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Slow & Easy

Fast-Fix Recipes for Your Electric Slow Cooker
by Michele Urvater

Slow & Easy: Fast-Fix Recipes for Your Electric Slow Cooker



In a world of take-out and TV dinners, the art of the home-cooked meal seems to slipping through the cracks. Natalie Haughton, author of five best selling cookbooks including The Best Slow Cooker Cookbook Ever, touts her inventive recipes for the kitchen staple, the slow cooker, bringing back the home-cooked meal with little time and money involved.

Houghton explains the different brands, models and uses of slow cookers, and explains exactly what types of dishes the slow cooker is made for (it's not good for shellfish and many types of dairy products). Her slow cooker "tricks of the trade," such as whether or not to peek in or the best thickening agents, are immensely helpful to those of us who have always been a little wary of using this appliance.

As the book progresses into the actual recipes, it is shocking to see what the slow cooker actually can do. Slow and Easy abounds with slow cooking staples like Italian Minestrone soup, Tuscan Beef Stew and several braised dishes. Haughton, however, takes her slow cooker to the next level, introducing recipes and ideas that your slow cooker may have never seen. From Gorgonzola and Walnut Ravioli Bolognese to Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, the slow cooker capabilities are endless. There is recipe after recipe of pastas, jams, meat entrees and desserts that only require minimal preparation, allowing the chef to walk away and let the slow cooker work its magic.

Slow and Easy clearly demonstrates how to get the most mileage out of a slow cooker while still being upfront about the limitations of the device. She admits that the slow cooker is not a miracle worker and that "you get out of the meal what you put into it" so the better the ingredients, the better the meal will be. Each of the 250 recipes are simple, direct and easy, so even the most inexperienced of chefs can make a delicious, slow-cooked meal.


Corned Beef and Cabbage
In preparation for St Patrick's Day, we wanted to share the Slow and Easy way to make the Irish classic, Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Makes 6 to 9 servings
2 pounds red potatoes, preferably organic, scrubbed and cut to 1-inch pieces
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long pieces
1 onion cut into 12 wedges
2 pounds of beef brisket (flat cut)
3 cups of beer
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 head of green cabbage (about 1½ pounds), rinsed, cored, and cut into 10 wedges

Place the potatoes, carrots, and onion in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Trim off as much fat as possible from the corned beef. Place the meat on top of the vegetables in the pot. Combine the beer and mustard, whisking until blended. Pour over the corned beef.

Cover and cook on the low heat setting for 7 hours. Add the cabbage to the pot and continue cooking, covered, on low heat for 2 to 3 hours longer, or until the meat and cabbage are tender.

Remove the corned beef to a cutting board; carve against the grain into slices. Arrange in the center of a large platter. With a slotted spoon, arrange the vegetables around the meat. Spoon some of the juices in the pot over the corned beef and vegetables. Pass some more around in a sauceboat on the side.

To accompany the beef, pass a simple sauce made by combining plain yogurt or sour cream with Dijon mustard and creamy horseradish to taste. Serve with slices of hearty rye bread to complete the meal.

Reviewed by Jenna Schiedermayer

(Updated: 02/24/09 KR)
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