"COOKS ALL DAY WHILE THE COOK'S AWAY"-CROCK-POT AD FROM 1976
TODAY'S TIP TO THROW DOWN WITH OUR FRIENDS AT THE FIREFIGHTER THROWDOWN IS ALL ABOUT THE SLOW COOKER. MOST HOUSEHOLDS AND FIREHOUSES USE A SLOW COOKER BRAND FAMOUSLY KNOWN AS THE CROCK-POT. THE CROCK-POT WAS INVENTED BY A JEWISH MAN IN 1936 WHO WAS INSPIRED BY A TRADITIONAL BEAN DISH CALLED CHOLENT. HIS MOTHER WOULD MAKE THE DISH FOR THE JEWISH SABBATH, THE JEWS DAY OF REST. THE POT OF BEANS WOULD GO IN AN OVEN FRIDAY NIGHT JUST BEFORE SABBATH, AND WHEN THE OVEN WAS TURNED OFF THE RESIDUAL HEAT WOULD BE JUST ENOUGH TO COOK THE BEANS. SINCE IT'S INCEPTION, THE FAMOUS SLOW COOKER CALLED THE CROCK-POT HAS HAD SOME CHANGES INCLUDING REMOVE-ABLE INSERTS, INSERTS THAT CAN BE USED ON THE STOVE TOP AND EVEN WI FI VERSIONS.
Slow cookers are a tool that has become more common in busy households, allowing for delicious meals ready when everyone gets home from work or school. And just like at home, they are a great tool in the firehouse kitchen. There are many sizes available, with the largest usually in the 6-7 qt. range. These could easily feed 6-7 firefighters depending on what you are making. While the more advanced Crock-Pots can cost over $100, you can find a basic 7 qt. slow-cooker for as little as $35. At that price, it would make sense to buy two if need be to feed everyone. Now let's talk about how we can use this convenient device......
Slow cookers seem to have a stigma attached to them, that they are only good for chili, pulled pork and beef stew. While this is all true, they are capable of a lot more. Just like on the fire-ground, cooking with a slow cooker requires some thinking outside the box. There are so many healthy dishes that can be adapted to a slow cooker. Here are a few ideas the next time you want a nice dinner waiting for you....even after your day of daily chores, training, and going on runs.
- Cacciatore ( a hearty Italian dish of chicken, peppers, onions and mushrooms)
- Curry (great over rice)
- Chicken Adobo ( the sweet, sour and salty dish of the Phillipines )
- Ground beef (or chicken and turkey) stuffed peppers
- Ropa Vieja ( A shredded beef dish typically made with flank steak and a Sofrito sauce )
- Beef Tacos
- Pork tenderloin with apples
- Pork roast with sauerkraut
- Pretty much any soup such as kale and beans, split pea and butternut squash can be adapted to the slow cooker
- Baked beans
- Corn chowder
- Eggplant Bolognese sauce
Stay tuned for this weeks Throwdown Thursday when I will use a fellow firefighter's recipe as inspiration for a healthier version of Pork Carnitas in the slow cooker!