Custard and Pear Tart with Streusel Recipe: Recipe for Single Crust Pear Pie with Vanilla Custard and Crumble

This pear tart is a rich treat not to be missed. Made with creamy vanilla custard that bakes in your oven and sweet ripe pears; sure to become a holiday favorite.

Pears have long been a symbol of the holidays and this custard pear tart is a great addition to any holiday table. Pears are found in songs, in old tapestry and paintings, artificial pears appear in almost every store covered in glitter or adorned with dew drops. No matter where you look, they seem to be there. Why not on your dinner table too?

Pears have a delicate flavor that is easily overpowered by other ingredients. They are also delicate, easily bruised and quick to become over ripe. Many cooks shy away from using pears because of these traits but when paired with the proper foods, they can be a wonderful addition to a meal.

This pear tart is quick to assemble and can be refrigerated overnight making it a great time saver for busy holiday cooks.

Custard Pear Tart with Streusel :

Ingredients:

  • 1 deep dish 9″ to 9 1/2″ pie crust (unbaked)
  • 5 large ripe bartlett pears
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed tightly)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp butter

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Prepare pears by first slicing each pear in half lengthwise. Next remove seeds and stem. Finally, cut thin slices of about 1/4 inch thickness.
  3. Arrange pears on bottom of pie crust
  4. In a large bowl, mix condensed milk, vanilla and eggs. Stir well
  5. Add butter, cinnamon and coriander
  6. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer for 1 min
  7. Carefully pour custard over pears
  8. Place in center of preheated oven and bake for 12 min
  9. While pie is in it’s initial baking, make steusel
  10. Combine flour, nutmeg and brown sugar in a med bowl
  11. Add butter and cut with pastry knife until coarse crumbs form
  12. When pie has baked for 12 min, remove pie from oven and sprinkle with crumb mixture
  13. Reduce oven temp to 350 and continue baking for 45 to 55 min until a sharp knife inserted in center of tart comes out clean

Custard and Pear Tart with Streusel is a rich dessert that needs no addition but if you are a fan of whipped cream, a dollop of home made vanilla whip cream goes quite well.

Home Made Vanilla Whipped Cream :

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp vanilla flavored syrup (the kind you use for coffee or tea)
  • or use
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Chill bowl you will be using for whipped cream for 5 to 10 min in refrigerator
  2. Be sure cream is very cold (Don’t let it sit out on the counter. Keep cream chilled until you are ready to use it)
  3. Pour cream into med bowl that has been chilled
  4. Add syrup or vanilla extract. (If you are using sugar instead of vanilla syrup, add sugar after you have begun beating and cream begins to thicken)
  5. Beat on med speed with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk
  6. Continue until cream forms a soft peak. Be sure to check the thickness often, if you beat the cream too
  7. long, you will end up with vanilla butter.
  8. Refrigerate immediately
  9. Whipped cream will hold it’s firmness for several hour if kept cold. Don’t try to hold overnight, the cream will begin to separate and become runny.

The Ultimate Kitchen Appliance – the Kenwoood Chef!

Kenwood is that wonderful British company that have been producing great kitchen appliances for years. The name Kenwood has become synonymous with the “Chef”, the ultimate kitchen appliance. It is a machine that can be used with a variety of attachments, thus allowing it to perform a really wide variety of functions in the kitchen. First introduced in 1950, the Kenwood Chef has become a household brand and a trusted multi-functional appliance still of immense use in all kitchens. The Kenwood Chef has four different attachment points, allowing you to beat, mix, and prepare various ingredients, and also perform other tasks such as liquidising, juicing, mincing, and pasta-making. This really is the ultimate kitchen gadget!

Get lean cuts by using the Kenwood Chef mincer attachment!

The Kenwood Chef will allow you to mince meat leaner than lean. Buying minced beef from your butcher or supermarket is a quick and convenient way to get the main ingredient needed for so many recipes, but it is usually easy to see in the meat packet that a certain amount of fat is also minced in the process. Many supermarkets today offer varieties of mince, showing the different percentages of lean content included, but none ever get to the bright red mince I remember my mother preparing when I was young.

