6 Delicious Reasons a Slow Cooker Is Your Best Friend in the Kitchen this Summer

Beat the heat and keep your kitchen cool this season by putting your slow cooker to work. The same machine that you used all winter-long for stews and chili is also a great tool for easy make-ahead summer meals that can feed a crowd. To simplify your life even more, consider using a slow cooker liner for easy clean up. Here are six delicious slow cooker recipes to try this summer.

Above: Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches "The payoff is meltingly tender pork in a sweet sauce. To round out the meal Southern-style full lace wigs, serve the sandwiches with coleslaw, baked beans, or fries."

Slow-Cooked Ratatouille "Parmigiano-Reggiano adds salty, nutty richness to this ratatouille, which rivals the best oven versions. To speed preparation, feel free to skip the first step of salting and rinsing the eggplant and zucchini (this process draws off any bitter juices). Instead, just remove any particularly seedy and brown parts of the eggplant, or use smaller Japanese eggplants (which also do not need to be peeled)."

Pulled Chicken with Cherry-Chile Barbecue Sauce "This fresh seasonal sauce -- so good you'll be glad to have leftovers --features less sugar than traditional barbecue sauces. Serve the moist, flavorful chicken on warmed burger buns Antique jewelry."

Slow-Cooked Carnitas Tacos Let guests customize their pork tacos by laying out avocado slices, cilantro sprigs, sliced red bell peppers, and tomatillo salsa.

Homemade Yogurt Top with your favorite summer berries for a light and lovely summer breakfast.

Fudgy Brownie Cake The perfect crowd-pleasing dessert for summer entertaining couldn't be easier to make thanks to your slow cooker.

What are you making in your slow cooker this summer? Tell us in the comments Outsourcing payroll, below.

Double Chocolate Torte

Makes 10 servings

8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate Cloud Provider, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour


1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons red currant jelly melted with 1 tablespoon water
Red currant bunches (optional)


For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; dust with sugar. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat theradome reviews, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt, then flour. Pour batter into pan. Bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cover; chill while making mousse.

For mousse:
Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside. Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day ageloc me.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte. Top whipped cream with raspberries. Brush red currant jelly mixture over raspberries. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Garnish with currants, if desired.

20 Things to Do with Leftover Guacamole

Is there anything sadder than guacamole and no chips? And yet, it happens. Instead of stashing the guacamole in the refrigerator dc gear motors, this list of ideas should get the green out of the bowl and onto your plate! Just remember to season to taste before serving your new creation...

1. On a baked potato instead of sour cream or butter
2. On a BLT as a sandwich spread instead of mayo
3. Whisked into a vinaigrette or ranch salad dressing
4. On toast with a fried egg on top
5. Layer on a sandwich with mozzarella and tomatoes (good hot or cold)
6. As a topping on chili
7. Dollop on top of pizza, really!
8. As a pasta sauce, combine with olive oil, season with salt, serve hot or cold
9. On top of crab cakes or potato pancakes
10. Cold guacamole soup, just combine with chicken broth and chill
11. Make chicken salad by combining guacamole with chunks of cooked chicken and chopped scallions
12. Use in place of mayonnaise to make guacamole deviled eggs or guacamole egg salad
13. Combine with canned tuna to make tuna salad
14. Puree with canellini beans to make a hummus like dip
15. Slather it on cornbread or corn muffins instead of butter
16. Make a salad by stirring it into a bowl of black beans elyze, corn, diced tomatoes and peppers

The following ideas are sweet! A highly savory (salty, spicy or oniony) guacamole is not recommended. But a mild guacamole will work just fine. Simply puree the guacamole and use it in place of mashed avocado in the following recipes:

17. Guacamole ice cream try this one from Two Peas their pod or this one from Tabasco or this one from Yum or this one from Alton Brown.
18. Bake a guacamole pound cake or cupcakes
19. Guacamole frosting, combine pureed guacamole and powdered sugar to taste
20. Make a guacamole smoothie

What are your favorite ways to use guacamole when there are no more chips or crudités?

My thanks to the California Avocado Commission. They are sponsoring my attendance to Camp Blogaway 2012 and provided me with a shipment of fresh fruit. Note: They did not pay for this post, although they did inspire it Korean skin care brand...

