We haven’t played ‘What’s in the Crockpot?’ in months! Time to fix that. Ready for a new installment? It’s easy to play. I won’t even have to explain the rules – you’ll pick it up as you go. I promise!
READY TO GO? LET’S PLAY!
What’s in the Crockpot?
MEDITERRANEAN VEGGIE STEW IS IN THE CROCKPOT!
This really couldn’t be easier to make, but if you’re looking to make it exactly like I did, well, that might be tough. The reason for that is because I made this dish just like I make many of my dishes: without precise measurements. The best I can do is show you what I did, and encourage to go forth in the world, without measuring cups, and experiment. You’ll be glad you did.
I based this dish on a recipe I found online, although I changed and modified many of the components. The original recipe, for Slow Cooker Mediterranean Stew, can be found here. The first modifications happened at the store. The recipe called for okra and carrots, but I couldn’t find okra at the store (and I was in no mood to make two stops), and I’m kinda sick of carrots right now, so those two ingredients didn’t happen.
First ingredient in the crockpot? Butternut squash. Additional modifications are gonna happen left and right, so stay with me! The recipe called for 1 squash, peeled, seeded and cored, but that seemed like a lot of work, so I bought two 1-pound bags of pre-cubed butternut, opened them, dumped them in, and moved on with my life. (I cut some of the bigger cubes in half.)
It’s a little pet peeve of mine when recipes call for things like “2 cups cubed eggplant,” “2 cups cubed zucchini” and “1 cup chopped onion,” all of which this recipe requested, because I can’t buy produce in specific amounts like that. I don’t want to chop an entire onion, only to find out it’s 1 1/3 cups, and then I’m not supposed to use that extra 1/3 cup? Dumb. So I bought 1 big eggplant, 1 big onion, and a package of baby zucchini to throw in. I knew, quantitatively, that it was more veggies than required, but I was cool with that, because I wanted to make up for the okra and carrot I was leaving out.
Oh – and I got to use my fancy new veggie slicer that I love! Here’s the zucchini and eggplant, all chopped:
And I added the onion, plus 1 big tomato, chopped, into the crockpot on top of that.
To make the stew more Mediterranean-ish, you’re supposed to add 1/3 cup raisins. I only had the individual 100-calorie boxes, so I added 3 of them. To make it even more Mediterranean-ish, I added a couple handfuls of green olives, coarsely chopped. It was about 2/3 of a can. The other 1/3 made for good snacking throughout the day.
- One 6-oz can tomato paste (recipe called for tomato sauce, which I thought I had in my cupboard, but I was wrong, so I had to use paste)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used low-sodium, and probably more like 1 cup, since the crockpot seemed pretty full of veggies)
- 3 cloves garlic (2 more than called for, but I love garlic)
- Spices: The recipe called for various amounts of 5 spices, but I left my teaspoons in the drawer and sprinkled liberal amounts of the following into the crock: cumin, cinnamon, paprika, coriander, crushed red pepper, parsley and a pinch of saffron. I’ve noticed in the past that crockpots seem to dull flavors, which is why I always add more spice than I think I would need. I also have a completely unscientific theory that food that looks dull can sometimes taste dull. Crockpots are wonderful at turning a vivid and colorful assortment of veggies into brown slop, so the more spice the better!
This concoction simmered away on Low for 8 or 9 hours. When my guests started arriving, I whipped up a side dish to serve with the stew: quinoa. I cooked the quinoa as the box suggested, but I used the rest of the low-sodium vegetable broth, which replaced most of the water. I also added a couple teaspoons of a spice blend called chermoula (misspelled in the picture below). It’s Moroccan, and I bought it at a spice store in Silver Lake months and months ago and forgot I had it (it was hiding behind another box in my cupboard). I can’t remember exactly what’s in it, but the main ingredients, according the interwebs, are parsley, cumin, and coriander:
Quinoa end result:
Put it all together in a bowl, and you have:
Delicious! Super healthy, super tasty, and it’s vegan, for those of you that don’t eat animal products. And the great part about it is that you can throw in whatever veggies you have on hand, and modify it, like I did, to your heart’s delight!
One more picture: my friends and I ended up playing a few games that night, and during one of the games, I was challenged (punished?) by having a word written across my forehead in lipstick.
I’m scowling in the pic, but I really didn’t mind. Anything to win a game! Plus, It’s a good word to describe me. Many that know me would agree that I can be a goof. And that’s fine by me!
KEEP IT UP, DAVID!