Slow cookers: there’s no sense in rushing a good thingPublished 7:40am Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Before I empty-nested this summer, and the last time I had a lock-down location-based job that kept me out of the house until dark, I had developed a deep crush for my slow-cooker crock pot.
I trusted it to be there for me every evening when I would return home, steaming and beckoning me with its scents.
I would pull it out of the cupboard in the morning with a “Hey Baby, how you doin? Good? Well you sure are lookin’ good with your promise of a steady temperature, not too fast and not too slow.
You and I both know there is no need in rushing a good thing. I’m going to fill you up with savory ingredients and I know when I get home tonight you’re gonna make it all tender and delicious for us, aren’t you baby?”
I sure started missing my affair with that vessel that delivers a low maintenance, big finish. A good cook is hard to find and never easy to forget.
But this week a chill came to the air, and I’m ready to take another spin around the block with my crock-pot.
Try Chicken Coq au Vin or Garam Masala, vegetarian or meat chili, barbecue beef roast or spicy pork tips, eggplant sauce for noodles or ratatouille, potato soup and spaghetti sauce.
Desserts too like gingerbread pudding cake, corny spoon bread and mixed berry crumble work well in the crock pot. One just has to do their recipe research.
Nothing says fall like apple-scents filling the home as well. And when cooking or baking, remember an apple isn’t just an apple.
The range of varieties at many farmers market is inspirational – some crisp, some sweet, some perfect for snacking, others better suited to making apple pie.
Find wonderful varieties well beyond the classic Red Delicious below. Then learn more about apples before going to pick-your-own or the farmers markets and try the super simple, lazy cooks crock pot applesauce recipe that follows.
Arkansas Black Apples
Arkansas Black apples are tart and noticeably tannic (that’s the feeling you get from red wine that makes your mouth feel like all the moisture has been sucked out of it).
For people who crave a tart apple for snacking, there is no finer. They’re also a perfectly decent baking apple.
Empire apples are brilliantly red. They have a crisp texture and spicy flavor. But perhaps best of all, they make a lovely, rosy applesauce. They are also good for eating, but will lose their shape quickly when baked.
Gala apples are a great eating apple. Crisp, firm, sweet. Many people find they taste a lot like the more commonly available Golden Delicious apple.
One of the more commonly available varieties listed here, Golden Delicious apple have a flowery aroma and sweet flavor. They keep their shape so much when cooked that they are not recommended for applesauce. Of course, that makes them perfect for pies and tarts.
Crock Pot Applesauce
Eight medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters (Galas and Fujis have great flavor)
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon or apple pie spice
1/2 tbsp. honey
Directions: Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook for four hours on high. Leave chunky or use blender to smooth the sauce. For sweeter sauce, add brown sugar to taste.