We’re making our favorite dish tonight–Southern Living’s Black Beans and Coconut Lime Rice. There is just something so delicious about the toasted coconut rice with fresh lime juice! Each week I make out a menu for the family meals and this is usually Jeremy’s first request. During the winter, we top ours with sliced radishes, cilantro, green onions, jalapenos (well–just me!) and some low fat sour cream. In the summer we like to add the fresh mangos suggested in the recipe.
This recipe is easily made veg friendly by substituting coconut milk or veggie stock for the chicken stock called for to cook the rice.
I’m very excited today! My new food processor and baby food trays have arrived and I will be posting some home made baby food recipes in the near future. I’ve made a few things with a basic steamer and mini-chopper, but unfortunately, my 15 year old mini chopper had an accident when I attempted to sterilize it by using one of my Medela breast pump/bottle steaming bags….
We’ve been enjoying Earth’s Best Organic baby foods, but I cringe over the 75 cent price tag for each 2 oz jar….knowing I could do it by hand for less and hopefully make something that tastes great.
I confess to letting myself be intimidated by food processors….something about multiple sharp blades and stern instructions not to use one while under the influence of alcohol! Since I’ve always lived by the phrase “I love to cook with wine, sometimes I even put it in food” I found this daunting. Ha! No really, they are one of two appliances that scare me. The second is a standing mixer. I don’t bake and it’s too small to hang laundry on if I don’t use it. Can’t justify that one…even if it would be so pretty and shiny on my counter top!
I went through a gadget phase in my early 20’s and my tiny apartment kitchen was littered with rice cookers, steamers, juicers…you name it. I found that most of the time it was more trouble to clean the gadgets than spend an extra few minutes processing foods by hand. Then I went through my self described “Quaker Phase” where I cooked with nothing more than a paring knife and the occasional use of my ten dollar mini chopper. I might also add that this was my living solo vegan phase where I made earnest whole grain dishes and tortured my mom with tempeh. I was happy mixing batter by hand and smooshing mashed potatoes by hand…but as my family has grown so has the arm work.
Recently, I have began to acquire a few kitchen gadgets. I received a new mixer and hand blender for Christmas and am now producing cupcakes and beautiful salad dressings with ease. Then, I made the mistake of watching the food channel while feeding the baby and my eyes glazed over as Paula Dean and Rachel Ray whipped up some tasty treats with a food processor. Muffins! Salads! Dressing! Soups!
I contemplated the Beaba Baby Cook Steamer that I had been none too subtly hinting to Jeremy about. It steams, it mashes, it looks so cute! He gently reminded me of the cost per use and it just didn’t add up for the 3-5 month window of time that I would actually use it. With a “real” food processor, I wouldn’t have to shelve a $150 appliance when my child fully progressed to finger foods. I could move on from tasty purees to anything my little heart desired.
Over the years I have matured as a cook. I feel like I can conquer my fear of the food processor. Think of all the slaws and chopped soups/salads that I have been missing out on?!? Dishes like potato latkes from the Veganomicon could become a “do” now that I don’t have to dread the thought of shredding potatoes by hand. Oh sure…I even bought a mandolin once, thinking I could go low tech and still achieve the same results…but after nearly taking my finger off a time or two I decided that grating my own vegetables would not be a good idea. My family needs me 🙂