By trimming all the fat from a prime piece of round steak you will have a pure beginning point. Popping on the mincer attachment to your Chef is the next step to getting pure lean mince. You know exactly what cut of meat has gone in, and you can have it as lean (or fatty!) as you wish. You can even grind up more than you need and store it in smaller portions in the freezer. Then it is ready to go when you once again fire up the Kenwood Chef to prepare for that great Bolognese sauce that will go with your homemade pasta!

Mama mia – Homemade Pasta via Kenwood Chef!

Let Kenwood transport you to Italia with the pasta maker attachment for the Chef. Readymade pasta from a box is quick and tasty, but it doesn’t compare to the fresh homemade variety of pasta Italian folk take for granted. The pasta maker will take the work out of this job. A variety of styles including spaghetti, lasagne, tagliatelle, rigatoni and macaroni can be made from the Kenwood Chef pasta maker. This attachment suits all Kenwood Chef and Kenwood Major models, and the continuous slow speed output makes it easy to use. So what are you waiting for?

Trendy Kitchen Gadgets

Time spent in the kitchen preparing meals can seem like a lifetime without the proper gadgets. For any kitchen diva that enjoys preparing healthy meals for her family or for the diva that enjoys making gourmet type meals to showcase her culinary skills there are kitchen gadgets to accessorize their kitchens and aid in those preparations.

Many of the gadgets found in the kitchen stores today are colorful, unique, and patterned to add lively décor to the kitchen. They are designed to simplify the cooking world and decorate the kitchen. Useful gadgets can cut cooking preparation time cut while allowing the cook to feel better about being in the kitchen by allowing them to see the beauty in the products.

Companies like Sur La Table make gadgets which are designed to cut down some of the prep time for meals. The Garlic Shake and Chop is one of those gadgets. With the Shake and Chop, cooks can put a clove of garlic into a shaker with tiny blades and within a few shakes, they have chopped garlic. This makes chopped garlic easier and safer than having to chop by hand.

Another new idea is The Chop to Pot by Joseph Joseph. This is a cutting board that allows you to chop the vegetables and then folds up to make it easier to pour the veggies into the pan or skillet that you intend to cook them in. This folding cutting board is a unique idea that could change the way we work in the kitchen.

It seems that every company makes a dish designed for something special, especially in the baking world. Doughnuts have to have a hole in the center, so what does a baker need other than a doughnut pan. These pans allow the baker to pour the batter into the pan in the shape of a doughnut and then bake them.

Also, filling a cupcake can be challenging and hard work. By using the Cuisipro Cupcake Corer, filling a cupcake can be simple. The corer takes the center out of the cupcake so that filling can be inserted in. This frees up some of the time that it would take to otherwise fill the cupcakes.

There are new juicers out now that are combined with a pitcher to make the process of making homemade orange juice much easier. Many companies make these and a quick search online will allow you to compare the different styles and will help you to choose just which one is right for you.

Tableware has also been improved upon in the last few years as well. There are brighter colors, bolder patterns, and even slanted or triangle shaped bowls to accessorize with. These colorful dishes and innovative kitchen gadgets are designed for adding convience and ambience to the kitchen.

Tips for Decorating Your Kitchen Cottage Style

A cottage kitchen is light and airy. Windows can make a cottage kitchen light and open. Small pane windows add cottage flavor and make for nice light in a cottage kitchen. Curtain and drapes are not necessary in a cottage kitchen so avoid where it is possible.

A butchers block with a nice cutting board on top is not only handy it is also pretty. You can get a butcher block counter that can roll around the kitchen for added convenience.

Pots and pans made from shiny stainless steel can be hung on the walls as useful decoration in a cottage kitchen. Have an assigned spot for each pan to hang for a more efficient kitchen. A tea kettle made of enamel or stainless steel can be a useful decoration that sits on top of the stove.

Plants can take up valuable space in a cottage kitchen but they can also add to the beauty and function. You can have some potted herbs in a cottage kitchen like basil, oregano, and sage. Then when you need the herbs they will be nearby and pretty in a cottage kitchen.

