Beth’s Slow Cooking For Two
Bruce Von Stiers
A lot of the time my wife and I are the only ones home for dinner. It gets to be a scramble to find something to fix just for the two of us. Now, we and those in situations like that have a new outlet. This comes by the way of a new cookbook from Beth Hensperger.
Beth has put together a top selling series using the slow cooker. Each title in the series begins with “Not Your Mother’s”. In other words, the recipes in the books aren’t something that would have been handed down from your mom.
One of the latest titles in this series is Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes For Two. This could be a godsend for people like my wife and I who are looking for dishes that don’t feed more than two. The dishes in the book are made in a small slow cooker. The book was published by Harvard Common Press.
Beth begins with an introduction and then has a chapter explaining the ins and outs of using a slow cooker. Then she moves on to recipes for soups as main courses.
I love butternut squash. Beth has a recipe for a butternut squash soup that is really good. Also in the soup chapter is a recipe for black bean soup that uses either mild or spicy sausage. Another black bean soup recipe calls for a chipotle Chile or chipotle paste.
Some folks think that you have to make a whole bunch of chili at one time. But that’s not true. Beth has ten chili recipes in the book that indeed just serve two people. Her Texas Chili recipe is similar to one we use; only Beth has scaled down the ingredient portions to fit the needed finished amount. Beth includes a two-paged sidebar on the preparation and cooking of beans for your chili.
Then there is a chapter featuring grains, casseroles, pasta and sauces. Beth shares several risotto recipes, even one with red wine. And cooks who are used to cooking oatmeal on the stovetop will be pleasantly surprised at the slow cooker oatmeal recipes in the chapter. I especially liked the Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal recipe. It was extremely tasty and filling. The chapter also included a decent mac and cheese recipe and one for a nice Italian meat sauce.
From there, things move on to chicken and turkey dishes. Enticing and interesting is the recipe for Red Curry Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk. This Indonesian dish can be cooked in less than three hours and uses a red Chile pepper, mango pieces, red curry paste and fresh ginger to cook in with chicken breast halves.
Pork, lamb, beef and veal all get a shot in the book. A good pork rib recipe finds honey and either home-made or store bought barbeque sauce as ingredients. Beth includes a baby ham recipe that uses a half cup crushed pineapple. And if you aren’t allergic to peanuts, there is a good lamb stew with peanut sauce recipe.
On the beef side of things, a recipe for corned beef with lentils can be found next to one with cabbage and carrots. A tasty Beef Tangine has dried mangoes and raisins as ingredients. I like Chinese food and pepper steak, so I really enjoyed the Chinese Pepper Steak recipe.
The last chapter in the book deals with accompaniments for your slow cooker dishes. Beth has a vegetable spaghetti recipe as well as a couple of rice dishes. The three recipes in this chapter that I really liked were Hot Pepper Cornbread, Olive Oil Corn Muffins and one for buttermilk biscuit dumplings. None of these are too difficult to make and are perfect accompaniments to any number of slow cooker dishes from the book.
Beth Hensperger keeps coming up with more and more recipes using a slow cooker instead of an oven or stove top. With this new book, she shows that you can have delicious meals for two that would normally feed a whole family.
Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes For Two is out in stores and available online.
To find out more, or to order a copy directly from the publisher, visit www.harvardcommonpress.com.
© 2009 Bruce E Von Stiers