Why does everyone think a 4hr slow cooker recipe is helpful?

Seriously, if I’m around to turn on the slow cooker 4 hours before dinner, I’m around enough to cook. Okay, now our slow cooker can switch over to warm after a set number of hours, but things still cook (at least a bit) on warm. It might be that my first slow cooker didn’t have a timer option and I came home to quite a few batches of overcooked chicken something. But 4 hour cooking times in a slow cooker still sounds like a really awkward time to work with/around.

Eh, I might just be cranky about how many vegetables I chopped up for this one – more specifically, how long I was standing up to do so. Also how much in leftovers there are. Trust me, there was no way this recipe, as written, was going to fit in my 6 quart slow cooker.

I think I’m starting to understand what Adam means by his (usually anguished) cries of “It got away from me!” We are totally going to be eating this for the rest of the week.

At this point, in a change from how things usually go around here, I’m thinking I will not keep this recipe. Basically too much work for the end result (for me) – those of you with working olfactory senses might get more out of it.

Vegetable & Chickpea Stew

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes … lots. 8-12 servings?
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 17; Dinners: 3 recipes left

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 large onion, diced
  • 10 purple potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp curry powder of choice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups broth
  • 32 oz chickpeas
  • 4-5 small peppers, diced
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 28 oz (5-6) tomatoes, diced
  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 1 can coconut milk
  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and 1 tsp of salt; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1 tsp of salt; sauté for several minutes.
  2. Add the curry, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili powder; cook, stirring a bit, until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Pour in some of the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to pull up any brown bits. Add the rest of the broth, chickpeas, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes; stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the spinach and coconut milk; stir until spinach wilts. Pull off the heat and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Serve.
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Tasty potatoes

You know, I really need to a) copy out some recipes before I try them for the blog and b) wait on cold weather recipes until the actual fall!

I freely admit that trying out recipes before copying is ultimately cutting down on the number I will copy out, thus less stress on my hand/thumb, as well as cutting down on the paperwork tracking everything and the amount of paper that ends up in the recycling bin (when I don’t like a recipe). I also cop to the fact that we are moving in two weeks (in city move) and thus quite a bit of time has been spent prepping for that. You know how I kept saying I would try to be really picky with the recipes in a section and eliminate lots before they even got to the copying and trying stage? Yeah, picture that going on with our 1000-ish book collection. Except even worse on the elimination aspect. We may get down to 850/900 books to move.

So potatoes and the roasting thereof: wait until fall Laura! There is no need to heat the house with a 450°F in the middle of summer and the air conditioner works well. Even if it was a relatively cool day (highs in the low 80s [I think]). Hot stoves are uncomfortable to stand next to or at. Even if you’re only there for 5 minutes sautéing the chicken and pulling both the potatoes and corn out of the oven.

That said, these were tasty and fun (looking – lots of down time on the roasting). We used red potatoes this time and I’m interested to try out more varieties. Ooooh, maybe I could grab 1/2 a pound of a whole bunch and make them all at once, have a taste test night. 😀 I like this idea.

Personally, we like garlic a lot, so this variation used 3x the amount called for in the originating recipe. Modify to suite your tastes. Please.

Grown-up Tater Tots

1 lb potatoes
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 34; Vegetables: 2 recipes left

  • 1 lb Red potatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil,
  • salt, black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the potatoes and arrange on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn oven up to 450°Fand bake for 10 minutes. Potatoes should be tender enough to be pierced by a fork, but not browned. Allow to rest until cool enough to handle.
  2. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, sturdy glass or plate, smash the potatoes with firm downward pressure. Squish until about3/4 and inch thick.
  3. Transfer potatoes to the baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with the minced garlic. Return to the oven and bake until crispy and golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and an herb of your choice, if you so choose.
  4. Serve.

Try not to eat the whole pan in one go. Adam and I failed miserably at that.

