Last month I dusted off the ol' Crock Pot for the first time in several months. Crock Pots are really great. They're perfect for super-busy and/or lazy people, and for people who like mysteries or surprises. When trying out recipes for the first time, you never know until 6-8 hours later how it will turn out! I tried a few different recipes for the first time last month, all yielding different results.
breakfast quinoa (recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker)
I failed to photograph the other Crock Pot dishes I tried out that week (I was dog-sitting at the time, pooches win), but here's a breakdown of the rest of that week's experiments:
Caribbean Mango Black Beans from The Vegan Slow Cooker: AWESOME! I love this recipe! I actually had to go out and buy specific spices for this, which was exciting!
Spicy Black Bean Chili from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Not at all spicy, but still very good. Freezes well.
Hominy-White Bean Chili from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: AWESOME!! I'd made this before, but it had been awhile. Love this recipe! Also freezes well.
Stepping away from the Crock Pot for a moment, I want to share with you another recipe that I tried out. Remember when Dr. Oz had That Vegan Episode awhile back? Jasmine from Our Hen House made a (much-too-brief) appearance. (Seriously, why didn't Dr. Oz interview her?!) Anyway, one of the women who appeared on the show was talking about her black bean brownie recipe. Vegan, flour-free, no added sugar, blah blah blah. It sounded promising.
I have a terrible tendency to NOT read recipes all the way through. Most of the time, things end up okay, but in this case, it was a horrible experience. I was pleased to discover that I had ALL of the ingredients on hand that the recipe called for. Perfect! So, I set to work, dumping all the ingredients into my friend's Vitamix.
Now I'm about to share an opinion that I know is greatly debatable, but just remember that it is simply my opinion: Vitamix sucks. I was "raised" on Blendtec. Blendtecs have hella convenient programmed settings, it has a higher horsepower, they're easier to use, and in my opinion, they just work better, plain and simple. It took me FOR-F*CKING-EVER to blend all of these ingredients in the Vitamix. After about an hour (only a slight exaggeration), I poured the mixture into the pan, which was a super messy experience. (Another observation: Vitamixes are too damn deep and narrow!)
Once it was all nice and neat in the pan, it looked pretty good!
Now time for another horrible step in this hellish recipe: It "bakes" in the oven at 200* for AN HOUR AND A HALF.
WHO THE HELL HAS THAT KIND OF TIME?! Did I also mention that, by the time the Vitamix finally blended everything, it was nearly midnight?! I was none too happen with this recipe, and ya best believe I was cursing Dr. Oz's name. How could he endorse such an inconvenient recipe?! Clearly, he had never made it himself.
I guess it worked out, though, since it would take me another hour (another slight exaggeration) to clean out that God-forsaken Vitamix. (Blendtec or go home, people.)
After an hour and a half, the brownies were not brownies. It was still pudding. I upped the temp slightly and let them bake for another half hour. After the additional 30 minutes, there was a nice cooked-looking "crust" on top, but it was 2am and I was deliriously tired, so I pulled the pan out of the oven and let it set on top of the stove.
The only thing this recipe does right is in calling the brownies "fudgy." But really, this was more like FUDGE than BROWNIES.
Look at this mess.
The flavor was...okay. Nothing amazing. For a vegan, no-sugar, no-flour FUDGE, this would be okay, but I KNOW that there are easier and simpler recipes out there for a such a treat.
Hooray for kitchen adventures!