Category Archives: Vegetable

Vegetable products were used.

Slow Pho Soup

pho_sides
Pho Sides

I was a tad sick last week so thought I’d get some pho soup (did so & gave me idea…) – hence making me think crocking one would be a good idea.

This really isn’t that terribly hard, but I learned a few things in the process. So, “true” pho would mean me soaking bones & getting marrow out & whatnot. I’m kinda lazy so this wasn’t an option. But….I did learn nite before while picking up some last minute ingredients that I have a butcher in my neighborhood. I shall venture to use them in some of my crocks from now on. I kinda wish I’d have done it the old fashioned way. Alas, did not.

Had a fantastic conversation w/ guy from China (also nite before) & we talked about eating brains, livers, spleens & his fav tongue. So, I’m thinking about keeping it real when possible – expect more adventurous dishes. I digress… (btw, this is a Vietnamese dish)

Here it goes – main ingredients:

  • 6 cups beef broth or stock
  • 2 tblsp ginger (diced / shredded)
  • 3 sliced green onions
  • 1 lb thin sliced beef (used flank steak – more later on this)
  • 1 tblsp fish sauce
  • 1 tblsp t black pepper
  • 1 pkg rice noodles (DO NOT ADD TO COOKER) – this can be hard to find the correct ones too. I’m gonna ask next time I order pho.
  • 2 anise star
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Sides that added in afterwards:

  • mung bean sprouts
  • jalapenos (leave them in long enough to spice – do not eat)
  • thai basil (red basil)
  • 1/2 sliced onion (very thin) – actually put 1/2 in while cooking for flavor
  • more green onions
  • soy sauce / oyster sauce (just a bit, oyster sause is VERY salty & can have MSG, that is a no,no in my book)
  • rooster sauce (Sriracha) – although my love for this runs deep, I like to keep my soup naked
  • mint leaves
pho_main
Pho Dish

You’ll either need to slice your own beef or have butcher do this – would suggest having butcher do so.

I really wanted to slice my own. Did my best slicing thin, no go  – leave it to pro. On that note, have them slice the “leanest” beef possible. The flank steak came out fine – actually fell apart, but was SUPER greasy in the end once soup was cooling – the bowl got that yucky “fat ring”.

ALERT: cook the rice noodles separate – you can add them to broth (so if you have leftovers – noodles won’t be soggy)

  • Also on that note – I have never, ever been able to cook rice noodles correctly. Either they come out soggy/sticky or still semi-hard (giggle)

Lastly, my bad –  bought actual “pho broth” which I had no idea existed & was excited. Luckily, before adding anise, ginger & cinnamon read the box – it had all that stuff in broth. That was a good $10 bucks down the toilet. Maybe, I’ll make old fashioned anise for xmas…nope.

End result: excellent. Pretty damn close to the stuff from pho restaurant.

Oh, I bought amazing soup spoons that you can hook on side of bowl!

Indian Themed Game Hens

game_hens
I Shall Say...Red

Got game hens on a whim while I was at the grocery – they were super cheap & I remember my folks making them. Plus, they’re like mini-chickens or something & that makes them funny. At first, was going to just do normal random herbs & do these little bastards – but, no. Cannot make it easy on myself – must.make.difficult.

Actually, it really wasn’t too tough except for the buying of the herbs/spices. WTF? Luckily at Whole Foods they have a take what you need spice bin that saved me a good 20-30 bucks (although I did lick the jar once said spice was taken just cause no one was looking). Who the hell has cardamom on hand or dried chile de arbol. If it is one thing that I’m learning about adventurous cooking is that you have to expect spending some $.

Ok I lied, cutting these things in 1/2 was odd – the crunching of the carcass was a bit unnerving.

Hen staging concept via: josefiend – credit where it is due is my moto, if I had a moto…

So here is the lowdown:

  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tblspn fresh ginger
  • 1 tblspn curry powder
  • 1 tblspn ground cumin
  • 1/4 tblspn ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tblspn ground hot pepper (flakes)
  • 1 tblspn mustard seeds (I used hot dijon mustard sauce cause forgot this one)
  • 2 tblspn olive oil
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 game hens (split in 1/2 – this is the funniest part cause you get to hear their little spines cracking while cutting thru them!)

Fixing it:

  • blend the first 9 items in blender or food processor
  • put blended stuff in large bowl
  • add tomato & onion to bowl & stir that shit up
  • add game hen halves one at time in bowl & coat liberally (have always wanted to use that term)
  • put 1/2 of remainder blended stuff in crock – add hen halves – then put rest of stuff on top of hens
  • cook on HI for 4 hrs
game_hen_plate
Games Hens & Sides

End result – pretty damn delicious & nice spice combo. Don’t do enough Indian style cooking so a bit challenging to get the timing right.

