An old friend of mine used to claim that in a previous life she was a laundress for a French aristocrat. I believed her. Every time I went over to her house, she was doing laundry. And she changed her clothes every chance she had, just to make more laundry.
To extend her theory, in a previous life I must have been a short order cook. My favorite kind of cooking is standing at the stove, sauteing or stirring, or seasoning over burners turned up as high as they can go. It doesn’t bother me when I can’t see from the smoke from the “at temperature” olive oil, or hear over the sound of pasta water boiling over the rim of the kettle. That’s cooking.
Like most folks of my generation, I have cooked my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and while I like the results, I don’t like that it takes all day to make something that it takes 10 minutes to eat.
But we cannot live by omelets alone.
Last year I bought my first slow cooker. I made a few things in it, but mostly it just sat in the closet. I looked for recipes on the Internet, and was a bit shocked to discover that the main ingredient of most recipes was cream of mushroom soup, or canned beans. One even suggested that you use the cooker to heat up canned chicken soup. Huh?
Last week I was wandering around my local Barnes and Nobles and found this book, Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook. I hate the name of this book. Why do authors feel the need to insult mothers? But after looking through several other slow cooker books, and not finding what I wanted, I leafed through this one. I’m glad that I did. It is very comprehensive, from breakfast cereals to steamed puddings. It has a good chapter on cooking beans in the cooker, as well as chapters on soups, sauces, meats and poultry.
Last week, my CSA box had a large bag of okra. I used the recipe in this book for chicken gumbo, substituting chicken chipotle sausage for the chicken breasts. Quite tasty. The okra was only marginally slimy.
I’m already thinking of getting a smaller cooker to make Irish oatmeal overnight. To be ready for those cold winter days …