Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Perfect Crock Pot Rice

I have had this recipe for quite a while and, like a lot of recipes I collect, it doesn't ever get made. Until one day, I think, well, I need this for a meal today anyway, why not try this method.

I don't know why I haven't tried it before. It really is good. I used brown rice and it came out soft and sticky. We like it this way. Would have worked great for homemade veggie sushi.

Perfect Crock Pot Rice

1 cup rice (brown preferred)
2 cups water
coconut oil (to coat crockpot)
olive oil (optional, to stir in with rice to make it less sticky)

Rub inside of crock with coconut oil making sure to coat the bottom and sides well. Pour in water, rice and salt (as desired). Stir in olive oil, if using. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours.

I actually tripled the recipe for my crockpot. If you make one recipe, you should use a smaller crockpot. The day I made it, we actually went away during the time it was cooking. It may have cooked a bit longer, but it still turned out well. Less cooking may have made it less soft, but nonetheless good.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Avocados, Anyone?

Recently we were gifted a great many avocados.

Thirteen cases to be exact. Fifty avocados per case! Folks, that's 650 beautiful avocados!

What to do with so many?

1. Thank the Lord!

2. Give many away. (Our Hispanic friends were very happy!)

3. Keep about 2 cases, give or take a few.

4. Eat some fresh (on salads, in smoothies, oh, so many ideas...).

5. Preserve some by freezing...

First a note about handling...Avocados must be handled gently or your risk bruising them. When you open them later, if they've been bruised, they will have bad spots. So a tip for the store...when you buy, get them firm and ripen them up at home. This way fewer people have handled them and you can ripen them better at home.

(I kept most from ripening by putting them in the coldest part of the house. It happened to be a sealed off room in our basement. Warmer than the fridge, but not enough to ripen. I would bring up a few at a time for salads, etc. Then when I was ready to freeze some, I brought up 25 at a time to ripen in my kitchen. I put them somewhere I won't forget about them!)

First ripen them. You want to test them for firmness and you don't want them mushy. If they are soft like you cheek, they are too soft. If they are hard like your forehead, they are too hard yet. When they are about like the tip of your nose, that's about right. Check them every day, some will ripen quicker than others. You don't want to have to throw any away, because you didn't use them in time!

Wash the ripe avocados. I do this by putting a food safe soap (or even vinegar) on them, then rinsing off. Remember to handle them gently.

To open, I found the best way is to cut around the pit inside, lengthwise (top to bottom and back up). Then twist open. They should be nicely colored green (skin side) to a more yellow color toward the pit. After opening the first thing you do will be to remove the pit. I take my knife and insert the tip into the pit alongside the cut (as if I was still cutting) and then wedge it out.

(By the way, if you peel first, then pit, it will be more difficult to do.)

Then take the skin off. Sometimes it comes off in a couple pieces, sometimes the skin is very thin and will come off in many pieces. Just do your best. I find that if I hold it in one hand (cut, flat side against my hand) and peel with the other starting at the stem end, it goes better.

(At this point you can use it for anything. You could even slice it up to put into veggie sushi, sandwiches...instead of mayo, put on top of salads, add to a favorite salsa, put into a smoothie, etc.)

The best way to freeze ripe avocados is to mash them up. A potato masher works well or even a fork will do the job. It helps to have a container or bowl that has a flat bottom to it, especially if you are using a potato masher. For every 2 avocados mashed, add 1 Tablespoon lemon or lime juice and mix well. Then put into containers and freeze. They say if you use lime juice, it preserves to flavor of the avocado better, than using lemon. Either way works.

I'm hoping to further save space and lengthen freezer time by using my Food Saver vacuum sealer to preserve them longer. I'll pop the frozen large chunks out of their containers and then seal them. Then I can put them back into the freezer.

Now you have avocados ready in your freezer, for guacamole or any recipe calling for mashed avocados.

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.