Friday, May 4, 2007

What's cooking?

I made dinner in the crockpot* this evening. I crock often; when I was working regularly I generally did it once a week. I usually use either Better Homes & Gardens Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes (which I found in a remainder bin) or Mable Hoffman's Healthy Crockery Cookery. I didn't have high hopes for tonight's dinner, which came from Hoffman. It was a layer of cabbage/carrot salad (for coleslaw), topped with a layer of ground turkey, topped with a layer of chopped onion and uncooked rice (the answer is yes, Tea, you can cook rice in a crockpot, but only as an ingredient), topped with another layer of cabbage, all drenched with a jar of spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I leave the house with the crock on and the regrets start to creep in. I thought it might taste like cabbage rolls, but I can't remember if I like them or not.

I thought it was okay and Zirpu loved it. The beauty of the crockpot is that most recipes are really easy - a lot of recipes are casseroles, but certainly not all. I've roasted chickens a couple different ways in my crockpot. It can be done! But that's why I get sucked into using the crock: Ease. Any prep can be done the night before if necessary and you can get away quick with the dump-and-run if you need to.

I didn't write in my college textbooks, but that may be because I learn by rewriting my notes, but I do write in my cookbooks. I almost always want to tell my future self how to make something better, or not to bother making it again. My two favorite notes are "Even Zirpu didn't like this!" and "What was I thinking?" because they're different from the usual notes, which are often along the lines of "add more seasoning" or "this takes longer than it says." I've been writing in my cookbooks so long that I pretty much assume that if there's nothing written there I haven't made it before.

Probably like a lot of people, my really favorite thing to see on a recipe page is a smudge mark. The recipe for Aunt Syl's Enchilada Sauce is covered with tomato stains, and Blackbottom Cupcakes has cocoa and dried egg white on it. One of my cookbooks has many pages of the outline of an eggplant slice on it, from when Shobi-wan lost the slice during the salt-and-drain step. I think that is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I had a clever friend who wrote "scratch-and-sniff" next to a coffee ring on a letter he sent me once.

* "Crock-Pot" is actually a trademarked brand name owned by Rival. However, mine really are Rival Crock-Pots and anyway I think the word "crockpot" is well on the way to generic, like aspirin and band-aid. By the way, my sources tell me that the frozen crockpot meals are really awful, which is really no surprise to me.


Samatakah said...

I should note that the blue and white crockpot in this photo has gone to the Great Kitchen Cupboard In The Sky. The liner didn't come out and the metal part eventually rusted.

pj said...

We can start calling them c-rocks.

I got myself a crock pot last year, and had to pack it before I tried it. Alas, I do not know if I still even own it! But I hope I do, because I've always always always wanted to c-rock!