Creamy Kheer Oatmeal
Rice kheer is a beloved cardamom-scented pudding dessert in India. It is so special it is also served for weddings. There are many regional household versions since it is homemade. Here the kheer moves to breakfast from the slow cooker made with steel cut oats. This version has the works. Milk, oats, and rice are simmered until thick, then nuts, dried fruit, saffron, rose water and cardamom are added. You want the oats rice to be over cooked to get a more creamy texture.
Machine: Medium Round or Oval
Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 7 to 9 hours
1 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup raw basmati rice, rinsed
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
6 cups (1 ½ quarts) unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (in the carton)
1 (14-ounce) can organic sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon ghee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 green cardamom pods, whole
3 strands of saffron
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
2 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios or cashews
Pinch of sea salt
Combine the oats, rice, raisins, milks, ghee, vanilla, and spices in the cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours, or overnight, until the milk and grains are a thick and soft porridge. Stir with a wooden spoon from the sides and bottom. Discard the cardamom pods. Scoop into serving bowls with an oversized spoon. Serve straight from the pot drizzled with a few drops of rose water, sprinkled with the nuts, and a light sprinkling of sea salt, brown sugar–a pat of butter or drizzle of ghee and more almond milk is optional.
Smoky Hand-Pulled Pork on a Bun with Cabbage-Carrot Coleslaw
Slow cooker cooking has made pulled pork a wildly popular household specialty all over America, not just in the South, where it is a beloved local specialty in North Carolina. Pulled pork is a descriptive way to say shredded, since the rough texture of the meat holds on to the sauce better than if meat is sliced. Be sure to put the meat on to cook first thing in the morning if you plan to serve it in the evening. The original recipe came from a now forgotten slow cooker cook off competition and it came with the following recommendations: “This is a great dish for weekends in the country, Friday night dinners, or evenings when you have a house full of teenagers who can not get enough of the rich, smoky sauce.” Enough said.
Recommended Size: Large Round or Oval
Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 9 to 10 hours
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium white onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup tomato-based chili sauce
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, about 3- pounds
6 cups finely shredded green cabbage (about two-thirds of a 2-pound cabbage)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
8 fresh Kaiser rolls or onion buns, or other soft sandwich rolls, halved and warmed
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and pepper and cook 1 minute. Add the chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke; bring to a boil. Spray the crock with nonstick cooking spray. Place the pork in the crock and pour the sauce over.
Cover and cook on LOW for 9 to 10 hours (or on HIGH for 5 to 5 1/2 hours), until pork is falling apart tender.
While meat is cooking, make the cabbage slaw. In a large bowl, place the cabbage, carrot, and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Add to the cabbage and toss to lightly coat. Season with salt, cover, and refrigerate.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board and pull the meat apart in shreds with two forks. Return to the sauce and place on KEEP WARM. When ready to serve, place the two section of warm bun on a plate and spoon shredded pork with plenty of sauce over warm buns with some cabbage slaw on top or on the side.
Thai Beef and Pasta Salad
This is a simple, yet dramatic summer main dish salad. Flank steak is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat for the quality and flavor. The exotic wonderfully satisfying flavors are an easy combination of fresh herbs, soy sauce, lime, sesame, brown sugar, chili sauce, and ginger. Assemble the flank steak in the slow cooker at noon and have dinner ready. No browning of the meat necessary.
Recommended Size: Medium or Large oval
Machine Setting and Cook Time: High Heat: 4 to 5 hours
For the Meat
1 large white onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 1/2 to 1 3/4-pounds flank steak, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry, cut in half
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
6 grinds fresh black pepper
For the Herb Pasta Salad
2 (9-oz each) packages fresh linguine
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger juice (grated and squeezed)
1 teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Juice of 2 limes
14 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch green onion, both white and half of green, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh watercress, stemmed
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Spray the slow cooker with nonstick olive oil spray and lay the onion on the bottom. Make very light horizontal slits against the grain across the top of the meat, then lay in slow cooker on top of the onions.
In a small bowl, combine garlic, sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, oil, and pepper. Pour sauce mixture over steak, making sure to coat all exposed surfaces well. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours, checking at 4 hours. Meat will be tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, cut the linguine into 6-inch lengths and add. Set a timer for 3 to 4 minutes, until cooked al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Place the vinegar, soy sauce, ginger juice, oil, chili sauce, cayenne, and lime juice in a jar with a lid; shake vigorously to combine. Place the pasta in a shallow bowl and toss with the mint, green onion, and cilantro. Toss with the dressing. You can leave at room temperature or refrigerate, covered, until the meat is done.
Remove the meat from the crock to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let the meat stand 10 minutes before slicing. On a platter or individual salad plates, make a loose bed of the watercress and pile the dressed herb noodles on top. Slice steak thinly across the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices and lay over top of the noodles. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve.
Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate
If you love hot cocoa, you will enjoy this version. The other wonderful touch is to find house made marshmallows, which are usually roughly cubed since they are cut by hand instead of extruded and available in the bakery section of a gourmet supermarket or by mail order. The dreamy sweetened condensed milk serves as the sweetener, so you won’t need to add any sugar. It will also add a dimension of texture. Look for an organic brand. Look for organic coconut milk as well, such as Native Forest, Thai Kitchen, or Whole Foods 365 brand. You can double or triple this recipe for a crowd, but be sure to use a large slow cooker.
Recommended Size: Medium Round or Oval
Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 2 to 4 hours
Serves about 1 dozen 6-ounce drinks
4 (13.5-ounce) cans full fat organic unsweetened coconut milk
2 (14-ounce) cans organic sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract
2 pinches of sea salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Sharffenberger, Valrhona, or Ghirardelli)
2 1/2 cups (15-ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips (such as Callebaut or Ghirardelli)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Coconut Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
1 to 2 dozen marshmallows (if artisan cubes, cut into quarters)
Place the coconut milk, condensed milk, extracts, salt, and cocoa powder into the crock in a 4-quart slow cooker, whisking to combine. Cover and simmer on LOW for 2 hours. Add the chocolate and cream, recover, and simmer on LOW another 1 to 2 hours. Whisk briskly every half hour until melted. Can wait on KEEP WARM for up to 2 hours.
Before serving, briskly stir with a whisk by hand or use an immersion blender with a few pulses (if you like it a bit foamy) to combine until smooth. Ladle the steaming cocoa into wide mugs; top with Coconut Whipped Cream and/or marshmallows. Sip and enjoy to your heart’s content.
Coconut Whipped Cream
2 (13.5-ounce) cans full fat organic unsweetened coconut milk (not coconut cream or lite or in the carton), refrigerated overnight (the cream will separate from the coconut water)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chill your mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the chilled can from the refrigerator and turn upside down on the counter. Open the chilled can of coconut milk and pour off the liquid, about 1 cup per can. Reserve the water for another use (fabulous in a smoothie, use in baking, or just to drink plain). Spoon out the creamy solids that are on the bottom of the can plus a tablespoon or two of the coconut water into the chilled bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. With an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on medium speed for about 1 to 2 full minutes, until light and fluffy with small peaks. It will be the same consistency as dairy whipped cream. Makes about 3 cups.
Best served immediately or store in the refrigerator until needed. The coconut whipped cream will begin to solidify in the fridge, but simply re-whip a few moments to restore the fluffy texture. Keeps 1 week in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Mexican Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and pinch of cayenne with the cocoa powder. Substitute almond extract for the coconut extract. Top with Coconut Whipped Cream.
Shakshuka is the Mediterranean version of Huevos Rancheros in Mexico and Uova en Purgatorio in Italy, and the Arabic word for “scramble”. Eggs are poached in a gently spicy tomato sauce. It is a favorite breakfast dish from Morroco to Israel. Our slow cooker version utilizes tofu for the eggs and garnishes it with a Yogurt Tahini Sauce. This tomato-based sauce, which you cook first, is gloriously thick and we add a bit of vegetables. You need to finish the dish with hot sauce, so plan accordingly if you made the sauce ahead and need to reheat.
Cooker: Medium or Large Round or Oval
Machine Setting and Cook Time: Spicy Tomato Sauce High Heat: 3 to 4 hours/Shukshuka High Heat: 1 hour
Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 large white or red onion, diced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes with juice, crushed with your hands
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and chopped, or roasted bell pepper (page XX)
1 carrot, grated (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon cracked pepper flakes, such as Aleppo, or few shakes of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
6 fresh basil leaved, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Yogurt Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste, raw or toasted), well-stirred
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons lemon juice (2 whole lemons)
2 teaspoons ginger juice (finely grate a 2 inch piece of ginger, then squeeze out the juice)
Pinch sea salt
2 (14-ounce) packages firm tofu, drained, rinsed, and cut into large cubes
2 cups (like 2 handfuls) baby spinach leaves
1 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese, cut in bite-sized cubes, optional but good
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves
In a medium skillet, cook the onions in the olive oil until soft, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Place the onion and garlic, tomatoes and their liquid, tomato sauce, bell pepper, carrot, jalapeno, honey, pepper flakes, paprika, turmeric, and dried herbs in the cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Add the basil, if using, season to taste with salt and pepper, and add the butter. Use a handheld immersion blender to purée the sauce; you can leave it a bit chunky. Ready to use hot, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze in batches.
Make the Yogurt Tahini Sauce. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine, or in a small food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a storage container, cover, and refrigerate until serving.
To finish the Shakshuka. Add the tofu and push down into the sauce. Stir in the spinach leaves and stir to collapse into the hot sauce. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Stir in the feta cubes and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro over the top. Serve in bowls or individual gratin dishes with crusty warm bread or fresh pita for dipping in the sauce, a pepper grinder, and yogurt tahini sauce for drizzling. You can also eat this with a side of sauerkraut or hummus and chopped fresh ripe tomatoes.
Indian Tofu Shakshuka
Substitute 4 teaspoons your favorite mild or hot curry powder (such as Sun-brand Madras style, Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder, or McCormicks Gourmet Curry Powder) for the basil and turmeric.