Tag Archives: crock pot

Trying Something New with Eggplant

Every now and again I decide to go all experimental in the kitchen and do one of those recipes that sounds interesting but like nothing I’d ever actually make. Also I just got a subscription to Eating Well magazine courtesy of an Amazon gift card someone gifted me.

Other fun facts that need to precede this post: I’m all bout one-dish meals. I think the crock-pot is an amazing and necessary tool. And I dig make-ahead meals because if I can make ’em ahead of my crazy-busy work week everything in the week will go just that much smoother (all of which you already know if you’ve read any of my cooking posts and/or ever had a conversation about cooking with me f2f).

That brings us to this dish: Eggplant and Chickpea Stew.

I read about this one, and it sounded cool, so I pinned it for later. Then, I was at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, and I saw some eggplants for sale. I remembered that I’d pinned this, so I snatched up an eggplant (buy and eat local!). Of course, I didn’t exactly remember the recipe, and I didn’t bother pulling out my cool new smartphone to check it, so I got one eggplant when the recipe calls for two. Whatever. It’s something new…who knows if we’ll like it?? So I decided to just half the whole thing.cooking in September 024b

But halving the recipe was not my only modification.  I also remembered while at the grocery the next day that I needed chickpeas. I adore chickpeas, so I’m pretty use to grabbing a can or two for salads and stuff. Well. The recipe actually calls for dried chickpeas. No mind. It also tells you to soak them over night. Canned chickpeas are in some juice, so I figure that’s basically the same thing. Plus, it’s so much easier, right? Next up: mushrooms. My husband doesn’t like them. Won’t eat them. So naturally I took to Facebook to solicit feedback: “If you were going to make something that called for mushrooms, but your husband doesn’t eat them, what might *you* use instead?” I got LOTS of answers–everything from cheese to bacon to potatoes to “tiny cut up mushrooms and a good poker face” (possibly my favorite).

Probably the most helpful came from other people who cook far more than I do (one of whom is in culinary school). Jo K. said this:

 Mainly the mushrooms are to create umami, that smoky savory flavor. You could try roasted eggplant or garlic, maybe a little soy sauce–something like that might give the same effect on the flavor balance.

And Baillee W. offered this:

If ur going for an earthy flavor, u can use a splash Worcestershire sauce.

Well, this recipe already has roasted eggplant as a main ingredient, and it already has garlic, so I went with Baillee’s idea and subbed in Worcestershire sauce.

By this point, I was bound and determined to get this eggplant chickpea party started, so I started pulling other ingredients out of their places.  This brings me to my last modification: I used cinnamon powder, not a cinnamon stick because I wasn’t about to go out and buy some cinnamon sticks, and I don’t know who keeps those around the house (except maybe my MIL during applesauce-making season).

With all that said, here’s how it went:

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Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen

Chili (not store-bought) in a Crockpot

At lunch on Sunday, Trent’s aunt revealed a big secret: the crock pot chili she served her daughter’s husband the first time he came to their home was store bought chili that she just put in a crockpot. Hilarious! This story was particularly funny to me because I have totally  never done anything something like that before!

I have been “making” this really awesome potato salad for years. It goes like this: I go to the Publix deli. They put the potato salad in a plastic container, which I pay for. I take it home. I dump the contents of the plastic container into a Pyrex dish (because everyone knows if it’s in Pyrex, it’s homemade). I hide the evidence of my crime plastic container at the bottom of the trash. Voila! Potato salad! I get compliments on it all the time.

But that’s not how I make chili. If you’ve read my blog entry Cinna-POW-der, you know we made chili Monday night (if you haven’t read it, you should because it’s ridiculous!).  I taught Trent my easy but totally yummy recipe:

How to do it:

  • 1 lb. ground beef (SN: Trent’s been getting the “pink sticker” special on ground beef lately–97% lean for less that $2.00/lb!)
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 1 onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can Great Northern beans

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Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen

Kitchen Spotlight: Pull My Pork!

I basically love anything I can cook in a crock pot (we have three of the big crock pots). Primarily because it’s easy: just throw in your ingredients and let the cooker do the work. What’s not to love?

I also love barbecue. So when I “discovered” you can make pulled pork at home in the crock pot, I was all about it. And have been ever since.  This is so easy and great for parties.  But I also like to make it on weeks like this when I don’t have to go in to work every day–we get days’ worth of sandwiches. And I like meals that go the mile as much as I like the crock pot I cook them in.

So today I the crock pot slaved away in the kitchen all day, so we can have pulled pork sandwiches.

What I Used:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 (14-oz) cans reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (18-oz) bottle Memphis-style barbecue sauce (Despite a Midwestern-bred lifelong love for Open Pit, its absence in the South for so long introduced me to a new sauce that I have come to adore: Sweet Baby Ray’s. It was BOGO at Food Lion this week, so I tried the Honey Chipotle one this time).
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 boneless Boston butt pork roast (about 3 1/2 lb)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Hamburger buns/rolls

What I Did:

  • Slice the onion into thick pieces. Put the slices in the crock pot with the garlic cloves.
  • In the crock pot: broth, barbecue sauce, sugar, vinegar, and pepper–stir it up.
  • Put in the pork.
  • Cover and cook on high 6–8 hours or until pork is fork tender.
  • Remove pork from slow cooker. Drain sauce into medium-sized bowl, getting rid of the onions and garlic. Put sauce back into crock pot.
  • Mix cornstarch and water. Stir into sauce in crock pot; bring to boil. Boil 4–5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Shred pork using two forks. Have a few several “test” bites. Yum!
  • Make sammies: pork + sauce on buns!
  • Eat!

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Filed under In My Kitchen