It was a crazy night in the QVC kitchens. All the usual stages and sets were full of gurneys bursting with food and kitchen gadgets and accessories. In fact, things were so nuts that about 60 seconds before my airtime, I couldn’t find my table of goodies. Panicking, I asked a staffer where it was and where I was supposed to be. She pointed and whispered, “Go through the living room and the laundry sets. You’ll be in the bedroom set.”
QVC was doing one of its all-day “Cooking on Q” bonanzas. Let me tell you, that brings out an army of food-prep people, food-stylists, and clean-up crews.
When I first went back to the kitchens to meet with my food-stylist and talk about which recipes my host would taste on air, we had to yell to each other over top a huge stove and prep table, with tables-on-wheels traveling between us and behind us.
I had had one breathless moment earlier when I almost stepped in front of a live camera when I took my usual path into the kitchen.
I caught up with my table enroute to the bedroom, which had already been pushed nearly a quarter of a mile from the kitchens. It was loaded down with eight gorgeously prepared dishes, some of which were still bubbling away in their slow cookers, despite having been pulled away from their electrical outlets so they could make the trip.
I got myself calmed down and made sure I had a serving spoon for each of the three dishes I was going to offer the host during my interview. The food-stylist zipped in and deposited a bowl with two scoops of ice cream to accompany the Chocolate Mud Cake I’d be serving, just as the cameras swung our way.
And we were on! I asked Carolyn, the host, whether she wanted to start with dessert or chili. She reached for a bowl of the White Chicken Chili since she had just been outside doing an interview about a home-sized meat smoker. She loved the chili! “My mom and I have been on the phone trying to decide which slow-cooker recipes we’re each going to make for our football-watching get-together,” she explained on air. Clearly, the chili was now in contention.
Then she spotted the Mud Cake—all gooey and chocolate-y extravagant. It had turned out perfectly, and Bonne, my food-styling magician, had edged the cake with fresh strawberries. Carolyn suddenly had a new idea for her football feast. And we still had six more amazing dishes to ogle and eat and exclaim over.
I hope I’ve tempted you irresistibly to try the chili and cake. Stay tuned for the other “this-fabulous-food-can’t-be-made-in-a-slow-cooker” recipes in my upcoming blogs.
White Chicken Chili
Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep. Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 ½-5 hours
Ideal Slow Cooker Size: 5-quart
2 whole skinless chicken breasts
6 cups water
2 chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. oil
2-4 4-oz. cans chopped green chilies
1-2 diced jalapeno peppers
2 tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. salt
3-lb. can navy beans, undrained
1-2 cups shredded cheese
1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Add 6 cups water.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 3-4 hours, or until tender.
3. Remove chicken from slow cooker. Cube and set aside.
4. Saute onions and garlic in oil in skillet. Add chilies, jalapeno peppers, cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt. Saute 2 minutes. Transfer to broth in slow cooker.
5. Add navy beans.
6. Cover. Cook on Low 30-60 minutes.
7. Right before serving, add chicken and cheese.
8. Serve topped with sour cream and salsa.
Cornbread or corn chips are good go-alongs with this chili.
If you’re in a from-scratch mood and want to use dried beans, use 3 cups dried navy beans. Cover with water in a stockpot, soaking them overnight. In the morning, drain the beans. Cover with fresh water. Cook in the stockpot on low for 7-8 hours, or until beans are tender. Drain off excess moisture. Stir into chicken and broth.
Chocolate Mud Cake
Makes 8 servings
Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1-2 hours
Cooling Time: 25 minutes
Ideal Slow Cooker Size: 4-quart
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. butter
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, or 1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sugar, divided
3 Tbsp., plus 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, divided
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup skim milk
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1½ cups hot water
1. Coat inside of slow cooker with nonfat cooking spray.
2. In mixing bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave. Mix well.
4. Whisk in 2/3 cup sugar, 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, milk, and egg yolk.
5. Add the flour mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
6. Pour batter into slow cooker. Spread evenly.
7. Whisk together remaining sugar, cocoa, and hot water until sugar is dissolved. Pour over batter in slow cooker. Do not stir.
8. Cover. Cook on High 1-2 hours. The cake will be very moist and floating on a layer of molten chocolate when it’s done. And you’ll know it is done cooking when nearly all the cake is set and its edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pot.
9. Turn off slow cooker and remove lid. Try not to let the condensed steam from the lid drip onto the cake. Let cool for 25 minutes before cutting and spooning onto individual plates.
10. Dig deep when you serve to get the molten liquid beneath the cake-y part. Serve with frozen ice cream, gelato, or ice cream.