Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What a crock.

It’s fall, so that means it’s officially crock-pot season. My mother is a fine crock-pot cook, and I enjoyed many delicious pre-vegan meals ladled from her sturdy old crock. (It’s probably not that old. It might be older than I am, though.) So while I haven’t done a lot of crocking, I’m not a complete newbie.

I love my crock pot for the sheer fact of how I got it. Secondhand things are so much better, because they come with stories. “I just popped down to Bed Bath & Beyond and scored this sweet crock pot” is nowhere near as interesting as “The theater where I work cleaned out the kitchen and had a massive liquor sale, and my friend the bar manager threw in this crock pot for $10.” Which is exactly what happened, with the side notes that 1) I don’t work there anymore and 2) I also bought a lot of booze. I think I did, anyway. They were having liquor sales every other week for a while there.

Ahem. The crock pot. Red and I are in the middle of a psychotically busy week, the kind that makes you want to call in dead. We couldn’t do that, but we could adapt 30-Minute Vegan’s Homey Vegetable Stew with Dumplings to be crock pot-friendly. We had it with crusty bread, because we couldn’t find a way to work the dumplings into the crock-pot revision. Basically, we chopped a bunch of onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots (with greens!), dumped them in the crock with some spices and broth, and left it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I turned that baby on low before I left for work. When we got home, the whole house smelled like Thanksgiving without the animal murder.

It was tasty. Not the most transcendently awesome vegetable stew I have ever had, but I think we should give the original version a try and see how it compares. Something was mildly overpowering the vegetables, but I can’t figure out what it was. Maybe it needed less pepper, or thyme, or more soy sauce. Maybe the vegetables gain something from being sautéed first instead of just simmered all day. Beats me. What I do know is that it was easy, filled us up, tasted good with bread, and saved us from a dinnerless evening.

Crock pot, I love you. Now if only you were self-cleaning.


  1. Wow, that veggie stew sounds great. I love crockpot meals but I've never actually cooked one myself. I think we've got an ancient one around here somewhere...I need to resurrect it and get started.

    I wonder if I can convince mine to be self-cleaning...

  2. Seriously, there are so many unwashed dishes in our kitchen that *there's no room to do the dishes.* Even after I ran the dishwasher last night, dirty pots and pans mock me from the sink and the stove. Now the crock pot has joined their evil ranks. I wish it would rain so I could just put all the dishes out on the deck and pour soap over them. I'm so lame.

  3. Thanks for the blog note :)

    I don't know how to season for nothing, but I have worked (on and off) at this amazing Vegan/Veggie Cafe in Rosendale, NY for 10 years now. If you ever find yourself in a teeny town in upstate NY, I think you would like... mmmm.. everything. But the tempeh reuben is the bestest.

    Do you eat vegan cheese, although it usually isnt actually vegan?



  4. PS My BF, Chris is a rockstar vegan cook (after years and years of vegan roommates). He'll love this!

  5. Wooohooo for rockstar vegan cook boyfriends! :) The tempeh reuben sounds lovely--I have a recipe for one somewhere, but haven't made it. I'll have to try it, then come to your cafe and compare!

    I usually don't eat vegan cheese, because it's expensive, tastes fake, and rarely melts because it has no casein (a milk protein). Lots of soy and rice cheeses contain casein, so they melt better, but they're not vegan. Mostly I just don't bother with fake cheese, but I'm hopeful that one day science will create a vegan cheese that lives up to my expectations!

  6. I rock my crock pot, too! The feeling of coming home to a wonderful smelling house and dinner already done is indescribably gratifying. Do you have Robin Robertson's Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook? It's very good. Although, like you, I am also searching for a self-cleaning one (along with every other kitchen implement). :) By the way, I'm with you on the cheese situation.

  7. Oh Marla, I have to buy that book! I need another cookbook like I need a hole in the head, but a slow-cooker cookbook will fill the gap in my collection. :)

  8. Re: household-items-with-a-history - wasn't this an episode of Friends? Phoebe, I think it was, went on a Pottery Barn binge but lied about where she bought everything because PB isn't green and hip and *her*. And Rachael busted her when the latest PB catalog arrived. (Oy, am I showing my age here!)

    I agree, I much prefer the second-hand stuff. My "china" (I feel silly calling it that) is a hodgepodge of holiday themes and vintage (read: chipped) gold-leafed plates.

    Now if only there were more thrift stores out in the sticks!