The Meal That Makes Itself: Slow Cooking Guides for Summer
In the blaze of summer, one of the least appetizing tasks is slaving away making a meal in an overheated kitchen. Slow cooking can provide the perfect solution to hot-oven fatigue: It can be as quick and easy as throwing ingredients into a pot and pressing the "on" switch in the morning, so a delicious meal will be waiting for you at dinnertime. These cookbooks offer minimum-toil recipes that are perfect for a summer dinner party or for stress-free eating at home.
Deborah Schneider's recipes require little work beyond throwing simple ingredients into a slow cooker and serving the end-result--be it a soup, enchilada dish or rustic rice-and-beans concoction--with warm corn tortillas. While the dishes fall within traditional Mexican cuisine and Mexican street food culture, the ingredients are basic (be sure to stock up on chilies, tomatoes, avocados and cilantro) and the instructions intuitive.
Vegan food writer Kathy Hester delivers 150 inventive recipes for slow-cooked, animal-product-free meals, from elaborate main courses ("Chorizo and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole") and offbeat soups ("Thai Coconut Pumpkin") to breads and desserts ("Exotic Cardamom Hot Chocolate"). Omnivores will appreciate meat-inspired dishes, such as the apple and meatless sausage stuffing, and diehard vegans will benefit from Hester's recipes for slow-cooked vegan staples including seitan and bouillon.
Drawing on the cuisines of Portugal, France, Greece and Morocco, to name just a few, author Diane Phillips gives readers slow-cooker recipes for 80 authentic Mediterranean dishes, from "Braised Basque Chicken" and "Short Ribs Bourguignon" to "Wild Mushroom and Truffle Lasagna." For readers less familiar with Continental flavors, the author includes a cheat sheet for recommended spices, ingredients and techniques, as well as in-depth instructions for using the slow cooker.
Making Indian food in a slow cooker is not only more convenient than traditional methods, but healthier, too, says Indian food blogger and TV personality Anupy Singla. Because slow cookers are great at keeping food moist, you can eschew many of the oils and fats that tend to tarnish the health benefits of Indian cuisine. While filling readers in on the basics of Indian cooking--pay special attention to the "Indian Spices 101" chapter--Singla offers her slow-cooking take on 50 classics, from palak paneer to spinach-and-lentil soup, that will transport you without taking time out of your day.