Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Best of the Best Rice Cooker Cookbook

The Best of the Best Rice Cooker Cookbook is a tutorial guide for different types of rice cookers along with a selection of recipes for getting the most out of one's own rice cooker at home. Released 19th March 2019 by Quarto on their Harvard Common Press imprint, it's 176 pages and available in ebook and paperback formats.  This book is a re-formatting and updating of the earlier volumes by the same authors. This volume contains 100 curated recipes from the earlier works along with new photography and updated content.

Author Beth Hensperger has decades of experience cooking and writing about cooking and it shows. This is a very well organized book with a good introduction of the various machines as well as a truly thorough treatment of different rices, methods of soaking and cooking, rinsing or not rinsing and other background info. In fact the introductory chapter represents about 30% of the page content.

The following chapters include a selection of pilafs, risottos, rice based dishes (of course), polentas, cereals, legumes, steamed dishes, and some desserts.

Many of the ingredients are seasonal, there's some emphasis on locally sourced produce and additions to the rices and grains, but I had no trouble sourcing ingredients for my test recipes.

All three of our tested recipes were delicious and we will be working our way through the cookbook in future.

  • Baby artichokes and Arborio rice (p. 64) was a hearty side dish. Served with roast chicken and crusty bread, it made a nice simple meal. The texture was very creamy and the tanginess of the grated Parmesan was a good counterpoint.  Would make a lovely brunch buffet dish. 
  • Arroz con pollo (p. 85) was probably not a good choice for me for a truly objective trial. I am a complete sucker for southwestern/Mexican recipes which pair chicken and lime. This one was lovely, with a mellow spiciness counterpoint. Next time, however I will try to add more lime, since we could smell a distinct lime note which seemed to be very subtle in the taste.  Also beware of the cilantro if your family hates the taste (mine don't mind it, happily).
  • Butternut squash risotto (p. 89) is a lacto-vegetarian friendly dish which also has a very subtle lime counterpoint. My family called it 'comfort' food and it is.. very warm and filling.
Three good recipes. The ingredients were mostly on hand already (I used frozen artichoke hearts).

Four stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

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