Thursday, November 10, 2011

tools: steamer

I grew up with a Rival steamer/rice cooker that my mom used for a couple of decades - pretty much three or four times a week.  We were eating a LOT of rice in those days.  We would have rice for dinner with soy sauce and then the leftover rice would be served at breakfast with milk and sugar.  We used it for veggies too - mostly carrots or asparagus.

I now have my own steamer and it is fan-cee - woo!  It's beautiful and it works so well and I love it.  It's a double-decker and has a wonderfully large capacity.  I grabbed this pic of my current Rival steamer from Amazon.

I have not tried meat in it, but I have cooked rice in one basket and a veggie in the other basket, or two different veggies.  Steaming always sounds to me like it will be a big pain, but once I get it going, it really isn't bad.  I like it that I can set something to steam for 30 minutes, then work on the rest of dinner, and everything has some hope of being done at the same time.  It's the perfect cooking method for me because I prefer almost all of my veggies to be crisp-tender and boiling or even pan cooking sometimes just doesn't let up and they are a soggy mess.  Tim has grown fonder of several veggies that I suspect he disliked mostly because of texture in the past.  And I agree - soggy asparagus is one of the most disgusting things ever.

My new use for the steamer is to cook food for baby Sophie.  I steamed apples and carrots the other day, with great success!  I am using a little munchkin hand-mill to grind up the softened food - but I need to switch to my big food processor (more on that later).

I'm also reading that steaming is a great way to retain nutrients (compared to boiling or microwaving).  We are pro-nutrients, so this is great news.  Leave me a comment if you are steaming something that I haven't thought of.  I kind of want to try potatoes.  We do green beans, asparagus, carrots, spinach, and apples now.  Have you tried any meat or fish?  Want to encourage me to be brave enough to give it a go?

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