The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World

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  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-03-02
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
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The Gourmet Slow Cooker and The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Volume II showed home cooks everywhere that a slow cooker is perfectly capable of turning out meals that are sophisticated enough to serve to guests. It's simply a matter of using imaginative recipes that bring together fresh, flavor-packed ingredients-and then setting the timer. In The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker, author Lynn Alley offers up more than fifty dishes, each one vegetarian, some of them vegan, and all of them delicious. The recipes are drawn from the world's great cuisines and include breakfasts, soups, main courses, sides, and desserts. Dishes, such as Spiced Basmati Rice Breakfast Cereal, Smoky Potage Saint-Germain, Polenta Lasagna with Tomato-Mushroom Sauce, Soy-Braised Potatoes, and Mexican Chocolate Pudding Cake, are each paired with a beverage that is meant to complement the meal. Whether you are a vegetarian hard-pressed to find enticing recipes for your slow cooker, an omnivore looking to expand your repertoire, or a follower of a vegetable-focused diet, The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker will help you put many delightful meat-free dinners on the table with convenience and ease.

Author Biography

LYNN ALLEY is a freelance food and wine journalist who specializes in traditional foods and culinary techniques from around the world. The author of The Gourmet Slow Cooker, The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Volume II, The Gourmet Toaster Oven, and Lost Arts: A Celebration of Culinary Traditions, she is a frequent contributor to the Wine Spectator website and magazine, and has written articles for the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union Tribune, Fine Cooking, Cook’s Illustrated, The Herb Companion, Natural Home, and Organic Style magazine. Alley has also taught cooking classes around the western United States. She resides in San Diego, California.


As I wrote in the introduction toThe Gourmet Slow Cooker, my first experiments with a slow cooker involved beans.
I was living in a mobile home on a farm in Davis, California, for several months, and the only equipment in the old kitchen was a vintage 1970s slow cooker and a very clunky, battle-scarred frying pan. The drive in to town was more than just the hop down the road I was used to at home, so I tried to buy up at the beginning of the week and keep it really simple.
The solution to the problem seemed to be beans. I went to the Davis Co-op and bought as many different kinds of beans as they had. Each day, I’d put a different kind of bean on to cook in the slow cooker. When the beans were tender, I’d add some good salt and choose an herb or two from the small herb garden outside the double-wide. A dash of olive oil gave my beans a bit of staying power.
And that was how I learned to appreciate the fact that not all beans taste the same. And not all beans have the same color or texture, for that matter.
This was a terrific experiment for me. It enabled me to experience something that country folk throughout the world have long known: how to take what you’ve got in the back forty and turn it into something that will keep you happy and well nourished.
In Italy, such cooking has been dubbedla cucina povera, roughly translated as “the cooking of the poor,” or, more graciously, “country cooking.” It doesn’t entail using exotic and expensive ingredients from around the world. It involves the artful combining and preparing of what is at hand.
Examples abound throughout this book. Think of the simple Cracked Wheat Berries with Honey and Ricotta breakfast, or the Risotto with Lentils from the Italian chapter. Or the French Alpine Cheese, Tomato, and Onion Soup which utilizes summer tomatoes, onions, bread, and cheese from France’s alpine regions. Or the Scalloped Potatoes Auvergnats, which calls for potatoes and blue cheese made in the central French region of Auvergne. Or the Baby Limas with Spinach of the Greek chapter. Or the Armenian Apricot Soup, which juxtaposes apricots from the region of their birth with the humble lentil.
Although I am a food and wine writer, and have partaken of many very elegant meals prepared by professional kitchen artists and craftspeople, I admit that some of my favorite meals have been the simplest. Fried okra, just picked from a friend’s garden and piping hot on a paper towel. Warm, fresh-picked tomatoes that have never seen the inside of the refrigerator, dusted with a pinch of salt. Bread fresh from a Spanish oven with a cooling gazpacho of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
Those wonderful slow-cooked beans, too, remain in my heart and in my pantry. (Nowadays, I often slowcook a pot full of beans, salt them, then freeze them in individual portions so that I have something on hand either to eat unembellished or to use as a base for a soup, stew, or salad when the need arises.)
It is my hope that the recipes in this book will honor the traditions of those people who have used what they had in their kitchens, pantries, and gardens in countries around the world.
Some of the dishes (such as the Italian and French recipes) come from cultures where “bare bones basic” works. Some (like the Indian and Mexican recipes) come from cultures that have traditionally drawn upon a more complex mélange of ingredients and cooking techniques.
All the dishes, however, are vegetable-based and reflective of the cultures from which they are drawn, and hence timely for the modern American kitchen, in terms of both health interests and economic considerations, in a world where many of us are realizing that we can live well and

Excerpted from Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World by Lynn Alley
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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