This is one awesome dressing that can be used on a variety of dishes; burgers, steak, salads, shrimp dip, etc.
Ah yes. The infamous Crock-Pot, or Slow Cooker. In an article in the Huffington Post, A Brief History Of The Crock Pot, The Original Slow Cooker, they state that “… People tend to use the terms “Crock Pot” and “slow cookers” interchangeably, but they are not, in fact, interchangeable. While all Crock Pots are slow cookers, not all slow cookers are Crock Pots…Don’t get too disappointed. Just because the Crock Pot is a brand doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an interesting back story. In fact, the Crock Pot’s story is rooted in Jewish mothers and beans. The device was inspired by a dish the inventor’s mother told him about. From a humble bowl of bean stew grew a kitchen ware empire. Here’s the story:…Irving Naxon applied for a patent for a food heating device in 1936. His device consisted of an insert, held up by a case that held a heating device, which facilitated even heating of food inside the insert. The device was also portable…By 1940, Naxon got his patent for the device he called the Naxon Beanery, and he says his Lithuanian mother, Tamara Kaslovski Nachumsohn, inspired him. Naxon’s mother had told him stories about a bean-based stew she used to make in her village bakery at home in Lithuania.
In the early 1970s, Naxon sold his design to Rival Manufacturing, who rebranded his Beanery and put it on the market as the Crock Pot. It was marketed toward working mothers who could put food in the pot before leaving for the office and come home to a cooked meal; the Crock Pot sold millions through the ‘70s. The Crock Pot “cooks all day while the cook’s away,” a 1976 advertisement said, the LA Times reports…
Today, slow cooking is as popular as ever, as 83 percent of families owned a slow cooker in 2011, according to Consumer Reports. The original Crock Pot design has changed little over the years, but now the insert is removable, a major improvement.”
But what about all the recipes I have collected over the years. How can I adapt them to the Slow Cooker? Good question. From About (dot) com we get some interesting information on this subject. Homecooking.
Reduce the amount of liquid used in most oven recipes when using the LOW setting, since the crockpot retains all moisture that usually evaporates when cooking in the oven. Add liquids for sauces about an hour before done. You will normally end up with more liquid at the end of cooking times, not less. A general rule is to reduce liquids by half, unless rice or pasta is in the dish.
• Spices may need to be adjusted. Whole herbs and spices are more flavorful in crockpot cooking while ground spices may have lose some flavor. Add ground spices during the last hour of cooking. Whole herbs and spices will probably need to be reduced by half.
• Crockpots may vary but generally, the LOW setting is about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and the HIGH setting is about 300 degrees. One hour on HIGH is approximately equal to 2 to 2 1/2 hours on LOW. Most crockpot recipes recommend cooking 8-10 hours on LOW. Some recipes recommend the HIGH setting based on the nature and texture of the food.
You will have to judge your recipe accordingly. For example, beef cuts will be better cooked on LOW for 8-10 hours to get a more tender texture, while chicken may be cooked on HIGH 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Ingredients to Avoid
• Rice, noodles, macaroni, seafood, milk and Chinese vegetables do not hold up well when cooked 8-10 hours. Add these to sauces or liquid about 2 hours before serving when using LOW setting (or 1 hour before if set to HIGH). If you want to use milk in an 8-10 hour recipe, use evaporated milk.
• Frozen foods cooking at low temperatures can provide the ideal medium for harmful bacteria. If you use frozen “make-ahead” ingredients in your crockpot, defrost them first.
Prepping for the Crockpot
• Choose well-marbled meats and dark-meat poultry for best results. Chicken breasts and lean meats will dry out.
• Browning meats before cooking is a personal choice. It is not necessary, but it will reduce the fat content of some meats. Browned meats also benefit textually and visually.
• Sautéing vegetables (like onions, etc) is not necessary, (except for eggplant which should be parboiled or sautéed prior due to its strong flavor). Just add them to the pot with everything else. You may wish to reduce quantities of stronger vegetables since they will permeate the other foods in the crockpot with their full flavor.
How to Convert Recipes
You generally need twice as much liquid as product to cook these ingredients. Here are basic conversion times:
If conventional time is: 15 to 30 minutes, then cooking time on low should be 4 to 6 hours.
If conventional time is 35 to 45 minutes, cooking time on low should be 6 to 8 hours.
If conventional time is 50 minutes to 3 hours, cooking time on low should be 8 to 16 hours.
Cooking most raw meat and vegetable combinations at least 8 hours on LOW. This gives the vegetables time to soften, the meat time to tenderize and all the flavors to blend.
Of course, the new hotter cooking crockpots change the rules. If you have a crockpot that is less than five years old, you’ll probably need to reduce the cooking time.
In fact, some of the newer recipes I’ve seen in magazines cook the food for only 3-4 hours on low. That’s not really ‘slow cooking’, but it’s the reality of the crockpot manufacturing today. Check the food at four hours on low, using an instant read meat thermometer to see if the food is done.
