Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann's The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook offers 250 timesaving, convenient, and healthy recipes for making everything from simple white rice to full-course meals. This cookbook proves the rice cooker--which tends to have a bad rap as a never-opened or oft-neglected wedding gift--can be surprisingly versatile: not only does it prepare your rice, it can be used for every dinner course--salad, soup, vegetable, entree, and even dessert.
There is a complete buying and cooking guide for the many rice varieties, as well as other whole grains such as barley, millet, wheat berry, and quinoa. Many of the recipes provide convenient alternative cooking methods for traditional dishes like Italian risottos (the Italian Sausage Risotto is wonderful). Hensperger and Kaufmann show the rice cooker can also work miracles for hot breakfast cereals and porridges with such recipes as Hot Fruited Oatmeal. Delightful main courses include Steamed Ginger Salmon and Asparagus in Black Bean Sauce, and the meal is done almost exclusively within the rice cooker for simple preparation and cleanup. The dessert section has many ideas beyond the expected Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding--the Poached Pears with Grand Marnier Custard Sauce is one elegant and sophisticated example. Both authors of this cookbook are seasoned food writers and this combined effort gives tasty, easy, and healthy recipes that will motivate you to use what has been, until now, an underutilized appliance. --Teresa Simanton