Sunday, November 18, 2012

slow cookin

Well, I finally got wise.  With a gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond and seven extra dollars, I bought us a crock pot.  Since the oven/stove situation seems no closer to being resolved ("the replacement part will be here by the end of the week," "it should be here by Monday or Tuesday," "not sure if it's going to get here this week"), we needed a way to start cooking some hot meals at home. 

I'm not sure why I had been so opposed to the idea of a slow cooker.  I guess I just really dislike having extra appliances.  For instance:  we don't have a toaster and a toaster oven.  Just the toaster oven.  We have no microwave, and I really don't miss it.  We do have a stand mixer, a food processor, a toaster oven (as mentioned), a popcorn popper, a rice cooker, a coffee maker, an iced tea maker, and a blender.  Except for the popcorn popper and rice cooker, they were wedding gifts.  I had held off on getting a microwave, a toaster, a bread maker, an immersion blender, a hand mixer, and a slow cooker because they seemed kind of redundant, and it's not like we have cabinet space coming out the wahoo.

But the slow cooker has proven indispensable in just the few days it's been in the kitchen!  We have had honey-soy chicken and green beans over leftover takeout rice, pork steaks with cabbage and apples over egg noodles, cube steak strips for steak sandwiches, and today I made a killer vegetable soup.  It really does cut down on the chaos of figuring out what's for dinner, and I like how I'm backed into the corner of eating whatever I prepared for us.  No last minute, don't-feel-like-having-this decisions to go out and leave food spoiling in the fridge.

We are still working through the backlog of meat in the freezer, and I pulled out a scrumptious-looking package of pork ribs the other day.  I had a bottle of Asian concoction in the fridge that I made in the summer.  I can't remember the exact measurements, but here's the gist: 

*soy sauce
*rice vinegar
*grated ginger
*diced garlic
*sesame oil
*red pepper flakes

I put the ribs in the slow cooker in the morning, doused with the sauce, and left on low for about 8 hours.  The result?

Droooool.  (Editor's note:  I am so mad that I neglected to take a picture of this.  Suffice it to say:  long day, starving, angry child, late husband, etc etc etc.  Just make the recipe you won't be sorry.)

We had some leftover steamed rice to go with it.

Also, I adapted this Bobby Flay recipe for Napa cabbage slaw, since I had a head in the fridge wilting away.

Here's my take on it:
Juice of 1/2 a tangerine
1 t Sriracha hot sauce (caution:  this makes it hot.  If you don't like spicy, scale it way back)
1 1/2 T rice vinegar
1/2 T mayo
1/2 T soy sauce
3 C finely shredded Napa cabbage
1/2 orange or red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

Whisk together first five ingredients.

Then add cabbage and pepper.

Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.  Can I just admit that this was so delicious that I made an entire batch with the intention of refrigerating overnight, and then ate it!?  All.  By myself.

So, who needs a stove or an oven for a fantastic, homemade, flavorful meal?  Not this girl.

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