When we arrived to our cozy cottage in Keene, New York, right smack in the center of the Adirondacks High Peaks, I found myself at a loss of words. The silence was not from the sheer beauty of the place (it was plain, but cute and cozy, serving our hiking needs perfectly) but due to the size of the kitchen. I never really thought of myself as a kitchen snob, but somehow in that moment, knowing I’d be here for a week, it all became clear. I guess you can say I have certain standards. I would gladly trade in my queen sized pillow-top bed for a generic branded air mattress every night for the opportunity to cook in a chef’s kitchen daily. It also makes me wonder if my snobbishness has anything to do with our 3-year quest to find a suitable apartment. Maybe just a tiny bit…
The kitchen had a two burner electric range, an over-sized toaster oven that doubled as a regular and convection oven and a decent amount of counter space. Perfectly adequate for the average vacationer who will probably spend more nights eating out than in. But I love to cook. I actually enjoy cooking most on vacation because it gives me a chance to explore the local scene where I’m visiting. I eventually got over the lack of a real stove (do you know how difficult it can be to only use two burners?). It was when I dove deeper into my cooking tools that I was ready to pack my bags and head home. NO CHEF’S KNIFE. There was a large serrated bread knife, a few pairing knives and steak knives. I was forced to cook every meal–chop peppers and onions, slice corn off the cob, mince garlic and scapes with an ordinary steak knife. A fairly dull one too, I might add. But I am resilient! Remember when I made whipped cream with a hand crank beater? So while I continued my cooking, please accept my apologies for the photographs. They might appear a bit more gnawed and tortured than usual.
The one saving grace of the quaint kitchen was discovering an old school crockpot buried among the pots and pans. If you’ve stopped by to read even once, you know my love for crockpot recipes. As soon as I saw the rust colored stoneware, my eyes lit up. I was imagining returning home after an exhausting hike, chilly and damp, to find the cottage warm and inviting with dinner already prepared. The unpredictable weather and our lack of planning foiled my plans to dine a la crockpot every night, though I did manage a hearty stew of sausage and peppers. Packed with local peppers, onions and a sausage filled with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, courtesy of the Keene Farmer’s Market, of course.
Crockpot Sausage and Peppers (Serves 4-6)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces or removed from casing and crumbled
- 1 pint chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 c dry white wine
- Brown rice for serving
Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add garlic and cook until becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onions and sauté until slightly translucent, about 5 more minutes. Add peppers and cook until slightly softened. Transfer veggies to slow cooker.
In same pan (add a little extra oil if necessary) brown the sausage until barely any pink remains. Add sausage to veggies in crockpot. Add Pour in chopped tomatoes and wine and mix well.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve over rice.
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