Pressure Cooker Recipes 2

Pressure Cooker recipes: AllRecipes.com pressure cooker recipes

I remember allrecipes.com from way back when it was solely a gathering of recipes contributed by cooks who also happened to be on the internet at the time. The web was mostly educational and personal sites back then, although it was changing rapidly. According to Wilipedia, “Allrecipes.com was founded in 1997 after co-founder Hunt had trouble finding his favorite cookie recipe on the Internet.” The first domain name was actually “cookierecipe.com”, but it quickly expanded to all foods and the name changed to allrecipes.com. And allrecipes.com became commercial, both onsite and as a print magazine. In 2006 allrecipes was sold to Reader’s Digest, and in 2012 it became part of the Meredith Corporation.

I went to the Way Back machine and found this stored web visit that shows how allrecipes.com looked then: 1997 www.allrecipes.com. That’s how I remember it! Back in the day.

Today I find the 2018 site, well, a little overwhelming. The pressure cooker page loads slowly on my slow connection – especially the photos, and the loading page keeps appending the recipes at the bottom. Good and bad photos of the cooked dishes. Ads pop up everywhere, videos are annoying and distracting, and icons beg to be clicked on. (I’m just here for the facts, the recipes. But I digress to my bent towards of non-commercialism.)

Still, this site has a wealth of recipes. There are hundreds of pressure cooker recipes, all contributed by ordinary folk who are usually identified by a clickable link. Many have their own websites (like me).

The thing about the allrecipes.com website is that there is no underlying theme for the style of recipes, except maybe “American style”. What I mean is, on seriouseats.com, the recipes are written by a handful of professional cooks. And on seriouseats.com, there are fewer recipes, most have an international flair, and the photos are amazing, as compared to the allrecipes.com site.


The second pressure cooker recipe website I am covering is:

AllRecipes.com

Note: When you are searching for a pressure cooker from the above  allrecipes.com link, you need to specify “pressure cooker” or “instant pot” when you search, or you get a conglomeration of pressure and non-pressure recipes.

The recipe I want to try from allrecipes.com is Chicken with Duck Sauce. We really like the way chicken in the pressure cooker comes out juicy but done. This recipe calls for a whole chicken, cut up. I decide to use less chicken: just two, bone-in chicken breasts. Will the amount of liquid in the dish and the cooking time need to be varied? I don’t think so, so I will go ahead with the 1/4 cup wine plus 1/4 cup broth that is suggested for a whole chicken, and go with the instructions “cook on high pressure 8 minutes, or until done” (quick release). I make a full recipe of the duck sauce.

First, I brown the seasoned chicken breasts directly inside the electric pressure cooker. Advantage: no separate stove-top skillet to wash. Disadvantage: I have to peer over the rim of the deep pot and reach down with a fork to turn them, and it splatters all over my hand. Can I skip the browning step altogether? No, un-browned chicken would look pale on the serving dish.

I add the water and wine and close the cooker. It comes to high pressure quickly because there is so little water and food in it. After 8 minutes, I check the chicken breasts. One is up to 160˚, but one is only at 120˚. So I take one out, and leave the other in for another 2 minutes. It is done, 160˚.

I was kind of wondering why the recipe instructions state: “cook on high pressure 8 minutes, or until done”. I mean, it’s not like stove-top simmering or oven-baking chicken when it takes just a second or two to check if it’s done. No, you have to release the pressure, check the chicken, then decide to cook a little longer. With this particular recipe – very little liquid and quick release – this “checking” step took only a couple minutes start to finish. So it worked. When cooking large amounts of food, like when I cook a batch of beans, it can take 10-20 minutes to check for done-ness and get the cooker back up to pressure.

I made the whole amount of duck sauce even though I was only cooking two pieces of chicken, and was glad I did. Some of it pooled over into my hot side dish of freekeh and broccoli and it tasted great. I used fresh ginger, and I strongly recommend it if you have some around. The sauce was simply delicious, almost sweet and sour. We both liked it.