Countertops that are made of wood or stainless steel are functional and pretty in a cottage kitchen. When taken care of properly these countertops can be beautiful and last a long time.

A rack of utensils hanged near the stove where they can be easily used when cooking can be pretty and convenient in a cottage kitchen. You can have stainless steel spoons, spatulas, and knives where you can reach them easily when you are cooking.

Tiles on the floors and walls look great and are very functional in a cottage kitchen. Glazed tiles can be shiny and they can be cleaned easy when they get dirty. Tile may be somewhat more expensive to install then other types of flooring but they look nice and last a long time.

Wooden bowls are practical and functional in a cottage kitchen. You can leave them sitting out on the counter when they are not in use and they will look like part of the cottage décor. You can store fruit in the wooden bowls like grapes, apples and peaches and the fruit can easily be snacked on. The bowls can also sit empty for those times when you want to use them to whip up a batch of cookies. A jar of wooden spoons and spatulas can also be left near the stove and used for cooking.

Cheerwine Pound Cake Recipe: North Carolina Soft Drink Flavors This Southern Cake

Cheerwine is a soft drink local to the South and a favorite for drinking and for using in baked goods.


One of the most popular soft drinks in the South is not known widely outside the area. Cheerwine is home based out of a small Southern town – Salisbury, North Carolina. It’s the soda of choice in the area and gets raves in the states where the soft drink is sold, which just includes a few Southern states. People who visit become fans though and will pay to have Cheerwine shipped out.

While the name may be confusing, Cheerwine is not a wine. It’s like Ginger Ale which is not an ale. The old names on sodas were often selected to reflect the appearance of the beverage, and Cheerwine is a beautiful wine red color.

Although, people in the South mostly drink Cheerwine, they also add it to various recipes for an extra special flavor boost. For years, women in the South have been using this secret soda ingredient. It’s not such a secret now, and Cheerwine actually sells a Cheerwine cake through the Apple Ugly Baking Company – another small local company.

There are a number of different types of Cheerwine cakes made around the South. Some are layer cakes with frosting and some are sheet cakes. Then, there are Cheerwine pound cakes. This seemed inevitable, since pound cakes are super popular in the South.

Cheerwine Soft Drink Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

 
 

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) – can use margarine but butter is better
  • ½ cup shortening (Crisco etc)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon extract (or lemon flavoring)
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup Cheerwine soft drink
  • 8 drops red food coloring (optional) – but gives the cake a prettier color

Directions:

  1. Put the butter out to soften. This makes it much easier to mix up this cake and gives it a better texture.
  2. Cream softened butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. This gives the Cheerwine cake height and a lighter texture.
  4. Add salt and lemon extract and beat.
  5. Alternate with flour and Cheerwine and beat well until mixture is smooth.
  6. For a pinker color, add food coloring and mix.
  7. Grease a tube cake or bundt cake pan and pour batter in pan. Wipe off any drips on the side for a better appearance.
  8. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to one hour and a half. Check on the earlier time with a toothpick. If the cake is done, the toothpick should come out clean.

Note: This recipe makes a smaller pound cake. It is not one of the pound cakes that goes up and over the top of smaller bundt cake pans for example.

Other Favorite Southern Dessert Recipes:

Southern Red Velvet Cake – This is a Southern fancy cake. The red cake with white frosting really stands out visually. The flavor is fabulous too.

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe – No. This does not taste like a vegetable pie. Think along the lines of pumpkin pie but with a little sweeter taste. If you’ve never tried sweet potato pie, you’re missing out. This is a classic Southern holiday dessert.

Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting – Keep this great sugar recipe in your file. It’s perfect for all kinds of holidays, and it’s fun to make and decorate these cookies. Kids especially like making these tasty sugar cookies.

Grandma’s Homemade Banana Pudding – Banana Pudding made with instant pudding will never cut it after you try the real thing. It does take some time to make the pudding base from scratch, but this is the “real deal” when it comes to banana pudding.

Easy Brunch Recipes – Cookbook Review of Brunch by Parragon Books

Hosting brunch is simple with the cookbook Brunch. Egg recipes, muffin recipes, and waffle recipes are among the inclusions in Brunch.

Brunch, a cookbook authored and published by Parragon Books, Ltd (ISBN: 978-1-4075-9485-9), contains numerous recipes for the late breakfast/early lunch meal of brunch. There are four chapters of recipes in the book, and the recipes range from sweets such as muffins to savory dishes such as smoked salmon.

Each recipe includes step-by-step instructions, an ingredients list, and information on the number of servings for the recipe. Glossy color photos also accompany each recipe.

Simple Brunch Recipes

Many of the recipes in the book require minimal preparation and easy-to-follow instructions. The dishes appear elegant, but they are easy for the home cook to prepare. Some of the sweet recipes included are Dried Cherry Cheesecake Muffins, Banana Bread with Strawberry Compote & Mascarpone, and Apple Pancakes with Maple Syrup Butter.

Savory offerings in this cookbook include Eggs Benedict with Quick Hollandaise Sauce, Tortilla with Roasted Bell Peppers & Spicy Chorizo, Cheese & Herb Souffles with Sauteed Mushrooms, and Mini Bacon & Egg Pastries with Cheddar.

Planning Brunch Menus

One of the benefits of the collection of recipes in Brunch is the variety of servings offered among the recipes. When planning a brunch menu, this book will be a valuable tool because it offers recipes in small portions or in portions large enough to feed crowds. Small portion recipes include twp-serving offerings such as Sausage with Mushrooms, Bacon, Tomatoes & Cooked Bread, Tuscan Beans on Ciabatta Toast with Fresh Herbs, and Toasted English Muffins with Honey-Glazed Bacon & Eggs.

For larger brunch crowds, several of the recipes in this book will serve a group. Larger portion recipes include Doughnut Muffins which serve 12, French Croissants which serve 12, Homemade Granola which serves six to eight, and Smoked Salmon, Feta & Dill Phyllo Packages which serves six. Many of the recipes serve four to six people, as well.

Shopping for Brunch Food

One concern with the brunch recipes in this book is the expense of making the recipes. Several of the recipes include a large number of ingredients, so if budget is a major concern, this may not be the right book.

Many recipes include 10 or more ingredients, which can add up in price, especially with some more expensive ingredients such as salmon, portobello mushrooms, and Gruyere cheese. On the other hand, it is these high-quality ingredients that make the dishes so flavorful.

Unique Pickle Recipes from Antique Cookbooks: Rare, Handwritten Cookbooks Reveal Unusual Ways to Preserve Food

Frugal cooks from the early nineteenth century used a surprising variety of ingredients to make pickles, recording their favorite recipes in handwritten cookbooks.

Most people these days are familiar with dill pickles and sweet pickles. Perhaps they have even been exposed to an occasional jar of bread and butter pickles. A quick look at the pages of antique, handwritten cookbooks reveals that cooks from previous generations knew countless other ways to make pickles, using a surprising array of unique ingredients.

Rare Handwritten Books Reveal Unusual Recipes for Pickles

Cooks of old often needed to be frugal and industrious, using whatever ingredients were on hand and preserving them for later use. An antique cookbook reveals that friends often traded favorite recipes and tips for preserving the bounties of the season, and that pickles were often on the menu. Following are four unique pickle recipes found in a handwritten cookbook by Ferne Halliday of Nampa, Idaho, who recorded the recipes in the early to mid 20th century.

Peach Pickles

  • 6 pounds peaches
  • 1 ounce stick cinnamon
  • 1 ounce whole cloves
  • 3 pounds sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pint apple cider vinegar

First peel the peaches by placing a few peaches at a time in a pot of boiling water for one to two minutes. Remove the peaches from the pot and let them cool. The peels should rub off easily. Use a paring knife to remove stubborn peels. Next, remove the peach pits and cut the peaches into 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices.Tie the cinnamon and cloves in a few layers of cotton cloth. Add the bag to the vinegar, sugar, and water, and bring to a boil. Add the peaches and cook until tender.

To make syrup from the remaining liquid, boil for about ten minutes until it has thickened slightly. Ferne notes that one shouldn’t leave the spices in the syrup for too long. Lift the peaches out of the kettle, fill sterilized jars to the rim with peaches and syrup, and seal.

