Category Archives: Cooking

Slow Cooker Ham & Rice – Results

Follow-up to today’s Slow Cooker Ham & Rice Experiment …

OBEY!Wouldn’t it be handy if I could somehow succinctly sum-up my slow cooker ham and rice experiment — perhaps using a 1-10 score card system or a red/yellow/green-light indicator?

Well … I don’t have that … so let’s break it down in short order.  Ready … GO!

The Rice

Rice rice baby!
Pretty idyllic looking rice, huh? Yeah, mine didn’t turn out this nice.

In the previous post I wrote two ways to slow cook rice.  I’m going to have to try this again because my 2 parts water to 1 part rice flopped.  About half of it turned to mush.  I received a text from my mom about 4 hours into cooking saying that she does equal parts water and rice then cooks on high for 1 hour.  OOPS!  When I’ve had her slow cooker rice it’s turned out great.  I’ll have to try this the next time I need rice.

The Ham

Hammy ham ham!
Also NOT my ham …. looks like a good one though!

Cooking the ham for 8 hours was of course easy.  When I pulled the pieces out of my 2 slow cookers the work to clean it out (remove the fat, bone, etc) was straightforward but a bit time consuming … but then at times I can be fastidious.

At the beginning of this work I took a nibble and the ham seemed to be on the bland side*.  I didn’t know if this was because of the way I cooked it or if it was just a lower-salt ham**.  As my ham cooled the flavour seemed to return.  I suspect this happened as a result of the water I cooked it with steaming out.

Johnny's Seasoning Salt
The Johnny’s

Ultimately I opted to give the ham a little boost improvising a simple glaze with what I had on hand.  In a 2 cup  measure I started with a healthy splash of apple cider vinegar.  Then I added a healthy dollop of molasses followed by a hearty sprinkling of Johnny’s Seasoning Salt, then about as much warm water as the molasses.  After mixing I felt that the volume was a bit low, so I doubled everything except the vinegar.  In increments I poured this around on the meat, tossed the meat, and repeated until all of my ‘glaze’ was in.  I then cooked on high for another hour.  It didn’t ‘glaze’ of course, but it made additional elements of flavour.
(Hindsight — I could have used a cap or two of liquid smoke as well.)

In the end, it turned out pretty tasty — not fantastic, but I think this shows promise.  This is definitely worth another attempt along with some further tweaking.

(WARNING – SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION in another 3… 2…)

Well, back to work on completing my ***FIRST RECIPE BOOK***.  It’s pretty close to being done!

* It made me think of the 1979 Coppola film “Apocalypse Now” when the character Jay ‘Chef’ Hicks talked about military cook training when they boiled beautiful cuts of meat — I thought my ham was destroyed.
** If you’re not familiar with how ham is cured there are 3 common ways, 2 of which use a special pink salt which gives ham its color.

Links

Slow Cooker Ham & Rice EXPERIMENT

Trying something new-to-me today — I’m preparing ham and rice slow cooker style!

Black slow cooker ... it must be EVIL!
Not my actual slow cooker … too bad, then it’d match the rest of my appliances!

While I’ve baked plenty of hams, during the past week I thought about how I wanted to prepare the one in my fridge.  Lately I’ve been busy up-to-my-ears and I wanted something that would be Low Hassle.  Then it occurred to me — I should be able to slow cook a ham (read: DUH!).  I posted the idea on my Facebook profile and of course other folks have done this before.  Doing it, I’m told, is simple — put the ham in the slow cooker, add about a pint of water, and cook it on low for about 8 hours and then it falls off the bone!

(WARNING – SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION in 3… 2… 1…)

WOW — that’s practically identical to my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork featured in my soon-to-be-published ***FIRST RECIPE BOOK***!

I got started about three hours ago.  The ham was big enough I had to cut bits off and fit it between my 2 regular-size cookers.  When it’s done I plan to clean the meat — getting rid of the fat, bone, etc.  The friend who said she prepares ham this way sounded like she shreds it, too.  My original thought was that at this point I would add a glaze for flavour, as I would BBQ sauce to my Pulled Pork, and re-cook it on high for 30-60 minutes — but folks who replied said that wouldn’t be necessary.  So I think I’ll keep it simple for this first time around.

