The joy of coming home after a long day of work to a savory aroma that foreshadows a delectable dinner cannot be overestimated. I love the ease of cooking in a slow cooker (also called a crockpot after the branded product of the Rival company). It won’t heat up the kitchen on a summer day, which is something I currently appreciate, however it will also make cozy stews and roasts during the winter. It is an all-season delight. I read a lot of slow cooker cookbooks, and Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea is the best I’ve read yet. O’Dea made a New Year’s Resolution in 2008 to use a slow cooker every day for a year. Every day she blogged about the day’s recipe and posted beautiful pictures at crockpot365.blogspot.com, and that led to this cookbook.
Note: an allergy in her family means the recipes in this book are gluten free.
O’Dea writes recipes that are easy and simple and fun and delicious (with a humorous flair). She sometimes refers to herself as ‘lazy’, and some of her instructions call for dumping everything in the pot and turning it on with no more prep than that, which suits me just fine. I’ll take easy recipes!
More than just stews and roasts, a slow cooker will also make meatloaf, baked brie, banana bread and a quite delightful crunchy chickpea snack. I regularly make rice in mine, and some excellent broccoli, both inspired by O’Dea’s book. I followed her recipes exactly the first time, and then tweaked them to suit me better (I leave out the butter in my rice, and I have varied the seasoning in the broccoli – it’s always good). If you can only have one kitchen appliance, or only have one outlet to use, I’d pick a slow cooker over a hot plate (or a toaster or a food processor) anyday.
I enjoy reading cookbooks, and this is a subcategory of cookbooks that I really like; the next books I’ll be enjoying are Crazy about Crockery and 3-ingredient Slow Cooker Comfort Foods. Please share your favorite slow cooker recipes in the comments!
Make it Fast, Cook it Slow