Each Month

Chef Mimi, a novice at slow cookin, will choose 1 ingredient (meat/veggie/fruit/herb) to be thrown in the crock. Chef Tiffany, an experienced slow cookin specialist, will then post a recipe featuring the ingredient of the week, challenging Mimi to learn new moves in the kitchen.

Join us
as we discover tips and tricks to getting down with your slow cooker.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Consumption: Veggie Boats of Flavor

The zucchinni dream boats were delicious!  Most Italian meals I have cooked in the past consisted of dough, spaghetti sauce, lots of cheese, and pepperonis.  For this meal, I had to research how to "hollow" out a zuchinni before I began preparation.  I imagined it being something like carving a pumpkin.  To my surprise, it was relatively easy to make each zuch in the shape of a boat using a long narrow spoon.  The pulp scooped right out.  I filled each boat with the mixture of tomato sauce and placed in the crock.

Before the zuchinni was finished slow cookin', I decided to toast the pine nuts.  I placed some tin foil on a small baking pan and scattered the pine nuts.  Then I placed in the oven on the highest rack, making sure they would toast nicely.  Unfortunately, within 10 secs, they all caught on FIRE.  Yes, burning flames burst out of the stove when I opened the oven.  I have learned pine nuts contain oil (like most nuts), and when heated to a very high temp, they can catch on fire.  Luckily, the flames dissipated immediately when I removed them from my oven.  I wish I had a live-in photographer to capture the terror on my face when my first small kitchen fire erupted.

I served the Veggie Boats with some angel hair pasta and garnished with blackened pine nuts, fresh mozzerella, parm, and garlic bread.  The meal was a simple Italian dish that was easy to make on a busy weekday.  The flavors were all familiar and delicious, except for the burnt popcorn taste of the toasted pine nuts.  For my next attempt, I will use black olives.

Don't BURN your nuts!

Tips & Tricks
- Chef Mimi

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Recipe: Veggie Stuffed Zucchini

Prep: 30 mins
Cook:  LOW 4-6 hours
Serving Size: 4
Category: Side Dishes

  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, with seeds removed
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • Fresh parsley (optional)
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  • Mozzerella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Hollow out the center of the zucchini by using a long, narrow spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving at least 1/4 inch of flesh. If the pulp and seeds won't come out easily, use a paring knife to either cut them out or loosen them enough to scoop out with a spoon.

In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce and vinegar.  In another small bowl, combine the onions, garlic, rice, parsley, basil, pepper, along with 2 Tablespoons of the tomato sauce-vinegar mixture.  When the zucchini halves have been hollowed out, hold them upright and spoon the rice mixture into them so each one is filled fairly densely.  Place zucchini halves in the bottom of the slow cooker.   Top with the remaining sauce-vinegar mixture.

Cover and cook on LOW until rice is tender, 4 to 6 hours.  Garnish with toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs and cheese.  Makes 2 main dishes or 4 side dish servings.

Tips & Tricks:
- Chef Tiffany

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Ingredient: Zucchini

I had a learning experience when I chose this as the next ingredient.  A friend emailed me asking if I knew any recipes that used squash.  I said, I was clueless, but would like to feature squash as the next ingredient to throw in the crock.

Tiffany needed to know what type of squash we wanted to use so I Googled it,  and discovered the squash family is a lot bigger than I thought! I had no idea cucumbers and zucchini were considered a squash.

I have cooked zucchini so many differnet ways:  grilled, sauteed and baked.  I cannot wait to see how it cooks in the crock!   

Tips & Tricks: