hipcook's Profile

Joined: November 14th, 2009


Latest review:

November 2nd, 2019

Sticky Asian Salmon from Sous Vide Supreme

I've been making an ersatz Asian-ish salmon for a long time, with a doctored Hoisin/vaguely teriyaki-ish glaze. This recipe doesn't have that level of sweetness in it, but my family reports that's a good... read more >


recipe reviews (239)
book reviews (2)
useful review votes (98)

hipcook's Reviews


Search Reviews:

19 recipe(s) reviewed. Showing 1 to 19Sort by: Title | Date | Rating

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

By Beth Hensperger
Harvard Common Press - 2004

2nd November 2011

Beef Ragout : page 328

I was underwhelmed by this stew of beef, zucchini, and tomato. I found it watery and lacking in flavor. Perhaps part of the problem is that it's a spring or summer stew which I made in November, and my taste buds were set for something heartier. Still, in future I think I'd increase the garlic and herbs, and brown (perhaps broil) the zucchini before adding it.

useful (2)  


Something seems to be missing from this recipe. Perhaps a sauce or gravy. (I left out the black olives, because I find them boring; maybe green olives would work.) There just doesn't seem to be much flavor in it.

I also suspect there's a bad instruction in it - the corn meal mixture is stirred together with the beef and onions. I wonder if the textures would be more interesting if the corn meal were allowed to sit on top of the beef, like many of the tamale pies I've seen.

useful (1)  


28th November 2011

Gumbo : page 86

This is a pretty good chicken and rice soup. It is, unfortunately, a lackluster gumbo. With a dash of hot sauce and a sprinkle of file powder at the table, it was OK - again, good for soup, but just OK for gumbo.

I suppose it displays my prejudices when I say that the first problem with this chicken gumbo is that there's not enough pork in it. A smoked sausage would be very nice, or failing that, ham or at least double the bacon called for.

The real problem with the recipe, though, is that there's no depth of flavor, none of the body I associate with gumbo. I think it's the lack of a roux (though purists might say you don't use both roux and file). Overall, I may return to this recipe, but it needs tinkering to be what it claims to be.

useful (2)  


5th September 2011

Hominy and Corn : page 117

A rich and satisfying casserole, appropriate for a main course but I can see it working very well as a vegetable for a pot luck. (It would be a nice side dish at home, too, but the recipe makes an epic amount of food.)

I substituted a roasted red pepper for some of the roasted green peppers called for, and I think it made the dish much more visually appealing. Using 2 cups of shredded cheddar was fine, but I think a mix of cheddar, Monterrey jack, and mozzarella would be nicer next time.

useful (0)  


22nd May 2012

Italian Pork Stew : page 368

With pork, tomato, wine, onions, and bell pepper, I was expecting a rather straightforward "pot roast" flavor for this stew. The addition of orange peel, however, brightens the whole dish. It's a dominant flavor, but it compliments the pork and onions without slipping over to the candy-like flavors of a fruit glaze. Definitely will make again.

useful (0)  


9th January 2012

Lazy Day Braised Pot Roast : page 316

A very basic pot roast - chuck roast in brown gravy with potatoes and carrots. I tried to up the flavor with 2 cloves of garlic and substituting 1 cup of beef stock for 1 cup (out of 3) of water; I think both were successful. I liked the strong flavors of carrot and bay leaf, but I still prefer a pot roast including red wine and tomatoes.

useful (0)  


31st January 2013 (edited: 31st January 2013)

Mahogany Glazed Pork : page 363

It took me a while to figure this recipe out, but finally, it hit me. It's the flavor profile of orange beef, but with tender braised pork shoulder instead of often-tough fried round steak. Now that I know what it is, I'm sure I'll be returning to the recipe. The orange flavor fades as a leftover; I don't think adding marmalade to the original would work well but a little hit while reheating might be nice.

The snap peas and red peppers are a nice nod to the Chinese restaurants of my youth, but broccoli would go well too.

If you want it "glazed", you'll probably have to flip the meat midway through cooking. Like many crock pot recipes, it's clear which side was in the liquid and which was above.

useful (1)  


29th August 2011

Mujedrah : page 153

Essentially, this is three recipes - how to make rice and lentils in your slow cooker, how to caramelize onions, and a yogurt-cucumber-mint sauce.

The rice and lentils part is amazingly easy. It serves as a nice base for the onions, which become the standout part of the dish. The rice and lentils also play nicely with the raita, but I felt like the mint and yogurt taste overwhelmed the onions.

useful (2)  


2nd April 2012

North Indian Chili : page 233

In my opinion, this belongs in the "beans" section, not the "chili" section. But as a bean dish, it's rather good. The addition of evaporated milk at the end gives the sauce a richness which is very satisfying. (I suspect this is an addition which would improve many vegetarian chilis, if you're not going for vegan.)

