The subtitle for this book should really be "Make your slow cooker work for you." I have never seen so many inventive, practical ways to put my slow cooker to use! I'm not just talking about recipes — though there are plenty of those, of course — but also cooking two meals at once in the same pot, using ramekins and cake pans to turn the slow cooker into a baking oven, and many more surprising ideas that ensure your slow cooker never sits still long enough to collect dust.
• Who wrote it: Cynthia Graubart
• Who published it: Gibbs Smith
• Number of recipes: 100
• Recipes for right now: Smoky Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup, Honey-Ginger Chicken Thighs, Sticky Wings, Rosemary Lamb and Tomato Stew, Potato Gratin with Fresh Herbs, Corn Pudding, Vanilla Custard, Granola, Banana Bread
• Other highlights: With this book in hand, I'm pretty sure you could actually live off your slow cooker alone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner — even the occasional cocktail party — there are plenty of ideas here. And I'm not just talking about the typical color-drained, uni-textured soupy slow cooker dishes either. In these recipes, Cynthia Graubart makes sure we're paying attention to how foods should look, taste, and smell when they come out of the slow cooker, whether that means a sticky glaze on some chicken wings or a chewy bite of barley stew.
Essentially, this book treats the slow cooker like a small, low-temperature oven. Which, of course, is more or less what it is. Sometimes the insert is used as the cooking vessel, as with stews and roasts, but the insert also becomes our oven space to hold breads as they bake, slow-cook custards, or roast a batch of nuts. These recipes really encourage us (and by "us" I definitely mean "me," as well!) to think beyond the usual parameters of the slow cooker and really put it to use on an everyday basis.
Given all this, I almost forget that that the primary purpose of the book is to provide smaller-portioned slow cooker meals. All of the recipes are developed for a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker, though Graubart gives some tips in the introduction for doubling recipes if you have a larger-sized slow cooker or want to cook for a crowd. The majority of the recipes are made with little prep work beyond chopping the vegetables, making it very easy to quickly get everything in the pot in a spare moment and know dinner will be ready in a few hours.
Here's what Graubart covers in the book: soups, poultry, beef and lamb, double dinners (two dinners separated by slow cooker liners and simultaneously), seafood, side dishes, desserts (including some breakfast ideas), dips and appetizers, and basics (including chicken stock, jams, and caramelized onions). The introduction gives lots of tips for using your slow cooker in these unexpected ways and how to ensure delicious meals with every recipe.
• Who would enjoy this book? Small households, people living in small apartments or without an oven
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Slow Cooking for Two by Cynthia Graubart
• Visit the author's website: Cynthia Graubart
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)