Need a substitute for my electric crockpot!
I love my electric-powered slow cooker, but am looking for a gas-powered equivalent. Googling has been fruitless. I would like to switch to gas as it is a more natural source of power. Firstly, I believe that food tastes better when it's cooked via gas. And I also feel that imparts healthier "vital energy" or "qi" when cooking on gas.
So here are the options I'm toying with:
1. super flame tamer (not the cheap $3 ones) over the lowest flame burner.
2. blech (used for Shabbat purposes)
Which of these two techniques would better emulate a slow cooker? My goal is to put ingredients in the pot the night before so I can wake up to a nice hot bowl of soup, congee, etc. in the morning.
Coleman (camping gear) makes a propane powered slow cooker
One disposable canister lasts from 5 to 10 hrs (high v low). I don't know if you can connect it to the larger refillable tank on your outdoor grill. They might also discourage use of this cooker inside.
However, I will take issue with your ideas of gas being more 'natural', and food tasting better, especially for slow cooking. Gas gives better temperature control at high temperatures, but at low, slow heating rates, electricity gives better control.
I don't know anything about this 'qi' - is that anything like carbon monoxide and other partially burned hydrocarbons? Do gas lights produce this same 'qi'?
"Qi is the intangible "life force" that exists all around us. It's present in foods, like the wok qi that you taste after a Chinese stir-fry has been made.
Unfortunatley, my oven is electric while my stove is gas. If I put a casserole dish in my oven, electricity will be cooking my food. There have been studies done where they've watered plants with different sources of water: water that's been heated by wood fire, water heated by a gas source, water heated from an electric source, and then lastly microwaved water. Note that all the water has been cooled before the plants were watered. The plants that were watered with the wood-fired water fared were robust, healthy and strong. Next as the gas water. The electric water didn't do too well, and the microwaved-water plants were really deformed.
As I live in an apartment building, I do not have a wood-fired oven -- though it's one of the first things I want to build (or have built for me) when I move to a house. And because I live in buildling, I think the camp stove would be a bit inappropriate. Actually , in my last apartment where the stove was electric, I did have one of those canister-fired ranges until my roomate freaked out about the fire hazzard.
re: Miss Needle
I believe the Chinese term is "wok hay" - qi being a term used mainly to describe whatever "energy" means.
Wok hay is the fragrance that a well-seasoned wok acquires.
And fire hazard would be the least of your worries. You need to worry about carbon monoxide, a much more common indoor toxin when burning any hydrocarbon. Very natural, yes. But very naturally deadly.
Some cereals can be cooked by bringing them to a full boil the night before, and letting them sit overnight. They would still need warming in the morning. A cozy might help keep them warm.
The only device I know of that's like what you're looking for is the "cooking well" that some gas (and electric) ranges had in the '40s and '50s. My grandma's first real range had one of these, and I saw a very fine Chambers gas range for sale some years ago with a beautifully-designed temperature control system for its large built-in pot.
A good heavy enameled cast-iron pot on an iron flame-tamer would appear to be your best bet in the short term. I will refrain from any further suggestions, as they might be considered insulting to your no doubt sincere beliefs, and would certainly be off-topic.