I omitted the canned jalapeno and served it with hot sauce at the table; I found it needed the acidity of hot sauce as much as the heat. It was good with flatbread but next time I imagine I'll make rice as well.

useful (0)  


17th October 2011

Oscar's Posole : page 372

A very nice soup, rich but not at all heavy. The herbs and spices layer nicely with the flavor of the meat. Slices of lime for garnish adds a wonderful brightness. Use the best chicken broth you can.

useful (2)  


8th May 2013

Pork Stew In Cider : page 367

This is a light and simple stew, appropriate for a spring meal. It's pleasant, but we found it lacking depth. The pork cooked nicely, and the apples and onions were fine, but the broth was downright watery. I imagine that either adding a cup of chicken stock, to make it a soup instead of a stew, or cutting half a cup or so of cider, to concentrate the flavors, would help. A handful of dried fruit might play well with the pork and apples, or I might do a riff on Julia Child's spring lamb stew and add green beans. So, as I keep saying with this book, the recipe is so-so but it's an intriguing base for future experiments.

useful (0)  


I wonder if my slow cooker's "low" setting is higher than this cookbook expects. At 4 hours, this looked ready to eat, and at 5, the sauce was broken and the meat slightly dry. The herb flavor was nice; I reduced the amounts by about half because I was using dried herbs, not fresh, but next time I'd use more.

I'll definitely be coming back to this recipe, to try and work out the timing.

useful (0)  


7th November 2011

Poussin Paprikash : page 292

I adore paprikash - stewed chicken in a rich and creamy sauce spiced with paprika. This slow-cooker approach is a winner. I used 2 chicken leg quarters instead of the poussins called for, and it worked just fine. The meat was tender, almost falling off the bone, and the sauce was pleasant.

Looking at my previous favorite recipe (from the Frugal Gourmet: Immigrant Ancestors book), I think I'd increase the shallots in this recipe next time. I also got a reminder that this is a dish where you should use the freshest paprika you can find - I used the end of a can of indeterminate age and it was a little lacking in flavor. (The amount called for - 3 teaspoons - looks right; I'm sure this was about my spice cabinet.)

useful (4)  


20th September 2014

Roast Pork with Apples : page 359

A pretty nice approach to a roast; once again with this book, I'm glad I turned the heat from "low" to "warm" about an hour early.

The apples are interesting. We used Fujis, which are probably too sweet for this dish, though their apple blossom perfume was captured well. With a sweet apple, a little goes a long way - it's almost a dessert topping. My son picked up on the brown sugar and ginger flavors and accused us of serving him sweet potatoes instead of apples. I'd like to try it again with a properly tart apple, but even so, I'd probably scale back the sugar.

useful (1)  


17th December 2011

Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs : page 124

An easy and pleasant approach to roasted potatoes. They do turn out creamy, not fluffy or crusty. The garlic and rosemary flavors mix for a very pleasant bite.

useful (0)  


2nd November 2015

Slow Cooker Applesauce : page 467

A perfect crock pot recipe - peel and quarter the apples, add lemon juice and water, and forget it. I didn't even need to use the food mill on mine (though we do like applesauce just a bit chunky).

useful (0)  


A pleasant preparation of slowly braised ribs in a sweet Asian sauce. Ours completely fell apart; it wouldn't have been much work to pull the bones out of the pot and serve it like pulled pork. My wife enjoyed the subtle flavors, as did my young son; I thought it was OK but was hoping for bolder flavors. ("Soulful" is in the eye of the beholder.) I might add five-spice powder and up the garlic in future, to bring it more in the direction of Chinese-restaurant ribs.

useful (2)  


22nd August 2011

Spanish Brown Rice with Spicy Sausage : page 153

Nothing to write home about, but a fair balance of effort to taste. Something in this hearty casserole reminded me of my youth - my mother must've had a similar "Spanish rice" recipe. As Alison points out, there's a base here for just about any protein you'd want to add; I used a non-spicy lamb bratwurst and it was fine.

useful (1)  


27th December 2011

Turkey Broth : page 97

My stock pot may never be used for making stock again, between this recipe and the ones in the Fagor pressure cooker manual. Why spend all that time and energy on the stovetop?

The long simmer produces a beautifully clear amber stock. There's also very little liquid lost in the slow cooker - unlike to stovetop or pressure cooker, the yield is darn near the amount of water you add. The recipe is chock-full of onion, leek, and carrot, and the stock has a strong vegetal sweetness. (If you prefer meatier stocks, you might cut these back a hair.)

I do have a quibble - my printing says to cover the turkey carcass with "4 inches" of water. I just can't see how that's possible in my (large) slow cooker for any turkey worthy of the name. Admittedly, today I'm making stock from the remains of Birdzilla, and I just barely got it into the pot. Extrapolating out to a more moderate-sized turkey, I still think it's a misprint.

useful (1)