Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook

Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook
200 Delicious Recipes
by Sally Vaughan-Johnston and The Bridge Ladies
Spiral-bound,352 pages

It's no secret that I love my slow cooker. In fact I have three of them: small, medium and large. I am a big fan of the slow cooker and all that it can do. As the Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook says, "Slow cookers are like good friends. The better you get to know them, the stronger your relationship becomes." 

The book shows you how to choose a slow cooker that is best for your needs, what to look for in ingredients, how to prep the night before, and all the ins and outs of successful slow cooking. One thing I love best about the slow cooker? It does wonders with tough cuts of meat, so your little machine will save your budget while delivering mouth-watering meals.

Chapters include:

    All-Day Breakfast
    Nibbles, Dips and Drinks
    Beef and Veal
    Pork and Lamb
    Chicken and Turkey
    Meatless Mains
    Sides and Accompaniments

There are 200 recipes for any time of day - try a couple in your home this week!

Sunrise-Sunset Apple Bacon Strata (page 22)
This works for brunch or supper. Serve with maple syrup in the morning or a green salad at night.

6    slices bacon, chopped    6
6    eggs    6
1 cup    half-and-half (10%) cream or    250 mL
    whole milk
2 tsp    chopped fresh thyme (or 1⁄4 tsp/    10 mL
    1 mL dried)
1 tsp    Dijon mustard    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    salt    2 mL
1⁄8 tsp    pepper    0.5 mL
4 cups    cubed white bread (see tip, opposite)    1 L
4    green onions, chopped    4
2    red-skinned apples (unpeeled),     2
2 cups    shredded smoked Gouda or    500 mL
    extra-sharp (extra-old) Cheddar
    cheese, divided

Grease the insert of a 31⁄2- to 4-quart slow cooker. In a skillet, brown bacon over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper. Place half the bread in prepared slow cooker. Arrange cooked bacon, green onions, apples and 1 cup (250 mL) cheese on top. Pour in half the egg mixture and scatter with remaining bread. Pour in remaining egg mixture, gently pushing bread down to submerge. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Transfer insert to slow cooker base. cook on High for 2 to 21⁄2 hours, until set and puffed. Turn off slow cooker. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top; cover and let stand for 10 minutes, until cheese melts.
Serves 6.

Tip: For best results, use stale bread, as it better absorbs the egg mixture. To dry the bread, you can leave it uncovered at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight before assembling the strata.

Tip: Stratas are a great way to use up bread that’s a few days old. Stale bread lends structure to the strata and prevents it from becoming too soggy.

Excerpted from Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook by Sally Vaughan-Johnston & The Best of Bridge Publishing Ltd. © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tortilla Soup (page 92)
Quick to assemble — ideal for mad midweek mornings. It cooks all day; just add the finishing touches when you get home.

3    cloves garlic, minced    3
1    large onion, finely chopped    1
1    can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes,     1
    with juice
2 cups    chopped cooked chicken    500 mL
1 cup    corn kernels (no need to thaw    250 mL
    if frozen)
1 tbsp    ground cumin    15 mL
1 tbsp    dried oregano    15 mL
    Salt and pepper
4 cups    chicken broth    1 L
2 cups    crushed corn tortilla chips,     500 mL
1 tbsp    chopped fresh cilantro    15 mL
1 tsp    chipotle chile powder (see tip,     5 mL
2 tbsp    freshly squeezed lime juice    30 mL
    Shredded Tex-Mex cheese blend
    or Cheddar cheese
    Sour cream

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine garlic, onion, tomatoes, chicken, corn, cumin, oregano, 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) salt, 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) pepper and broth. Cover and cook on Low for about 8 hours or on High for about 4 hours, until onions are tender and soup is bubbling. Stir in half the tortilla chips and the cilantro. In a small bowl, combine chipotle chile powder and lime juice until smooth. Stir into soup. Cook on High for 20 minutes, until tortilla chips are softened and soup is thickened. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.

Serves 4.

Tip: Jars of chipotle chile powder are available in most supermarkets. The reddish-brown powder is made from dried smoked jalapeño peppers. It lends an authentic Mexican touch to soups, stews and chilis. Regular chili powder can be substituted if you prefer to not have a smoky flavor.

Excerpted from Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook by Sally Vaughan-Johnston & The Best of Bridge Publishing Ltd. © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Banoffee Pie (page 300)
An irresistible British dessert. The toffee sauce is easy to make in the slow cooker.

1    can (14 oz or 300 mL) sweetened    1
    condensed milk
    Very hot water
2 cups    crushed digestive cookies    500 mL
1⁄2 cup    melted butter    125 mL
2    bananas, sliced    2
1 cup    heavy or whipping (35%) cream    250 mL
    Grated chocolate

Use a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour milk into a 2-cup (500 mL) glass measuring cup, cover with foil and place in slow cooker. Add very hot water to the slow cooker until it reaches the level of the milk. Cover and cook on Low for about 9 hours, until milk is very thick and caramel-colored. Whisk thoroughly, then let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine cookies and butter. Pat into the base and up the sides of an 8-inch (20 cm) pie plate. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Arrange bananas over chilled base. Pour toffee sauce over bananas. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled, or overnight. In a bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Serves 6.

Make Ahead: Transfer the cooled toffee sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Tip: For best results when whipping cream, be sure that the cream is very cold. Also, chill the bowl and beaters in the freezer for a short while beforehand. Use a deep bowl to prevent spatters. Recipes usually specify whipping the cream to soft peaks (which bend over slightly) or firm peaks (which are more pointy and upright). Be careful not to over-whip cream. If it starts to look grainy, you have gone too far. You may be able to rescue over-whipped cream by adding a little more unwhipped cream to the bowl and whipping on low speed.

Excerpted from Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook by Sally Vaughan-Johnston & The Best of Bridge Publishing Ltd. © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.