Below, I am sharing several more recipes from the allrecipes.com collection. Some I am interested in trying, some demonstrate cooking methods, all demonstrate the scope of recipes the site includes.

Instapot Salsa Chicken. This calls for frozen chicken breasts – and they are added without thawing to the pot. This could be a real boon for those times we walk in the door ready to eat and nothing is thawed for dinner. (We live 6 miles from a small town so going out is not always convenient.) I almost always have frozen chicken breasts on hand. So, I could put them in the pot, add salsa and a couple other ingredients, and pressure cook for 15 minutes. A healthy dinner in 15 minutes! Instructions for beginning with thawed chicken breasts are given.

Double Bean and Ham Soup begins with non-soaked dry navy beans, and therefore will nicely season those beans. I find it odd that the recipe also calls for a can of pork and beans. What’s the point of cooking from scratch if you add such a processed canned product?

Messy Lasagna. Ingredients are ground beef, tomato sauce, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, and more. The pasta is bow ties. Pressure Cooker Lasagna calls for no-boil noodles and goat cheese and more.

Pressure Cooker Bone-In Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, and Carrots is interesting because you put the potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket inside the pressure cooker instead of down in the liquid.

Beef Brisket with Chipotle Tomatillo Sauce calls for medium pressure for 1 hour 15 minutes. I think this is silly, why not high pressure for less time?, this might be a good idea. Slow release, too.

Olive oil pressure-cooked whole roasted chicken. Nice spices, very little liquid. The cooking time is 16-20 minutes with quick release. The whole chicken is removed from the pressure cooker and browned under an oven broiler. The cooking liquid is made into a gravy for mashed potatoes.

Spicy Pressure Cooker Short Ribs are cooked in a spicy sauce that includes – cola! The pressure cooker should be a good tool for cooking short ribs, a tasty meat that needs a long cooking time. The site includes other short rib recipes too.

Mexican Beef and Vegetable Stew is an example of how to cook a quick beef stew in the pressure cooker. The meat is browned and then pressure-cooked for 10 minutes, slow release. The the potatoes and carrots are added and it is cooked for 15 minutes, quick release.

In general, the allrecipes.com site has many versions of recipes for pot roast, pulled pork, stews, carnitas, barbecued pork, and chilis. It is a good resource for ideas.

Hardboiled Eggs in the pressure cooker take about the same amount of time, but the claim is that they will always be easy to peel.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake This cheesecake is rich with cream cheese, semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa, whipping cream, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate cookie crumbs. It’s pressure cooked for 45 minutes in a springform pan on a trivet.

Copycat V-8 Juice! Boy, that would be fun. You start with fresh vegetables. If I had a garden, I would probably try this project. It’s processed in a “pressure canner”, not a pressure cooker. I used to have a very old pressure canner, but it’s gone off somewhere, so I’d have to purchase a new one to try this V-8 juice. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, electric pressure cookers are not recommended for canning tasks. Pressure canners are usually taller and bigger than electric pressure cookers, and can hold four or more quart-size jars standing upright. These canning cookers get up to higher temperatures than the electric type. The NCHFP has not tested whether or not electric pressure cookers get up to and sustain a high enough temperature to kill all the bacteria.

Pause.

Aside

grains hot cereal

I just ate a fantastic grain breakfast. How did I do it? Yesterday afternoon, I went to my pantry and selected four grains. How did I choose them? Well, I wanted something with big grains and crunchy, and something small and flavorful too. I chose kamut, einkorn (farro), and millet. I poured them into a pan (no measuring!) and added water to cover by about an inch. A little salt. I simmered until the grains were done, adding more water once or twice. Then I added a little old fashioned oatmeal, to sort of bind them all together. Cooked a few minutes, added sultans, covered, and took off the heat. Left there until morning.

Morning comes. I warm up my mixture. Delicious!! This needs no sugar at all, just a little milk (and the sultans!). Yum. I thinks my mixture is a lot better than the 7-grain cereal  blend that I have purchased for years. The flavors stand out and the grains are pleasantly chewy.

