I’m No Slow Cooker 


I have never been a master of the the slow cooker. I guess that since I am mostly home I never saw a need to put food in a cooking vessel that I could leave while I was away from the house. I had a friend who told me when her girls were juniors and seniors in high school and playing sports that her slow cooker saved her. She would put a meal in it and then go watch them play and still have supper ready in a timely manner so they could eat and get home work done.  
Today I had a Food Bank meeting in Raleigh in the middle of the day, came home for a conference call and then went back to North Raleigh for a basketball game. With all that coming and going and a low stock of leftovers after snow bound eating at home, I decided today was the perfect day to try the crockpot. I looked in my pantry of rarely used items and knew that I could make a tomato sauce with the carrots and onions I had fresh, and canned tomatoes. I also knew there were frozen meatballs that could be added later so I thought I’d try it.
At nine in the morning I put onions, carrots, garlic, canned tomatoes, marjoram, tomato paste and beef stock in the crock pot and turned it on low. I left the house and when I came back five hours later I was underwhelmed with what had happened. I turned it up to high and gave it another two hours. A little better. I ran the stick blender through it and dumped in the frozen meatballs and a hockey puck sized frozen pesto from my summer garden. I turned it on low and left the house for another five hours.  
After Carter’s team won their game she asked for Chipolte for dinner. So much for the twelve hours of cooking. I had a salad for dinner and only Russ ate one meatball as part of his grazing on many things for dinner. He said it was good, but who knows. Eating dinner at nine thirty I think everything tastes good.
So much for my planning ahead. I could have done nothing and been in the same place come dinner time. So into the fridge the crock will go and hopefully someone will eat these things tomorrow.  
I am not sure that I am sold on this way of cooking. There is no caramelization of anything when cooking in stone wear. Thank goodness the meatballs were browned before I froze them. We only have a couple of weeks left in basketball season so I am not seeing a need to try and master the slow cooker this year. I guess I will just keep it to reheat soups and chili’s when I go to covered dish dinners at church. For me, I am going back to my trusty 30 year old stock pot where I know how to develop flavor.

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