Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Slow cooker

I finally broke down after many, many years and bought a slow cooker. For so long I resisted because my storage issues were so severe I literally could not figure out where to put one if I bought one, and I knew if I had one it had to be a large one, which would take up lots of room in a cupboard. But when we renovated our kitchen two years ago I was able to increase our storage by a little and I just decided it was time to take the plunge. After some re-arranging and throwing out I managed to find room for a nice size one.

My first surprise was that I was looking for a "slow cooker" as opposed to a "crock pot". Apparently "crock pot" is a brand name, much like "kleenex" is, and although it's become part of the vernacular in its common use, in order to do a thorough web search for the best type, I needed to use the generic term.

My second surprise was how sophisticated they've become. Although I'd never bought one of the first generation models I seem to remember they were all one piece and difficult to clean. Not so anymore - they come with inserts which can be removed for cleaning and they're sleek and beautiful - no more harvest green! The also used to be rather small and with my family of six I don't think they even would have been terribly helpful back then. Now there are huge models available.

I found a beautiful big 6 1/2 qt. model with a pretty black removable crockery insert which can go right on the table. It has multiple settings, is programmable, and extremely versatile. What a nice piece of kitchen equipment!

So now the fun begins. So far I've made two meals in the crock pot and I have two cookbooks to work from. My only problem is it's so large it makes enough for an army. Of course, that was my intention as I thought it would be handy to use when the family is visiting and we don't want to waste time in the kitchen preparing meals. But with only two of us at home I find there's way more food than we need. So I think I'll be having lots of company in the next few months as I try new combinations of meat and vegetables.

And who knew you could make dessert in a crock pot? How times have changed!


Kathleen said...

For the same reasons, we have a large one..AND a couple of small ones (they're great for huge holiday dinners..keeping potatoes and veggies hot for the buffet.
We'd be lost without ours! By the way, we have a great recipe pork roast with orange/craberry that we do in ours, if you're interested.
Have fun with your new time saver toy! Ours will be busy cooking the corned beef for tonight!

Anonymous said...

My Mother had one and she would make a "combo" in it of meat balls, pork chops and sausage and a great sauce. By the time I ate it, it was soooooo tender! Wonderful memory!


Anonymous said...

so glad you have a slow cooker.
a favorite recipe of mine is to take all the skin off a whole chicken, put it in slow cooker using water to the 1/2 way point, and when the fat bubbles come to the top skim them off. rinse the chicken and return to the slow cooker and add two cloves of garlic, 1/2 of organic dill seeds, one whole lemon quartered, 2 tsp coarse salt and four quartered potatoes with skins on, and a small can of chicken broth. put individual servings on a bed of fresh lightly sauteed whole spinach leaves seasoned cooked in olive oil, lemon zest, salt, pepper and a half tsp of balsamic vinegar. yummy.