Chickpea & Vegetable Curry

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry

Ok,  veggie folks who may have asked for at least one more crock – that I’m not being a complete carnivorous biped, here you go. Had a head of cauliflower & some other veggies that needed to be used up. So, thought I would look around a bit & see what could be made with the items that I had on hand.

Haven’t been too successful with the veggie dishes so I was a bit worried that this one would go down the same. I was super happy with the end result.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 peeled & 1/4” sliced carrots
  • 2 tblsp curry powder
  • 1 tblsp peeled & grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
  • 2 14oz cans chickpeas
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper flakes
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14oz can vegetable broth
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 6 lemon wedges for serving

Lets get it going:

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot – cover and cook until tender. Add curry powder, ginger, garlic, and chile (add 1 tblsp of water – mixing curry powder) – cook for a minute or so.
Dump onion mixture into slow cooker.
Stir in chickpeas, salt/pepper, pepper flakes, tomatoes, broth & put the frozen green beans on top.
Cook on HIGH 6 hrs or LOW 3 hrs. (I did the 3 hr method & think this works best so the veggies don’t get too soggy).
Add spinach, basil & coconut milk about 15/30 mins before serving or until spinach wilts.
Serve over couscous & garnish with lemon wedges.

Side dish:

Baked some sweet potato french fries (as you can see in photo – keep an eye on your fries or they’ll turn out a tad crispy!).

As mentioned, this crock turned out pretty darn great – tons of flavor & the cauliflower came out fantastic & wasn’t mushy.

There you have it – a veggie dish done right. I think for veggie crock I’m going to attempt Eggplant Lasagna…

Split Pea Soup

Ham Knuckles

Ham Knuckles (sorry for bad photo)

Yay, split pea soup. I had bought a bag of dried split peas & some ham hocks – the weather has been turning colder & thought that this would be a nice hot soup to curl up with on a chilly nite.

Ham hocks remind me of growing up – mom or dad used them every once in a while in different kinds of stews & soups. My grandpa was a butcher, so we only had the best pork knuckle – if there is such a thing. I can take just about anything (I’ll gut a kangaroo as needed), but cutting thru all that fat/bone stuff is difficult. Hungry?

Ingredients:

  • 16oz dried green split peas, rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled & cut
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 64 oz chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (thin as possible)
  • 2 md garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 64oz low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tblsp ground black pepper
Pea Soup Bowl

Pea Soup Bowl w/ steamed Parsnips

Cook it:

  • Put ham hocks in crock
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Cook on LOW for 8hrs (ham hocks should fall apart when done)

Wow, this one smelled fantastic & somewhat let me down. As mentioned before, you win some & you lose some –  will still post the losers (the difference between me & Alton Brown). If we were in communist Russian during Stalin’s reign, this would have been a god send, but my refined palette wants more. (After reflection – I did come to conclusion – I didn’t add a bunch of salt. Most canned beans are packed in some juice & a bunch of salt. When you cook with dried beans – keep in mind there is no sodium added.)

Upside – had a nice consistency & the hocks provided a bit of salt/fat. Sadly, as mentioned, needed tons of salt – if you are on a low sodium or whatnot diet, this would be great.

There you go – did kinda like the soup, but was expecting a lot more from the smell.

Done & done.

Spicy Kimchi Stew

Kimchi Crock

Kimchi Crock

Have no idea what I am doing sometimes with these crocks & that is totally ok. I bought some kimchi at the aforementioned frightening farmers market & it is one of those food items that you peck at (similar to my other fav – pickled herring), but don’t make a meal out of… until now!

I was determined to make this happen & so I kinda tweaked the other recipes that I found online to make it my own w/o going to a specialty store.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb cooked pork cut into 2″ cubes (used left over beef – thin sliced petite steak – should be seared pork belly, but I’m all about leftovers)
  • 8oz kimchi (the kind made with Napa cabbage, can find @ any major store or TJ or Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 onion (thin sliced & halved)
  • 4 cloves garlic, (diced)
  • 1 jalapeno (diced)
  • 2 tblsp thai chili paste (can find @ any major store or TJ or Whole Foods)
  • 5 cups of broth (use vegetable, but I only had chicken broth)
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 package of firm tofu (I wish I would have had this – something solid)

Cook it:

  • Throw everything into crock pot, except leftover beef (or cooked pork) – put that in at the last hour of cooking
  • Cook on High for 4 hours

Can you handle hot stuff? If not, this is definitely not your thing. As you can guess, hot stuff is my thing & was dabbing my forehead at the 1/2 way point into bowl & enjoying it throughout.

