Monday, January 10, 2011

The College Kitchen Kerfuffle

The Recipe: Rice and Bean Casserole
  • College Cuisine alert, but only if you have the correct pot and pan ware (i.e. it's simple with few ingredients)
  • Feeds 4-6 people
  • est. cooking time = 1 hr 10 min
  • I normally eat this by scooping it up with tortilla chips.

The Ingredients:
1 large jar of salsa
2-3 c. sharp cheddar cheese
2 c. brown rice
4 1/4 c. water
2 cans red kidney beans

The Directions:
Boil water. Add rice. Bring to boil. Cook rice on low for 45 min. Mix rice, cheese, beans, and salsa together and bake approximately 20 min (could heat bean, salsa, and cheese mixture in the microwave if don't have an oven).

Exhibit K

My take on the kerfuffled bake
Let me just start by saying I didn't exactly follow my own directions. I have this tendency to add too much of an ingredient when it comes in a small bag or can - instead of measuring it out I pour it all in without thinking. I did this with the rice and kidney beans for this recipe. I ended up with twice as much rice as I needed and extra liquid from the kidney bean cans. Who knew you had to drain them first? Then I added more cheese to correct for the doubled rice, but then realized I didn't have any more salsa to add to the pot which already didn't have as much salsa as it was supposed to (I had bought a small jar of salsa instead of a big one).

To make matters worse, I didn't know how to proceed into phase two of the recipe. My sister had told me her friend had a bunch of cooking ware and we'd be able to use it, but we couldn't figure out if any of those pots and pans could go in the oven. We also didn't have anything to fit the now doubled casserole into the microwave with, and we were getting hungry. So I let the mixture simmer on the stove. Then my sister thought I should turn the heat up to make the cheese melt faster. Five minutes later I realized that the liquid in the pot was boiling, and there was a burned smell in the air. So I turned off the stove and settled down for a meal of burned cheesy rice stew. Okay, it actually didn't taste that bad - even my sister's friends thought it was fine. But not at all how I had planned it. Don't worry, it tastes great when you make it right!

Following Ms. Frizzle's Advice
I'll just have to have my mom show me which cooking wares are meant for the oven sometime soon. The food might not taste as good if Mom's missing while I'm cooking, but the adventures are more exciting, that's for sure! Cooking by myself is helping me get a feel for how things go bad in the kitchen and the instincts that will tell me what not to do in the future.As Ms. Frizzle would say, "Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"

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