It takes a confident kitchen hand to toss this one into the mix of holiday season cookbooks: “ Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More ” (Chronicle, 2013; $35, 94 recipes). Given the enormous popularity of quick, easy and five-ingredient come-ons, the subtitle might as well be “Recipes That Most of You Don’t Have Time to Even Shop For.”
But you’d be wrong not to pick it up and at least thumb through — especially you, Millennials. Author Andrew Schloss persuades with dishes that can take 10 minutes to prepare before an application of low and slow heat transforms them. It’s a matter of convenient timing, he writes: “By keeping the temperature moderate, proteins firm more gently, making finished meats more tender, custards softer, fish moister, and casseroles creamier.”
A slow-cooker is one of the ways to do so; Schloss did, after all, produce “The Art of the Slow Cooker” in 2008, which is holding up well in its genre on Amazon.com. The oven, the steamer basket, the grill and cast-iron pots and pans are more vividly put in play here, as is that sous-vide appliance some of you might have splurged on two years ago.
Philadelphian Schloss is a veteran cooking instructor and one of the clearest, most thoughtful recipe writers working today. In “Cooking Slow,” you’ll find the bases well covered. The time required to make each dish is broken down in mini-chart specifics after each headnote. Chicken wings in a spicy soy glaze: 12 to 24 hours of chilling time; five minutes of prep time; and about three hours of cooking time, with storage and reheating information.
His food is tempting. Four pounds of the funky butcher’s cut known as hanger steak become a succulent masterpiece that makes its own demi-glace as it cooks. A dice of red-skinned potatoes fries in 75 minutes without absorbing the butter or lard that might otherwise render them into sodden cubes. Schloss’s method for Thanksgiving turkey is more easily measured in days than hours. Nonetheless, he makes a convincing case, and a slowpoke bird is on my to-do list for November.
Even the busiest among us spend time at home, whether it’s doing chores, shopping online or catching up on episodes of “Scandal” late at night. The multi-tasker, or the furloughed worker, who dives into “Cooking Slow” will have something aromatic and delicious to show for it.
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