When we had our last baby at home we needed to purchase a slow cooker to warm compresses in, I know it sounds odd, but it works. You can make great moist heat compresses in a slow cooker. Then shortly after the birth I received a review copy of The Vegetarian Slow Cooker – after the jump you can see my review and some great vegetarian/vegan recipes from the book but for now I want to discuss my own breakfast favorite: Warm Vegan Oatmeal Loaf – that is the only way to describe it. If you or the kids are put off by the texture of oatmeal you have to give this a try.
I cook my concoction over night on low heat and by morning I have a sumptuous breakfast loaf. It is so simple to make and takes less than 2 minutes to assemble (cook times vary on heat setting).
- Steel Cut Oats
- Rolled Oats
- Vanilla Extract
This is a Gluten Free and Sugar Free breakfast and I don’t measure it out. I coat the bottom of my slow cooker in steel cut oats (about 1/2 inch) then put twice the amount of rolled oats on top. I am liberal with the cinnamon and vanilla, splashing them all over. Finally I add water until it covers all of the oats. Then I set the slow cooker to high (if I want breakfast now) or low if I want breakfast in the morning and to cook overnight. The end result is a kind of cake or oatmeal “bread pudding”. If you are like me and you like a little bit of sweet you can pour some maple syrup over the top of each serving. The ingredients pictured are those that I use, I was not compensated or contacted by any manufacturers to use their products.
The Vegetarian Slow Cooker Over 200 Delicious Recipes Review and Excerpt
I received a copy of this book for review and was not compensated in any way. I was ecstatic to find out there was a use for my crock pot outside of the homebirth arena. As a vegan for the last 20 years I have never even dreamed of using a slow cooker, let alone understood why I would want to. Well, now I do! There is something very satisfying about throwing some steel cut oats, cinnamon, and apples into a slow cooker, setting it to low at bedtime and waking up to a delicious warm breakfast. Who wouldn’t want to do that? I assume this is how coffee drinkers feel when they set the timer on the pot to wake them.
The layout and format of this book was extremely streamlined and easy to follow. Recipes are tagged as vegan friendly (though a few such as the Apricot Quinoa missed getting a tag), entertainment worthy, and halve-able. It is also divided into sections – such as “bread and breakfast”, “mainly veggies”, “sides”, and more. The side bars give tips and variation note and the overall recipes are easy to follow and put together making cooking simple, fun and tasty.
In addition to Tofu in Indian Spiced Tomato Sauce, I tried the New Potato Curry, and the Ultimate Baked Apples. All came out delicious and were easy enough for my 8 year old to help me make. I am definitely a slow cooker convert, so much so I stopped at the store and bought a second slow cooker! I prepared my meals ahead of time for a potluck get together and truly appreciated the ability to grab my slow cooker and go – plugging it in when I arrived. Throughout the event my dishes only got better as they marinated and stewed, thickening up and filling the air with a succulent aroma of deliciously balanced herbs and spices. All in all it took me 1 hour to prepare and start “cooking” three dishes, then I went to bed. The results were truly inspiring to me, I wasn’t sure how my first attempt at slow cooking would turn out, but it was incredible.
“To me, there’s more to using a slow cooker than just putting food on the table. In my opinion, the meals it allows you to prepare nourish both body and soul. There are few experiences more pleasurable than coming home to be greeted by the appetizing aroma of a meal simmering in the kitchen.”
More people than ever are choosing to reduce their consumption of meat, instead, eating a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruit. A varied vegetarian diet can lead to a healthier, more vibrant life and is more environmentally friendly. Best-selling cookbook author, Judith Finlayson, proves that vegetables are both healthy and delicious and has created a vast array of wholesome, satisfying, and meatless recipes for today’s favorite kitchen appliance: the slow cooker. The result is The Vegetarian Slow Cooker (Robert Rose; February 2010; softcover/$24.95; ISBN: 978-0-7788-0239-6) with over 200 new recipes that will appeal to anyone looking to eat well without spending hours hovering over a hot stove.
As with any cookbook by Judith Finlayson, the results are appetizing and innovative. Adding a slow cooker to the mix means that home cooks can be away from the kitchen all day and return to a hot, comforting meal. Featuring not only traditional recipes and updated classics, The Vegetarian Slow Cooker also highlights exotic dishes that reflect the expanding horizons of cooking in our global world.
“In my new book, like those I’ve previously written, I’ve tried to include a wide range of recipes that will appeal to many tastes and requirements,” Finlayson explains. “As enjoyable as it is to recreate many traditional recipes, in developing this book I had great fun experimenting with more exotic dishes that reflect our expanding global view of food. I particularly enjoy using herbs and spices to create unique taste sensations.”
Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Crostini
Everyone loves this tasty all-purpose hors d’oeuvre, which is both simple and elegant. It can be used as the first course to a dinner or as a party canapé.
