Monday, 24 March 2014

The Healthy Slow Cooker

The Healthy Slow Cooker
135 Gluten-Free Recipes 
for Health and Wellness
by Judith Finlayson 
paperback, 352 pages

Evolution. We all take part in it. Some of us faster than others. Some of us slower. And life evolves and the times evolve. And eating trends and health concerns evolve. 

In the eighties everyone was fat-free (you know, 'cept chubby ole me). Now we know a certain amount of "good fat" is good for you. That we need some carbs and starches to live. That protein is essential. And how to balance proteins and how to read a nutritional guide. 

Also allergies and intolerances are on the rise. Food-wise. And that is what hits home the most. That food can hurt.

The Healthy Slow Cooker second edition focuses on the modern demands of somewhat restricted diets as well as the people that want to concentrate on eating healthy while avoiding triggering foods as well as dealing with time constraints.

Contents Include:
Nutrient Analysis
Using Your Slow Cooker
Starters and Snacks
Fish and Seafood
Beef and Veal
Pork and Lamb
Vegetarian Mains
Sides and Sauces
Diabetes Food Values
Selected Resource

Creamy Morning Millet with Apples, page 20, Breakfast, Vegetarian

If you’re tired of the same old breakfast, perk up your taste buds and expand your nutritional range by enjoying millet as a cereal. This recipe provides fiber and is a good way to start your day if you are looking to increase your intake of this nutrient, among others. It is also a good source of vitamin B12, which is difficult to obtain from food if you are a vegan. Don’t worry about making more than you need. You can refrigerate leftovers for up to two days and reheat by portions in the microwave.

•    Small to medium (11⁄2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker
•    Lightly greased slow cooker stoneware

1 cup    millet (see Tips)    250 mL
3 to    fortified rice milk or organic soy milk     750 mL
4 cups    (see Tips)    to 1 L
3    apples, peeled, cored and chopped    3
1⁄4 tsp    sea salt    1 mL
    Chopped pitted dates, fresh berries
    and toasted nuts, optional

1.    In prepared slow cooker stoneware, combine millet, rice milk, apples and salt. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or on Low for 8 hours or overnight. Stir well, spoon into bowls and sprinkle with fruit and/or nuts, if using.

Use plain or vanilla-flavored rice milk. Vary the quantity of rice milk to suit your preference. Three cups (750 mL) produces a firmer result. If you like your cereal to be creamy, use the larger quantity. If using soy milk, be sure to purchase an organic version. Otherwise it is likely to be made from genetically modified soy beans.
Don’t pass on sprinkling your cereal with nuts (see Mindful Morsels, right) because you’re counting calories. About one‑third of the calories in nuts (and seeds) are provided by resistant starch, which means they are not absorbed into your bloodstream.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Can Be Halved (see Tips, below)

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Thai-Style Coconut Fish Curry, page 52, Seafood

This luscious dish has everything going for it: a centerpiece of succulent fish, a sauce of creamy coconut accented with zesty Asian flavors and an abundance of tasty vegetables to complement the mix. Serve this over brown basmati rice to add nutrients and fiber and complete the meal.

•    Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker

1 tbsp    olive or extra virgin coconut oil    15 mL
2    onions, finely chopped    2
4    cloves garlic, minced    4
1 tbsp    minced gingerroot    15 mL
1 tsp    finely grated lime zest    5 mL
1 cup    vegetable stock    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    fish stock     125 mL
2 tbsp    freshly squeezed lime juice    30 mL
2 tsp    Thai green curry paste (see Tips)    10 mL
1 cup    coconut milk    250 mL
2 tbsp    gluten-free fish sauce    30 mL
2 lbs    firm white fish, such as snapper,     1 kg
    skin removed, cut into bite-size pieces, if desired
2 cups    drained rinsed canned bamboo     500 mL
    shoot strips
2 cups    sweet green peas, thawed if frozen    500 mL
1    red bell pepper, diced    1
1⁄2 cup    finely chopped cilantro leaves    125 mL
    Toasted sesame seeds, optional

1.    In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and lime zest and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add vegetable and fish stock and stir well. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours.

2.    In a bowl, combine lime juice and curry paste. Add to slow cooker stoneware and stir well. Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, fish, bamboo shoots, green peas and red pepper. Cover and cook on High for 20 to 30 minutes, until fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork and mixture is hot. Garnish with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds, if using.

If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (11⁄2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker.
Check the label to make sure your curry paste does not contain unwanted additives, such as gluten.

Makes 8 servings

Can Be Halved

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Moroccan-Style Lamb with Raisins and Apricots, page 227, Lamb

This classic tagine-style recipe, in which lamb is braised in spices and honey, is an appetizing combination of savory and sweet. I like to serve it with gluten-free quinoa, which adds a new world twist to this Middle Eastern dish.

•    Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker

1 to 2 tbsp olive oil    15 to 30 mL
2 lbs    trimmed stewing lamb, cut into     1 kg
    1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1    onion, finely chopped    1
1 tbsp    minced gingerroot    15 mL
1 tbsp    ground cumin    15 mL
1 tsp    ground coriander    5 mL
1 tsp    grated lemon zest    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    salt    2 mL
1⁄2 tsp    cracked black peppercorns (approx.) (see Tip)    2 mL
1    piece (1 inch/2.5 cm) cinnamon stick    1
1⁄2 cup    chicken stock    125 mL
1 tbsp    freshly squeezed lemon juice    15 mL
1 tbsp    liquid honey    15 mL
    Salt, optional
1 cup    dried apricots, chopped    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    raisins    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    finely chopped cilantro leaves    125 mL

1.    In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb, in batches, and cook, stirring, adding more oil if necessary, until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

2.    Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Add ginger, cumin, coriander, lemon zest, salt, peppercorns and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil.

3.    Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until lamb is tender. Add lemon juice and honey and stir well. Season to taste with salt, if using. Stir in apricots and raisins. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until fruit is warmed through. Garnish with cilantro. Discard cinnamon stick.

If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (11⁄2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker.
I prefer a peppery base in this dish to balance the sweetness of the apricots and raisins, so I usually use a whole teaspoon (5 mL) of cracked black peppercorns in this recipe. But I’m a pepper lover, so use your own judgment.

Makes 8 servings

Can Be Halved

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.