Out of the Frying Pan

For all the stereotypes about New York City that are ill-founded, at least one rings true: we move too fast.

From whipping out our checkbooks within the first 90 seconds of seeing an apartment to weaving through Times Square tourists like Brer Rabbit in a briar patch, those of us residing in the city that never sleeps move so quickly we hardly have a chance to sit down.

I wish I could tell you that my New Years resolution is to finally rein in my pace, but with a half marathon on my schedule for April and the number of hours in the day stubbornly holding at 24, deceleration just doesn’t seem possible.

Well, except in one area of my life: cooking. Welcome to 2015, folks: the year of the crock pot.

It did not arrive full of meat, although that would have been amazing.
It sadly did not arrive full of meat.

I’ve been wanting a slow cooker for awhile, and that dream became a reality this Christmas when my brother’s fiancée left this New York apartment-sized slow cooker for me under the tree. I might question her taste in in-laws, but her gift-selection skills are downright impeccable.

Why did I want a slow cooker for Christmas, you ask? Plenty of reasons:

  • They allow you to cook entrees without added oils or fats.
  • They do the heavy lifting while you’re at work, allowing you to walk in the door at 8 p.m. to a ready-to-eat home-cooked meal.
  • Owning one makes you feel like a bonafide adult, whether or not you can grow facial hair.
It’s like looking in a mirror.

I tried my inaugural recipe on the first workday after the holidays: a slow-cooker beef stroganoff. Of all the recipes on the internet, I chose this one because it fit all my requirements: it only used real ingredients, rather than cream of something soup; it let me throw most everything in at once, rather than browning something first; and it said I could cook it for 8 to 10 hours, which I interpreted to mean 13 hours due to a busier-than-expected day at the office. Whoops.

I’m not sure how the 3 to 5 extra hours of cooking may have impacted the ultimate end product, but what came out of that crockpot that evening was creamy and hot and delicious nonetheless. Most importantly, it went from slow cooker to mouth in less than 15 minutes after my walking in the front door, and that’s an all-star performance in my book.

My first foray into slow cooking was a success, and I’m already stockpiling recipes from friends and blogs to make in the weeks ahead. A few in particular that have caught my eye, so long as they don’t mind being cooked for five to six hours longer than the recipe suggests:

  • This one. Chicken tikka masala with a cucumber-cilantro slaw? Sign me up.
  • This one. Steak house chili with big chunks of sirloin? Yes please.
  • This one. Nah, I’m just kidding. That one was just a link to my niece laughing at a joke.

I have a few ideas up my sleeves, but now I need your help: what slow cooker recipes do you make that I can add to my very limited repertoire? 



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