All have failed. The best I could achieve was a scrambled egg, but even that was iffy because there were always all these brown crunchy parts sticking to the pan when I was done.
Now even a kitchen novice like me should have been able to use a slow cooker, but I always encountered the same frustrations:
- The recipe called for a different sized slow cooker than what I owned.
- The recipe called for you to cook the food before you put it in the pot. I’m sorry, but the whole entire point of slow cookers is that you don’t have to cook at all.
Then along comes Stephanie O’Dea, who in 2008 documented her daily use of the slow cooker on her blog, A Year of Slow Cooking. The blog morphed into a cookbook so amazing that I actually went to the store and paid money for it. Unlike other slow cooker cookbooks, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow explains how to adapt the recipe if you have a different-sized cooker, and it rarely tells you to cook first. In the few recipes where it’s absolutely necessary to cook beforehand, O’Dea apologizes for making you do the extra work.
Is it accurate to say that I can cook now? No. It is accurate to say that I can put a bunch of stuff in a pot, play video games for eight hours, and come back to discover that the food has magically cooked itself.
As you’d expect, there are plenty of soups and stews (I made a successful gumbo this weekend), but there are also beverages (my chai beats anything I’ve ever had in a coffee shop), side dishes (the cabbage and potatoes were yummy), main dishes (the enchilada casserole was also yummy), and desserts, like crème brûlée.
That’s correct: I made crème brûlée in a slow cooker. And yogurt, did I mention that? I make it every weekend now, for less money and fewer calories than the grocery store could give me. Take a glance at O’Dea’s original blog, then get a copy of the book for the updated and perfected versions of the recipes.
Check the WRL catalog for Make It Fast, Cook It Slow