Your slow cooker is a master at culinary diversity. With a collection of recipes using unusual ingredients, you can accomplish feats of cooking delights you might not have imagined, making the slow cooker the most treasured possession in your kitchen. So, put away your cans of cream of blank soup now, and get creative.
From appetizers, to the main course, and on to the dessert, your slow cooker can do it all. Not to mention, you can travel the world of cuisine with just this one kitchen appliance. Let's take a look at some of the unusual slow cooker cuisine you can dish up for your next meal:
Your slow cooker can do routine appetizers, and more, extremely well, so don't limit your slow cooker to tiny sausages. Instead, create a whole array of different flavored chicken wings in the slow cooker. How about Lumpia, Egg Rolls, or Wasabi peas? They are all possible with your trusty slow cooker.
The slow cooker can easily accommodate a number of appetizers with its steady heat, portable nature and ease of use. No matter what you are in the mood for, chances are your slow cooker can help create your favorite pre-meal snack, even those exotic snacks you crave but have been hesitant to try.
The main dish is where your slow cooker can really shine. You will be surprised at the number of different countries you can visit from the comfort of your own kitchen with the help of a simple slow cooker and a few unusual ingredients. From France to India, you can go on a world tour with only the amount of money needed to prepare the dish. From capers to curry, your creativity is the only limit.
Don't stop there. Use the foods you may be familiar with, too, in a whole new way. Tenderize meat by cooking in a cola drink. Choose fun fruit, like papaya and star fruit, in your slow cooker to give your regular Hawaiian Chicken dish a new look, and taste. Cook with wine. Buy fresh herbs and add them to the last half hour of cooking and taste the flavor explosion. Your slow cooker is the star chef, but you get all the credit. Try outrageous ingredients in a whole new way to create a wonderfully delicious dish.
We know you can make a simple apple crisp in the slow cooker, but what can you make that will surprise your family and friends? Try a bread and butter pudding, or how about a chocolate coffee pudding, carrot souffle, or a variety of tiramisu. All of these interesting desserts can be cooked to perfection in your slow cooker.
All desserts at not necessarily cakes, pies, or pudding. How about a nice bowl of warm, mixed nuts spiced to perfection in your slow cooker. You can enjoy warm granola cooked in your slow cooker, served over a bowl of Gelato. Choose unusual fruits and simmer slowly until you have a nice compote to serve over rich ice cream or alone with just a swirl of heavy cream on top. Quite a change from ice cream and chocolate syrup. And, speaking of chocolate, don't forget your slow cooker is the perfect appliance for melting dipping chocolate. Perhaps dessert tonight could be a chocolate fondue event.
Tips For A Great Slow Cooker Fondue
There are three basic cooking medium for fondue: cheese, chocolate, and oil. Since all three can be successfully heated in a crock pot, the slow cooker is a natural fit for fondue. Add that to the fact that a slow cooker is portable and has the ability to keep foods at a steady temperature for a long period of time, and who would want to fondue any other way. Considering also that the slow cooker doesn't use an exposed flame and the outside surface is somewhat cooler to the touch, you've got yourself a perfect party-time fondue set up. Let's take a look at how to go about creating your own fondue using any of the three basic elements:
When you are making cheese fondue in a slow cooker, it is important to know about the cheese you are heating. Will it get stringy? Will it release a lot of oil? How easy will it melt? All great questions to ask when choosing what cheese to use in a fondue. Knowing your cheese will help you pick out the perfect compliment to your fondue. Will it have a smokey flavor, or be a little sharp or salty? Basic cheese fondue recipes call for cheeses like sharp Cheddar, Gruyere, and Swiss, often with other ingredients like white wine, garlic, and even a touch of flour to bind the cheeses together.
Another thought to consider when planning a cheese fondue is what types of food to dip. The classic hearty bread chunks is the first thought, of course. But what else can you dip in hot cheese? Naturally, fresh vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower come to mind, but there are other foods that are less common. Consider crisp Granny Smith apples, for instance, or sweet red bell peppers. Be creative; fondue is nothing if not fun.
Always a crowd pleaser, chocolate fondue can work as an appetizer or a dessert. Your slow cooker makes an excellent chocolate fondue pot due to the fact that it will melt the chocolate at a low, steady temperature, which lessens the risk of scalding the chocolate. You'll also be able to keep the chocolate warm for a long period of time, keeping it in its liquid state rather than becoming solid again. The recipe can be as simple as melting chunks of chocolate with a little cream, or you can kick it up a bit with ingredients like coffee, liqueur, or even a pinch of chili pepper.
What you choose to dip in the chocolate depends on your own preference. The classic chocolate dipped strawberries would be first on any list. Be sure to add apples, bananas, cherries, pineapple, or any fruit you want to try to that list. You may also want to dip chunks of bread or a sturdy Angel Food cake or pound cake. Don't forget pretzels or cookies; you'll just have to get creative when it comes to the utensils you'll use to dip them.
Making fondue with oil can be a bit tricky, if not downright dangerous. In a tiny fondue pot on little legs, one small bump and the whole pot could tip over. On the other hand, a slow cooker is a solid appliance which won't be likely to topple. This fact alone makes this vessel a great container for your oil fondue. Add in the ability to hold a steady temperature over a long period of time and your fondue decision has never be easier. With oil, you want to bring it up to temperature, then hold the heat steady. In some slow cookers that requires the temperature to be set at high, then turned to low. Each slow cooker is different, so be sure to experiment before the party. Also, choose a high-heat oil, such as peanut oil, so you won't end up with a smoky slow cooker.
This cooking method is all about meat and seafood. Use lean cuts of beef, like the tenderloin, for best results. Be sure to cut the meat into uniform pieces. Shrimp should be on the small side so they cook all the way through quickly. You may also want to cook up some mushrooms and vegetables for a feast fit for royalty. It's best to let the raw food sit out for a bit at room temperature to take off the chill, as extremely cold food will cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in soggy or undercooked food. On a side note, you can also use this same method and replace the oil with broth for a healthier take on this classic fondue favorite.