Served with:

  • Spicy Stewed Potatoes & Spinach in Buttermilk (aloo chaas, there it is – foodie talk). Was expecting more out of this for as much trouble as it was, but cook & learn. Side was good, yet was expecting it to be spicier.
  • Basmati Rice
  • Naan bread (should have thrown it in oven in foil for 10 mins but forgot – terrible host that I am)

Enjoyed extended lunch w/ great group of friends & talking football (why are the jerseys cut differently, that dude has strong looking arms & exactly what a 2 point conversion is).

Overall fun cooking experience, but expect to work a bit at this one.

Crock out.

Leafy Greens Soup = Sadness

leafy greens start
leafy greens start

Ahhhh, the French. So much culture, so much history, & so little taste.

Fermented in the crock, aaahhh, like the California wines….thats my food damn you. Orson Wells

This is my 2nd French derived dish & I have to say it may be my last. Followed directions & followed my heart (adding in my own ingredients or what-have-you), but alas these dishes come out crap. Although, on the dishes’s (sp) side is that they were both VEGGIE.

Leafy Green Soup

Thought I would give it my all & do everything like it was before/after WW2 & make everything from scratch. Those folks must have been very disappointed or had zero taste buds or super hungry in France…

Vegtable Stock (from freaking scrtatch!):

  • 8 carrots | diced
  • 6 celerty stalks | diced
  • 3 whole onions | diced
  • 3 garlic cloves | diced
  • 6 sprigs parsley (got these out of my own garden)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • pepper | 3/4 tblsp
  • thyme | 1 tblsp
  • 12 cup water
leafy green mid
leafy green mid

Cook:
put in crock for 8 hrs

Drain:
after 8 hrs drain into container(s) for use later

Note: I have to say – I realized how much crap it takes to make 6-8 cups of veggie broth

La Soupe:

  • butter | 1 tblsp
  • olive oil | 1 tblsp
  • small leaks | 6  of  them bastards (clean – cut long ways & soak in bowl til the dirt comes out) then dice up
  • 4 cloves garlic | minced, ooohhh fancy
  • tarragon | 1 tsp
  • pepper | 1 tblsp
  • veggie broth | 6 cups, we already made it!
  • potatoes | 3 small
  • swiss chard | 1 bunch
  • arugula (or sorrel or parsley) | 1 cup (I used arugula, so sophisticated)
Cooking:
In lg skillet do butter, cook leaks until soft – then add garlic, tarragon, & pepper – cook for a bit.
Add the veggie stock til boiling then transfer to crock.
Set for 8hrs!

Note:
add potatoes @ hr 2 or 3 if you can so they stay nice
At the 8th hour – the final countdown…tear up swiss chard & add – also add cleaned arugula (or whatever you had) – put crock on HIGH & let sit for 30 mins.

– This is where it gets tricky & I changed recipe! So, you’re supposed to blend all this in blender to puree – but, I don’t like my soup to be a smoothie, so I only did 1/2 of the batch. You can do what you want, that is just my deal. Just like mine to be somewhat of an actual soup & not a geriatric ward straw meal.

leafy greens b/w
Casablanca effect


Serve with:

baguette – omg, Essential Baking from Seattle area – amazing (btw, this was the best part)
cheese (I put on some Pecorino Romano – I know not French) & also some Frenchie goat fromage for app. w/ crackers

Summary:
Hmmm, I do appreciate the wholesomeness & veggies, but damn if this wasn’t bland (also, I try not to add salt if I can help it). SOOO glad I didn’t puree the whole thing or it would have been mush. Kid (Vann) he kinda liked it & suffered my crock whim.

Going to give it a thumbs down & cook meat from now on.

To anyone that has read this to this point – one of my main goals is to just crock out & see what happens – good or bad. It is the highs & lows that make this actually fun & exploring food like I’ve never explored it before (sexual innuendo here).

Crock out & keep reaching for the stars.

Totally Guilt Free & A Lot of Work

This adventure started out odder than most, but I learned a few things in the process.

vann in snuggie eating food
vann in snuggie eating food

I was asked by a friend to make meat, gluten, nut, egg, etc. free crock. I reviewed recipes & decided upon Ratatouille.

Lots of veggies & shopping led me to a couple making out in the produce section. I attempted to pull my phone out to take a nice pict of them actually swappig spit near the onions, but alas, I was too late. Seriously folks. I’ve seen a bunch of collards or a comely cucumber that got my juices flowing, but this was beyond weird – hell, I even smiled & said hello. Ehwee, find a room or ask me to join in.

