Friday, January 29, 2010

new slow cooker

my boss got me a slow cooker for christmas. a unique gift but i liked it. it was a hamilton beach 'stay or go' slow cooker. the cool thing about this slow cooker is that the lid has a latches that allow for portability without spilling.

i decided for the first use of the slow cooker i'd try making chipotle-lime chicken with jamaican rice and peas and i added kielbasa because everything is better with kielbasa. it was a fairly easy recipe but i added my own take on it. i added more spices, a lot more chipotle, bay leaves, tomato paste, bell pepper, potatoes, and coconut milk.

it was the first meal using the cooker and actually it was the first time using a slow cooker for me. i have memories of my mom's crock pot but i had never used it before. after some research on and reading the instructions i share with you some slow cooker dos and don'ts:

  1. defrost meats completely before putting in cooker. if possible do a little stove-top cooking before putting in cooker.
  2. cut meats into smaller portion. avoid whole chickens for example.
  3. if cooking meat, start the first hour on high, the switch to low.
  4. only fill the cooker 1/2 to 2/3 full. yeah, i packed mine to the brim the first time...
  5. no peeking! avoid opening the lid. every time you open it you are adding about 20 min to your cook time because all the heat has escaped. all most all slow cooker recipes don't need stirring.
  6. avoid moving a cold insert to cooking or a warm insert to a cold counter. the temp change could crack the insert.
  7. add any dairy, such as milk or cream, in the last hour of cooking.
  8. don't reheat food in slow cooker, it'll take way too long. hence, slow cooker. use the stove-top for this.
  9. put veggies on the bottom layer of the cooker and meat on top
  10. devise a way to transport if you don't have a latch lid!
it came out ok, i thought. a few changes to be made for next time. but i really enjoyed using the slow cooker and i'm looking forward to using it in the future. albert made a great side dish of sliced bean curd with cilantro and green onions too! thanks grace for taking pictures!

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