Sweet Green Tomato Pickles

  • 1 peck green tomatoes (a peck is 2 gallons, 8 quarts, or 1/4 bushel)
  • 6 medium onions
  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 3 green peppers
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 2 quarts vinegar, divided
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 quarts sugar

Slice all vegetables into bite-size pieces and sprinkle with 1/4 cup salt. Boil until clear in one quart of the vinegar and the 2 quarts of water. Drain. Add 1 quart vinegar, 2 quarts sugar, and 2/3 cups whole pickling spice. Boil all together and seal while hot.

Pickled Pineapple Chunks

  • #2 can pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 can vinegar
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves

Drain the liquid from the can of pineapple chunks and fill the can halfway with vinegar. Pour the can of pineapple chunks and vinegar into a saucepan and add the cinnamon and whole cloves. Heat to boiling and then chill. Yields 34 to 40 pieces.

Pickled Pears

  • 20 pounds pears
  • 2 quarts vinegar
  • 7 1/2 pounds sugar
  • 2-3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, broken into pieces

Peel and core the pears, and slice them in quarters. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a large pan. Wrap the cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and vanilla bean in a square of cheesecloth and tie securely. Add the spices and the pears to the pan and boil until slightly brown. Lift out the pears and boil down the syrup, if needed. Place the pears and syrup in sterilized jars.

Handwritten Antique Cookbooks Teach Creative Ways to Make Pickles

Handwritten cookbooks show that making pickles was a popular and frugal activity for many cooks who lived in the early 19th century. These rare books offer a fascinating look at the industrious lives of the people who took the time to write down their favorite recipes.


Orange-Glazed Sweet Potatoes Recipe: A Thanksgiving Recipe to File Under Quick Side Dishes

Similar to traditional candied sweet potatoes, this sweet potato recipe features oranges for an added kick to the typical side dish recipe.

Sweet potatoes are a must-have for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and are likely the most commonly thought off side dish for celebrating the holiday. Candied sweet potatoes and candied yams are often topped with marshmallows but in this recipe marshmallows do not exist. Instead, the sweetness comes from a sugary syrup which is paired with a citrus infusion of orange juice and fresh zest.

Friends and family will enjoy this citrus sweet potato recipe which can be tailored to fit an individual’s taste. Add chopped pecans or a bit of cinnamon to the syrup mixture before baking to turn this into an entirely new side dish.

If Thanksgiving is looks like it will be hectic, this side dish can be prepared the day before up through step 6 in the directions, then placed into the refrigerator until the next day. The skillet can be removed from the refrigerator and baked during the hour leading up to Thanksgiving dinner.

Orange-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 orange slices, about 1/4 inch thick

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to a temperature of 350F (160C)
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place into a large skillet, adding boiled water then covering the skillet with a lid.
  3. Place skillet over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reducing heat so that the sweet potatoes are simmering. Continue simmering until the sweet potatoes are tender. You can poke them with either a sharp knife or fork to test the tenderness.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and drain off all but 1/4 cup of the water
  5. Dot the sweet potatoes with the 3 tablespoons of butter, cutting into small pieces and sprinkling over the sweet potatoes
  6. In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, orange juice, corn syrup, brown sugar, and orange slices. Stir to combine and then pour over the sweet potatoes in the skillet.
  7. Place the uncovered skillet into a 350F (160C) oven and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbling.
  8. Serve while hot

A delicious Thanksgiving side dish, sweet potatoes are one of the most requested holiday recipes. Made with fresh sweet potatoes, this recipe uses the tangy orange flavor to cut through the sugary sweetness found in many sweet potato recipes.

Pork and Ground Beef Casserole: Hearty Casserole Makes the Most of Leftovers and Pantry Staples

Leftover pork chops? Ground beef you have to use up? Combine the two into this delicious and easy casserole and never waste leftovers again.

Everyone runs into nights with too many leftovers to throw away, but not enough to make a meal. The same thing often happens with ground beef. This casserole is an excellent way to use up all the leftover meat in your refrigerator while making a creamy and nutritious one-dish meal for your family.

