RECIPE OF THE WEEK: It's Slow Cooker Time

A repeat topic that is totally worth it.
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Claire Lower
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A repeat topic that is totally worth it.

Hey, party people, and welcome back to another salty, jammy episode of Recipe of the Week. Last week, we celebrated the last bit of tomato season with all sorts of delicious tomato-y treasures, and the winner — from tomato superstar Kelly — was a dish that seems to perfectly bridge the gap between summer and fall.

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Parmesan cherry tomatoes from my dad's garden were a breakfast staple growing up. Slice a bunch of beautiful little tomatoes in half and place face up in a cast iron skillet. (Oil your skillet with bacon fat first). Cover generously with parm and pepper and fry until the cheese is nice and melty. Fresh herbs in the pan are great too- especially rosemary or basil. Eat on their own or on a fresh baguette (or topped with a fried egg the options are truly endless).  

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There are several wonderful things about this dish: It's easy, it's tasty, it's cheesy. I didn't deviate from Kelly's instructions even a little bit and was beyond thrilled with the results.

I used really good Parmigiano-Reggiano and peeled off big crystal-packed shards of the stuff with a Y-peeler. Those were sprinkled all over the top of the halved cherry tomatoes, and freshly ground pepper went all over the top of that.

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Basil was added for extra oomph.

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That all cooked down into a cheesy, melty, crispy mess of super-sweet, jammy tomatoes, salty cheese, and fresh basil.

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That whole thing was scooped onto some French bread, topped with more basil, and then that whole thing was put into my mouth.

The worst plating of my career, but whatever.

The worst plating of my career, but whatever.

This summery (yet super-warm and comforting) dish from Kelly deserves a summery (yet super-comforting) trophy, and I feel like Joni Mitchell's "California" fits the bill.

Moving right along. This week we're going to repeat a topic for purely selfish reasons. The weather is starting to cool significantly here in Portland, Oregon, and I have been itching to fix and forget something warm and inviting in my slow cooker.

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The beauty of the slow cooker, beyond being a semi-lazy cooking method, is that it also prevents me from fiddling with the food while it cooks and kind of forces me to just chill and wait for the food to do its own thing, rather than stirring and futzing and flipping every 45 seconds. Basically, a slow cooker helps curb some anxious tendencies, and I appreciate anything that does that.

Also, I really want to give this recipe (submitted last year by softcastlemccormick) another chance to win, because would you look at it?:

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So I think you all know what to do. Give me all of your most delicious, inviting, comforting, and soothing slow cooker meals. They can literally be anything, actually. Dips, desserts, soups, roasts: As long as the slow cooker is the heat source, it counts.