Tater Tots

In which I finally get back to trying out new (to me) recipes

So that was a thing, my missing Thursday for posting. I’m sorry y’all, there wasn’t any emergency or thing that made me miss, I just ran out of time and brain-space. And didn’t post that to the front page like I should have. Mea culpa.

After that un-planned break, I think I should be getting back to some basics around here and concentrate on posting some new-to-me recipes, trying them out for you. Let’s get started with Sweet Potato Leek Hashbrowns.

Unfortunately, this one wasn’t too interesting. Now, maybe I needed a blacktop or to have squeezed out more water from the russet potato or browned it more in the pan (although I think longer and it would have started burning rather than crisping like I wanted). But whatever it was, this one didn’t really turn into anything. Just kinda warmed separate ingredients – flavor blending – and it’s not like a russet potato and a sweet potato are that different from each other that the contrast is all kinds of interesting.  Also, texture – I would have liked there to be some texture contrasts please. On the other hand, it was a pretty fast recipe. And surprisingly, easily substituted for rice to accompany a stir-fry recipe. What can I say, I decided I needed to make a new recipe, picked this one, decided I needed something fast and in my cooking comfort zone so I wasn’t going crazy coordinating multiple recipes on a week-night, picked a stir-fry, looked at my proposed menu and then shrugged in a ‘whatever’ and continued onwards. ::shrugs:: Potatoes, rice, they’re both starches. It worked out okay. For a random week-night dinner – no worries, I wouldn’t serve a menu like that to anyone other than the very tolerant cook around here.

In conclusion – unless you really like hashbrowns and think you can make this work, don’t bother. Too much work grating potatoes for the end result.

To make up for the sadness of an unhappy recipe, there will be French Bread afterwards.

Sweet Potato Leek Hashbrowns

Recipe Count – 33 left
Section Count – Side dishes: 1 more left
Original from Tara’s Multicultural Table

Serves 4

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a leek
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • salt, pepper to taste
  1. Peel both potatoes. Grate the russet potato; place the pieces on a dry kitchen towel and roll it up tightly. Grate the sweet potato. Slice the leek in half and clean between the layers. Thinly slice the white part.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, drizzle the oil. Add the leeks to the heated pan. Cook until beginning to turn golden. Squeeze out any excess water from the russet potato filled towel. Unwrap and add to the leeks, along with the sweet potato and garlic.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring about every 2 minutes, until potatoes are tender, 9-10 minutes. Season to taste and serve immediately.

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And now, as promised, French Bread

French Bread

and before you ask how I got that the shape… I own a french loaf pan. This is what happens when you let me loose in Williams-Sonoma with a gift card and a stocked kitchen at home. I buy weird single use tools for bread.

A Friday Fall Feast – in which we Feastly again

Ze Menu:
Shredded Slow-cooked Savory Brisket Sandwiches
Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad
Roasted Potatoes & Kale
Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls
and
Mini Baked Apple Fritters

Our Guests: a couple originally from Mumbai, India (NOT vegetarians – I had a moment of panic when they first arrived of the ‘oh no am I about to try and serve beef to Hindus?’ variety – probably presumptuous and stereotypical of me, given that they had to have seen the menu before signing up, but I can only liken it to suddenly realizing that your guests are from Israel and the main dish is pork chops. The odds are good that you have just royally screwed up.)
I am really digging this whole dinner with people I’ve never met before. I have no idea how else I would have met this couple otherwise and they were really good dinner companions – talkative and good listeners, interested in food so we had something in common and it got the conversation started, different life experiences so we got to talk about things which were new to both sets of couples, and just generally a fun evening.

Also, having to pull together a menu and pitch it to the Feastly community is good-for-me(TM). It’s pushing me to consider (more) how dishes go together – more than ‘have a protein, carbs, and at least 2 servings of vegetables’ which is where I’ve been stuck skill-wise for a couple years. In my defense (excuse!), I’ve been concentrating on knife and technique skills. But really now, this is a useful food skill and I am glad to be finally developing it. (There, I said it, stop twisting my arm now! ::poke, poke::) Learning to pitch things is also good for me in the ‘stretch beyond your comfortable skills little introvert!’ kind of way… but seriously, if anyone ever calls me a ‘little introvert’ with a straight face, there will be pain in their future. I’M the only one who gets to mock my lack of social acumen. Well, occasionally Adam too.


