The New Rice Makert

A new rice maker made its way into the kitchen.  It came highly recommended and judging by the significant emotional attachment of both internet posters and real friends and family to this particular rice maker, I am going to be pretty happy.  It is the Aroma ARC-2000 purchased on sale from Costco for $29.99.  It theoretically makes 20 cups, but also steams and slow cooks as well.  It even has multiple settings (wait, WHAT?  They can do that?).   It will never be able to fill the emotional void of losing the Original Rice Maker (ORM), but it will fill the void in my kitchen.

Not surprisingly, the New Rice Maker (NRM) immediately came out of the box and was put to use making brown rice.  I mean, how can you have veggie fried rice without the rice?  And as much as my cooking skills have improved over the years, I still cannot cook rice on the stove top to save my life.  Seriously, it just doesn’t work.  The NRM did an excellent job:  the brown rice was perfectly cooked and for the first time ever, there wasn’t a slightly burnt crust at the bottom of the bowl.  (I said the ORM was predictive.  I didn’t say it was great at it.)

Next, I cooked pearl barley with onions for my lunches.  Again, it was cooked to absolute perfection.  In fact, it came out the same consistency of the pearl barely my dad used to make (in the rice maker) when I was growing up.  Delicious.

Satisfied that this new rice maker wasn’t going to explode or turn out a bad product, I upped the ante a little.  I now soak and cook my own dry beans.  It reduces the sodium content dramatically which is great for my Meniere’s but it is also very cost effective.  Always a bonus!  Not only that, less processing equals happier Liz.  The NRM solved a problem I had been having.  I cook beans in 1-2 lb dry batches, which yields 6-10 cups of cooked beans.  My ORM could only hold 4 cooked cups and required that I turn it back on every hour or so.  I had turned to boiling the beans for hours on the stove top which frankly is a pain.  But now with this mammoth 20 cup capacity and a handy adjustable slow cook function I had an idea.  Here is how it went:

Sunday Night:  Rinse beans.  Place in rice cooker.  Cover with water (about 1” above the top of the beans).  Go to bed.
Monday Morning:  Rinse beans again.  Place in rice cooker.  Cover with water (about 2” above the top of the beans).  Slow cook for 7 hours.
Monday Evening:  Portion out perfectly cooked black beans into freezer bags.

I was only involved in the process for a total of 20 minutes and we have absolutely tasty, uber low sodium black beans to eat.  Some will be used tonight in fajita burritos.  The rest have been nicely frozen for nachos and soup.  Am I impressed?  YES I AM!

Today, the NRM is busy making cilantro lime rice for said fajita burritos but tonight, it will start on my chickpeas for my hummus and lunches. 

I miss the Old Rice Maker, but having this new equally reliable and talented New Rice Maker is helping…A lot.