A month ago, I satisfied my school cravings and assigned myself cooking homework. My goals were to buy and use a slow cooker, to enter the scary world of baking and, for extra credit, make a dish without a recipe. Many of you jumped on the homework bandwagon formulating your own personal cooking goal. In retrospect, my course load was a little heavy. I was mainly interested in slow cooking but included the baking and recipe-less items for an extra challenge. Most of you were much smarter and picked a singular goal. Going forward, that’s what I’ll do.
My beautiful new slow cooker (above) arrived shortly after last month’s post. I chose a Breville. I own a Breville juicer and wanted a larger slow cooker. I love that it has an insert so you can brown things before slow cooking. Because every class needs a textbook, I chose Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’dea. Stephanie has a blog called A Year of Slow Cooking
. She vowed to use her slow cooker every day for a year. I loved that these recipes were simple, that most were gluten free and that a “verdict” is included telling you who liked the recipe in her family and who did not.
There was no question what my first recipe would be. We stop at a place on the way to Vermont that makes the best pulled pork on the planet. When I thought about slow cooking, stewy things came to mind. My book contains a pulled pork recipe but like a true nerd I had to cross-reference. I found that a pork butt roast was the cut to use. After being briefly nauseated I learned this was not in fact the pork “rear” and located an organic roast. I made the recipe on a Saturday; if you’re an impatient person I wouldn’t suggest slow cooking while you’re hanging around the house. Eight hours later, dinner was done. All four of us loved it.
|dark picture, delicious dish
The boys were excited about our new addition to the family and I let them pick my next recipe. They choose an apple crisp. While this was also delicious, “crisp” is a little misleading. Despite some hanging out under the boiler, there wasn’t anything crispy happening. Nobody objected; we used it as a topping for Greek yogurt.
Finally, on a day I was taking the boys to a birthday party that ended at dinnertime, I decided on Split Pea Soup. This was as easy as could be and again the aroma was amazing. The only problem was this soup was thick and filling. I could’ve thinned it a little bit but was too excited to dig in.
Cooking Homework Month 1: Grade is B.
For some inspiration, here were some other assignments:
– to make gluten free sourdough bread
– to bake a cake from scratch
Jen to bake something from Ruhlman’s book Ratio
to add a slow cooker to her wedding registry
Pearl to use Le Crueset pot to make stews and braised dishes
Carrie- to make healthy soups and stews
t and Claire to use slow cooker
– to experiment, she said homework would be “easy” for her, wonder if it was
– 2 new recipes from her cookbooks
– to make Korean food with her mother in law
to make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
– to cook one new veggie a week
This month I’m going to continue slow cookery, I’m going to focus on a chicken dish, an oatmeal something and using The Indian Slow Cooker book I purchased.
Did you do your homework? What grade would you give yourself? What’s your assignment this month? With Christmas, I’ll set our deadline for early January.