds simple enough, right?
Wrong…it’s nearly impossible to feed a group of moms who are all on some kind of diet. I mean, aren’t we all? One thing is sure though, by 4 in the afternoon my sweet tooth needs a fix and my caffeine levels are dangerously low and there is not a salad in the world that could satisfy my afternoon cravings. So while I searched my mind for recipes, I realized that one thing all of us moms can agree on is that one of the nicest parts of these parties is enjoying a yummy afternoon cocktail with our girlfriends. And here enters the creation of the easiest (and possibly most delicious) rum cake ever, a treat none of us moms could resist.
EASY RUM CAKE
For the cake:
1/2 box of yellow cake mix of your choice
rum to substitute for 1/2 water according to package directions
For the glaze:
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown Sugar
2 tblsp water
Prepare 1/2 box of cake batter according to box directions, replacing half of the water amount asked for with rum. Coat the inner pot of your rice cooker with cooking spray. Add the batter and set to Steam mode for 30 minutes. When the rice cooker beeps check your cake for doneness and invert onto a plate.
For the glaze, set your rice cooker to Steam and add water, butter, sugar and rum the inner pot. Stir until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. With a toothpick or fork poke holes into the cake and pour the glaze on top, spreading with a knife if needed.
I grew up eating my dad’s barbeque. Every main dish on our dinner table came straight off the grill. If you think I’m exaggerating I’ll let you know this, to this day, I’ve still never tasted a Thanksgiving turkey from an oven. And I can tell you I’ve never felt deprived but when I set out on my own I didn’t have much skill getting tender meat from an oven or pan. Indoor grilling became my only means of sustenance. Today, I’m a little more well-versed in other cooking methods but my culinary adventures always end up back at the grill. Lucky for me and my I-refuse-to-fuss-with-gas-or-charcoal attitude my Aroma Super Pot lets me grill my heart out without the extra hassle.
To celebrate Father’s Day this weekend I wanted to come up with a man-worthy meal fit for the grilling master. I didn’t lug any heavy bags of charcoal, scrub any grills clean or even go outside for this one but let me tell you the mission was accomplished… just ask my dad
STEAK WITH GRILLED POTATO WEDGES
1 7-10 ounce steak
4 small gold potatoes
1/2 tbls olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the Super Pot to 425 degrees. Cut potatoes in half and then slice into wedges. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Place the steak and potatoes into the Super Pot. Grill for two minutes and flip the meat and potatoes.
Grill for another 2 minutes. Check your steak for doneness and remove from the Super Pot™ to rest.
Add ½ cup of water to the potatoes and cover. Let steam for 5 minutes and uncover. When the water has completely steamed off check for doneness and enjoy!
Every time I go out for Italian I never order pasta, risotto or pizza… I order chicken Marsala. And my rating system for restaurants is actually based on how well they accomplish this dish. Hey, some people judge a pub by its burger so I think I can judge an Italian joint by its version of one of my all-time favorite dishes.
In between restaurant visits I satisfy my craving by recreating the dish at home. Now, the redoing of famous dishes does involve some work. You have to sort of pick at the dish while you are eating it at the restaurant to find those flavors that make this rendition so unique. Then come home, do some recipe digging and pick out both common and unique ingredients used by different people to make the dish. Then it’s off to pouring over cookbook collections and glancing at family recipes just to make sure all the info and secret ingredients are in your head. As I sleep, my brain goes to work, often waking me up at 4 am with a complete list of ingredients ready to test. And finally it is off to the store to let the experimenting begin. You didn’t know there was such a method to my madness, did you?
I always have three criteria for my versions of classic dishes: few ingredients, easy prep and ultimate flavor. As long as I can keep true to that I feel I have succeeded in keeping the classics alive for a cook of any skill set in today’s busy world. My Super Pot lends a hand in this dish, recreating a simple, elegant, a flavorful version of some of my favorite eats.
1 lb chicken tenders salted and peppered on all sides
16 oz sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 cup sweet Marsala wine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tblsp Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
Heat your Super Pot to 375 degrees. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown the chicken on one side for 5 minutes. Flip and cook covered for another 5 minutes or until done. Place on your serving dish and cover with foil.
Add onions, garlic and mushrooms to the pot and brown until mushrooms are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Raise heat to 400 degrees. Add Marsala wine and continue cooking until reduced by half. Add cream and parsley and heat through. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
Until about a month ago, admittedly for no reason in particular, I didn’t really get dates. I mean, they look pretty weird right? No, just me? Ok then. Well of course, like all good discoveries these days, I started seeing these prune-looking fruits popping up all over Pinterest. Supposedly they can substitute for chocolate (sold!), satisfy any sweet craving and are actually good for you. Let’s be honest, I still wasn’t convinced. But when I saw a pack on incredible discount at my grocery store I decided to take the plunge and, oh man… what have I been missing?