Cereal for breakfast is especially good after months of eggs. We spent months successfully losing weight on a low-carb diet, but I for one missed my grains. Now I am using these whole grains that I studied, knowing they are full of nutrients, fiber, and even protein. The ones I chose have a relatively low glycemic index. No blood sugar spikes like eating sugary muffins.

I don’t even have to look up recipes to use my favorite grains. Besides the morning cereal, a week ago I added teff flour to muffins just based on my own knowledge. They were delicious.

I have learned that I like grains that are in one piece, like wheat berries. I know that whole grains can be “whole”, as in, in one piece, or lightly processed, like bulgur and cracked freekeh, which are treated just enough to change the texture but not too much to remove all of the fiber and attached nutrients. Grains can be processed into flour and still be considered “whole grain”. I know that a product called grain might be a grass, like wheat, or a seed, like millet. I have learned enough to use my own knowledge to choose and cook grains, but I have some great references on hand, my own charts, my own weblinks, and Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass.

But I am “pausing” on my grain posts. Time to get on to my pressure cooker and other interests.


Quick summary (mainly for me!):

I still have spelt, oats, quinoa, chia, and rye to cover. Also, I realized in Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way that oats and corn and hominy and more are considered whole grains too. I’ll try to get to all of them eventually. So far, I have covered:

 

Electric pressure cooker recipes

November 2018. Winter is creeping in on Colorado. It’s time again for hearty stews and soups. Back in January 2017, I started a draft of this post “Electric pressure cooker recipes”, and now it’s time to finally finish it!

I have been using pressure cookers since the 1970s, when I got my first stove top version. (See my 250 Cookbook post, the Presto Pressure Cooker Recipe Book.) About 4 years ago I got an electric pressure cooker, sometimes called an “instant pot”. I tend to neglect it since I store it down in the basement. So, I carried it upstairs for convenient storage.

The focus of this series of posts is to find lots of pressure cooker recipes, test one from each website, and then keep all my references and notes in one convenient spot. I want to become very comfortable using my pressure cooker with foods from beans to grains to meats to vegetables.

I am not going to discuss how to use a pressure cooker in this section. But for myself, I wanted a good reference book on pressure cooking, and I chose Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass. (I bought the e-book.) I learned about Lorna Sass while working on my Grains posts, and purchased and reviewed her book Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way. I made a good choice with Pressure Perfect – I love the book!


The first website I am covering is:

Serious Eats

The Serious Eats Team has put together a page of 29 Pressure Cooker Recipes for Quicker, Easier Dinners. I became “acquainted” with one of this team, J. Kenji López-Alt, when listening to a podcast. After listening, I bought the hard copy of his 2015 book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. (This book is past my 250 cookbooks era.) It’s a fascinating, scientific-style cookbook that totally appeals to me. The Food Lab book is huge and comprehensive and has lots of great photos.

The pressure cooker recipes on the Serious Eats site range from traditional beef stew to chicken stew with lentils to Thai green chicken curry to black beans with chorizo to French onion soup to beef barley soup to Texas style chile con carne to rissotto to tomato sauce and chicken stock. Interesting flavors from Asia and India and America and Mexico and more are often woven into the same recipe. No borders in the cooking of the Food Lab Team!

I like that the pressure cooker recipes on this site that call for black beans have you add the dry beans directly to the pot. A recipe with pinto beans calls for them to be soaked overnight, then added directly to the pot. A recipe for chick peas calls for canned beans. Why do I have a preference for adding dry beans directly to the pot? Because it lends a lot more flavor than adding precooked or canned beans, and it saves the cook (me!) from having to plan a meal by soaking the beans the day before.

What I don’t like about the Serious Eats site are a couple of irritating ads: one keeps showing a video that distracts my eyes.

The first recipe I want to try is 30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken With Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Chorizo. This recipe was created by J. Kenji López-Alt. He writes about the development of the recipe on another page. He states that, as per my own preference, he tried dried garbanzos first, but it took so long for them to cook that he used canned garbanzos first. Gosh, I love his photos! I could learn more than cooking from J. Kenji López-Alt!

