Me and the slow cooker, I'm not sure we get along. Don't get me wrong, it's great. It works perfectly fine and does what it's supposed to do, but even so, I'm not sure I'm a slow cooker kind of gal.
When V and I first tested out my new Crock-Pot, it worked well, but boy was it torture having to wait for our meal to be ready in 5 hours. I can see why the slow cooker is made for busy families, and not people lounging at home lazily on a Sunday. It makes no sense if you are at home doing nothing on a lazy Sunday. The delicious mealtime reward is seriously delayed. You put all the ingredients together in the Crock-Pot and start it probably way later than you should have (slow cooker recipes take hours, people, so get going early!). Then you wait. And you wait. And you wait some more.
I think that cooking a meal in a slow cooker is an exercise in patience. I fail the test almost every time. I am too impatient. V and I broke all the rules the first time we used the Crock-Pot. We kept opening the lid to check inside because we were curious and hungry. We'd stir periodically. We definitely overfilled the pot too the first time. It still worked.
When I think of slow cooker recipes, I think of winter. I came up with this breakfast idea when the temperatures outside dropped suddenly, and my breakfast of granola and cold yogurt with frozen berries just wasn't as tempting any more. Who wants to eat frozen berries on a cold winter morning? I used the slow cooker to rehydrate a bunch of dried fruits in a light syrup with a few spices, but you could also do this in a regular pot on the stove. Served warm over some hot oatmeal, it's just perfect for a tummy-warming breakfast on a chilly morning. This fruit compote is also great served over vanilla ice cream. Yeah, that's right: I won't eat cold yogurt and frozen berries in the dead of winter, but I will eat ice cream.
Winter fruit compotePublished: January 20th, 2013, Cook time: 4 hours
Makes about 5 cups
- 750 mL water
- 100–200 grams (1/2–1 cup) granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
- 500 grams unsweetened/plain dried fruits (I used apples, pears, cranberries, apricots, prunes)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 star anise
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 orange, zested
- 1 lemon, zested
- cooked oatmeal to serve (or vanilla ice cream)
- In the Crock-Pot (I used this model), stir together the water and the sugar with a wooden spoon.
- Drop in all the dried fruits, the spices, and zests, and stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and set it to high.
- Let the mixture cook for about 4 hours or until you are ready to serve it (my Crock-Pot switches to a "warm" setting when time is up so you could even set it overnight for a warm breakfast).
- Serve the warm compote over cooked oatmeal for breakfast or over vanilla ice cream for dessert.