Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Changing Scenes

Our woods. Deep dark primeval.

But things don't always stay that way. The son of our across the street neighbor bought the property next to our woods and in one day removed a huge amount of trees. Two bulldozers and a mini bobcat as well as two sawmen did this.
I talked to one lumberjack and he said they had a three day job here, which can only mean more trees will come down. It is so strange to see sunlight where there has only been dark green forest for a hundred years or more.
The soil that they uncovered is lush, and I am considering taking my wheelbarrow down for a sample. Except it is uphill on the way home. O well.
I am really hoping that a beautiful home gets built on this site. Fingers crossed.


On the homefront, I decided I had to have this electric skillet. Why? Because my crazy stove only has one setting, full flame. When I want to simmer or cook anything less than on high heat I have but one burner that will ratchet down to low.

Or I just wanted it.

Full disclosure. Brooke, my sis, has a slow cooker and in my past life when they were first in fashion I had one too. I rarely used it. But I got to thinking that I could slow cook in this pan, or braise or even stir fry.

My first thing was to cook a pound of bacon and then make a nice pot roast, starting with onions and garlic. Notice the nice spoon rest. This pan was only $21, so as an experiment, it was pretty much a no brainer.
But before I committed to buying it, I looked for enticing recipes to make sure I would use it. First I did a search on electric skillet and then slow cooker recipes. (I have a zillion cook books, but really it is so much easier to look for recipes online, isn't it?)
The thing I noticed first is that I don't have this or that ingredient, so when I was at the store I loaded up with items that I don't usually stock.
Here's the short list:
coconut milk
fresh grated horseradish
lard for pastry
chopped green chiles
2 lbs ricotta

baby portabello mushrooms
whipped cream cheese
orange marmelade
And this. Surprise surprise. Over the years I have been buying those boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, and tossing out the cheese packet and using just the pasta. I like that shape so much, and wished that someone would come out with just the pasta by itself. Now finally the ban has been lifted and I can make my mac and cheese with these.
So I wanna know your favorite recipes to use in my new pan. Email me. It can be for a slow cooker or not. I'll post my faves here. Thanks in advance.


  1. My heart aches seeing those trees come down. I can't imagine what it is like in real life. The birds and wildlife being intruded upon is too much to think about.
    On a happy note, did I miss brunch? I can smell those onions. Ummmmmmm!

  2. It's too sad. Such a beautiful habitat. On the plus side--maybe your garden will get more sun?

  3. Anonymous1:05 PM

    How very sad about all those trees.
    We had the same thing happen next toour yard. I had to leave because I just couldn't watch. Between that and lossing trees to storms we are now getting more sun so I am having to move some of my plants around and am also able to buy plants for the sun again. Roberta

  4. Have you ever grated horseradish? I haven't, but have heard it is a, um, powerful experience!

  5. I just bought one of these pans, but not for cooking - for learning batik. Have you ever done batik?

    Kristin F. in SC

  6. Anonymous6:07 PM

    It is strange - it seems that everyone is doing it now. Cutting trees, I mean.Last Dec. we had that terrible ice storm here in NH.12 days without electriciy. We spent that night listening to the trees break off as they froze. We did not sleep that night. It was very scary. And, since that, everyone seems to be stockpiling wood.
    I have a fry pan like that. I don't like it too much because it gets up to temp and then shuts off until you raise the temp again. I think a slow-cooker is much more efficient. Sorry!! There are no end of slow-cooker recipes on the Internet.But good luck with your fry-pan.

  7. AH, macaroni. Something that me and my Celiac diseased gut can only dream of.

  8. Is there no law in the USA that can keep people from devastating the land? Like a limit for taking out timber? In the west, the woods are burning, and elsewhere, they just chop it -- that's crazy!
    If I had a stove with just full flame or none, I'd start cooking with wood. There must be a lot of leftovers where the trees were.

  9. You know, slow cookers are a lot better than they used do be... and there are far better recipes! Really! That don't involve cans of cream of something soup! I love loading mine up in the morning -- I feel virtuous about sewing or doing other stuff all day, knowing dinner is done. I've become an embarrassingly big fan of the slow cooker. :-)

  10. My only comment is that you don't actually need lard for pastry unless that is your favourite thing to use for making it. As the local "pie lady" I have made pastry from just about any kind of solid "fat" including shortening, hard margarine and butter. I've even made oil pastry although I would practice more on that one...it's crispier than the others. I only used lard when I entered the lard company's contest at the exhibition since many of my weekly pie customers were vegetarians. All have their pros and cons. The best shortening I used was a no name one from the discount grocery. I preferred it (and it's price) to Crisco.

    It's actually how you make the pastry and handle it while making it that determines how flaky it will turn out. Believe me, I was surprised with the margarine pastry (a friend insisted I use it at her house).

    Good luck with your fry pan recipes. I, too am in the slowcooker camp.

  11. I love reading these comments... now what was the question?

  12. Try the Year of Slow Cooking blog http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/. Gillions of ideas.

  13. Mmmmmm.....your shopping list, history with cooking, and discussion of the possibilities has me salivating!

    I hate to see trees come down, but maybe some good will come of it. Perhaps the change in light will open new gardening possibilities for you. Or the new home, if there is one, will contain a wonderful neighbor.

  14. love an electric skillet!
    for years i lived on a 42 foot sailboat and my ex was incredibly cheap and would not always refill the gas bottles for the stove
    so i got very inventive....my skillet served me well, from everyday cooking to perfecting making cookies in it and pizza!
    have fun with it~ the possibilities are endless with it!


So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com