Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's crock pot month

If you've been poking around looking for updates on this blog lately you may have wondered if the blog has been put on hold or maybe even abandoned. This last month has been pretty non-eventful in that I've been staying at home for the most part playing WarCraft and cooking using the Crock Pot (the slow cooker I purchased just before Christmas).

Since the purchase of the crock pot I have not really eaten any solid non-mushy food at home. That's been a few weeks. Mainly due to experimenting with said crock pot and trying to find good recipes.

For those that don't know crock pots are a very forgiving kitchen device. Where baking may require objects to be in the oven for a specific amount of time (plus or minus 5 minutes), stuff in a crock pot has hours. Even some recipes say between 12 and 18 hours. A six hours difference! It's the perfect slacker cooking device.

person waiting to eat
"Is that pot roast ready?"

slacker cook
"I'll get to it after I level up my character in WarCraft"

....and surprisingly the food still comes out okay.

While this scenario is not far from true events, the food does tend to come out okay. Especially if you're making soups or stews. More experimentation is required for cooking meats however as I'm finding that the meats being made in the crock pot tend to be coming out a bit dry for my taste. More on this to come.

January has been pretty much a crock pot month.

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding in the crock pot

  • 1-1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 16 oz half and half or light cream
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

  1. cover crock-pot with thin layer of butter.
  2. Place eggs in a bowl, add light cream, sugar & vanilla.
  3. Mix until smooth.
  4. add rice and raisins.
  5. Pour into crock pot.
  6. add a few dashes of nutmeg on top of rice goo.
  7. Set crock pot on high for 30 minutes or cook on low for 2 to 3 hours.

My observation

This recipe turned out more like a rice custard than an actual pudding. It's tasty though. I think I've stumbled on how to make egg custard tarts.... yummy egg custard tarts. That may have to be my next cooking experiment.

Beef Burgundy

  • 1.5 pounds of beef stew meat cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 can of condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1 can of sliced onions
  • 1 package of onion soup mix
  • 1 table spoon of minced garlic

  1. Throw ingredients into crock pot.
  2. Cook for 6 to 8 hours or until beef is tender.

The Experiment

I was wondering if searing the meat first would make the meat taste less dry so for half the meat I seared it in a wok, the other half I left alone throwing it into the crock pot. About 8 hours later I realized my experiment went wrong when I stirred around the contents to move around the mushroom soup. D'oh!

The meat sampled tastes a bit dry in some and not so much in other pieces. This could be due to fat content rather than searing. More research required.

BEFORE - the meat is in two sections, raw and seared

AFTER - can't really tell what is where thanks to stirring, d'oh.

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