Pork and Ground Beef Casserole

  • 2 or 3 grilled pork chops, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 or 3 large red potatoes, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • ½ large red onion
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned, not drained
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 3-4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Butter a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Remove any bones from 2-3 leftover pork chops and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Place in casserole dish.
  4. Wash red potatoes and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Add to casserole dish, spreading evenly.
  5. Drain can of green beans and add to casserole dish.
  6. Wash and cut yellow pepper into 1 inch pieces.
  7. Dice ½ large red onion.
  8. Crumble ground beef into a large skillet. Add onion and yellow pepper, and cook until burger is browned and onion and pepper are soft. Add to casserole dish.
  9. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over meat and vegetables. Stir to coat and then spread out in casserole dish.
  10. Deglaze skillet with ¾ cup red wine, and add to casserole.
  11. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard. Mix well and pour over casserole.
  12. Sprinkle casserole with salt, pepper, paprika.
  13. Top casserole with shredded cheddar cheese.
  14. Bake, covered, on 350 degrees F for 1 hour.
  15. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for another 2-3 hours.
  16. Remove from oven, and stir in remaining flour, one tbsp at a time.
  17. Let set up for 15 mins, uncovered, before serving.

Recipe Variations

There are many ways to make this casserole even more nutritious. You can add a drained can of corn or carrots to the casserole. You can also add fresh mushrooms, diced and sauteed zucchini, and/or yellow summer squash to the mix. If you are concerned about fat and cholesterol, make sure you trim off any excess fat off the pork chops and drain the ground beef mixture before adding to the casserole. You should also use low-fat sour cream, substitute low-fat cream of mushroom soup instead of the mayonnaise, and use either low-fat cheddar cheese or substitute low-fat mozzarella cheese instead.

Kitchen Gourmet 1.5 Qt Slow Cooker (YD-500): Product Review

The Kitchen Gourmet 1.5qt Slow Cooker is sold at retail through Walgreens, and can also be ordered from their website. At only ten dollars, it is about the cheapest option on the market for a new slow cooker. At this size however, it is really only good for stews, pot roasts, chili and whatever else you care to prepare for no more than two people.

The unit is completely without accessories, as should be expected for ten dollars. The ceramic pot liner is removable to double as a serving dish, and a glass lid allows you to keep an eye on things as they bubble up. The unit has two good-sized hand grips on the exterior, but the ceramic liner has only two tiny grips at the lip, which are a bit small to be adequate and require one to wear oven mitts or some other protective gear if they intend to remove the liner immediately after cooking.

The unit is fairly solid and well-constructed for ten dollars, however, and unless you put it through untoward rigors I can see it lasting for years. As with seemingly all Kitchen Gourmet cookware, however, the power cord is a bit shorter than most would like, measuring only about three feet.

Cooking is even throughout the dish, and the performance is adequate. However, the “slow” in the title is truly a case of accurate advertising here. The unit has three temperature settings – High, Low and Warm, but I found little difference between the Low and Warm settings, as both just seem to maintain the present temperature. The High setting is needed for thorough cooking, and even at this setting expect light dishes such as a pot of chili to take upwards of an hour, and something thicker like a roast can potentially take several hours. The unit seems to be safe to leave unattended, however; the ultra-slow heating seems to preclude any bubbling and spatter.

Lead in crock pots and slow cookers has become a concern as of late. I have found no reports of testing either way on this particular unit for lead in the liner. However, Walgreens is generally good about listing any potential lead in any of their cookware on their website, since they do so much business in California and the state has strict laws about notifying consumers of lead exposure. The Walgreens site goes so far as to warn you when the cookware has lead in the power cord, let alone in the cooking area, and they have nothing listed on their website under this unit for warnings, so I personally take that as enough of sign that it’s safe to use. As always, your mileage may vary, especially if children will be eating from it.

All-in-all, I’m pretty happy with this unit as a budget choice for making single meals for one or two people. It probably isn’t going to be quite big enough to prepare dinner for a family, however, and I can see where the minimal power cord length would be really annoying in certain kitchen settings.