FOOD FOTO: Crock Pot Love

Not feeling fabulous, yet again, creates a genuine need for uncomplicated cooking.  My eyes shift to the Crock Pot, my $18 little (not really that little, actually) dream investment.  I read a comment on a cooking site the other day, that referred to the Crock Pot as something in which to cook things like Velveeta and Hamburger Helper, natch.  Well, I know mine has never seen either of those, mostly because I can't eat them, but also because of the wealth of wonderful possibilities of this quite laissez-faire method of cooking.  Many refer to this fabulous machine as a slow cooker, which it is, but mine is actually a Crock Pot - not a fancy new space age one, though it is programmable (time by the half hour and high - low - warm), and never gets too hot.

Two things I had yet to cook in Baron Crock Pot: apple butter, which I've never cooked at all, and steel cut oats.  I'd heard chatter over the internets about an overnight oatmeal of sorts, which sounded amazing.  In short, both were cooked over two nights - the apple butter on low for 15 hours then finished in the food processor, and the oats for 9 hours on low.  On the advice of many, rather than cooking the oats directly in the stoneware, I used the Baron instead as a bain-marie, or waterbath, with the oats and liquid in an ovenproof glass bowl.  I added some dried fruit, nuts, and honey to the oats when I woke up, and cooked on high for another hour.  Both were delicious - I'm fine-tuning the recipes, and I'll post next time I give them a go.

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