I don't think I've ever reviewed a cookbook before and I have to admit that it's because I rarely make recipes from them so I don't feel I can review them. I buy cookbooks, spend an afternoon or two looking through them and daydreaming about better meals, and then promptly put them in the kitchen cupboard and forget that I even own them. The only two that sit out on the counter are The Joy of Cooking (which I use to check on baking temperatures for sweet potatoes and trivial things like that) and Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook which I have actually used a good number of times. But now I will need to find an accessible spot for this slow cooker book because I've used it twice and had great results so far!
The first recipe I tried was for Christmas and was the "Not-Your-Mom's Cranberry Orange Sauce". Well, any homemade cranberry sauce is not my mom's because she's an Ocean Spray canned sauce devotee. When she wants to class it up above and beyond the gel log, she buys the variety with whole berries in it! So, this was a big experiment for me. It was very easy to throw everything in the crock (berries, orange zest, sugar, orange juice and spices) and three hours later I had a beautiful sauce. We ended up serving it both at Christmas dinner (the Ocean Spray can is still in the pantry) and at Christmas dessert where we spooned it over a vanilla bean bundt cake. It was a bit tart for my taste because I'm a flavor wuss but Z and the husband loved it. It was something that I would have never stood over the stove to make but putting the ingredients together and then walking away made it worth the experiment.
(my bread and the cookbook)
Then last night I made the cover recipe, "Old-Fashioned Beef Stew with Vegetables". One of the true tests of any recipe is if your finished product looks like the picture in the cookbook. I frequently fail that with my Martha Stewart baking book (although the flavor of the lopsided cakes is always exceptional) so I was very pleased to serve up my first bowl of this stew, hold it up next to the book and rejoice in their identicalness. It tasted great too! And because I didn't have to spend a lot of time watching the pot, I decided to make bread to go with the stew. I made this oatmeal bread from the recipe on the King Arthur bread flour bag and it was absolutely delicious. I will be making that more often now too! The only issue I had with the stew recipe was that I didn't know the size of my slow cooker and even though I made a reduced-size recipe (because we didn't need 8 servings), it still barely fit in the pot and there was not really room to move things around in it. That's my fault though and not the fault of the book. Each recipe actually says what size cooker you should use. When I buy a new one (which I want to do now), I will choose based on what size the recipes that I want to make are.
Next, I think I will probably try making a pork loin or tenderloin (I never make pork except for faux-Kalua pork roast) or maybe my own baked beans. Do you have a favorite slow cooker dish?
Stuffing some bellies,
Support our site and buy Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever with More Than 400 Easy-to-Make Recipes on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.