What the hell is in this shitty dish:

2 md eggplant (peeled & cut in 1×1 cubes)
4 md zucchini (asked for peeled , but I like the skins on these | sliced)
2 cloves minced garlic (I suggest 4+)
2 onions diced
3 colored bell peppers
8oz mushrooms, crimini
1 can tomoatoes w/ juice (I went ol’ school & blanched 4 md tomatoes & diced up – its fun to take the skin off)
2 tbsp sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp hrebes de provence
2 tbsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil

So, it seems like you just toss all this crap together, hell no! Check it out:

  1. cut up eggplant & put in colander
  2. put salt all over this & toss
  3. let sit for 1hr
  4. after 1hr, rinse the eggplant w/ cold water
  5. it said press eggplant w/ tea towel to get moisture out – who owns a tea towel? I just used regular dish towel
  6. pull out enough foil to contain eggplant, drizzle w/ olive oil, wrap up in foil & cook for 15 mins @ 350 in oven
  7. remove once done & put in crock (note to self: use a towel & don’t grab hot pan w/ bare hand)
While you were doing that amazingly fantastic task you should also be heating up pan to:
  1. add zucchini (w/ some oil – if you don’t know to put oil in pan before adding some food – go to freezer & make yourself a hot pocket)
  2. cook on md/hi for 3 mins
  3. add onion & garlic
  4. add herbes de provence, salt, pepper
  5. cook for a few
  6. add mushrooms
  7. cook all until a bit browned – all in all, about 10 mins
  8. transfer to a bowl & put in fridge – trust me on this
So…
  1. add the tomato concoction to pan you’ve cooked other stuff in
  2. bring to boil – once it boils stop
Pour tomato stuff over eggplant in the crock
Cook on low for 6hrs – NOTE @ hr 5 – add zucchini mixture you saved (you saved it right?) & the 3 cut up bell peppers – this way these veggies stay solid & not a bunch of mush.
Since this was a non fun dish I served w/ gluten free cous cous w/ a tad bit of dill. Would have loved to sop this up w/ some amazing bread.
king of crock
king of crock

I’m sure at this point you’ve gotten the hint that this did not turn out like an amazing pork dish – it is veggies w/ close to zero grease, salt, deep frying, twinkies or anything that makes for a good meal.

Needless to say – it was not a total bust.
Pros: lots of real veggies cooked
– free of a lot of crap, eggplant turned out almost like meat which I hadn’t had happen before – so I learned something
– kid said it was better than one the ex tried to make
– this smelled freaking amazing
Cons: kinda bland
– although not tasteless, just wanted to dump a lot of salt on it, but held back
– when watching a football game no one hi 5’s you for your restraint on taste & gives kudos for keeping it real…healthy.
I’ll keep on trying as you can’t win them all.
Next time: I really want to try some lamb/greek. Any suggestions? I’d even go so far as to to sacrifice the lamb myself & paint bloody pentagram on chest while simmering.

Crock Full of Breakfast Casserole Thingy

Who the hell spends a night with 3 lovely ladies at a posh mall bar & comes home & rocks out with my crock out? Me thats who.

The Ingredients of Course

I possibly may have had 2 too many gin & tonics, but I still found the time to get my game face on once I got home & made up a sweet breakfast dish for my kin & friends to enjoy once we’ve arisen. I did eat a couple handfuls of the shredded cheese with some cold sausage in the making process.

You need to think ahead a tad to make this happen – chop up the the veggies & pre-cook the bacon/sausage during your afternoon free time & drop it in the fridge til later. Easiest to put the veggies & meat products together as it is easier to drop in later.

At about 10pm or 12am, drop ingredients in the crock!

Ingredients:

1 30 oz bag hash browns
1 lb. of sausage (or 1/2 lb bacon)
1 onion diced up
1 whole red pepper diced up
1 whole green pepper diced up
8 oz (bag) shredded cheddar or mexican 4 cheese
1 dozen eggs
1/2 cup milk (or soy milk if you want man-boobs aka moobs, from what I’ve heard)
salt & pepper (I didn’t even add any salt – the sausage has enough flavor)

Directions:

1. Layer the frozen hash browns then bacon/sausage/veggie mixture then cheese repeat (should have 3 layers)

2. Beat the eggs, milk, & pepper together. Pour over the whole mixture.

3. Cook on LOW for 10 hrs

Egg-cellent! You read that correctly I just used an amazingly terrible play on words. This dish was a hit – everyone had seconds.

That is a cheese fest

Depending on what floats your boat you can top with salsa, hot sauce or a bit of ketchup.

Crock That! may be changing its name to Rock Out with Your Crock Out as the domain name Crock That is already taken.

Next up, vegetarian dish with Fennel from my garden or I’m feeling like Lamb…

Well, lastly – Crock That!