Smoky Tomato Soup Recipe

It's easy to get so caught up in the idea of eating seasonally that we forget that there are certain things that aren't necessarily seasonal, for example vegetables grown in hothouses or greenhouses like Belgian endive, cucumbers and mushrooms, also preserved produce--jams, pickles, chutney, frozen and canned foods. Which brings me to canned tomatoes glass teapot set, which are a great choice for recipes since fresh tomatoes are in season for a fairly short period of time.

While I wouldn't use a canned tomato on a sandwich, they are a must for most tomato based sauces. Lately I've come to appreciate canned fire roasted tomatoes for their lovely smoky flavor. They are great in stew or chili and a sneaky shortcut when making this zippy soup. A nice option in this shoulder season when somedays still feel like Winter baby bed, it's something you can make from pantry staples--a few aromatics, cans of tomatoes and broth. Having tried many brands of fire roasted tomatoes, I like Hunt's best and while I prefer homemade, Swanson's is the only canned chicken broth I use.

Another little trick in this soup is the addition of cream cheese. I don't typically keep heavy cream on hand so I am always looking for other ingredients to add creaminess to recipes amway. In this case a tiny bit of cream cheese adds a lot of richness. But in all honesty this soup is really wonderful even without it.

April Bloomfield's Porridge

Summer is here with a merciless vengeance. The air is so hot that it hurts just to sit still. Right now the only thing I can imagine that would hurt more would be the electricity bill this month, which no amount of hardcore scrimping intentions can ever hope to bring down. And when you work from home, and not in some cushy designer handbags clearance, fully air-conditioned office building, you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place: blast the a/c like a demon and face an exorbitant power bill or save some pennies and melt like a block of butter left out near a busy stove.

I am finding solace in chilled summer mangoes, lazy weekends, ice cream, and naps. But all this heat cannot stop me from cranking up the stove. What’s a little discomfort when it comes to baking cookies or making one of the best porridges my breakfast bowl has ever seen?

I know, some may think me crazy for making porridge during the summer, particularly during a blazing, tropical summer. Especially when I have access to chilled mangoes. But sometimes, when you really want something, you just have to throw caution to the wind, follow your heart, bite the bullet, and just do as you please!

April Bloomfield's Porridge
(recipe from A Girl and Her Pig, as recounted here and here)

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon or other flaky sea salt (if using fine salt, use less – start at 3/4 teaspoon and adjust as needed)
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
Sweetener of your choice

- In a medium pot bring the milk, water, and salt to a simmer over high heat. When liquid starts to simmer, add both oats, stir to combine, and reduce heat to medium.
- Cook the oats at a steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary and stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from boiling over. At 20 minutes, taste for doneness. The steel-cut oats should be just cooked and the rolled oats will have melted into the porridge. Towards the end you may need to stir more frequently to prevent the oats from sticking.
- Taste the porridge. It will be salty (especially if you’ve never had your oatmeal with salt) and that’s ok. That is exactly how it should taste at this point. Now adjust the flavor by adding the sweetener of your choice (brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc). Taste and adjust. As the original recipe states hosting service, you want it “to start salty and then fade into sweetness”.
- Spoon the porridge into bowls to serve and top with whatever you wish. You can add a splash of milk or a little more sweetener. I topped mine with dried fruit (raisins, dried blueberries, and prunes) softened in hot butter, with walnuts and brown sugar stirred in.

I discovered this recipe by way of a comment from one of my readers. When she mentioned that this was a recipe that made a “huge impact” on her “breakfast habits” I was immediately intrigued. When I saw it was a porridge recipe I knew I had to try it. I love oatmeal, or porridge, or whatever homey sounding breakfast cereal comes my way. This was certainly no exception. And despite the many, many times I have made oatmeal, I have, yet again, found a new way to love it. As the recipe promises, this was indeed one of the most luxurious bowls of porridge I’ve ever had. The rolled oats give it body, the steel cut oats give it texture, the milk gives it creaminess, and the salt a mouth-filling savory-ness that, although surprising at first bite, once balanced with your sweetener of choice, makes this something you will scrape to the bottom of the bowl iphone skin.

So although the air sizzles dangerously, and I am firmly planted in from of a computer instead of on a beach somewhere, I comfort myself with these little indulgences – like flouting summer’s rules with porridge for breakfast.


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