Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Third time's the charm right? This refers to the third time since having my baby that I've used the rice cooker to steam up some kind of cake/dessert. This time, I mixed in some unmeasured amount of all-purpose flour (whatever I had left in the package), two cans of pumpkin, six eggs, and vanilla-infused agave nectar. The resulting batter came out of the rice cooker pretty mushy, like bread pudding but without the chunks. I lined up some slices topped with more agave nectar and some walnuts, and voila! Fairly presentable, won't you say? On a tangent, this may or may not be the last post in awhile since I'm going back to work in about one month (ahh!) and so whatever time I could scrounge up to cook and post during the past few months might get severly cut down from now on. We'll see though. Maybe my little girl will clamor to go shop for food, and want to cook and bake, and be into photography and web logs, and then we shall have come full circle.


No I did not make these but aren't they pretty? So a friend visited us and brought us a meal along with some macarons as dessert from a nearby dessert place called Treat Tea and Ice. I really liked them so I decided to go and buy some other flavors for myself. From upper left to lower right are praline, blueberry lavender, taro, vanilla, and orange blossom. Later, I went and tried some other flavors. I must say my favorites are the Earl Grey, the coffee, the pistachio, and the raspberry. The blueberry lavender one was a bit soapy to me, as was the orange blossom. BUT... I told myself I won't go there again because they sell 1 macaron for $1.85, 3 for $5, and 5 for $8.75. First off, why is buying 3 a better price per macaron than buying 5? And second, if I buy 10, why charge each one at the single price rather than at two orders of 5 macarons each? Apparently, one can only buy one order of 5, and not two orders of 5. Why would you penalize your customers for buying more? So after that, forget them! Learn to add fine print and disclaimers if you aren't prepared to back up your offers (it's as simple as adding "limit one offer per guest per day")!

Saffron Rice

To use up the remaining saffron I had, I just threw the threads into the rice cooker with Thai basmati rice. I figured the steeping would take place during the course of the cooking, so I didn't bother to steep the threads ahead of time. This was okayyy. I think Indian basmati is superior in texture and aroma though. The yellow color did come out, and one can see the individual threads, so yay. The rice itself was a bit bland, but that's my own fault for not using chicken stock or any other flavorings. I ended up mixing in nuts and raisins (on the left) and this soy nut mix (on the right). I really wanted to use my Rogan Josh spice blend with lamb again, and top it over saffron rice, but alas for the long forgotten days of relaxation cooking. I don't know how people do it... cook healthy/homemade AND get stuff done around the house AND work AND spend time with your kid(s) AND spend time with your significant other AND have spiritual disciplines AND exercise AND x AND y AND z... I've come to have a new appreciation for motherhood and cannot begin to imagine the even greater challenge single moms face. Wow.

Steamed Baileys Brownies

My MIL pawned off this package of brownie mix to me, which I finally found a use for as a way to use up the last of my Baileys. People don't seem as interested in drinking these days, and I can't drink either due to nursing (well I suppose if I timed it right, then I could help consume the remaining stash of alcohol in our fridge, but it's not worth the risk for me). So much for my days of wafting through the aisles of craft beers and interesting wines. But for my little girl? I would give up all the Guinness in Ireland and more besides!

Anyway, so this was made with a package of brownie mix, along with the remainder of the ghee and Baileys, and thrown into the rice cooker. They were actually not bad. I snuck a slice into hubby's lunch and he said he enjoyed the "random cake." Yay. And yes the texture was a bit more cakey than fudgey, but whatever.

Saffron Cake

Post-baby, I am loth to use the oven or stovetop because I once left a pot of soup boiling on the stovetop while running off to attend to a crying newborn, forgetting all about the pot. Later, hubby complained about the smell in the kitchen, at which point I remembered and ran in, only to find a smoky, charred mess. I had to toss the pot as well =(. So I've resorted to rice cooker cooking even more than I have before.

That being said, here is an improvised cake as I try to use up some ingredients that I know I will not have time to use the way I'd originally intended... Saffron threads steeped in hot water, thrown in with some melted ghee, brown sugar, and all-purpose flour, then twice-cooked in my rice cooker resulted in this interesting novelty. It was quite dense and reminded me a bit of those Chinese New Year rice cakes but without the gluten, if you can imagine that. So I guess if you can imagine a cross between those glutinous rice cakes and dense saffron-flavored brownies, then that would be somewhat close. They weren't too bad but not something I'd serve to people.