Ok my peeps, I have to tell you about this big mama tool of mine. It’s an 8qt Power Pressure Cooker “as seen on TV”. Its cousin, who is just as cute, is the Instant Pot. I hear the extended family come in other brand names and looks but essentially, they all offer the same features. I bought mine last summer to help me with my canning projects and didn’t use for anything else since. I own a traditional pressure cooker but since it is not recommended for use on a glasstop tove, I have not cooked with it in years. I forgot how quick and efficient a pressure cooker can be.
Recently, thanks to my friend Chantal, I was introduced to a FB group of avid electric pressure cooker fans. It inspired me to pull out my owner’s manual and start having some fun. Beside the Asian pork recipe I wrote about last week, I made a traditional yellow pea soup with 2 hours of soaking and one hour of cook time in total. Massive success! Instead of overnight soaking and 3-4 hours on the stove, I soaked the beans at breakfast on Saturday and we were having soup for lunch. I spent about 15 minutes in prep total, the machine did the rest. Impressive no? No stirring, no checking temperature, no bubbling over! I would say this is pretty fantastic. Last night, I made a brown rice pilaf which was ready in 20 minutes (plus onion sautéing time). It turned out perfect, which is not easy when it comes to brown rice.
I am sold! It is super easy to use and to clean. You can sauté and brown directly in the appliance, so no extra pots and pans needed. Tough meats cook in anywhere between 45 to 75 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Online reviews on my model or on the Instant Pot are very good and I see why. Storage is a bit of an issue but I will have to find a way and a place to keep it near to the counter top in my small kitchen. I am not endorsing a brand name however, after this artcile, I think I should contact the company to let them know I am now a walking commercial for this appliance lol!
Beside the pressure cooker, I want to tell you a bit about the cookbook called Genius Recipes by Food52. With a title like that, I thought this book was dedicated to Einstein type chefs. You know, those who can whip up complicated recipes without breaking a sweat? Well, my initial assumption couldn’t be further from reality. I bought this book because it had pretty great reviews, I love Food52, I am a cookbook junkie and I was hoping to become a genius chef myself. The only genius I get out of taking so long to figure out this book’s worth is actually figuring that out!!! It is “genius” because it brings together some of the most simple yet amazing recipes: roasting the perfect chicken at super high heat, making a luscious cake out of almond and flour using a food processor (I’ve made that one: so easy and delicious p.239), making the perfect brine for chicken, the perfect pan-seared steak, easy vinaigrettes and more. In fact, this book should be one of the first to grace a novice’s book shelf. It is a collection of some of the best known chefs in the world such as Nigel Slater, Dan Barber, Yotam Ottolenghi, Mark Bittman and many others, including Julia Child. Alongside the brown rice pilaf I made last night (recipe from the pressure cooker owner’s manual), I made Chicken thighs with Lemon (p.108). I am not at my first chicken thigh dinner but this super easy technique was one I never knew of; it yielded extra crispy skin and juicy meat. Changing my way of cooking thighs that is for sure!
So here you have it, my latest “coups de coeur” as we say in French which is a bit like saying my new heart throbs :).
Happy belated International Day of Happiness and an official welcome to spring!