This was a good alternative to the seriously sodium heavy asian soups that I’ve had (if you buy/consume any asian soups/dishes, there is so much sodium it’ll make your head spin, just saying / no preaching) & had the heat I enjoy.

End result:

KimChi Bowl

KimChi Bowl

At first thought it was lacking, but realized that simple is fantastic. Not everything needs to be Cracker Barrel served w/ Jack Daniel sauce anal probe, full baked potato facial & velvet cake sadness.

A great complement to this dish would be some cool soba noodles to take the heat/edge off.

This is where I drop the mic & walk away all indifferent to your feelings… but I have to say, good day. I said GOOD DAY.

P.

Pork Loin with Pablanos

Pork Loin Pablano in Crock

Pork Loin Pablano in Crock

Got a 1.5lb pork loin – of course it was a manager special @ $3.50 (that is the way I roll). Couple days later went to the most intense farmers market ever – they shut it down because of natural disaster – wind bringing the tarp things down. Anyway, got the idea of crocking something with the fantastic peppers that I gathered at my peril.

I hadn’t tried an actual pork loin in the crock & so was wondering how this was going to turn out. Crossed my hooves & hoped for the best.

Ingredients:

1.5lb Pork Loin
2 pablano peppers (cut into long strips)
2 jalapeño peppers (diced)
2 white sweet potatoes quartered
4 scallions (diced)
1/2 onion (diced)
handful of cilantro
1 tblsp pepper

Make it happen:

Pork Loin Pablano Plate

Pork Loin Pablano Plate

Put just a bit of olive oil on the bottom to lube it up. Add the pork loin in then surround with the potatoes & cover all of this with the peppers, cilantro & throw the pepper on top.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

This was damn good. The peppers added so much flavor to the pork & calmed down the sweetness of the sweet potatoes (which I mashed up in a bowl before serving). Not the prettiest looking dish, but so damn simple.

Served with Romanesco broccoli steamed with lemon – I’d never had this type of broccoli. Liked the fact that it was more hearty than normal broccoli & so doesn’t get mushy.

Asian Sriracha Rubbed Turkey

brine

Breast/Legs in the Brine

Hope you all had a wonderful T-day. Saw a post a couple days before thanksgiving & got the bright idea that I needed to make it my own & try to do so in the crock. This recipe called for dish to be baked in the oven of course & so there is always the chance it just might not turn out as stellar in slow cooker.

First – needed to find a 8lb turkey…impossible. I forgot that these turkeys now are frakenturkeys & could wrestle Godzilla to the ground. So, went for a large breast & couple legs – thats right I sound like some kind of turkey perv. The whole point of the crock was that dinner would be asian themed (except for the stuffing) & turkey was rubbed w/ that fantastic Sriracha sauce. Quite a bit of work all in all, but well worth the trouble.

So here it goes:

  • 4lb. turkey breast & 2 1lb. turkey legs, thawed and brined (see below – is done before cooking!)
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha chile sauce
  • 2 tblsp ground ginger
  • 2 tblsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 bunch Thai basil
  • 3-4 stalks lemongrass (cut in matchsticks)
  • 1 bunch scallions (diced up)
  • 1 tblsp minced ginger

Pre-Cook in Crock

Dry the turkey w/ paper towels after pulling out of the brine.
Mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, ginger & garlic powder together & then rub the mixture all over the turkey.
Place the breast/legs in crock & sprinkle the meat w/ pepper, basil, lemongrass & scallions. Note: added some of the solid bits from the brine & added that on top also.
Set on LOW for 8hrs.

About the brine:

  • 4+ cups water
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 16 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 whole star anise pods
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 5 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped up
cutting board

On the Cutting Board

Put all of the ingredient in a large pot & submerge the turkey in for about 10-12hrs. (When submerging, make sure you hold on tight to that great – otherwise you’ll get coated in brine juice)
I drained the brine, but saved some of the solid bits & put over the turkey along w/ other ingredients.

I realize that Paula Dean makes sweet love to a jar of mayo, but I was a tad skeptical slow cooking dish coated in the mayo. The smell alone of this cooking was making me salivate halfway thru the day. Holy. Freakin’. Turkeybits. Crock way exceeded my expectations – the basic flavor of the meat was fantastic & not very spicy at all (was expecting a a bit more kick).

The white meat turned out quite moist & stayed for quite some time w/o drying out. Leg meat, as my son put it – this borders on weird sounding coming from your kid – “orgasmic”. I guess this kinda sums the review of the meat.

The Plate of Goodness

Oh yeah, the sides – did asian themed mashed potatoes & classic stuffing.

