Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Antithesis of MtAoFC

Perhaps it's the frigid temperatures and the fact that we've had snow on the ground for more than 72 hours, but I'm feeling lazy and just shy of wanting to hibernate for the next 3 months. Since that's not a possibility and I still need to feed my family, I thought I'd let someone else do the cooking. My Crock Pot.

Poor Julia could, in fact, be shouting in the heavens to hear that anyone would ever use such a cooking appliance. But, for me - the working wife and mother - it's something that lightens the time-consuming pressure of getting a healthy meal on the table before midnight. I'll be sure to pay the proper homage to Julia by using mass quantities of butter.

So this week we're trying 4 slow cooker recipes found from the Year of Slow Cooking blog (now in the printed form of a cookbook):

Baked Potato Soup (reducing the calories by using low-fat cream cheese and 2% milk, along with a heavy, heavy splash of fat-free half & half)
Taco Soup
Macaroni & Cheese
Brown Sugar Chicken (creative way to get chicken / protein into a toddler)

Tonight we kicked off the "Week of the Crock Pot" with the Macaroni & Cheese. It was ooey, gooey and creamy. Approved by all, this will defintely find it's way back into our Crock Pot soon.

And then there was the vegetable - Braised Cucumbers. (Yes, the same braised cucumbers mentioned in "Julie & Julia".) I just couldn't help myself in wanting to try braising a cucumber. In short, the texture of the cucmber becomes slightly more firm, along with the richness of the butter, and takes on almost an artichoke heart texture. I used an English cucumber (also known as a Hot House cucumber) since the skin is thinner and there are less seeds. The entire family loved the cucumbers.

And speaking of braising, there are two whole artichokes in my fridge who will be gently and carefully braised this week and soon after, meet a velvety Hollandaise sauce. What a pair!

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