Sunday, November 28, 2004

On Crackpot Cooking

Last week I broke one of my kitchen rules: keep the gadgetry to a minimum. I broke it by getting a $30 Crock-Pot at Wal-Mart.

Why: Because I figured out something about my cooking habits: I make one large dish on Sunday, which converts to quick-heating leftovers for the rest of the week. Not a good lifestyle for some, but it's handy for a bachelor like me. I was thinking it might be more energy-efficient if I did that with a Crock-Pot instead of a stove.

This morning I'm trying it out: I'm making something called "New England Boiled Dinner." The recipe seems to be promising.

I have, however, come to one conclusion about cooking. You know what they market the Crock-Pot by saying how convenient it is to come home to dinner already cooked? Well, there's a drawback that their marketing either didn't realize or never bothered to mention:

The best person to use a slow-cooker for dinner is a morning person.

You know the type. They get up at 6 (or earlier), coming out of bed wide awake and raring to go. Children (at least until school starts) tend to be morning people; teenagers tend otherwise.

All the important stuff you need to do--the chopping, the browning of meat, the peeling--has to be done in the morning. You can't really do it the night before because bacteria gets a chance to set in. And you can't really start the actual cooking the night before because even on the "low" setting you risk burning or overcooking.

So you need to set aside at least 20 minutes in the morning for food preparation for dinner in the evening. Which is not easy to do if you're not a morning person. Which is why Crock-Pots get tucked into the attic; how many of us are really good for the morning?

Ah well. The Possum will see how this works, one dish at a time.


At 8:16 p.m., Blogger Jon Langdon said...

just a BE visitor saying hi.

--Jon Langdon

At 12:08 p.m., Blogger sic said...

Ah, the crock pot... The crock pot works best (as you said) for cooking a big pot of something on the weekend to take as lunches all week at work. The idea of getting up early to prepare supper for that night is too 1980s wife-has-a-job-but-still-has-to-cook-for-the-family.

At 4:28 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another quick, prepare-in-advance, thing is pizza. The key to great do-it-yourself pizza is good dough, but good dough takes time to mix and let rise. But good dough will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

I like to make dough on the weekend and then when I come in of an evening during the week, I can turn on the oven - the pizza stone is always in the oven - pull out a piece of dough. You do need to let it warm up a little before you start spreading. Then put whatever is left over in the fridge on top. Slide onto the now hot pizza stone, and for me at least, four minutes later you have homemade pizza.

I use Wolfgang Puck's pizza dough recipe, which is on his web site.



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