Slow Cooker Chili

I decided this year I was going to make peace with my slow cooker. I was surprised by how much I didn’t take to it, which I’ve documented here and there. Like bread machines, Instant Pots, Thermomix, and cast irons skillets, someone wrote about the latter on my Facebook page, “It’s just a PAN…” (in all-caps), they certainly have their fans. I do like my…

I decided this year I was going to make peace with my slow cooker. I was surprised by how much I didn’t take to it, which I’ve documented here and there. Like bread machines, Instant Pots, Thermomix, and cast irons skillets, someone wrote about the latter on my Facebook page, “It’s just a PAN…” (in all-caps), they certainly have their fans. I do like my cast iron skillet very much, but my life doesn’t change radically when I reach for mine. Although wouldn’t it be great if that was all it took? 😀

My appliance company gave me the slow cooker after I hounded them for three years to get reimbursed for a dishwasher repair charge they said they’d reimburse me for. I was happy to have finally settled that debt and move on with my life, but am still unclear as to why it took three years for them to tell me they couldn’t send me a check for reimbursement. Since I already had a grille-pain (toaster), a robot (food processor), and a boulloire (hot water kettle), I went with the slow cooker, which I’ve been determined to fall in love with.

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Spicy Mushroom Lasagna

When the very first Ottolenghi book came out, I had no idea what this mysterious restaurant, or person, was. But I was immediately captivated by the spectacular salads, cakes, vegetables, flatbreads, and more piled up on tables at Ottolenghi. The pictures in the book had a vibrancy that I’d not seen in any other cookbook before; mounds of vibrant-green fresh herbs piled atop salads, charred…

When the very first Ottolenghi book came out, I had no idea what this mysterious restaurant, or person, was. But I was immediately captivated by the spectacular salads, cakes, vegetables, flatbreads, and more piled up on tables at Ottolenghi. The pictures in the book had a vibrancy that I’d not seen in any other cookbook before; mounds of vibrant-green fresh herbs piled atop salads, charred vegetables and lavish use of tahini (which I narrowly once thought was only used to make hummus), and plum-marzipan cakes with the rosy, glistening fruit juices sliding off the top and pooling at the bottom. Wow.

We’ve since seen that style in plenty of other books, but the Ottolenghi books continue to evolve and each one marks another evolution in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking. And even when you don’t think he could come up with another great idea, he does.

Flavor is Yotam Ottlenghi’s latest book which he’s written with Ixta Belfrage. The title refers to the concept of the book, which is about how (and which) ingredients can be used to amplify flavors when cooking and baking. Ixta had a multicultural upbringing and she’s brought references and flavors from around the world in this book, which includes this Spicy Mushroom Lasagna. The recipe features dried and fresh mushrooms, as well as dried chiles, likely influenced by Mexico where she spent time with her grandfather, who lived there. The photo of it in the book made me want to make it. So I did!

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Tomato and Chickpea Shakshuka

I usually keep a few canned things on hand. Sardines, tuna, and tomatoes, are constants you’ll find in my cupboards. I also have oddities that I’m not sure what I’ll use them for, but keep them around anyways, like smoked sugar, butterscotch chips, coffee-flavored salt, Vietnamese coconut syrup, and a kit someone gave me for making queso blanco which does, indeed, work. I’ve discovered the…

I usually keep a few canned things on hand. Sardines, tuna, and tomatoes, are constants you’ll find in my cupboards. I also have oddities that I’m not sure what I’ll use them for, but keep them around anyways, like smoked sugar, butterscotch chips, coffee-flavored salt, Vietnamese coconut syrup, and a kit someone gave me for making queso blanco which does, indeed, work.

I’ve discovered the joy and deliciousness of fresh dried chickpeas, which sounds like an oxymoron. But most dried chickpeas are old and not as delicious as when you buy dried chickpeas from a local source, which are fresher and better-tasting. However canned chickpeas will certainly do in a pinch, or if you’re in a hurry, and I have a few tins in my larder for “just in case” moments, like this one, when I wanted to make a hearty version of Shakshuka.

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Mint Zhoug

During the lockdown, I found myself with all sorts of things that needed to get used up sooner than I expected. I would buy too many lemons, thinking I’d need them. Then realize I had too many and make lemon curd. The grocery shopping delivery service that I use inexplicably had jalapeño peppers on their website (and a few times, padrón peppers!) and I couldn’t…

During the lockdown, I found myself with all sorts of things that needed to get used up sooner than I expected. I would buy too many lemons, thinking I’d need them. Then realize I had too many and make lemon curd. The grocery shopping delivery service that I use inexplicably had jalapeño peppers on their website (and a few times, padrón peppers!) and I couldn’t not buy those, since those are very rare around here. And because I’ve been doing Instagram Live apéro hour videos, I was concerned about running out of fresh mint, so bought them by the bundles (plural), until one day I realized I had way too much.

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