I read Mark Bittman’s Automatic for the Summer article in the New York Times yesterday. In it he proposed the unconventional belief that a slow cooker isn’t just a cold weather appliance but the perfect tool for a summer stew. I had a lot of dried beans, random vegetables and herbs so I decided to try to make a summer stew.

I put 2 cups of dried beans (cannellini and a gourmet mix from Costco), 4 cups of water, about two pounds of vegetables ( zucchini, cabbage, onion and carrots), a generous sprinkling of herbs de Provence and kosher salt, and 4-6 sprigs of fresh oregano into my slow cooker. I set it on low for 10 hours. For serving — I added some fresh lemon juice, finishing salt, a bit of chopped fresh oregano and some extra virgin olive oil. It was really delicious lukewarm for lunch. I highly recommend experimenting with this recipe — add different herbs, vegetables and beans. Let me know if you discover some other good combinations.