(photo credit: )
O joy! I recently acquired a 3.5-liter slow cooker, also known as a crock pot, from my local supermarket, a place of surprises where one picks up not only the routine tools and staples of existence but also the wild fruits of someone's fantasy - such as the miniature bicycle and rider made of nuts, bolts and curved metal tubing I bought as a gift for a teenage boy (the store has even peddled actual bicycles for real riders).
The crock pot cost me just NIS 79, further cause for rejoicing. For anyone not familiar with the device, it cooks food slowly on your counter, rather than on the stove top. The pot, which usually contains a removable dish, has an electrical cord and vented lid but no temperature settings aside from high and low, as the temperature gradually increases and turns off automatically.
The pot is designed to cook unattended; you put the ingredients in before work in the morning, then come home 8 or 10 hours later to a (hopefully) perfectly cooked meal.
I'm looking forward to plenty of good, hot food ready and waiting on cold winter nights - like this recipe from www.crockpot.com which can be served with rice and extra vegetables.
CHICKEN PROVENCAL STEW
1 chicken, portioned
4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 3/4 cups canned tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
2 tsp. Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, onion, garlic and dehydrated sweet red peppers)
Place the chicken and potatoes into the crock pot dish. In a bowl combine the onion, garlic, green pepper, tomatoes, wine and seasoning. Pour the mixture into the crock pot and mix with the chicken and potatoes. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
I DON'T really need to make bread since my supermarket bakes its own in great variety, including a medium-sized whole-wheat loaf, containing walnuts or pumpkin seeds, that tastes wonderful and keeps for ages in the fridge. If you'd like to try your hand, however, this recipe was given to me by a friend who says she's been using it ever since she first made it in her home economics class at school.
BREAD, SHE SAID
400 gr. whole-wheat flour
100 gr. ground buckwheat flour (or use 500 gr. whole-wheat flour)
20 gr. fresh yeast (or powdered yeast sufficient for the quantity of flour)
11â„2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. apple vinegar
1â„2 liter warm water
3â„4 cup pumpkin seeds (or walnuts)
3â„4 cup of flax seeds (pishtan)
3â„4 cup sunflower seeds
Put the flour, yeast and salt into a bowl and add the vinegar and the water. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. Mix in the seeds. Line a loaf tin with baking paper, pour in the mixture and place in a cold oven. Turn it on to 220 and bake for 1 hour.
WHEN THE London Times takes on the kohlrabi, as it did on November 4, calling it "a lumpy green Sputnik in a world of chic little baby vegetables... ugly, difficult to find and... there's no way the kids are going to eat it"; and then adds insult to injury by promising its readers "something more exciting" the following week, Short Order feels a need to speak up for this admittedly odd-shaped vegetable - which, by the way, is widely available in Israel.
Vegetarians in Paradise predicts a hearty comeback for a neglected member of the cabbage family which, the Web site surmises, has simply been upstaged by the more strongly-flavored broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus.
"For those unfamiliar with this jewel of a vegetable, its appearance somewhat resembles a hot-air balloon," vegparadise.com writes helpfully. "Picture the turnip-shaped globe as the passenger section; its multiple stems that sprout from all parts of its globular form resemble the many vertical ropes, and the deep green leaves at the top represent the parachute."
Kohlrabi isn't a root vegetable, as many people believe. It grows just above the ground, forming a turnip-shaped swelling at the base of the stem. Among its attributes it is:
* low in calories, only 19 for a half-cup raw and sliced
* high in dietary fiber, 2.5 grams for half a cup
* its potassium content peaks at 245 grams per half-cup
* the vitamin content of half a cup includes 25 I.U. vitamin A, 43.4 mg. vitamin C, 11.3 mcg folic acid, and 16.8 mg. calcium
Think they'd print a letter to the Times?