You know I’m not a sports fan. Thank goodness my bosses know I’m not a sports fan, either, but they’re kind to me all the same. That being said, I’m a little bummed that I can’t stay through September, if only to see a Razorbacks game for the sheer cultural experience of being near 50,000 people who are really, really into football. Everyone around here has some sort of Razorback paraphernalia- on their car, or on a lanyard, or a shirt. Even Huskies fans aren’t that excited about our mascot, though that could be due to the fact that he was newly designed as a rabid husky. To immerse myself a little further, I made Razorback Rolls using the Lékué rice cooker. The company sent over a sample last week and I was as pumped as a sports fan whose favorite sport has sported in the last sport of the sport season and won the sport. Yay, new cooking equipment!The design is very attractive, with a clear edge on function without compromising design and little grain-inspired embellishments in the steamer part. It is, in essence, a glorified vegetable steamer, no different than a plastic one, but it’s prettier and has a focus on grains, though I believe that has less to do with the architecture of the product and more the recipe booklet, which covers all types of rice- sushi included. My first two forays with the machine were largely successful.I made two batches of rice, one plain, and one seasoned. The seasoning scared me (sriracha, beer, barbecue seasoning, and smoked sea salt) mixed into the rice before microwaving, as I feared it would stain the white outer shell, but even the stubborn red pepper oils wiped away easily. The rice was sticky, though not as sticky as prepared sushi rice or rice made in an electric cooker. While you are saving on time- 12 minutes for a one-person serving of sushi rice, versus the intuitive timing on a Zojirushi, for example, there is a bit of a compromise on quality, but not so much that it forces the average person to purchase a Zojirushi when this does a sufficient job. I’m sure that with time and practice, I’ll get better with the rice on my own, or if I really bungle it, run to Whole Foods. But on my first foray, the rice was very, very slippery and wet, even after a few extra minutes in the cooker.I recommend stirring it halfway through and of course, rinsing it beforehand. Letting it sit out for a half hour after cooking allowed some of that liquid to evaporate and cohese. The seasoning mixture eliminated the need for mirin and sugar, and was sticky after reducing that it allowed me to form the rice into a very, very basic roll, which I then stuffed with smoked chicken, pickled peppers, and topped with a wasabi peanut butter, courtesy of MegaLUX Nut Butters, which gave a savory-sweet edge to the very boozy, spicy roll. To complete the plate, I cut the ends off grapes, hollowed the centers out, and stuffed them with a smidge of boursin cheese, sprinkled with crushed wasabi peas made in my primitive mortar and pestle. I’m still amazed that my most minimal, creative cooking will likely be done in a hotel. All in all, the project was fun and the rice cooker allowed me to step out of my shredded meat comfort zone and experiment more with grains. I look forward to using it for oatmeal and others in the future. Quite entertaining!Well, almost.