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Monday, June 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen

Those of you who kindly follow the recipe portion of this blog have probably noticed I have "a thing" about slow cookers. I consider my slow cookers the Best. Invention. Ever.  Or at least one of the best - my immersion blender is pretty awesome too.

I was gifted this cookbook after admiring it and several successful dishes later,  I want to give the book shout-out of it's own.  I've made a half-dozen plus (or more) recipes out of it now and I have no intent of leaving this to languish on the shelf.  Clearly written directions, numerous cooking tips,  interesting product recommendations, and beautiful photographs make this book a delight to use. 

The recipes are broken down into the standard categories, soups, chicken, beef, casseroles, but America's Test Kitchen included a chapter on basic shredded meats and some recipes that will incorporate those.  For example, how to slow cook a whole chicken, a hunk of beef or a side of pork, and the seasonings, sauces and casseroles that one can use with the shredded meat.

I was a bit concerned about the...wordiness and length of some of the recipes, meaning that this could be an overly involved process for what is, in essence, supposed to be a time saver.  And yes, there are a couple of more involved recipes,
but for the most part the dishes I have made haven't really taken me much more time than the basic chop and plop.  My caveat to this is (as I've stated in my recipe reviews, I don't own a microwave oven, so I'm sauteing more on the stove.  Am I convert to this extra step?  Not 100%, because I'm not sure the general palette is going to be able to discriminate if something's been pre-cooked or not.

My one other tiny complaint (and I do mean tiny), is that most of the recipes are done in about 4-6 hours, so not really convenient for assembling pre-work and coming home to or making the night before.  A bit of pre-planning on either a weekend or making the night before is necessary. 

Otherwise, I have not had a single recipe fail me yet.  The directions are clear, the ingredients are obtainable in even my limited grocery stores, and the leftovers are just as good - if not better! - than the dish served that night.

If you like using your slow cooker, you like making things from scratch, and harbor a fondness for leftovers, then this is a cookbook for you. 


Dee said...

I am a slow-cooker dunce. First slow cooker died after a very short life. Second one was thrown away after melting the formica counter it was sitting on --- thank GOODNESS I came home early and caught it before it caught fire.

I gave up .....but, I will say, the lasagna on the cover looks yummy and I've read your slow cooker recipe reviews. They ALL sound good.

elns said...

Thanks for the awesome review. I love America's Test Kitchen show and many recipes. I got my husband a slow cooker for our anniversary this year, because that's the kind of gal I am ;) and he's enjoyed it so far. His complaints even of his favorite recipes are very similar to yours in general, so I think he'll be able to work with this book. Heck, maybe even I will!

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