For the last couple of weeks in the Boston area, it’s been a little hot and a little humid. It hasn’t been bad enough to be considered a heat wave. When I take my late evening walks, it’s actually quite comfortable.
But when it’s that time of day to cook a meal, the stove is the last thing I want to use. This makes me a little sad as making soups and baking things in the oven tends to be my default cooking style.
(Grilling is not something I’ve done on my own. However, I’m determined to change that this year. I’ve dug out an old charcoal grill left by a previous housemate that I will finally clean out and use.)
So, I’ve been playing with my slow cooker some more and I’m going to try using it as my main cooking method this summer. I might as well. I’ll be working from home for the rest of the summer (and likely for the rest of the year).
Here’s what I’ve done so far:
I’ve done a sweet Italian sausage/tomato sauce/bell pepper recipe. Most of this batch went to some friends, but I kept what I couldn’t fit in the container. It was pretty good, and something I’d like to re-visit with some changes. While I like Italian sausages, I am health conscious, and try not to eat a lot of sausages in general. (Having said that, I do several pre-cooked sausages in my freezer right now because I can’t afford to be picky shopping during a pandemic.) I think the next version will be to make my own meatballs and cook in the same sauce.
Quick breads actually do pretty well in a slow cooker. The cornbread in the photo was a slow cooker recipe. And this weekend, I made my favorite sourdough discard banana bread in the machine – it was delicious.
If you’d like to make my sourdough discard banana bread, take a 6 quart slow cooker and line it with parchment. Drop the whole batter in. Cook on high for 2 hours, with a tea towel lining the lid. The towel makes a huge difference for making baked goods in a slow cooker. It keeps any condensation from falling onto your product.
I’ve actually been slowly working on a rotisserie-style chicken in a slow cooker for the past year. I think I’m finally getting the hang out it.
I have a lot chicken bones in the freezer waiting to be turned into stock. I think I’ll try my sourdough recipe in the slow cooker (yes, the texture will be altered COMPLETELY but if it still yields a tasty bread, I won’t complain). I’ll have to figure out a good vegetable side dish to make because I don’t always want a salad even though it’s the summer. I will NOT be braising any cabbage though. It’s fine in the colder weather but the one time I made braised cabbage in the summer, several flies found their way into my apartment. I think that’s the one downside of slow cooking in the summer. Flies will find their way to you depending on what you’re cooking. The last two times I made chicken, a fly found its way into the house (although, one fly is still better than the several from the cabbage round).
I’ll also take this opportunity to revisit cookbooks I have (Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker and The Easy Asian Cookbook for Slow Cookers), but I’ll probably draw most of my inspiration from whatever I have available.
I guess we’ll see how it goes.
In case you missed it, my favorite banana bread recipe can be found here: