77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
So many of us have slow cookers and yet so few of us get much beyond pot roasts or stews. Why is that? I think it is because we don't really understand the potential of a slow cooker and the basic cooking techniques that can enhance what you can cook in them.
This book is for everyone who has a slow cooker and wants to explore all the things you can do with it. The first ten page chapter teaches you how to best use your slow cooker, what you need to be concerned about, including how to adapt regular recipes to slow cooker recipes. You will also get really good advice on food safety, when to add various kinds of ingredients, and how to layer them in your cooker. They warn you, for example, to not have your timer start your cooker more than two hours after you put the ingredients in the pot. And never cook your meat from a frozen state. Also, if you have large roasts, cut them in half. When you should add your pasta, how you prepare ground meat for clos cooking, and how to use dry versus fresh herbs. Helpful tips, right?
Since this is The Ultimate book on slow cooking, you get recipes for things I know I never even expected could be done in a slow cooker, but once you think through the recipes they really do make sense. You get chapters on appetizers and beverages (yes, drinks such as hot chocolate, hot punches, and the like), breakfasts, soups, stews, poultry, beef & veal, pork & lamb, meals without meat, side dishes, and even desserts.
Each recipe tells you the ingredient list, the size of slow cooker the recipe is made for (so you can adjust to yours), the steps to make the dish (remember it isn't all just dump it in, turn it on, and come back 8 hours later), and nutrition information. Many of the dishes have appetizing photographs of the dish. Helpful notes about the recipe and tips for slow cooking generally are given throughout the book and will help you make better dishes more easily and with easier cleanup.
The book is colorful, laid out clearly, and the page edges have different colors for each section. In addition to an index you are also given advice for metric conversion of the recipes and the very last page has a list of emergency substitutions you can make for ingredients you suddenly realize you don't have on hand. These substitutions will be helpful to you for any dish you make, not just slow cooker meals.
Now, these recipes often include canned ingredients, mixes, and so forth. Since the idea of slow cooking is so much about convenience and ease of preparation, these kinds of choices can make sense. If you want to cook from scratch ingredients you could, but you have to add a lot of prep time. Just do what you want and have fun!
A very useful resource for home cooks wanting to push their slow cooking boundaries.