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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
99 of 103 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, A Useful Slow Cooker Cookbook, January 26, 2011 This review is from: Slow Cooker Revolution (Paperback) Customer review from the Amazon Vine? Program (What's this?) The "new" name is "slow cooker" but most of us know the device as a "crockpot" because that's the name it was first marketed under a couple of decades ago. If you're like me, you got one because you thought, "Hey, I can put in the ingredients in the morning and have a tasty meal when I get home from work - cool". Then you found out that only certain recipes seemed to work well in the crockpot, er, slow cooker. You bought crockpot cookbooks, and found while many of them were beautifully designed with multiple and elaborate fonts, blank spaces for notes, line drawings of cute little collections of vegetables, the recipes either contained about 20 different ingredients or else the recipe required so much pre-browning, pre-saut?ing, post-blending, post-broiling of the ingredients that it would just be quicker to cook the darn recipe once you got home from work.
I am really happy to say that "Slow Cooker Revolution" is the first sensible slow cooker cookbook in my collection of them. The book is very well designed. There is a page devoted to each recipe, and most recipes have a picture of the finished product. There is a list of ingredients, and from what I saw, everything there is available in my local supermarket. Each recipe starts off with a paragraph entitled, "Why It Works", in which the authors explain the choices behind certain ingredients or methods and why they work better than others. The recipes are clear-cut and easy to follow. Each recipe also an additional segment - either a "quick prep tip" or a "smart shopping" hint or an "on the side" short recipe. They also recommend products in these segments that have been determined to be the best in their other test processes (if you've ever watched "America's Test Kitchen" on PBS you'll know the tests I'm talking about); I like that they name names of the products.
As I read through the recipes, I found myself thinking, "that sounds really tasty" and more importantly, "I can do that". The recipes include both standards and favorites, you know, the kind of food that you would actually cook at home (or order in a favorite restaurant) and that your family would actually eat. The recipes are not just reprints of older crockpot recipes; they have reworked some basics and created totally new versions of others. There is not a lot of elaborate pre-preparation in these recipes. Sensibly, they recommend using the microwave to pre-cook some of the vegetables to both make sure they'll cook thoroughly in the recipe and to release more of the aromatics into the recipe. We're talking like five minutes in the microwave, so that's no big hardship. Some of the recipes do call for browning or saut?ing certain meats or vegetables; I suppose there is no real way to avoid that since the name of the game is adding flavor to a process whose innate nature would tend to lose the flavor of some ingredients due to the long cooking time. There are a number of recipes highlighted as "Easy Prep" - they are the ones that are basically "throw everything into the slow cooker and turn it on".
What I also like about this cookbook are the extras, the pages that highlight things you should know about the ingredients you're using, e.g. "All About Broths", "Pasta 101", "All About Beef", "All About Using The Microwave And The Slow Cooker", etc. Very useful. This cookbook is definitely going to be a keeper for me, and I might be buying some other copies for the other cooks in my family. This is a good and useful gifting item.Help other customers find the most helpful reviews Was this review helpful to you?
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one!, January 26, 2011 This review is from: Slow Cooker Revolution (Paperback) Customer review from the Amazon Vine? Program (What's this?) This is THE ONE if you are thinking of buying a slow cooker cook book. Actually, this is much more than a cookbook. This book is completely logical, clearly written, with a well-thought-through page layout, and is visually delightful.
There is very useful information on different types of slow cookers, how to determine if your cooker works "hotter" or not from others and very simple keys to success, besides all the mouth watering recipes (200 of them!). Every page makes it worth the asking price. We got so hungry reading the recipes that we quickly made the cranberry sauce. Wow! The best sauce we have ever had and so easy!
There are 13 chapters separated into various types of foods; e.g. Pasta sauces, "on the side", soups, chilies, casseroles and even desserts. Each recipe includes why the recipe works and some kind of tip such as "smart shopping" which includes a description and picture of an ingredient. This is especially helpful to home cooks who might be unfamiliar with ingredients like curry paste--what it is, where to get it, and what to look for in purchasing it.
There are also dozens of "quick prep tips"--pictures such as trimming blade steak, shredding meat, bruising lemon grass, etc. Many recipes include a very suitable "on the side" dish. There are several full page descriptions with pictures to explain techniques developed by the authors such as making foil collars and slings when cooking some items, correctly cooking pasta, all about herbs, carving a chicken and all about chicken in the slow cooker and the most handy of all, "all about beef" which describes all the types of cuts of beef and the best use for them.
In our home, we have been huge fans of slow cookers for a long time and believe we are quite capable as cooks. We know a lot of different ingredients, terms, tips, have dozens of cookbooks etc. but, if we had to choose only one cook book to save in a disaster THIS IS THE ONE!
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars A great slow cooker cookbook, January 27, 2011 This review is from: Slow Cooker Revolution (Paperback) Customer review from the Amazon Vine? Program (What's this?) So why another slow cooker book? Well, this is from America's Test Kitchen - some crazy organization that tries to find the best way of preparing all kinds of meals. Unlike other slow cooker recipe books, this one is more authoritative. For instance, unlike other slow cooker cookbooks, it gives recommendations for the "best" slow cooker - well, they did test seven of them, and set up a whole rack to have two dozen running for their tests. It also has tips for what brand ingredients tasted the best (what's the best barbecue sauce to use? maple syrup? canned tomatoes? corn tostadas?), or what shape pork loin to buy, or how to make a tidy burrito. Or how to make the recipes taste more "meaty" by using secret ingredients such as ... soy sauce! Interesting.
Each recipe starts with a description and rationale of why it's done this way ("Why this recipe works" section). For example, what tastes are important about the dish? How did they replicate the barbecue feel and taste for their ribs? How did they duplicate the key flavors of French Onion Soup or Cassoulet? What worked and what didn't? This is always informative and helps you understand the rationale behind the recipe.
Their goal was to include lots of "easy prep" recipes for the "time-pressed home cook", and these are identified as such in the chapter listings. Some require microwaving aromatics mixed with chopped onion, etc. to be mixed into the pot, or microwaving beef bones to add flavor. However, there are some that require more complex prep. The Chicken Gumbo, for example, has you preparing the roux first, by roasting and stirring the flour then baking it for 45 minutes. Others require cooking and whisking of certain ingredients before adding to the mix. Jerk chicken requires some steps in the oven to char the chicken after slow-cooking, and so do some other dishes, for the most impressive results. Some dishes require 5 to 20 minutes waiting or fiddling around with after slow cooking (some dishes make you create a little foil tent while waiting), so be aware of this when planning.
There are recipes for soups, stews, braises, chilis, barbeque, pasta sauces, meatballs, meatloaves, enchiladas, tacos, casseroles, eggs, brunch, side dishes, desserts, etc. However, something like Mashed Potatoes does take 4-6 hours to cook, so you may need to plan or have more than one slow cooker.
The recipes cover a wide variety of cuisines - Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, French, etc. - so you shouldn't get bored. This book is a great addition to your slow cooker library.Help other customers find the most helpful reviews Was this review helpful to you?
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