So I put in to review The Great American Slow Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.
When the book arrived, I was immediately impressed. Let me list off a couple of reasons for that:
- Each recipe includes the quantities to prepare it for three different sized slow cookers. With seven in my family, I'm sure I will nearly always use the largest size. But I like that I can still use this cookbook when my three teens are at camp.
- The majority of the recipes use normal ingredients. Not all are "normal" in my household, but I don't recall seeing a single ingredient where I thought "Where in the world would I find that?" Some ingredients are not things I'd have on hand (chickpeas, for Chicken and Chickpea Stew, for example) but I did recognize everything.
- Each recipe is rated for how much effort it takes, with common sense labels. Not much -- for a recipe like sweet and Sticky Country-style Ribs, where you are putting ribs in the cooker, whisking 7 ingredients together, and dumping them over the ribs. A little -- for a recipe like Spicy Country-style Ribs with Fried Garlic, where you put 10 ingredients together in the cooker, add the ribs, coat them; and then saute garlic and add it to the cooker. A lot -- for a recipe like Pork Shoulder in Creamy Mushroom Sauce, where you brown the meat in a skillet, saute onions, add broth, scraping the crusty bits from the skillet, put most stuff in the cooker; and finally pull the cooked meat out, put the sauce into a saucepan, and add cream and chives.
- Each recipe also gives you three times -- prep time, cook time, and how long it will keep on warm.
- Each recipe has "Tester's Notes" where comments like "Make sure the flour has truly dissolved in the milk and wine..." on the Vegetable Pot Pie recipe.
- Some recipes include "Ingredients Explained" where things like the difference between light corn syrup, dark corn syrup, and reduced-calorie corn syrup are explained (in the recipe for Dulce de Leche).
I've tried a few recipes, with varying results. Some, I need to tweak a bit to change the spices. Some were just super-simple and perfect as written.
Bottom line: This is a fabulous resource. Well worth the purchase.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.