Maybe cooking is

More of an experimental adventure than a recipe (with pictures!).

Posted on: January 11, 2010

Thanks to everyone who’s encouraged me and offered cooking advice, recipes, and ingredient tips.  In return, this week I offer you tales of daring and intrigue from my new Bella Cucina crockpot.  I heard the requests for pictures of my finished meals loud and clear, but be warned: you might get hungry.

Side note: I’ll likely update on Mondays, but sign up in the right column to send my fresh-out-of-the-oven updates straight to your inbox!

I’m new to cooking with crockpots, but I like the concept: dump a bunch of ingredients into a pot, set an alarm, take a nap, then voila!  Wake up to the wafting scent of a homecooked meal in the pot that held merely its makings just hours ago!  I won’t lie: it makes me feel a little smug to outsmart the cooking with good preparation.

On Saturday, I joined forces with Mitra to make dinner and a crockpot dessert.  Here’s what us gourmands created:

  • Appetizer: Iceburg salad with tomato and cucumber
  • Main: “Thai Chicken” – Red Thai curry sauce (totally not spicy), chicken, green pepper, onion, peanut, lime, and jasmine rice
  • Dessert: Pumpkin custard with cranberries topped with crushed ginger snaps and whipped cream
  • Drink: Water (see my favorite Evian commercial from 2 years ago)

Thai Chicken

Proud Cooks

Pumpkin Cranberry Custard with ginger snaps and whipped cream

The dessert was the initial run for my crockpot, and I was impressed with the final result.  Normally, I’m not a fan of dried cranberries, but the berries absorbed moisture during cooking and returned to their original state, giving a tart, juicy punch to the custard.  The ginger snaps offered a nice crunch to counter-balance.

On Sunday, I returned to my steadfast crockpot for a main course try-out:

  • Appetizer: Salad with Champaign dressing
  • Main: “Cashew Chicken” – cashews, celery, chicken breasts, shitake mushrooms, a dash of soy sauce, can of mushroom soup – over brown rice
  • Dessert: Strawberries and blueberries with sugar (blueberries are a Mayo Clinic superfood)
  • Drink: Water (see Evian’s commercial, the most watched viral video this year, and the making of)

When meats cook longer, they’re naturally become more tender.  Consequently, the chicken fell apart as I placed some on top of the rice on my plate.  This chicken dish has a rich flavor due to the cashews and mushrooms, but it doesn’t taste like the chicken with cashew nuts served at Chinese restaurants because it’s not stir fry (instant happiness from the awesome dialogue in this Indian demonstration – recipe in the details of the video).

Send more recipes my way if you’ve got one I should try, in or out of the crockpot.

Thought for the week: “When we decode a cookbook, every one of us is a practicing chemist. Cooking is really the oldest, most basic application of physical and chemical forces to natural materials.” – Arthur E. Grosser

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2 Responses to "More of an experimental adventure than a recipe (with pictures!)."

Our plating could use some work, but a delicious meal nonetheless!

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