The Mediterranean Slow Cooker
With the combination of tradition, innovation, and ease that have made her recipes so popular, Michele Scicolone gathers intriguing dishes from every corner of the Mediterranean and streamlines them for the slow cooker. The range is eye-opening: from simplified and freshened classics like Greek shrimp with tomatoes and feta, to Israeli sweet and sour meatballs, to Moroccan vegetable tagine, to coffee-caramel flan from Spain. But Scicolone also serves up a profusion of fascinating lesser-known
List Price: $ 22.00
Price: $ 12.46
Great Healthy Recipe Ideas,
During winter I love to take advantage of the slow cooker when making meals. Often, however, it is too easy to resort just to soup as the best slow cooker dinner option. As a vegetarian, I also am looking for healthy ways to make delicious meals.
The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone is full of delicious, healthy meal ideas, and while it is not a vegetarian cookbook, it has enough vegetarian recipes to make it worthwhile. With recipes from Turkey, Italy, and Spain, among other countries, there are all sorts of delicious flavors. Polenta with Herbs, Vegetable Bulgar Pilaf, Apricot Almond Cake, and Chickpea and Lentil Soup fill the pages of this cookbook, as do beautiful pictures and essential details about Mediterranean spices and cooking styles.
This book has recipes for vegetables, desserts, and main entrees, and makes delicious recipes that are even more impressive because they were made in a slow cooker with minimal effort. The Mediterranean Slow Cooker is a great find and makes healthy cooking on a weeknight even easier – it will definitely become part of my cookbook rotation.
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A nice companion piece to the French and Italian Slow Cooker books; shines for desserts,
I own both of Michele’s The Italian Slow Cooker and The French Slow Cooker books, and they are in frequent rotation in my Hamilton Beach Premiere Cookware 5-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker for their winning combination of authentic flavors and relatively easy prep.
I preordered her latest, Mediterranean Slow Cooker, and quickly bookmarked several recipes that caught my eye. In the French Slow Cooker, Michele demystified soufflés for the slow cooker. Here, you’ll find a variety of egg dishes like spinach and feta omelet, spicy vegetable eggah, Israeli breakfast favorite shakshouka, and a delicate green bean and scallion torta that would all make fantastic brunch options.
The poached salmon in court-bouillon was a winner, especially when paired with the suggested tzatziki, and the shrimp with tomatoes and feta (my personal preference was to switch out the white wine in the sauce for red) was also a favorite. The crunchy mustard chicken diable has the ingenious solution of slow-cooking bone-in chicken thighs, then toasting panko on the stove and coating the chicken at the last minute so the topping remains crunchy (this would make a great picnic dish!). And the pork ragu with broken lasagna Maialino-style was an unexpected gem; the simple sauce is served over irregular sheets of lasagna noodles tossed with Parmigiano and arugula. Fans of lamb will find plenty to rejoice over, including numerous Greek recipes like Bandits’ Lamb (stuffed with salty Greek cheese) and Middle Eastern lamb and pine nut meatballs.
Vegetarians will also find some offerings, such as red lentil soup, winter squash and chickpea soup, polenta with herbs, wheat berry tabbouleh, bulgur and toasted walnut pilaf, and farro with spring vegetables. Like her other slow cooker cookbooks, you’ll also find “out of the pot” recipes that use precooked beans, etc.; here these offerings include a Greek country chickpea salad, hummus, and Turkish beet and goat cheese dip.
For me, the real star of the book was the desserts. The entire section is crammed full of intriguing finds, like several Greek-inspired cakes (sunny orange cake with orange syrup, walnut cake with cinnamon syrup), decadent cheesecakes (the first recipe I tried was the awesome cannoli cheesecake; see above for a photo) including Nutella, several flans, bread puddings, and fruit (blushing pomegranate pears, warm fruit compote with mascarpone sauce).
**Update 1/20: In addition to the cannoli cheesecake, I’ve also made the sunny orange cake with orange syrup (which is basically a revani or basbousa, in this case lightened by folding in whipped egg whites), coffee flan, and the chocolate hazelnut cheesecake (see photos above). Maybe it’s just my particular slow cooker, but I found that my cakes baked much more quickly than the suggested times, so check at least 30 minutes before the book times to play it safe.
This is a worthy investment if you enjoy Italian, Spanish, and Greek food, and most of the ingredients should be easy to find at your local supermarket. Yes, there is some prep involved in the chopping and sautéing of veggies (and browning of meat) before cooking, but this adds a wealth of flavor to the final dish that is well worth the extra time (and if you have a slow cooker with a metal insert, you can sauté and cook in the same dish). The desserts alone are worth the cost of the book; Michele taught me that I can make showstopping cheesecakes in my slow cooker, a trick I never would have thought to try on my own! (I used Nordic Ware Leakproof Springform Pan, 7 Inch set on a Spice Ratchet 16812 Blossom Multi-Use Silicone Trivet, Black).
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I want to try practically everything!,
I use my slow cooker every Sunday once school starts and continue all the way through the school year. It’s my little break from cooking on a Sunday afternoon. Plus I do my wine tasting for my weekend wine reviews on Sunday afternoon – and I have learned that is not a good time for me to be chopping ingredients and using the stove!
So, I am always intrigued by slow cooker cookbooks, even though I primarily only make soup in mine. Well, no more. I am so excited about The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone!
First of all, it has gorgeous photos by Alan Richardson!
The book begins with an intro about slow cookers and tips on using and ingredients for. It is a well-thought out section. Then it is divided into Soups, Eggs, Seafood, Poultry, Beef and Veal, Pork and Lamb, Pasta Grains and Beans, Vegetables and Desserts.
I found so many recipes that I want to try – really too many to list, but here are a few:
Fennel, Leek and Potato Soup
Chickpea Cream Soup with Garlic and Rosemary
Bean and Greens Soup
Spicy Chicken and Vegetables
Cooked Water (Tuscan Mushroom, Tomato and Egg Soup) *
Spinach and Feta Omelet
Mozzarella, Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread Pudding *
Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
Poached Salmon in Court Bouillon
Chunky Fish Tagine
Tilapia with Romesco Sauce
Spicy Chicken with Green Olives
Balsamic Chicken with Capers
Chicken with Chorizo, Red Wine, and Roasted Peppers
Chicken Legs with Sausage, Tomatoes and Black Olives
Beef and Veal
Porcini Braised Beef
Beef Short Ribs with Carrots and Black Olives
Meatballs with Feta and Tomato Sauce
Pork and Lamb
Pork Ribs with Tomato Balsamic Sauce
Braised Lamb Shanks with Red Wine and Spices
Portuguese Pulled Pork
Pasta, Grains, and Beans
Polenta with Spinach and Ricotta
Chickpeas, Roasted Peppers, and Bacon Salad
Two Berry Clafouti
Apple Raisin Souffle Pudding
Rice Pudding Brulee
Blushing Pomegranate Pears
Seriously every thing sounds good! Next week I am making the Cooked “Water” (Tuscan Mushroom, Tomato, and Egg Soup) and the Mozzarella, Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread Pudding.
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