It's all about the crock pot! 10:18 p.m. 2003-03-06

My mother has said recently that I might have obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is because I have a tendency to get REALLY into things for a short period of time, and then I move on to something else.

All I have to say to that is...Look at my new CROCKPOT. Ahem, slow cooker.

When I got married, I received three - count 'em - three crockpots. I either regifted them, or traded them in for something else. I had no idea how to use one, and a little bird (my mom) said that she couldn't see me needing one.

I eat lunch with a group of teachers, and lately, all they have been talking about is slow cooking. They have been exchanging recipes, and even my French friend has acquired one. That was big. The French woman has a slow cooker.

Then, I received this month's issue of Cooking Light. In it were some really unusual recipes...for the slow cooker.

And she's off!

I went on the Internet, scouting out recipes. None of your middle America, boring franks and beans. Forget about the pot roast. I was looking at civet de canard, osso buco, posole, flageolets, all sorts of yummy foreign foods.

Then I went about pricing cookers. After a lengthy trip to the Mall, I ended up with a Rival 6 quart programmable slow cooker. In solid white (that was another problem - we could not have any tacky fruit or vegetables or retro designs).

After purchasing one at Rich's for $49.99, I cruised into Sears, where it was $39.99. So back to Rich's I went for a return.

There are plenty of recipes on the Internet, but I have my eye on a couple of cookbooks. There is the one from whence came the Cooking Light recipes, but I have so far only purchased this super-looking cookbook called Real Stew. It has recipes from all over the world, and Slow Cookers for Dummies said that any stew recipe is "easily adaptable" to the crock pot. We'll see...

So, Monday night, I spent almost an hour browning sausage, and chopping herbs for white beans (I couldn't find flageolets at Harry's). I set it to cook in the morning (one problem - the Rival cooker has 4 settings: High- 4 hours to 6 hours and Low-8 hours to 10 hours). So, of course, the recipe called for a setting of High - 8 hours. I went ahead and put it on for Low - 10 hours.

Am I boring you? tough WAKE UP!

The beans were delicious, but... how do I say this? Soft? Mushy? Even the sausage was something one could have served to a baby. My husband thought they were great. I am thinking that I will: (1.) buy coarser sausage and (2.) cook them for a shorter time.

My second foray was Tamarind Sweet Potato Bisque. It's great - and there is a LOT of it!

I just have one more thing to make this week - Thai Spiced Braised Chicken Thighs. I'll let you know how it goes!


P.S.- Can I just say how sucky this week has been in TV? Boston Public was pre-empted by a LAME match-up show, Buffy was a re-run, and now...Thursday was pre-empted by the stupid President.

Now, before you go all "you should be concerned for we are going to war" on me. Let me just say this: My friends know that I prefer to be Scarlett O'Hara in these matters (Fiddle dee dee!) AND I hate press conferences where the SAME questions are asked and answered over and over again. HATE THAT!

I'm going to bed. We are going to see "Bringing down the House" tomorrow night. I hope that it is not a let-down.

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