I promise I’m not turning this blog into a collection of recipes. I’m not that domestic, and I probably swear too much to be featured in these “perfect mommy/wife just LOVES housekeeping” articles. Hell, I hate wasting time cooking and cleaning, this is why the slow cooker is such a life saver.
Late at night, when I can finally relax, I’ve been browsing recipes and ingredients for inspiration. I say “inspiration” because I think I’m pathologically unable to follow a recipe step by step. Must be my anarchic rebellious side. On a more practical level, I’d rather use ingredients that I can find easily instead of looking everywhere for a rare, expensive and mysterious item I need two tablespoons of at one point in the recipe, so I tweak it my way.
Most French dishes are cooked with butter in the North, olive oil in the South, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Many foreigners would find French cuisine rather bland because even though some herbs are used, nothing is spicy and flavours tend to be very subtle. And indeed, I knew very little about spices until I started traveling and was introduced to various cuisines of the world. Like most French, I first relied on salt and pepper—I actually bring big bag of “sel de Guérande”, hand-harvested sea salt from Brittany, that has a very delicate flavour. I’m picky about pepper too, you’ll never find me using fast-food style powder pepper, I grind my own peppercorns.
Now I’m experimenting with cumin, curry, coriander, chili, garlic, ginger… It’s amazing how combinations of spices can turn an ordinary mix or grains and vegetables into something super yummy. So, slow cooking 101: know your spices.
I also learned to spend time prepping my vegetables carefully. Most slow cooker recipes claim that prep time takes “10 minutes top”—I beg to differ, it’s more like half an hour. But this time is well spent cutting the veggies carefully so that they cook evenly. And add another 15 minutes to prep time if you pause to take pictures of food, because it’s gorgeous…
After cooking several dishes with curry and chili, I wanted something milder, with wild rice instead of Basmati. I opted for cumin and coriander, two flavors that complement each other beautifully.
Here the recipe:
Wild rice with beans and vegetables
Cooking time: 2 hours on “high”
- 1/2 cup white onion
- 1 cup bell peppers
- 1 cup Cremini mushrooms
- 1 Italian tomato
- 1 cup Chinese eggplant
- 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
- 1 cup long grain rice/ wild rice
- 1 cup black beans
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp garlic
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- salt and pepper to taste
(yields two bowls for a main dish)