So, that lamb. I answered a question about it in the comments section of the ‘Anticipation’ entry below, but for those of you who don’t read the comments (you should), here are the salient points again.

The lamb was falling apart soft. Has a great lamb flavor. The paprika and pepper were subsumed by the overall flavor. The sauce was just flat out rich with strong tomato and garlic/onion/leek components but after that the taste got too complex to break it down. I really liked it and will do it this way again. I am slowly learning that you need to add as little liquid as possible meat in crockpots.

The next part of this post was started by the commenter who asked about my crockpot experiences. They are mostly good because about four years ago Sunset published a great article with six recipes for crockpots that were all good and that’s where I learned the ‘start it or finish it’ (or both) OUTSIDE the crockpot technique. One example was a lovely corned beef in beer mustard sauce where you cook the corned beef in the crockpot with beer and lots of spices and then take it out, cover it with a blend of honey and mustard and stick it in a hot oven until the honey/mustard starts to caramelize. If you can I’d take the crockpot back. I’ve heard that the same brand can differ from one to the next quite widely. We have a large (oval) Rival that has low and high settings. It can hold a whole chicken easily and maybe even two small ones.

So THAT comment spawned a ‘never used my crockpot’ comment from another reader (Kevin) about what kitchen gadgets never got used. First, though, let me say that a crockpot is really good for hot punch drinks at parties (hot mulled apple cider in the winter for example) and also for melting large amounts of chocolate.

As for gadgets. Crockpot – used when I want to make a big meal for the family but will be gone all day. Rice cooker – most frequently used and best value gadget of all time – we got ours for $3 new in a going out of business sale. Bread machine – used about the same as the crockpot – if I don’t have time to hand bake the bread I do it overnight in the machine. Kitchen Aid – less used than it should be because we don’t have a good place for it and it is trouble to move. Blender – frequent manufacturer of salsas, sauces and smoothies and more. Toaster – everyday. Electric kettle – multiple times per day. Ice cream maker – rarely used. Electric pasta maker – used in spurts – actually makes very good pasta but is a royal pain to clean. I think that is the majority of the electrical ones.

Non electric – too many to count.

So, what are all your gadgets and uses (don’t mention obvious things like knives and microwaves)?

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