I gather ingredients for this dish. I can’t find fire roasted tomatoes at the market, so I will use a can of Cento peeled Italian tomatoes. The chorizo is supposed to be the type that can be cut into chunks; I can only find ground fresh chorizo and a 3 ounce package of dried, cured chorizo precut into thin slices. (I added a small amount of the ground chorizo, cooked, and the entire package of cured chorizo, chopped into small pieces.) I do have smoked Spanish paprika in my spice rack. Garbanzos? I cooked dry garbanzo beans in my pressure cooker and stored portions in my freezer, so I will use those, but I don’t have quite enough so I will supplement with one 14-ounce can of garbanzos (chick peas). I have my own homemade chicken stock. For the chicken, Kenji may be able to cut one into serving pieces quickly, but not me – I choose packaged thighs and drumsticks.

Success?

Yes, my pressure cooked chicken with chickpeas, tomatoes, and chorizo was wonderful. Even my husband liked it a lot. He thought the chicken was cooked to perfection, juicy and tender. He even ate the garbanzos. I thought the flavoring perfect. I advise anyone trying this recipe to be sure to use smoked paprika. Yes, the chorizo lent great flavor and heat, but what sets this dish apart is the smoky flavor of the paprika. One whole tablespoon – don’t skimp!

I will try more recipes from this Serious Eats site. They keep adding pressure cooker recipes: the first time I visited the site there were 15, now there are 29. So keep checking back.

(Aside: I use one of the Food Labs pizza doughs when we make our outdoor pizza cooker.)

Cookbooks: Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way

Traveling through the web searching for information on millet for the Grains section of my blog, I came across this book by a woman called Lorna Sass: Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way. Just who is this woman? I preview parts of the cookbook and decide that I must have it. Shall I purchase Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way as an e-book or hard copy? My thoughts follow. First, let’s meet Lorna Sass, then I’ll ramble about e-books.

Lorna Sass

I learned about Lorna Sass while reading the Whole Grains Council section on millet. She is one of their culinary advisors, as listed on this web page. Whole Grains Council (WGC) has a bio page for Lorna Sass, where I learn that she is a widely published food writer and an award-winning cookbook author. I follow their link to her website and read more of her biography. Sass begins her bio with “my mom was a good cook, and a very adventurous one” and that she “grew up with a relaxed sense of cooking good food”. She did not begin her career as a food writer, no, she graduated from Columbia University with a PhD in medieval literature. During her studies, serendipity led her to a 1390 book of recipes from the royal household of Richard II. Aha! A woman after my own heart – she checked out the book and started cooking the recipes!

She did not stop with just cooking the recipes. She wrote To the King’s Taste and three other books on the history of cooking. Quote from her website: “During the 70s, I gave lectures and taught workshops on the history of gastronomy all around the country.”

And then, Sass became interested in pressure cooking when in the 1980s her “mom brought a pressure cooker back from India and started turning out delicious soups and stews in 15 minutes”. Four pressure cooking books resulted! She calls Pressure Perfect her definitive word on the subject. I too became interested in pressure cooking, but in the 1970s. (Presto Pressure Cooker Recipe Book, a 250 Cookbooks blog post.)

Sass also notes that she was a vegetarian for “about a decade”. As you might guess by now, that led to another four cookbooks. She also mentions her love of travel and photography. (Her Facebook page has some great photos.)

I enjoyed learning about one more great cook who is fascinated by food, likes to try new things, steers toward whole grains and home cooked meals, and writes cookbooks. Sass has a presence on Facebook and a blog. More about her story is found on her WordPress “about” page.

Hard copy or e-Book?

All of my current cookbooks are hard copy publications. I like sitting in a comfy chair and perusing recipes and stories and photos of food. I like writing notes in the books or inserting hand-written post-its to mark ideas and suggestions. Can I really sit down with a book that is on my iPad or computer instead of paper? There is something about turning the pages of a printed, paper book that is comforting.

E-books might work for me, though. I could access an e-book from my phone, my iPad, and my computer. I could be in a store and look up a recipe so I know what I need to by. Or, I could sit in a chair with the iPad or my MacBookPro and swipe through the pages. Or, I could sit here at my desk with a big screen and all my stuff around me, with access to all of my databases and writings and notes.

