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fall cooking

Welcoming fall

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Where did September go?  I was engrossed in hand-beading a Christmas stocking for our newest grandchild, who’s now 7 months old. That took about two weeks; a tradition started by my mother. I still have some of her glass beads left from the 1940’s & 50’s.

Glorious fall is turning the color wheel upside down. Part of me is mourning the close of such a short summer (I love flip flops), but autumn is still one of our favorite times of year. Tom & I will be celebrating 40 years together on October 15th, (yes, I still wear my original wedding ring on “hand”) and we’re going to the most famous place of all for fall – New England.

We’re going to be exploring up the coast of Maine, eating plenty of lobster, taking a Windjammer sail, and hoofing it around Boston proper learning our countries profound history; expanding my horizons academically, culinary, and visually. We never have had time to take trips like this, nor seen the east coast north of Charleston, so I am excited. And as a bonus we’ll be flying over New York City!

If any of you have any ideas and/or suggestions as to what not to miss, where you foodies have got to go, or the best place to watch a sunset, or “I wish I would have packed that!” please let us know. We want to do it all!

From our Angus Brands family to yours, we wish you a fall filled with delicious flavors, cozy scarfs, and beautiful colors.

Crockpot cooking tips

By | Angus Meats, Holidays, How to, News, Recipes | No Comments

‘Tis the season to dust off your crockpot and get cooking! Here are some crockpot cooking tips so you can cook the juiciest meals on the block.

General Cooking Tips

  • Only fill the crockpot one half to two thirds full. The foods will not cook properly if the appliance is filled to the brim. If the food and liquid level is lower, the foods will cook too quickly.
  • Foods cooked on the bottom of the slow cooker cook faster and will be moister because they are immersed in the simmering liquid.
  • Remove skin from poultry, and trim excess fat from meats. Fats will melt with long cooking times, and will add an unpleasant texture to the finished dish. Fatty foods will also cook too quickly.
  • You can thicken the juices and concentrate flavors by removing the lid and cooking on HIGH for the last half hour of cooking time.
  • Most meats require 8 hours of cooking on LOW. Use cheaper cuts of meat – not only do you save money, but these meats work better in the slow cooker. Cheaper cuts of meat have less fat, which makes them more suited to crockpot cooking. Moist, long cooking times result in very tender meats.
  • Follow the layering instructions carefully. Vegetables do not cook as quickly as meat, so they should be placed in the bottom of the appliance.
  • Don’t lift the lid to stir, especially if you are cooking on the low setting. Each time you lift the lid, enough heat will escape that the cooking time should be extended by 20 minutes to half an hour. To check progress without lifting the lid, spin the cover until the condensation falls off. Then it’s easy to see inside.

 Specific Crock Pot Cooking Tips

  • For best results, ground meats must be cooked in a skillet before cooking in the crockpot.
  • Seafood should be added during the last hour of cooking time, or it will overcook and have a rubbery texture.
  • Large pieces of meat can be browned before cooking in the crockpot, but this step isn’t necessary. Browning adds color and helps in flavor development.
  • Cayenne pepper and tabasco sauce tend to become bitter if cooked for long periods of time. Use small amounts and add toward the end of the cooking time.
  • Add tender vegetables like tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini during the last 45 minutes of cooking time so they don’t overcook.
  • Dairy products should be added during the last 30 minutes of cooking time, unless the recipes states otherwise.
  • Liquids do not boil away in the crockpot, so if you are making a recipe that wasn’t specifically developed for the crockpot, reduce the liquid by 1/3 to 1/2 unless you are cooking rice or making soup.
  • Stir in spices for the last hour of cooking. They will lose flavor if cooked with the rest of the ingredients for the long cooking period.

Enjoy!