Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Slow learning

[In case anyone is still wondering: no, we in Canberra have not been affected by the recent bushfires, for which we are very grateful. Please spare a thought—and maybe a few bob or bucks—for the people of Victoria after last weekend’s terrible events.]

And now to return to our regularly scheduled nattering…

I love my slow cooker, and always feel as though I want to be using it more than I am. So when I came across A Year of Crockpotting a few months ago, I squealed with joy and promptly started working my way through the archives from January 1. If you’re not familiar with it, the blog arose when Stephanie, the author, made a commitment to using her slow cooker every day of 2008. She did it, too, and along the way used her slow cooker in ways heretofore unimagined, at least by me.

I’ve bookmarked dozens of recipes, most of which I have yet to try. But in the course of my reading, I did absorb two important concepts about using the slow cooker:

1. It’s a good tool for cooking things that are likely to burn in the oven.

2. It’s a good substitute for the oven when you don’t want to turn the oven on—the obvious reason being that you don’t want to leave the oven on in an empty house, and the less immediately apparent reason being that it’s too #@!$%?& hot to turn the oven on in the first place.

With these two ideas in mind, I’ve been doing some experimenting over the last few weeks, when the temperature has consistently been hovering in the high 30s C (around 100F). I’ve made:

- Baked potatoes
- Croutons
- Roasted tomatoes
- Granola
- Pizza sauce
- Chicken stock
- Roasted zucchini
- Bacon

My favorite so far, though, has been a slow-cooker version of this roasted rhubarb recipe, taken to another level with the addition of fresh sliced peaches during the last hour of cooking. Mixed into a bowl of Greek yogurt, with a generous fistful of (slow-cooked) homemade granola sprinkled over the top, it provided a transcendental breakfast every day for a week. Which is really saying something when it’s so hot that even I don’t feel like eating.


Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

Oooh roasted rhubarb sounds fab. I need to invest in a crockpot.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Welcome, Emily! Yes, I can't recommend a slow cooker highly enough. I own very few kitchen gadgets, but I can't do without this one!

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