And, I could have the e-book immediately. No waiting. No waste of paper, no book to find space for on a shelf. The e-book costs less than the printed book. I don’t have to travel to a brick and mortar store and maybe not find it (or pay a lot). I won’t have a lot of packaging to recycle from an online purchase shipment.

All these things considered, plus with a choice to try something new, I decide to try this cookbook as an e-book. The download is quick and voilá, it is on my computer.

How do I like using the e-book?

I have read e-books on occasion, but not a lot, so I need to get familiar with the functions. I’m using the Kindle app on all my devices. So, I start playing around with all of them. I find that I can add a note anywhere in the book. The notes I add on my computer version are synched with both my iPhone and iPad versions, and visa versa. This is very useful!

I like being able to search for a word (e.g., an ingredient) and go directly to that page.

I think I will like this method of using cookbooks. Especially for this cookbook, which is mostly information and recipes – no photos.

How do I like Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way?

Wow. I really like this book. If I had found it sooner, I probably would not have started the Grains section of my blog.

Sass begins with “what is a whole grain”. I am always going on about whole grains when talking to friends and family, and I like having this reference at the ready so I can keep my facts straight. “A kernel of grain is comprised of three edible parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Some grains have a fourth part – the hull or husk – which is an inedible protective covering.” And “In order to qualify as a whole grain, a kernel must have all three parts intact.” If a grain is processed into pieces, like wheat into bulgur, or any grain into flour, the processed grain must have the same nutrition profile as the kernel to be called “whole grain”, according to USDA guidelines and the Whole Grains Council. Look for the word “whole” in labels of grain products.

In a whole grain, the bran contains dietary fiber, B vitamins, and trace minerals. The germ contains vitamins B and E, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, and unsaturated lipids. Here is a direct quote from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way: “The germ is located at one end of the kernel near where the kernel connects to the stalk, since it is just under the bran, if the bran is removed, so is the germ.” The endosperm is the largest portion of the kernel, and contains starch and protein and B vitamins.

Some of the grains she covers are seeds or pseudocereals. For instance, quinoa, amaranth, and millet are not members of the grain family in botanical terms, but are commonly referred to as grains because they are cooked like them and have similar nutritional profiles. I’ve run into this definition before while studying grains for my Grains section of my blog.

Sass methodically studied how to cook each grain. Just like a scientist! She has a section titled “In my kitchen laboratory”. Her kitchen experiments included pre-soaking the grain (or not); putting the grain in boiling water or starting with the grain in cold water and then bringing to a boil; toasting before cooking; adding salt early or late; letting a grain stand covered after cooking; pressure cooking; and adding oil (or not).

Because of all of her cooking trials, I find Sass’s cooking instructions for each grain easy to follow, full of excellent suggestions, and so far, perfect for each grain I’ve tried.

Sass talks about cooking grains in large batches to create your own “grain bank”. Most grains store well in the freezer, and can be frozen in small portions for last minute use. I learned about this method when I wrote my Grains post on kamut from the Food Storage Moms website.

For each grain, Sass tells us what sort of foods they go well with in a compatible foods and flavors section. For instance, amaranth is compatible with savory ingredients such as butter, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, oregano, corn, sesame seeds, and fresh ginger, and sweet ingredients such as honey, vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, banana, and winter squash.

The recipes are all at the end of the book. This is nice in an e-book, because when she mentions the recipe in the text of a grain’s section, it is hyperlinked directly to the recipe.

The “further reading” chapter at the end of the book is wonderful. One link I found that I really like is the USDA Food Composition Databases website. I put it in my browser’s tool bar so I can easily find the nutrition profile of just about any food.

At the very end is a hyperlinked index. This may not be as necessary as in the print version, since you can always do a word search in an e-book.

The only drawbacks to this book is that it was published in 2006, so some of the information might be outdated, and that it does not have photos of grains.

I am happy with my decision to buy the e-book, and I am totally happy that I found and now own Lorna Sass’s Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way.