Sunday, October 30, 2011
Yes. I do own a crock pot. The barbecue guys give me a hard time, so I tell them: "Hey, you have to have something to keep the hot dog chili warm in."
The reality is that I have three crock pots, and I love them. Since I'm usually making the meals on my own (with a little help here and there from the boys), it's really nice to have parts of a meal going in a crock pot, so I can tend the grill (which is not so forgiving on times).
It can be tricky to find really great slow cooker recipes, but I know that Judith Finlayson has terrific crock pot recipes. I know, because I had her first edition. When I say that I "had" the book, don't think I just got rid of it. No. It has gone visiting as do many of my favorite cookbooks. Someone (usually a son) will be looking through a cookbook and ask if it's a good one. If it is really super, then I'm likely to say, "Oh yes. You take that on and try it out. You'll love it." Then, I usually forget where I sent the cookbook, and so I go buying cookbooks again. That is called "shirt off your back" mother syndrome. Mothers will understand I think.
When Martine sent an email to see if I'd like to try out the new second edition of The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, I, of course, was game for that. They'd send a copy, and then I could check it out and see if it was worth sharing with my readers or worth panning (which - boy - I hate when I get bad stuff). This one sounded like a sure bet, because the new edition builds on the first one but is updated with tips for various size crock pots, single cooking crock potting, and some healthier options too.
The cookbook arrived quickly, and it just looked familiar but updated. It was like a friend coming over with a new hair style and some kicking blue jeans in a smaller size. I had to smile.
When I grill, I like to have yummy side dishes waiting in the crock pot. I do sides on the grill too, but that can get tricky on timing and if I have larger groups eating.
You can see that there's a nice selection of side dishes in the cookbook. I also find the appetizer section great for some munching especially when slow smoking something that takes a long time. And, the soups make a nice starter and are easy, since they just sit there and simmer.
It's hard to pick a favorite side dish from this cookbook, but you really can't go wrong with this delicious succotash. It goes with just about anything you might put on the grill, and it really is a beautiful side dish with the mix of colors.
It seems that desserts often get dropped off the grill out menu, or they end up being things like cookies out of the box. Again, the slow cooker can be a good way to do a complete meal without getting totally frazzled (which then makes for a not so great party).
The crock pot upside down cake you see above reminds me a bit of Dutch oven cakes which the boys and I used to make a lot in the fire pit in the yard. We need to do that again soon, but . . . in the meantime . . . I have good slow cooker recipes for hot and tasty desserts that are waiting when the meal is over.
Looking at Barbecue Master, you might think I don't even have a kitchen. I do. In fact, I'm updating it right now. And, I have a web site called Yes You Can Cook that has some of our family favorite indoor recipes. So, while I do three to five meals a week typically on the grill, I do fire up the stove or plug in the crock pot too.
One meal I especially love in the slow cooker is roast with vegetables, and you can see that Judith's roast looks great. You should taste it too. Spot on. Now I wish I had put a roast in the slow cooker this morning. Oh well. There's always tomorrow.
If you have a crock pot or slow cooker or are thinking about it, then I'd recommend The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes 2nd edition by Judith Finayson. It's my favorite of all the slow cooker cookbooks I've ever used, and I like this update that is still comfortable and familiar but is more flexible and up-to-date with what's out there on the market and how people live and eat today.
Now I just wish I lived near Judith, so I could be her taste tester. Oh well. Maybe one of my neighbors will decide to write a cookbook. I just hope it's one of the good cooks.