Cook the Book: Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

20100111-makeitfastcookitslow.jpgA little over two years ago Stephanie O'Dea made a New Year's resolution. She decided to use her slow cooker every single day and document her experiences on her newly founded blog, A Year of Slow Cooking.

Committing to cooking a year's worth of meals using a single appliance (that generally sits collecting dust in most people's kitchens) might seem like an unlikely undertaking but for O'Dea, it made perfect sense.

With two small children, a full-time job, and a lack of confidence in the kitchen, the slow cooker was a way to ensure that her family was well-fed on a nightly basis with none of the after-work stress that making dinner usually entails. Ingredients can be assembled and thrown into the Crock-Pot before leaving for work and by the time O'Dea and family were ready eat, dinner was ready.

For an entire year O'Dea made soups, stews, vegetarian and meat mains, even drinks and desserts in her slow cooker, documenting her successes and missteps on her blog.

But it was in February when the rest of the world began to notice her project. For Valentine's Day O'Dea used her slow cooker to make a flawless crème brûlée for her husband. The Rachael Ray show caught wind of O'Dea's slow cooking experiment and what started as a humble blog snowballed into multiple television appearances and a new cookbook featuring some of O'Dea's most successful slow cooker recipes entitled Make it Fast, Cook it Slow.

Make it Fast, Cook it Slow has slow cooker recipes for every occasion, from breads and breakfast to casseroles, seafood dishes, and desserts, and all of the recipes are gluten-free to boot. O'Dea even includes recipes for non food items like soap, air freshener, and play dough, all of which can be made in the slow cooker.

I am not quite ready to commit to an entire year of cooking with a Crock-Pot alone but everyday this week we are going to spotlight recipes from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow which means that for an entire week I am going to use my recently acquired slow cooker to test out O'Dea's recipes and share my experiences with all of you.

Win 'Make it Fast, Cook it Slow'

Thanks to the generosity of the folks over at Hyperion, we are giving away five (5) copies of Make it Fast, Cook it Slow this week. All you have to do is tell us about the one kitchen appliance that you can't live without in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, January 18 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.