Let me say first of all: I wanted this to be a post about the birthday cookies I sent you. But they were so OMG, epic fail, that I sent you an iron instead. I was trying to make you a riff on Shutterbean’s Cornflake Marshmallow Cookies. I replaced the cornflakes with raisin bran and I was doing this cool thing with peanut butter. It was going to be incredible. I could tell. The piece de resistance was going to be the vegetarian marshmallows- that ingredient I’ve been talking about for weeks, the one that I drove back from San Antonio last weekend.
And the problem, sadly, was the vegetarian marshmallows.
Don’t bake with vegetarian marshmallows. I could describe how the cookies looked like they had a film of snot over them that eventually turned from green to white again, while leaving the marshmallows rock hard and virtually inedible. But what kind of food blogger would I be if I grossed people out instead of inspiring them? Probably the kind that sends her co-blogger an iron as a birthday present the week after she posts a recipe for adorable birthday granola bars that she sent to another friend.
Anyway, I’m experimenting next weekend with your birthday cookies again. Expect a package within 7-10 days.
And, in addition to the iron, I present this as a consolation prize: Rice Cooker Red Beans and Rice.
This is by far my favorite weeknight meal. I prep it all beforehand, and then I pop it in the rice cooker. Andrew turns the rice cooker on when he gets home, and by the time I get home, dinner is ready, and the house smells like Mardi Gras has arrived.
And it makes leftovers, so you can bring some to work and make your co-workers jealous. I know, I know. You’re welcome. As if the iron wasn’t enough.
This recipe is adapted from Fat Free Vegan. The blog has a couple of different red beans and rice recipes. There’s a quick one that uses pre-cooked beans (Easy Red Beans and Rice). There’s also a slow-cooking one (Real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice).
I really wanted the best of both worlds. This recipe is wholly based on the slow-cooking one, but I’ve adapted it for a rice cooker.
The trick is to use a food processor to pulverize your vegetables.
It looks just like a green smoothie, but resist the urge to down it. It’s going to be much better as dinner, I promise.
There’s enough spice in this to knock down a full grown horse. Or insert your own metaphor. You can lessen the spice if you’re afraid. But, hey – it’s your birthday. Live a little.
Mix in water, rice, and beans.
When it emerges from the rice cooker, give it a good stir. Dinner. And lunch. Happy birthday, you. It’s so much better than the cookies (would have been).
4 cloves garlic
1 Large Yellow Onion
4 Ribs Celery
1 Large Green Bell Pepper
3 Bay Leaves
2 Teaspoons Thyme
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper (adjust to taste)
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Cumin
2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke
1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce
2 Teaspoons Salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil (optional, but delicious)
1 Cup Dried Rice (I use brown, but only do that if you have a brown rice setting on your rice cooker)
3 (15 oz) Cans Red Beans, Drained and Rinsed3 to 3 1/2 Cups Water (3 if using white rice, 3 1/2 if brown)
First, pulverize the garlic, celery, onion, and bell pepper in a food processor. It should be pretty close to smoothie-consistency. Put the vegetables in the rice cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook according to rice cooker’s directions.
I’ll note that my rice cooker is amazing and has several settings, depending on what is in the pot for the night. I use brown rice because I try to win the nutrition battles that I can. This would also be delicious with other varieties of rice. Also, if you like a pristine rice cooker, you should know that there’s a strong chance the rice cooker will always smell like red beans and rice. If you use yours to cook things like sushi rice in, you might want to cook this in a separate, savory-foods-friendly rice cooker. They’re not expensive, and I plan on putting more scrumptious rice-cooker recipes soon, so it will be well worth it.