Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Crock-Pot

For over eight months, a brand new Crock-Pot has been sitting in its original packaging, collecting dust in my hallway closet. I was convinced that I would burn the house down if I used it. I remember thinking, "I can't believe X would give me such a dangerous thing!" as I smiled and thanked X for the gift on Christmas morning. "Yes," I agreed, "I'm going to make really good use of this when I get back to school." Of course my next thought was, "How the heck am I going to get this thing back to Washington?"

I don't know why I thought I was going to burn the house down if I used the Crock-Pot. Thousands -- millions? -- have been sold as efficient, time-saving appliances. Where the image of sparks flying and flames bursting from the outlet came from, I don't know. All I know is that the image and feelings were strong. So, I stored the hazardous gift -- out of sight, out of mind.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my efforts to maintain a better diet this school year. (BTW: Healthy eating requires a certain level of planning, but so far I've been able to stick to the program despite my crazy schedule.) In the comments, The Lone Coyote suggested that I give the Crock-Pot a try. After careful consideration (yes, I tend to mull things over), I decided I was going to make my first Crock-Pot meal. I flipped through my copy of Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook (which was part of the Crock-Pot gift) and selected a dish. What was it? Lazy Day Braised Pot Roast. I'm not a big meat eater, but I thought it best to go with a classic.

I went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients; I read the owner's manual -- thrice; I washed the Crock-Pot; I prepared the ingredients; I dumped the ingredients into the stoneware liner. Good, now I was prepared to start the cooking. I place the lid on the stoneware liner and turned the dial to "LOW". Nothing happened. Wait -- wasn't there a light to let me know that it was working? Nope, no light. See, I knew this thing dangerous! I placed my hand on the side of the cooker. Warmth. Yep, it's working. I let it do its thing for 8 hours, as directed.

Eight hours (and 8 "check-ins") later I returned to the kitchen to find a very nice looking pot roast. I made myself a plate and was pleasantly surprised by how tender the meat was. It just broke apart effortlessly with a fork. (I know, I know, that's the whole point of slow cooking!) So, now I had a tasty meal to last at least 5 meals, prep and clean up were easy, and I didn't burn the house down! The Crock-Pot may become my new best friend in the kitchen.

Lesson learned: Sometimes irrational fears are just that. Overcome them and you may be pleasantly surprised.

7 comments:

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DC Med Student said...

Hmm...spam comment #1.

The Lone Coyote said...

Congrats! On both your 1st spam comment and your first great Crock-pot meal. If you are not a big meat eater, try root veggies. You can do rice dishes too, but beware of overcooking and creating sludge. Have fun.

DC Med Student said...

Thanks for the tips! Looking forward to trying all the different recipes.

Rach said...

Found your blog via the lone coyote! looking forward to reading more... Not a med student... but work similar hours (or so it seems!).

I have a slow cooker, and make chili in it all the time. When I get home, I make a pot of rice and call it a day. Or I just eat it straight up.

Or, I do the standard 2 cans of cream of something soup over chicken... I eat it right over salad.... mmmm... Keep us posted on what you cook!

DC Med Student said...

Welcome Rach!

I haven't used the slow cooker again, but chili is definitely on the list. Guess I'm not used to the slow cooking thing, yet. I'm still reaching for the pots and pans in the kitchen.

I'll keep you posted.

Anesha said...

Hi Nice Blog . I don't really know a lot about Human Anatomy study or art, but that's just my 2 cents. Really great job though, Krudman! Keep up the good work!