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WHIP UP SOMETHING NEW
24 January 2011
Sometimes there is just serendipity in your life.
I recently made the decision to start using my slow cooker more. I am so tired of cooking the same old thing...and of trying to decide what to cook at night anyway. Even though I'm home all day and could do something exotic around, say, 4 p.m., I wait until Jeopardy is over (7 p.m.) and then decide what to cook for dinner. I make "something with chicken in it" or heat something I've picked up at Trader Joe's or Costco.
Anyway, I recently started following a blog called A Year of Slow Cooking by Stephanie O'Dea and even ordered her cookboook. I also picked up a slow cooking magazine at the store and was amazed at how many things I wanted to cook from that magazine.
I thought that if I used the slow cooker, I would be making dinner in the morning when I felt more like cooking and when I was more excited about being inventive.
Then I followed a link on some other blog and found "Whip Up Something New!" The idea is this: Whip up something new! is a monthly challenge for the many of of us who promise ourselves that we'll try new recipes and yet we end up cooking the same old things. Although it was inspired by organising those ripped/cut out recipes, if you don't have such a pile of paper to sift through, feel free to make something from one of your cookbooks or from the hundreds of fabulous cooking blogs. The point is to try cooking new things!
Each month, you are asked to make (at least) one dish from a recipe that is new to you and to blog about it, whether it was delicious or not-so-much.
Well, it just so happened that the night I found this challenge, I had just made something called African Peanut Stew from the Year of Slow Cooking blog lady's book. I wouldn't say it was over the top delicious, but Walt liked it and I liked it too. I had to adjust a bit so I'll copy the recipe the way I made it.
Use a 6 quart slow cooker. Put the chicken in the bottom. Add the sweet potatoes. Plop in the peanut butter, tomatoes and broth. Add the dried onion and all the spices. Don't worry about stirring now--the peanut butter will make it difficult. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hrs or on high for 4-5. Stir well and serve with a squeeze of lime.
I checked it at about 4 hrs and the sweet potatoes were still rock hard, so I raised the heat to high and cooked for another two hours. They were still not quite soft, but edible. I think my crock pot, which is at least 20 years old, may not have the same temperature settings as what was used for the book (I've been trying to decide if I want to get a new one or not).
Anyway, I served it as it was and the texture of the potatoes didn't bother me. The stew had a strong, but not overpowering peanut taste and I thought the chicken was a bit overcooked.
I probably won't make this recipe again, though it was tasty. I have tons of other exciting recipes that I want to try.
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