Since we’re being honest here, I’ll admit that my rice cooker was 3rd on my list for how to perfect this perfect sweet and salty app. I say this with much regret as I realized how perfect steaming was for a dish like this. But luckily for you, I made the mistake and now we can all indulge in the easiest and best bacon-wrapped dates from this point forward. The reason steaming these dates in your rice cooker is so much better than any other methods is because you don’t have to worry about your bacon shrinking or burning. Bacon-wrapped things are supposed to be salty and meaty, not crunchy, which is difficult to attain when wrapped around such a tiny package and cooked in an oven. These bites might sound a bit strange but yield the perfect blend of salty and sweet flavors with meaty and gooey textures.
1 dozen dates, pitted
4 slices bacon
Line your Steam Tray with foil. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each date with 1/3 slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Place dates seam side down in your tray and set to Steam for 12 minutes.
Let cool slightly and serve warm. Enjoy!
Tip: Since their ooey-gooey texture hardens up once cooled, these dates are best served warm. Put your rice cooker’s Keep-Warm setting to good use and serve this app in its perfectly gooey state throughout any dinner party… or afternoon binge of bacon-wrapped dates
We’ve received a few requests for more gluten-free recipes to come out of our Test Kitchen and I am happy to oblige. After all, rice is a staple in most gluten-free diets so it makes sense to pop out some more gluten-free goodness from my meal making machine. I have made countless cakes, cupcakes and muffins in my lifetime, revamping many of the recipes for my rice cooker, but a gluten-free endeavor had never gone further than my oven, until now. I pushed the Test Kitchen to its limits this past week perfecting gluten-free rice cooker baking. If you have ever tried to bake gluten-free goodies you know what I am talking about… it is very tricky to achieve a moist and airy cake without traditional flour. I did have some bloopers but in the end… I nailed it. Once the ratios were perfect I tried both coconut and almond flour and even an all honey version for my Paleo people. Each version was quite delicious so feel free to adjust based on your pantry and diet. I forwent the frosting and gave a choice of whipped cream and strawberries or Greek yogurt and passion fruit with both combos getting rave reviews.
GLUTEN-FREE RICE COOKER CAKE
2 cups almond or coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup apple juice or water
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
Toppings: strawberries, whipped cream, yogurt, cream cheese, frosting, jam, etc.
Mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in another bowl. Gradually stir the dry mixture into the wet one.
Grease the inner pot of your rice cooker and pour in the batter. Set to Cake and close the lid.
When your rice cooker beeps, check for doneness. Let cake cool for a few minutes, invert onto a plate and cut into 2 layers.
Top with whatever suits your fancy. Enjoy!
My fresh farm box this week contained some beautiful bell peppers that I simply couldn’t resist transforming into yummy filled treats for dinner. I remembered my mom used to make great meat-filled tomatoes and peppers when I was little so I called her up for her recipe. And of course, since I like to do things my way, I made a few tweaks of my own. I substituted quinoa for rice and feta for Parmesan. These filled peppers turned out amazing and my Aroma Rice Cooker did a beautifully job softening the pepper and the chicken stock added such great flavor both in the filling and through the steaming.
BEEF AND QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS
4 bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup + 1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
Set your rice cooker to Sauté-then-Simmer. Brown the garlic, onion and mushrooms in a little olive oil. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
Stir in quinoa and feta cheese. Season to your liking and add parsley and enough stock to hold mixture together, about 1/2 cup.
Place 1 cup of chicken broth in your inner pot. Fill your peppers with the meat and quinoa mixture. Place your peppers inside the pot and steam for 25 minutes.
Use tongs to remove peppers from your rice cooker and enjoy!
Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook. If I can throw something on the grill to make a meal, no matter how odd it might be, you can bet I’m going to do it.
All my grilling enthusiasm has been made a whole lot easier and more accessible with my Aroma Super Pot. No need to worry about fuel or coals, waiting forever to preheat, guessing the temperature or waiting extended periods of time for my perfectly grilled meals. The Super Pot is ready to tackle any grilling job in about 30 seconds. I can control the heat with the turn of a knob and its non-stick surface makes grilling and cleaning up things like fruit so easy.
Wait… did I just say “grilling fruit”? I sure did. My newest frontier is dessert on the grill. Ripe fruit grilled slightly to bring out its sweetness then brushed with honey—perfect on its own or with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can pretty much grill any fruit you like and I know we’re all planning to fire up the grill this weekend during our Memorial Day celebrations, so why not add a little grilled dessert to your menu?
GRILLED FRUIT KEBABS
1 dozen strawberries
6-inch wood skewers
honey, for drizzling
Peel the pears, pineapple, oranges, and mangoes and cut into bite-sized chunks.
Skewer fruit, alternating as you choose, and set your Super Pot to 300 degrees.
Place skewers on the hot grill and cook about 1 minute per side or until grill marks appear.
Brush the top of the kebabs with honey before each turn to caramelize the fruit.
Serve hot, chilled or at room temperature, with or without ice cream… although we all know my suggestion on that part .