For more information on using your favorite recipes in a crockpot, look at Cooking Times for Specific Foods. This article has more in-depth information on cooking times for more specific items, i.e., steak, beans, chicken, Swiss steak, brisket, meatloaf, ham and soup to name a few. Give them a try. Great for Gameday treats! Here is a Gameday recipe we use, Creole Slow Cooker Pork Chops, but there are many more ideas at Boise Foodie Guild Recipes. It should be fun. Here is a link for some oven to crockpot recipes. There are more. Lots more! Five Ingredient Crockpot Recipes crockpot recipes. All that being said, here is a good resource for finding the right crockpot for you: Picking the Slow Cooker That’s Right For You.
There is a huge volume of information and suggestions and personal “likes” out there on spices, herbs and spices from around the world, herb and spice blends, grilling and BBQ herb and spice mixes. Here, for instance, is information – including recipes for making your own – on spices from around the world from TheKitchn. Spice Mixes From Around The World. (There are some really good ones listed there.)
This is interesting from the FoodNetwork, “Bottled grill seasoning blends are often expensive, heavy on the salt and preservatives and lacking in the flavor department. When you make your own, you control the ingredients and the flavor. Basic blends include salt, red and black peppers and additional flavor from garlic salt or onion powder.” To me the really interesting statement is “…heavy on the salt”. We really try to watch our intake of salt. And here is more information on how to make your own special herb and spice blends – Creating Flavors from Cooksmarts.
Here are some recipes for BBQ Dry Runs. You can print these out if you want.
Here are three rubs that we like to use. They are also located in the Recipe File above. Cheers.
BBQ Rub – [April 2016] Captain’s Shack KC Style Rub – This is a very versitile BBQ rub. Will make a grilled or smoked pork product awesome. [PDF format]
BBQ Rub – [April 2016] Captain’s Shack Memphis Rub – This is a very versitile BBQ rub in the Mempohis Style. Will make a grilled or smoked beef or chicken product awesome. [PDF format]
BBQ Rub – [April 2016] Captain’s Shack Montreal Rub – This is a very versitile BBQ rub in the familiar Montreal Style. Will make a grilled or smoked beef or chicken product awesome. [PDF format]
Please note that there is very little – if any – cayanne or red pepper flakes in these rubs. If you use these, adjust to suit your needs.We are not blazin’ hot spicy folks. Habanero and Ghost peppers won’t be used as one of our spices. Just sayin’!
And after this delicious and adventursome food, how about some ice cream? Homemade? Differently good and vegan! Spiced and with coconut milk.
Such a wonderful Valentines weekend spent in the kitchen making the meals for Robin and I to enjoy! And that we did! “And if you [read this article] in the next 5 minutes, we’ll include a link to the recipes!” where you can find some of the recipes for some of these treats. Boise Foodie Blog Recipes! Enjoy these photos and the recipes. And yes, the Hollandaise and Béarnaise Sauces were all made from scratch! Most of the items here are Idaho products. Zhoo Zhoo Winery Claret was served with the Valentines Dinner. 2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Rebecca’s Vineyard Pinot Noir was used in the bœuf bourguignon (French Beef Stew). Cheers!
And as an added bonus, here is Chef Lou’s Orange French Doughnuts. I worked several years with Chef Lou at the Westside Drive-In in Boise. Great experience. Enjoy!
Chef Lou’s Orange French Doughnuts
Source: Chef Lou Aaron, Westside Drive-In, Boise, ID
Yield: 12 doughnuts
5 T Butter, room temperature
½ c Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
1/3 c Milk
½ c Ricotta Cheese or Cream Cheese, softened
Juice and Zest from one orange
2 c All Purpose Flour
1 t Salt
1 t Nutmeg
¼ c melted Butter
1 T Cinnamon mixed w/1 T Sugar
1. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar; add egg and mix well. Add Milk and Ricotta, or cream cheese, to the mixture alternately w/dry ingredients. Mix in orange rind and juice.
2. Fill greased muffin cups to ½ full. Baked in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly and pop doughnuts out of pan.
3. Roll doughnuts first in melted butter, then in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
For variation, you can also garnish with strawberries & whipped cream.
Fresh pasta! So very good and cooks so fast. If you make your own pasta – and we’ll show you how in this article – just think of the variations you can make and the ingredient control you have. For instance, we use only local, farm raised and free range eggs from Meadowlark Farms (they are at the Saturday Boise Farmers Market at 10th and Grove.) Even your flour source can be local.
The recipe we use is an adaptation of Chef Anne Burrell’s. We use garlic infused olive oil and semolina. Both of which are not in her recipe. Here is the recipe for Pasta that we have adapted. There are several pasta makers on the market. Some relatively inexpensive and others somewhat more expensive. We have and have used a manual one like at this link – and pictured here – from Walmart, which we still have. About $30.00. Some people have this “thing” about Walmart. No problem. You can get a good one from Bed, Bath and Beyond that is still a manual one and works very well. These sell for about $35. This one is a slightly different construction and design, but you will end up with the same product when you are finished. You can also get one direct from Italy for around $500.00 and others that are commercial grade for around $1900.00. But why when the home Chef can get a good quality product for much less, unless you are into brand recognition.The one we use nowadays is an attachment to our KitchenAid, as pictured here and I love working with it. With this package you get a set of three presses: a flat one for lasagna or the beginning press for spaghetti or fettuccini; a spaghetti die and a fettuccini die. About $150.00. So your choices are wide and varied. Get the one that suits your needs. Now on to making the pasta. Enjoy! I have placed a link to the Pasta Recipe above. Print out a copy and follow along.