Our newest book (and the first with the new trio of ladies), The Family Slow Cooker hit stores at the beginning of October and to celebrate, we hit the road to preach the virtues of slow cooking. A couple dozen TV appearances (in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto), radio interviews, and print media stories later, we’re back at home (in Calgary for Elizabeth and Julie – and Vernon for Sue) looking back at pictures of our book tour adventures. Here are some photos of highlights we hit along the way:
Sue and Julie kicked off the tour making some pulled beef at BT Vancouver – they’re SO much fun here! Always a blast.
Elizabeth and Julie appeared on Your Morning in Toronto on Friday, talking about desserts you can make in your slow cooker – recipes from the new Family Slow Cooker cookbook, which is in stores now! We made coffee pots de creme, using the slow cooker in place of the usual bain marie (hot water bath), to ensure a moist, gentle heat, but we also had our Chocolate Caramel Pecan Upside Down Cake on display – a gooey treat that bakes up perfectly in the slow cooker – and slides right out, after it’s done!
The edges of the pecan layer will get chewy, the center stays softer. This cake will make a lot of people happy!
If you find yourself with leftover pumpkin puree this season, here’s a cake for you. A moist, delicately spiced cake slathered with cream cheese frosting – not too much, we went with the exposed sides look – that’s perfect for this time of year. And the layers freeze well, so you can pack them away for the holidays. As a bonus, frozen cake layers are easy to frost, with minimal crumbs!
- 1 cup whole almonds 250 mL
- 5 cups large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats 1.25 L
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 250 mL
- 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar 125 mL
- 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 mL
- 1⁄4 cup butter 60 mL
- 1 tbsp vanilla 15 mL
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup dried tart cherries 250 mL
- Coarsely chop almonds, aiming to cut each almond into only 2 or 3 pieces (so they won’t burn as easily).
- In a large bowl, combine almonds, oats and coconut. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together brown sugar, salt and butter. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Drizzle butter mixture over oat mixture, tossing until everything is well combined and evenly coated.
- Spray the bowl of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour in the oat mixture. Cover and cook on high for 30 to 60 minutes or until granola is hot throughout. Stir and cook, uncovered, on high for 1 to 11⁄2 hours, stirring every so often so the edges don’t get too brown. Toward the end of the cooking time, you’ll need to stir more often. Once everything is a couple of shades darker, stir in cherries. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely. Store in a glass jar at room temperature for a few weeks. Makes about 8 cups (2 L).
- Tip: The granola will toast a little faster if you push it up against the side of the slow cooker, leaving a well in the middle.
- Variations: Granola adapts well to almost endless variations. Try pecan halves or whole hazelnuts in place of the almonds, or other dried fruits, such as cranberries or chopped dried apricots, instead of the tart cherries. You can even add chunks of dark chocolate to the finished (and completely cooled) granola.
- “A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”
- — P. J. O’Rourke
- 3 medium oranges
- 2 lemons
- 11⁄2 cups cold water 375 mL
- 1 bottle (6 oz/170 mL) preserved ginger
- 6 cups granulated sugar 1.5 L
- 1 bottle (6 oz/170 mL) maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (add extra green cherries as well — colorful!
- 1 pouch liquid pectin
- Wash oranges and lemons. Slice paper thin. Discard seeds. Put into large kettle. Add water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until rinds are tender and transparent. Stir occasionally.
- Drain ginger, saving syrup. Chop ginger finely. Add sugar, chopped ginger, ginger syrup and cherries to orange-lemon mixture. Turn heat to high and bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Continue stirring and skimming for 5 minutes.
- Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Wipe rims and seal with two-piece canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Check seals and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.
- Makes about ten 8-oz (250 mL) jars.
Need something quick, warming, and full of veggies for dinner this busy holiday season? Broccoli-cheese soup is always well received at our house – and it’s a great way to use up a bunch of broccoli that may be starting to get droopy. For a vegetarian version, swap vegetable or onion stock. It’s simple to chop the broccoli (cauliflower would work well too – or a combination of the two) and toss everything into a pot to simmer when you get home from work and school. By dinnertime it’s ready to puree – use a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot – and serve with crusty bread or cheese biscuits. Comfort food for busy, chilly days!
