Make Ahead

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Peach and Blueberry Cobbler — The Summer Slow Cooker

(Image credit: Diana Yen)

Beside being one of the iconic desserts of summer, a cobbler has quite a few qualities that keep it on the top of our summer must-cook lists. Cobblers can showcase whatever juicy fruit is currently in season; they have a beautiful, rustic appearance; and they're much, much easier to make than pie.

Perhaps the only drawback of a cobbler is having to turn on the oven — but not anymore! Your trusty slow cooker can produce a tasty fruit cobbler, leaving you and your kitchen as cool as a cucumber. This peach and blueberry version is flecked throughout with fragrant vanilla bean seeds.

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Recipe: Graham Cracker Cookies — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

These graham cracker cookies possess the qualities of any desirable cookie: crispy around the edges, with a super-soft, chewy center. While you can certainly eat them on their own, they do their best work in pairs, with a sweet filling sandwiched in between, be it marshmallows and chocolate for a new take on the s'more, ice cream, or fluffy buttercream frosting.

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How To Make Slow-Cooker Caponata — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant relish made with celery, onion, and tomatoes cooked into a sweet and sour sauce and served with bread as an appetizer. Some versions have olives or capers, others call for raisins or zucchini, and some even use hot peppers or anchovies. The results of this nuanced cooking process are delicious, if not exhausting.

Here, the slow cooker takes care of all the cooking, making this a mostly hands-off dish that can be used as an appetizer or main course.

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Recipe: Charred Corn Salsa — Oh So Corny!

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

Smoke itself can be one of the best accomplices in a recipe featuring corn, mostly because corn doesn't shrink in its presence. Rather than being masked by the assertive flavors of the flame, the sweetness of corn is amplified. Now take those sweet and smoky flavors and use them as a backbone for this salsa, which we highly recommend you use as the condiment of choice this summer. Scooping it up with chips is only the beginning.

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How To Bake a Whole Eggplant — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

Baking a whole eggplant is something of a culinary metamorphosis. The hot oven transforms eggplant's firm, spongy interior into a luxurious, velvety texture, which in turn lends its merits to savory dips and vegan bolognese. Yet cooks cannot agree on just how eggplant should be baked. Should we halve it and score it, or poke it and wrap it in foil as you would a Russet potato?

Our testing resulted in a dead-simple solution with stellar results.

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How To Cook Collard Greens in the Slow Cooker — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Collard greens need a gentle, slow, luxurious braise in fragrant liquid (rather like a spa treatment), which makes a slow cooker the perfect vessel and method. With a little work up front and a thoughtful finish, a large slow cooker can yield many servings of velvety greens and brilliant potlikker — plenty for immediate feasting and plenty to freeze for later.

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