Makes 28 crostini
Equipment: Small to medium (1-1?2 to 3-1?2 quart) slow cooker (see tips)
8 cloves roasted garlic (see tips)
1 pound (500 g) white mushrooms, trimmed (see tips)
2 large French shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (25 mL) oil
1?4 cup (50 mL) dry white wine or dry white vermouth (see tips)
2 tablespoons (25 mL) chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons (25 mL) heavy or whipping (35%) cream, optional
2 teaspoons (10 mL) balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crumbled soft goat cheese
To make crostini:
Preheat broiler. Brush baguette slices on both sides with olive oil and toast under broiler, turning once.
In slow cooker stoneware, combine garlic, mushrooms, shallots, oil and wine. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until mushrooms are soft. Drain off liquid.
Place mushroom mixture and parsley in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until ingredients are very finely chopped but not pureed. Add cream, if using, vinegar, salt and black pepper to taste and pulse two or three times to combine.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread mushroom mixture over crostini. Sprinkle goat cheese on top. Place on baking sheet and bake until cheese begins to brown and melt. Serve hot.
If you haven’t planned ahead and roasted your garlic in the slow cooker, you can do it in the oven. Simply
peel the cloves, remove the pith (the center part that often sprouts), then place the cloves on a piece of foil.
Drizzle about 1?2 tsp (2 mL) olive oil over the garlic, and then fold up the foil to make a tight packet. Bake in 400°F
(200°C) oven for 20 minutes.
Leave small mushrooms whole. Cut larger ones into halves or quarters.
Keep a bottle of dry white vermouth on hand as it makes a satisfactory substitute for dry white wine. That way, you don’t have to open a bottle of wine when you need only a small quantity.
Cover and refrigerate the mushroom cooking liquid. It is a great addition to soups, stews and gravies, along with or instead of broth.
If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (11?2 to 2 quart) slow cooker.
Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate mixture for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to make the crostini, heat mushroom mixture almost to boiling point on the stovetop before spreading on crostini.
Turkish-Style Barley Soup
If you’re looking for something delightfully different but delicious, look no further. This simple soup is an exquisite combination of textures and flavors. Serve it as a light main course or in small quantities as a prelude to dinner.
Equipment: Medium to large (3 1?2 to 5 quart) slow cooker
1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 leeks, white part with just a bit of green, cleaned and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
1?2 teaspoon (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
1 piece (2 inches/5 cm) cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons (25 mL) all-purpose flour
1?2 cup (125 mL) barley (see Tips)
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons (10 mL) sweet paprika, dissolved in 2 tablespoons (25 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 long green or red chiles, minced
3?4 cup (175 mL) full-fat yogurt or vegan alternative
2 tablespoons (25 mL) finely chopped fresh mint
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, salt, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add barley and toss to coat. Add 2 cups (500 mL) of the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
Stir in remaining 4 cups (1 L) of broth. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until barley is tender. Discard cinnamon stick.
Add paprika solution to slow cooker along with chile peppers, yogurt and mint. Cover and cook on Low for 15 minutes to meld flavors.
After adding the yogurt, cooking on Low ensures that the soup doesn’t boil, in which case the yogurt would curdle. Use the type of barley you prefer — pearled, pot or whole. Whole (also known as hulled) barley is the most nutritious form of the grain. Barley, like all whole grains, really soaks up liquid. If you’ve refrigerated this soup and are reheating it, you’ll need to add water to ensure an appropriate consistency.
If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approx. 2 quart) slow cooker.
Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe. Because the barley soaks up liquid on sitting, add an extra 1?2 cup (125 mL) of broth or water before cooking.
Eggplant, tomato and okra stew is a classic Southern dish that probably owes its origins to the famous Mediterranean mélange ratatouille. One secret to a successful result, even on top of the stove, is not overcooking the okra, which should be added after the flavors in the other ingredients have melded.
Equipment: Medium (approximately 4 quart) slow cooker (see tips)
2 medium eggplants, peeled, cubed (2 inches/5 cm), sweated and drained of excess moisture (see Tips)
2 tablespoons (25 mL) oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried oregano
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
1?2 teaspoon (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes with juice, 1 coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (25 mL) red wine vinegar
1 pound (500 g) okra, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths, about 2 cups (500 mL) (see tips)
1 green bell pepper, diced (1/4 inch/0.5 cm)
In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, in batches, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice and red wine vinegar and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until hot and bubbly. Add okra and bell pepper. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, until okra is tender.
Okra, a tropical vegetable, has a great flavor but it becomes unpleasantly sticky when overcooked. Choose young okra pods, 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long, that don’t feel sticky to the touch (if sticky, they are too ripe). Gently scrub the pods and cut off the top and tail. Okra can also be found in the freezer section of the grocery store. Thaw before adding to slow cooker.
Place cubed eggplant in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, toss well and set aside for
30 minutes to 1 hour. If time is short, blanch the pieces for a minute or two in heavily salted water. In either case, rinse thoroughly in fresh cold water and, using your hands, squeeze out excess moisture. Pat dry with paper towels and it’s ready for cooking.
If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approx. 1-1?2 to 3-1?2 quart) slow cooker.
Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe.
These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:
Recipes from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Over 200 Delicious Recipes by Judith Finlayson
(Robert Rose; February 2010 Softcover/$24.95)