Slow and Easy

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Summer is a funny season, especially if you work in an office. It’s hot outside, and commuting through the heat drains you. But your office is so air-conditioned that you need to take a sweater, and come lunchtime you’re looking for something hearty to warm you up inside.

Needless to say, cranking up the stove in your house is off the table in the late-summer heat. But there is an appliance in your kitchen that may not be getting the summer love it deserves: the slow cooker. Beloved in winter for turning out stews and soups, it gathers dust all summer, which is a shame, because slow-cooking summer produce can yield deeply flavored dishes—without raising the temperature in your kitchen.

Below you’ll find three recipes you can make to enjoy in the evening, with plenty of leftovers for lunch the rest of the week.

All recipes by Miriam Wolf

Ratatouille
This classic French vegetable dish is perfect for when your garden (or farmers market) overflows with summer veggies.​

INGREDIENTS
3–4 garlic cloves
1 large onion
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium zucchinis
1 medium eggplant
2 pounds tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

PREPARATION

  • Mince garlic and finely chop onion. Turn slow cooker on high and place 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the crock. Add onion and garlic.
  • While onion and garlic soften, chop veggies into 1-inch chunks (pro tip: use a serrated knife to slice the tomatoes). Add veggies along with tomato paste and herbs to the crock. Turn heat down to low and cook for 4–5 hours.
  • When vegetables are cooked through and very soft, season to taste with vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve on its own or over rice, pasta, or other grain.

Serves 8. Prep time, 20 minutes; cook time, 5 hours.

 

Chickpea Curry
Healthy protein and carbs to fuel a busy day

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 can low-fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2–3 tomatoes, chopped, or a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

  • Set slow cooker to high. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Stir to coat. Add carrots, kale, coconut milk, and curry powder.
  • Turn cooker to low and cook for 2–3 hours until kale is tender. Add chickpeas and tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes until warmed through.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice or naan bread.

Serves 6. Prep time, 10 minutes; cook time, 3 hours.

 

Vegetarian Chili
Make it as spicy as you like!

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon oregano
1 (14 oz) block firm tofu, cubed (optional)
1 small can green chilis, hot or mild
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock or broth

PREPARATION

  • Heat cooker on high. Add olive oil, onion, tofu (if using), chili powder, and spices and stir to coat.
  • Add green chilis, beans, corn kernels, and tomatoes. Add broth. Cook on high for 2 hours.
  • Serve with your choice of toppings: cilantro, shredded cheddar, sour cream, black olives,  diced jalapeno, etc.

Prep time, 5 minutes; cook time, 2 hours. Serves 6.

Miriam Wolf is the editor of The FruitGuys Magazine newsletter. She likes to run and cook, in that order.

 

 

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