The crockpot has been my hobby lately and by lately I mean 2 Mondays and Oscar night. One word, two syllables: su-ucks.
I consider myself adept at managing heat in the kitchen, and sharp things, along with flavor. Alchemy and magic are my tools, if you would call them that, but everyone knows "...the extra ingredient is love"; to quote Betty Crocker. Well, crap if I know where the love is in this crockpot cookin' baybay. Heinous.
Two other coworkers and I are crockpot cookers (CPC)! We are in the beginning stages of swapping recipes with the secrecy and snobbery of an elite sorority: CPC. Getting my monogrammed picture frame now! Apparently there is a difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker although I already forgot the difference. My beast is a 4quart crockpot (I think).
I think what has been going wrong is, one word: cauliflower. I have been craving it and it's boring to eat plain. So, let me cook it at a simmer with odd ingredients for 11 hours. Repeating: I.know.what.is.wrong. Cauliflower.
When you walk in the door to a crockpot supper you want the heart-warming aromas to entice you into the kitchen for a bowl-full of giddyness. I envision serving up a warm delightful bowl of nutrition for my baby girl. A bowl-full of goodness that she'll shovel into her little mouth and fill up her cheeks with. Little chipmunk cheeks full of tender carrots and perfect peas and magic. I.want.magic. Some crockpot magic. That's ALL I want! That's what I expect! That's NOT what I have been producing! Instead I got stench and uniform overcooked-ness.
Now, because beans are affordable I have been adding them too. And beer because it's been sitting in the pantry for 4 years. I.am.not.kidding. And a whole onion. As I type it seems like this should be the foundation for a dynamo chili. But no.
Through eating nasty food I am "educating my palate". I used to say this also to justify drinking lots of decadent $40 Pinots and less-posh bottles of swirl. Education. Well, I have learned to resurrect a nasty brown and foul smelling dinner with either canned tomatoes or frozen corn. Does that count? Acidity or sweet crunchiness. Take note! I figure it's a good challenge and I don't want to waste the food. Even the doggies got a taste. I blended and have frozen some of the resurrected mush for soups potentially later, or WW3. Blecgh.
Anyway it's not the end of the world and our bellies are full of healthiness. Thankfully healthy food doesn't have to taste this bad. When I don't use my crockpot, my healthy food doesn't usually taste bad. And, I still have that bottle of champagne unopened from the weekend. ;) Sigh.
My next attempt will be without cauliflower and will include some chunk of low-grade beef that is meant to have the h*ll cooked out of it. Yes. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.