I celebrated my 42nd birthday last Friday, with a series of surprises that started from 6am in an early morning workout and ended at 2:30 the next morning with girlfriends talking on the sofa. It was a pretty fabulous day. I was pampered, loved, celebrated and treated well.
I'm not one to expect many presents on my birthday (after all - the big 40 is over, and I'm not 10) but this year, for some strange reason, I got many unexpected presents, including a Vitamix. If you're not familiar with a Vitamix, it's a super powerful, super versatile blender (but shouldn't be considered JUST a blender) that is often demostrated at Costco. A couple of friends of mine teamed up to get me mine and I first yelled, "TAKE IT BACK" because the gift seemed too extravagant, but then took it graciously, although with some hesitation. The hesitation lasted all of about 20 minutes, because I opened it up and began using it.
I decided to begin experimenting with the option that the Vitamix has to HEAT foods. Now, this is not a separate function but rather a side effect from such a powerful motor and blade that it eventually warms things up. When using it, it's not noticeable on smoothies, generally because you're not running it for that long and the ingredients are cold.
I decided I wanted to experiment with a Korean Pumpkin Porridge recipe, which I've done before. It's one of my favorite things to make in fall and winter as it's warming and satisfying, and it's something that my kids really enjoy eating. I made it two days in a row, trying to figure out the most effective use of time and the vitamix in order to create the porridge.
Now, be warned, if you were in my house while I was making the porridge, I would SOUND SOMETHING LIKE THIS AS THE SOUND OF THE VITAMIX COOKING THE PORRIDGE IS ACTUALLY NOT THAT QUIET!! IN FACT, IT'S BETTER THAT YOU ARE READING THESE DIRECTIONS INSTEAD OF LISTENING TO ME SCREAM THEM OVER THE SOUND OF THE VITAMIX.
The vitamix is loud. When it cooks your porridge, it's loud most of the time because the motor is whirring on high to heat, cook, chop and smooth the ingredients into heavenly pumpkin nirvana. You'll have to put up with a bit of noise, but essentially the process is very simple. I've tried doing some things to make the loudest part (chopping in the vitamix) a little less long timewise and I think my efforts were well worth it because I bought myself a few additional minutes of silence.
You'll be using boiling water to start out the mixture and you'll need sweet rice that has been soaked for at least 2 hours. You can tell if the rice is ready because it essentially can be crushed in between your fingertips. Aside from those two minor details, the rest is essentially a hot smoothie made in the blender, the distinct advantage being that it can't burn as this porridge often does on the stovetop.
As a warning, you'll have to make sure your ingredients fit in your Vitamix. If your squash seems too much or you don't have any room for it all, just take some out and pour water just enough to cover. I also noticed some orange staining on my container, as I think the squash has a powerful color.
Pumpkin Porridge in the Vitamix
½ cup sweet rice, soaked in 1 cup of water, for at least 2 hours
1½ to 2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 to 4 cups boiling water
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on preference and sweetness of squash itself
Once water is boiled, rice is soaked, squash is peeled and cut the Vitamix will do the rest of the work.
Into your Vitamix container add squash, salt and pour hot water, enough to cover all the squash. The actual amount may vary anywhere from 3 to 4 cups. Put the lid on the Vitamix container and let the squash sit in the boiling water for 15 minutes.
Once 15 minutes has passed, turn Vitamix on to variable 1, and gradually increase speed until you are at 10. Once ingredients in container are smoothly moving through, move speed to high. Blend on high for 8 minutes. Steam will rise. Turn off machine after steam rises.
Drain water from sweet rice. Add brown sugar and sweet rice to Vitamix container. Cover container and turn on to variable 1, increasing to 10 and then to high. Blend on high for 6 minutes. You’ll see the inside of the porridge start to bubble and boil. Once 6 minutes are up, turn off machine, leave covered for 7 minutes to allow rice to steam further.
Pour from Vitamix and serve.
This is the one I got, from Costco, where it is $375. This is a 64 oz container, which is a very nice large capacity.