As for the rice, I’m doing my mom’s trick in my small cooker — usual 2-1 ratio of water to rice and let it go all day (note that this cooker only cooks on one temp which I believe is high).  Believe it or not I think this is the first time I’ve all 3 of my slow cookers going at once!

UPDATE – My mom said she does 1-1 water & rice and cooks for 1 hour.  I did 2-1 and cooked for close to 4 hours.  It came out sticky but … well, I got lucky.  Results may vary, experiment, you’ll find out what works for you.

All that and some french-cut green beans … yeah, I think I’m going to have a nice dinner for the next number of nights — not bad for a single guy!  (*Read my follow-up to this experiment here.*)

Lastly, I realized a LOL lately…
Slow Cooker = Easy-Bake Oven for Adults

This is the gender-neutral version of the Easy-Bake Oven that Hasbro designed to satisfy one individual's complaint. Seriously ... we're getting offended about this now?!? How about just learning to cook with a REAL stove and oven....

Links

Star Wars Cookbook II

Star Wars Cookbook IIIf you’re like me, right now you are grinning from ear-to-ear having seen the latest Star Wars installment “The Last Jedi“!  In anticipation of the film, I looked on my library’s website for what material from the cannon they had available.  As it turned out, they had LOADS!

Star Wars films, soundtracks, books, audio books, William Shakespeare‘s Star Wars books — AND THIS — The Star Wars Cookbook II -Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes by Frankie Frankeny &‎ Wesley Martin.

Being into sci-fi, and soon to publish my own first baking/cooking book, I’ve started to look at recipe books with a different eye.  When it came to this Star Wars cookbook … I Simply Had To Check This Out!

Han-Burgers
Clever recipe titles!

Attributes

Geared toward kids, over the course of its 60 wipe-clean pages it features hilarious photographs and fun Star Wars themed recipes.  This second installment of The Star Wars Cookbook series even includes a washable plastic stencil of Darth Maul’s iconic face to help decorate culinary creations.  While kid-cooks might think they’re getting it play with their food, it instead teaches to get creative with cooking.  Bring your kids into the kitchen to learn to cook without the use of Jedi mind-control tricks!  Adults as well as kids will have a great time with this book.

Plastic stencil of Darth Maul on the left

Links

The Star Wars Cookbook II -Darth Malt and More @ Amazon.com
ISBN-10: 0811828034
ISBN-13: 978-0811828031

The Star Wars Cookbook II: Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes @ Wookieepedia

NOTE – “Star Wars” and all other names, references, images, et cetera are the property of their respective copyright owners.  If I have somehow violated copyright, please instruct as to how to correct this ….. in other words, Disney, please don’t sue me … besides, I don’t have anything.

Cling Wrap — A Pro Tip

Cling wrap — ever have problems getting it to stay on your food?

Cling wrap

Here’s a pro-tip — don’t put plastic wrap on your food, put your food on your cling wrap!

Yep — all sorts of problems can follow when cling wrap gets pulled out of the box, put over food, torn off … but instead, try this…

Cling wrap - you're doing it wrong

On a clean surface clear of other items, put your box of plastic wrap down with the opening pointing away from you. Pull a large section out (+/- 2 times the size of the plate you look to cover) and lay it down on the surface, the box will ‘hold’ the other end straight for you. Next, place the plate you wish to wrap *on* the cling wrap and bring the lose end up & over the plate to start covering your food. Rip the other end of the plastic wrap off of the box and fold it over the plate & cling wrap. Repeat as necessary to get everything covered.

Done right and you will have a good seal on your food that can also help to prevent leaks.

A box of cling wrap with a slide cutter makes this easier over those with the saw blade, but with some careful attention those will work just as well.

Cling wrap righter

…it’s still morning somewhere, right?!?

