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posted at the request of lauramander

Muchroom & Fennel Hot-Pot (serves 4)

1/2 c dried shiitake mushrooms
1 small head of fennel
2 Tb olive oil
12 shallots, peeled
3 c white mushrooms, trimmed and halved
1 c dry hard cider
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes
1/2 c sun dried tomato paste
1 bay leaf
salt and ground pepper
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

1. Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a heatproof bowl. Pour in just enough hot water to cover them, and leave to soak for about 15 minutes. meanwhile, trim and slice the fennel.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the shallots and fennel, then saute for about 10 minutes over a medium heat, until the vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown. Add the button mushrooms to the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
3. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the crock pot. Drain the shiitake mushrooms, adding 2 tablespoons of the soaking liquid to the pot. Chop them and add them to the pot.
4. Pour the cider into the pot, and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the bay leaf. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until the vegetables are tender.
5 Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Couscous-stuffed bell peppers (serves 4) *this recipe recommends a ceramic cooking pot?*
4 bell peppers
1/2 c instant couscous
1/3 c boiling vegetable stock
1 Tb olive oil
2 tp white wine vinegar
2 oz dried apricots, finely chopped
3 oz feta cheese, cut into tiny cubes
3 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
3Tb toasted pine nuts
2 Tb chopped fresh parsley
salt and ground black pepper
italian parsley to garnish

1. Halve teh peppers lengthwise, then remove the core and seeds. Place peppers in a large heatproof bowl, and pour over boiling water to cover. leave to stand for about 3 minutes, then drain thoroughly, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, put the couscous in a small bowl, and pour over the stock. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.
3. using a fork, fluff up the couscous, then stir in the oil, vinegar, apricots, feta, tomatoes, pine nuts and parsley; season to taste with salt and black pepper.
* Note: taste the stuffing first, as feta can be very salty, you may not need to add more salt*
4. Fill the peppers with the couscous mixture, gently packing it down using the back of a spoon.
5. place the peppers, filling side up, in the ceramic cooking pot, the pour 2/3 c nearly boiling water around them.
6. Cover with the lid, switch the slow cooker to high, and cook for 2-3 hours or until the peppers are tender. Brown under a hot broiler for 2 minutes and serve garnished with parsley.

brown Rice with Lime and Lemongrass (serves 4)
2 limes
1 lemongrass stalk
1 Tb sunflower-seed oil
1 onion, chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and very finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 c boiling vegetable stock
1 1/2 c converted brown rice
4 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt and ground black pepper
scallions, toasted coconut strips, and lime wedges to garnish

1. Using a zester or fine grater; pare the rind from the limes, taking care not to remove any of the bitter white pith. Set the rind aside.
2. Cut off the lower portion of the lemongrass stalk, discarding the papery top end of the stalk. Finely chop the lemongrass and set aside.
3. hear the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, coriander and cumin seeds, lemongrass and lime rind and cook for 2-3 minutes. Tip the mixture into the ceramic pot.
4. Pour the stock into the pot, briefly stir to combine, the cover with the lid, and switch the slow cooker to high. Cook for 1 hour.
5. Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then drain, and add to the ceramic cooking pot. Cook for 45 minutes-1.5 hours, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the stock.
6 stir the fresh cilantro into the rice and season with salt and pepper. Fluff up the grains with a fork, and serve garnished with strips of scallion and toasted coconut and lime wedges.

Spicy-Hot Mixed-Bean chili with cornbread topping (serves 4)
generous 1/2 c dried red kidney beans
generous 1/2 c dried black-eye peas
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp mild paprika
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 lb mixed vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, eggplant, parsnips, celery
1 vegetable bouillon cube
14-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt and ground black pepper

For the cornbread topping:
2 1/4 c fine cornmeal
2 Tbsp whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk lightly beaten
1 1/4 c milk

1. Put the dried beans in a large bowl, and pour over at least twice their volume of cold water. leave to soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
2. Drain the beans, and rinse well, then place in a pan with 2 1/2 c of cold water and the bay leaf. bring to a boil, and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave to cool for a few minutes, the tip into the ceramic cooking pot, and switch the slow cooker to high.
3. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook for 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika and marjoram and cook for 1 minute. Tip into the ceramic cooking pot, and stir.
4. Prepare the vegetables, peeling or trimming them as necessary, the cut into 3/4 inch chunks.
5. Add the vegetables to the mixture, making sure that those that may discolor such as potatoes and parsnips, are submerged. It doesn't matter if teh other vegetables are not completely covered. Cover with the lid, and cook for 3 hours, or until the beans are tender.
6. add the bouillon cube and chopped tomatoes to the cooking pot, the stir in the tomato paste and season with salt and black pepper. Replace the lid, and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the mixture is at boiling point.
7. To make the topping, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg, egg yolk, and milk. Mix, then spoon over the bean mixture. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until the topping is firm and cooked.

Ratatouille (serves 6) * not a slow cooker recipe*
2 lbs ripe, well-flavored tomatoes
1/2 c olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 large eggplant, cut into chunks
2 zucchini, cut into thick slices
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and ground black pepper

1. To peel the tomatoes, plunge them into a bowl of boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove them using a slotted spoon, and then refresh in cold water. Peel off the skins and coarsely chop the tomato flesh.
2. heat a little of the oil in a large, heavy pan, and cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers, and cook for about 2 minutes more. Drain. Add the eggplant and more oil, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the remaining oil and zucchini, and cook for 3 minutes. Drain.
3. Add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, until they are fairly pulpy but have retained a little texture. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, if required.
**Note: Eggplants no longer need to be salted to draw out the bitter juices, however, this salting process does help prevent them from soaking up too much oil during cooking. So, if you have the time, it is worth sprinkling the eggplant chunks with salt and leaving them in a colander in the sink for about 30 minutes to drain. Rinse them well, and pat dry with paper towels before frying.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 7th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for those!
Feb. 7th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
No problem sweetie. I hope you enjoy them.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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