Plus, excuse to try out a new dessert recipe – it’s an event, dessert is totally justified and we don’t end up munching on way too many sweet things for the next 3 weeks.

Mini Baked Apple Fritters

Recipe Count – 40 left
Section Count – Dessert: 10 left
9 fritters

MEH. So much meh. They weren’t bad, they just weren’t… anything. No wow, no interesting texture, no interesting sweet, or spices, or tastiness. They were entirely composed of food. And my dessert binder is full of dessert recipes that are composed of tasty goodness that are entirely worth the a) effort and b) nutritional downsides of the occasional food indulgence composed of all the sugar and butter.

This recipe has earned a trip to the recycling bin, not a place in my binder of sweets.

Which means I am totally not inflicting it upon y’all, who deserve good sweets in your lives. Tasty goodness in recipe form to follow below, of something actually worth your time.

So, the original plan was that I would make the dinner rolls and they’d be the bread to our sandwiches… Yeah, I’m still getting the hang of using whole-wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose flour. The rolls were tasty, but not fluffy/big enough to be sandwich rolls. Luckily there’s a Harris Teeter close enough that wonderful husband Adam could run out and grab some sandwich rolls from their bakery. Also, all-purpose flour. Somethings are just better that way (like pie crust). Also, I’d made the rolls by 4pm. So, you know, enough time to fix things.

The carrot salad is a cold one, and thus could be made early that morning, hanging out in the refrigerator until dinner time. Also, totally not over-chilled by hanging out so long in the fridge, which was nice. Also nice? The cumin and cayenne spices – just enough kick to make it interesting without kicking you in the face as a greeting and a ‘pay attention to meeeeeeeee!’

Roasted potatoes and kale are quickly becoming my thing, so much so that I am consciously banning my self from using them for a third time in our next Feastly. By this point, I’ve actually made them three times – first was just before the break-in and thus, I lost my write up and pictures but taking the pictures was ticked off on my mental list and I have yet to take more photos. Which y’all totally deserve because this is a tasty recipe. Which Adam informs me that I ‘need to make again’. Every. Time. The man bans roasted carrots for about a year (and counting….) after one unfortunate week of trying out all of my roasted carrot recipes (3 or 4….) to cut them down to a reasonable amount, but still wants these? Timing is, apparently, everything.


Roasted Potatoes and Kale

Adapted (minorly) from What’s Cookin, Chicago?

  • 1 lb potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • different varieties will give this recipe slightly different textures/tastes – experiment and find your favorite is my best advice
  • 1/2 lb fresh kale, rinsed, stems/tough ribs discarded, and roughly chopped
  • cloves of garlic, minced
    • pick a number of cloves to your taste
    • Adam and I have been influenced enough by several friends of Italian cooking traditions that the answer to ‘how much garlic?’ is usually ‘Yes’
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper, to taste
    • pepper is best as freshly cracked/ground from peppercorns
    • if using peppercorns, pick your favorite type/color. or mix it up and try out different types for slightly different tastes each time
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, non-stick cooking spray, or your favorite food don’t stick here method.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped potatoes with 1 tbsp of oil, the minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Transfer potatoes to the baking sheet; bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  3. In the same bowl, toss the chopped kale with 1 tbsp of oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. After potatoes have roasted, add the kale on top – do not worry if it looks like a huge mound on top of the potatoes. The kale will shrink/flatten out as it crisps. Just mound it in such a manner as it will not fall off the baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for another 10 minutes, or until kale is crisp.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature, but not cold.

Check back in next Tuesday for my write up of the Shredded Slow-cooked Savory Brisket Sandwiches