Mmm …. pie!

Sunday afternoon on the WIBC-Facebook page I said that I had a progress announcement about my baking book — and that I was going to post this morning …. and it’s now PIE’o’clock (3:14PM) …. and I’m realizing I didn’t get to it*, ACK! I’ve been busy getting my BagpiperDon website working right so it’s as equally as awesome as my recent updates to this site. ANYWAY…

I had a conference call with my editor, Linda, on Sunday. She is A*W*E*S*O*M*E — she’s bold, she’s brilliant, she’s hilarious, Linda Makes Work FUN! (And yes, Linda, you may quote me on that for your portfolio.) We nailed down a number of things both having to do with my book and my plans to re-release it after paper publication as an e-book. I have a check-list of the things I need to satisfy (as provided by my friend & e-publishing coach, Tom) — toward the end of my call with Linda I ran down the list and updated it.
(PSST! – Linda has a bran-new website COMING SOON – see here at CheckChick.com!)

Here’s the HURRAH Announcement

There are 18 total To-Do items on the list, I have 11 DONE, I have only 7 more to go!

Now — real quick — what does that mean?  Simply speaking, there are big tasks and small tasks in writing and publishing a book.  Usually writing the book is a huge task — DUH, obviously!  Other tasks may take a few hours, days, or weeks, and those are considerably short …. even if that means taking two days to craft a few paragraphs for the wings or back of a book.  There’s still the final edit work to do on my book, and the other tasks are really pretty small … but they add up & take time.  For DIY boot-strappers like myself that just means nose-to-the-gumption-grindstone!

“So when is your release date, Don?”

I am hoping to publish by Black Friday, however with everything going on I think it will be closer to Xmas. As many of you know I experienced a hard-drive crash early this year and have had to re-start my project working from old back-ups, e-documents I thought I had lost completely, and most but not all of the photos I had planned to include. Having received Linda’s added involvement has been nothing short of a GIFT! The book has been coming back together, and while it’s not done Right Now it is a better book than I had written last year. Do you think that this adds to my excitement???

OH YEAH!

So, work to go!
Back At It — Don

Tom and his many abilities at TrimbathCreative.wordpress.com
Linda, my editor, at CheckChick.com and her Check Chick Facebook page

* So here’s a little insight about being a small business owner….
It’s said that in ancient times if the gods wanted to get revenge on some humans they’d make them go crazy — and to accomplish this they make them fall in love. In modern times, I think gods make people go crazy by making them think “Hey, I can start & run a small business!”  Is a small business Love?  Well, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing…. then, Yes!

Kitchen Tips – Yours & Mine

Do you ever find yourself in your kitchen making something tasty thinking to yourself “You know, that one thing that I do in my kitchen is a good idea and other people would benefit from knowing about it.”?  Yeah, me too.  Well, here’s your chance!

Over this past weekend while doing a little baking I thought of something I might add to my current in-process baking book — KITCHEN TIPS!  What’s a Kitchen Tip?  Well, one of my ideas — and I would hope this should be obvious — is to always keep your oven mitts or hot pads in a consistent place so you’re not scrambling for them when the timer rings.  I thought up & wrote down about another 5 and then I thought “ENGAGE YOUR PUBLIC” — so……..

WHAT ARE YOUR BAKING-RELATED KITCHEN TIPS?  Comment below ….. yes, I’m actually going to allow comments for once.  These would be suggestions related to setting up your kitchen for baking or around the process of baking (etc).  Write your tips, hints, & ideas here — they might get included in my baking book!

“Collect your cookie crumbs – they go great on top of ice cream! For best results, serve soon.” Marion C. – Milwaukee, WI”.

If I publish your idea I will try to let you know in advance.  Also, I would like to put your name & location as written above.  Now, I should also say — while I like this idea for my book, I’m not sure how I might include them.  My original idea was to disperse these notes throughout my tome but that doesn’t fit with my mental image of the contents – so these might end up as their own section instead.

Submit your ideas & you just might get your name in print!
Enjoy ~ Don