Saturday, December 03, 2005

Meet My Slow Cooker!

Pork and Tomato Stew??

I received it around noon yesterday, when I was getting ready to leave my apartment for work. After coming back from my daytime work at around 4:30 pm, I opened the box right away and took out my dear slow cooker! It was much bigger than I thought, which was good because I can cook a big amount at one time and eat it for lunch, supper and late-night supper on a very busy day.

On my way back from work, I bought pork and vegetables for my very first slow-cooker cooking. This time I chopped the meat and vegetables into very big chunks. (For potatoes, I didn’t even chop them.) I sautéed, seasoned and threw them into the slow cooker, then added chicken stock, tomatoes (chopped and cooked briefly in a frying pan), bay leaves, thyme and more salt and pepper. I set the timer for 5 hours on “high” and left my apartment again for the work at izakaya.

While working there last night, I was always thinking about how my slow cooker must be doing its job. Then I came home, riding my bicycle in a hurry, and this was what was waiting for me!

It was a gloomy, cloudy day, with a little rain in the afternoon, and it turned pretty cold later at night. Riding a bicycle back to my apartment at around 11:30 pm was not a very pleasant thing to do.
Can you imagine how happy I was with this dish? …. Everything was soooooo soft and tender, even the biggest potato! It was just absolutely heavenly.(I added a little butter about 5 minutes before eating it.)

And this was my brunch this morning. :)


cookiecrumb said...

Well, that's just dreamy! I'm so happy for you. Enjoy exploring all the things you can do with it. Beans. Polenta. Risotto, even, but not completely successfully. All kinds of stews. I even "baked" a cake in a slow cooker once. Pretty good!

FooDcrazEE said...

Bake in a slow cooker ? dats new to me. Can u elaborate more ?

I somehow find the stew frm a slow cooker taste kinda bland...any tips ?

KT121 said...

Hi obachan
There're slow cookers on the market here but I never understood how they would work and I read your article with great interest.So it slowly cooked your lovely dinner for 5hrs??Is that right?The pork looks very tender as if it's been in a pressure cooker...

Anonymous said...

What kind of Japanese dish could you cook in a slow cooker? Can you give some examples? Thank you.

cookiecrumb said...

Let me address this to foodcrazee:
Yeah, it was a gingerbread cake, and you just grease and flour the inside of the cooker, pour in the batter, put the lid on, and you get cake! It was in a recipe book for slow cookers. First time for me. Came out fine.
As for bland stews: More flavorings! Onion, herbs, tomatoes... I don't think the cooker leaches out flavor.
To KT121: I find that dishes that work wonderfully in a pressure cooker also work wonderfully in a slow cooker. One's fast, and the other's really slow. But with the slow cooker you get to ignore the food for a long time -- and you get to smell the aromas.

obachan said...

Thanks! I sure will. I’m awfully interested in the“baking” type recipes for a slow cooker, so I guess you can imagine what’s going to happen in my kitchen from now on. ;) Oh, this is really going to change my life!! BTW, what’s the difference betw. a slow cooker and a crockpot?

At first I had a hard time relating “baking” and “slow cooker,” but then I recalled seeing a Japanese cookbook with cake recipes you can bake with an electric rice cooker. So I thought maybe it doesn’t always have to be an oven that is used for making cakes. But I’m awfully curious how a cake would turn out when baked in a slow cooker! I found a website like this so there seems to be a wide variety of slow-cooker recipes out there! :D

Yes, it slowly cooked my stew for 5 hours. Or it kept the stew at the same, relatively low temperature for 5 hours and the stew cooked. Good thing is that this is not as scary as the pressure cooker, and unlike the pressure cooker, I can leave home after throwing the ingredients in this thing. The great thing is that this does not “boil” the liquid, so vegetables such as danshaku potatoes, for example, in the soup do not fall apart even though they were cooked for 5 hours.

Anonymous commenter
According to a site I found yesterday, you can make most of simmered dishes, such as oden, buri-daikon and simmered beans, and also things like steamed clams/fish, baked sweet potatoes, steam-baked chicken, and cha-shu (this is probably not Japanese, though). There should be more and I’m still searching. :)

Thank you for answering the questions. Now that you mentioned the aromas... Yes! it was great to smell the wonderful aroma the moment I opened the door after coming back from work late at night.

KT121 said...

Thanks obachan&cookiecrumb!
I might consider getting one...

cookiecrumb said...

KT121: I have four of them, in different sizes, if that convinces you!
obachan: A Crock Pot is a brand name of a slow cooker. Same thing.

obachan said...

I thought I posted my comment yesterday, but I guess it got lost. :(
There’s going to be loads of slow-cooker cooking entries here on my blog this winter, so come visit often. They might help your decision-making. ;)

Oh, I see. Thanks! :)