Lao Nai Yang Yu (Chinese Spicy Mashed Potatoes) – these were super good, I’d make these again even not on T-day. Potatoes were quite spicy, so next time making them I’d pull back on the chili paste a bit.

Classic Stuffing – this is always my fav side dish on t-day, loves me some stuffing. Had never made stuffing from scratch & this really couldn’t have been easier & I have to say, gives my folks oyster stuffing a run for best in class. Made a bit of turkey gravy to drizzle (ok, drown) over stuffing – you can’t have stuffing w/o gravy on top dammit!

This whole meal was amazing & I wish I could have shared w/ few more people to confirm how damn tasty meat was. Will need something pretty spectacular for Xmas to kick this holiday feast off the pedestal.

Until next time…

Mac & Cheese

Well, here we are again almost a week later & I’m finally posting a crock. Told myself that I’d be good about being timely – that went straight  out the window. Such is life.

We were going to celebrate my b-day with a cookout & so was perusing around to find good bbq side dishes & thought that I would make my own salsa via the crock. Who the hell doesn’t like salsa? So, day before made the salsa – um, not what salsa should be to say the least. Bland  is a good way to describe if you pressed me to do so. Next.

Looked around a bit more & found a mexi mac & cheese that didn’t involve canned cheese or Velveeta. Hadn’t made mac & cheese for ages & thought this would be a hit!

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups cooked rotini pasta
  • 8oz cubed mild cheddar
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 4oz cubed sharp cheddar
  • 1 4oz diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 teaspoons cayanne powder
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced
  • 5 sliced green onions

Cook that stuff:

  • Combine all ingredients (except for tomatoes & green onions) & crock for 2 1/2 hrs
  • drop in the tomato & green onions the last 1/2 hr (which I forgot to do since I was drinking the Rose wine!)
FYI – also forgot to take a photo of the dish, my bad & the Rose wine made me do it.

Not too damn bad. The cheese was a tad coagulated since wasn’t using canned/Velveeta, but the dish didn’t disappoint. Was spicier than thought it would be, but most everyone believed that was fine since no one puss’d out on eating. Except… for those that did eat! We had a couple folks who were on dietary restrictions & that is no fun at all at a bbq. But, did receive a nice pricey bottle of beer (which I’m holding out drinking as long as I can…too late.).

Side note, my son got me a book TIME annual for 1969 – wow, old. Nixon, moon walk & fashion for men – yikes.

The mac & cheese dish was paired with steak & seafood kabobs that turned out great now that I learned how to use my new charcoal chimney. Messed up the last 2 bbq attempts by letting the coals sit to long & then realizing that there isn’t enough heat to cook the food, dammit.

All in all not too bad & way cheaper than most of the crock mac & cheese recipes – hell, a block of Velveeta alone is like 7 bucks.

You can bring the crock to the bbq, but not the bbq to the crock – Socrates.

 

Beanie-Weenies

beanie_weenie_1

Frat party vomit?

You know when you have the thought – ah, screw it? Should have listened a bit closer to my inner self saying that this was a bad idea. Alas I did not.

Was heading towards these amazing looking steaks & was going to make a “foodie” type of crock & then out of the corner of my eye…hot dogs. Should have known way better, but those damn dogs were calling to me. What kind of crock could be made with those lips & butthole tubes?

Beanie Weenies!

Then got idea that could go beyond the lowly pork & beans with cut up wieners & give this bastard a leg up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans vegetarian beans in tomato sauce  (didn’t want that nasty/delicious pork slab)
  • 1 can great northern beans (washed & drained)
  • 1 can black beans (washed & drained)
  • 1/3 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 4 slices pre-cooked bacon diced up
  • 160z package Hebrew National Beef Dogs (cut up in 2 inch sections)
  • 1 tblsp pepper

Cook that nasty up:

  • Um, throw it all in the cooker & set  on LOW for 6hrs
beanie_weenie_2

Mmm – dinner.

Really did kinda smell excellent. But, I’d ate a full plate of serious nachos washed down with some Fremont IPA a couple hrs before dinner – had to let the stuff simmer for a bit…did not look appealing.

End result: didn’t turn out too terrible bad, but don’t think I’ll go down the wiener with bean road again. (Think the pictures kind of tell the story – sorry for awful picts btw). This dish was also a good $20.00 less than what I had in mind – hence the saying “You get what you pay for.”

Next time I’m going to do Seattle Dog crock  – package of hot dogs & package of cream cheese & call it good!

Rock out with your wiener out. Couldn’t help that one.

PS – there are 2 spellings for wiener (one is Euro & one is American) – so I’ll use it as I see fit.