- Vegetable oil, for cooking
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup half and half cream
- 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
- In a medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil along with the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the flour, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the chicken stock and broccoli and bring to a simmer; cook for 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender.
- Add the cream and puree with a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot. Add the cheese, let sit for a minute, and puree again until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in batches in a blender.) Season with salt and pepper, if it needs it. Serves 6.
Everyone should know how to make a biscuit. They’re infinitely versatile – perfect for serving alongside soup, stew or chili, for turning into a sandwich or when you need to serve up some sloppy Joes. They can be made sweet for weekend mornings, or savoury with the addition of cheese, roasted garlic or fresh herbs. I like mine plain, served warm with butter and honey or jam.
Buttermilk makes these biscuits very tender, and the soda is added to neutralize its acidity. If you want to use regular milk instead, omit the baking soda. If you want sweeter biscuits, or plan to add fresh or frozen berries or dried fruit, add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the dry ingredients.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter or oil and blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir just until the dough forms a ball.
- On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough four or five times. Pat the dough about 1/2” thick and cut into circles with a biscuit cutter, glass rim or the open end of a tin can.
- Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, brush the tops with a little milk.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm. Makes about a dozen 2-inch biscuits, or fewer larger ones.
Did you know that you can make custard in a slow cooker? These little pots de creme look fancy and impressive, but they’re quite easy to make — especially in the slow cooker.
Let’s face it – the best part about a turkey dinner is the leftovers, particularly turned into a sandwich. Combining the turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberries in Pillsbury Crescent dough turned out to be a delicious idea – like a sandwich, only better! Read More
We love cottage cheese pancakes around here – dense and slightly cheesy, they’re higher in protein than traditional pancakes, and delicious with tart berries or compote drizzled over top. They’re wonderful on leisurely holiday weekends, especially with berries to brighten them up – or thin leftover cranberry sauce with maple syrup to drizzle over top. Leftovers can be frozen and popped into the toaster or microwave for a warm, hearty winter breakfast that will set you up for a day at work or on the slopes.
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter
- In a large bowl, beat together the cottage cheese, eggs, sugar and salt; mix until smooth, then add the milk and stir until creamy. Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until blended; stir in the oil or melted butter.
- Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and brush with butter or oil or spray with nonstick spray. Drop batter (I used a small ladle) onto the pan and cook until bubbles begin to break the surface and the edges no longer appear wet - flip using a thin spatula and cook until golden on the other side as well. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 250F oven until they are all cooked.
- Serves 2-4; recipe can be easily doubled.
The minute it gets chilly enough to turn the furnace back on, I want to warm the house up with the oven, and get baking. I particularly love pound cakes, for their dense, moist texture, adaptability, and a sturdiness that makes them ideal for packing into lunch boxes. I had an extra lemon rolling around in the fridge, so the first pound cake of the season was lemon.
I love that this is the sort of cake that requires no decoration, and can be nibbled by the thin slice while you do other things.
Some of our favourite older recipes (including many in the Best of Bridge back catalogue) included canned soup, which is an ingredient that many of today’s cooks shy away from — it just feels better sometimes to take the extra step and make things from scratch. We were making an old pork chop recipe that calls for a can of Alphabet Vegetable Soup and figured we could make it ourselves. This soup is thick — as it would be coming straight out of the can, which makes it ready to go into your favourite vintage recipe. If you’d rather eat it as a soup, simply thin it with more chicken stock or water.
I don’t have many kitchen gadgets, but I love my ice cream machine – it’s so easy to make your own, and experiment with interesting flavours and fresh fruit in season. My go-to formula is so simple it doesn’t require eggs, or making a custard (which must be well chilled before using) – it’s just cream, sugar and fruit. I find strawberry irresistible when they’re in season – here’s an easy recipe we make over and over.
Stampede can be a crazy time of year if you live in Calgary – if you’re feeling rushed, you can make this cowboy-inspired version of the famous Best of Bridge Christmas Morning Wife Saver, and slide it into the oven in the morning to feed your hungry cowpokes.
Even when it’s not stampede, a simple strata makes for a fantastic brunch – and it’s a great way to use up stale veg or leftovers from the fridge – bits of sausage, ham, bacon, veggies and even cheese ends can all be transformed into something delicious.