I would like to thank everyone who responded to my informal poll last week. I got enough responses to tell that the majority of you like to have a variety of different posts, and not just recipes.
Which is to say that I will continue the Wednesday posts and try to add even more variety. One thing I am working on is to make some videos of select recipes, which would be part of the Wednesday rotation.
I am also planning on revamping the format of the blog just to make it look a little nicer and to be a little easier to navigate. Of course this is going to take a little time, but I hope to introduce the changes over the next year or so (or maybe less if I can find the time.
But stay tuned, and hopefully you will find the changes are for the better!
I know, it’s not like the ones you used to get at (fill in the blank). First off, Italian Beef is not an Italian recipe, it is a regional dish usually found in Chicago. This recipe is not meant to emulate the Italian Beef at any particular place, it is merely Italian beef as I make it.
I am not from Chicago, and I have never had Italian Beef in Chicago. I have had it in other cities and each version was wildly different, so I figured that gives me a lot of leeway to make it “my way” (regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention, if I may be Frank).
Generally this is served on French or Sourdough rolls, but it can also be used to top noodles or rice (though not traditional). I like to use Sourdough rolls and add provolone cheese. The traditional condiment is Giardiniera, which can be spicy or mild. The only version I could find without making the trek to the Italian Deli was not really a version meant for sandwiches. It was good, but the huge chunks made it difficult to keep on the bread, and I like it with a little less cauliflower.
So, we start by heating the oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat.
Season about 2 pounds of Beef Chuck with salt and pepper (or Montreal Steak Seasoning, as I used) then brown on both sides and remove it to a plate.
Add 1 large onion, halved then sliced thickly and 2 bell peppers, also sliced thickly (whichever color you prefer) to the pot and sauté until they start to soften (about 5-6 minutes).
Toss in 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife and continue to sauté for another minute.
Add a level tablespoon of Italian spice mix and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and stir.
Pour in the 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, 1-1/2 cups of beef stock and 1/4 cup pepperoncinis with 1/4 cup of the pepper juice.
Place the meat back in the pot.
Add a little salt and ten or twelve grinds of black pepper along with two bay leaves.
Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and raise the heat to high.
Bring to high pressure, then adjust the heat to maintain high pressure.
Set the time for 40 minutes.
When the time is up, let the heat come down on its own for ten minutes then do a quick release.
Remove the meat to a plate and let it rest for ten minutes. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and slice thinly.
Remove the Bay Leaves, taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper to taste.
Return the meat to the pot.
Serve on sandwiches or over noodles or rice (I like it on sourdough rolls with provolone cheese). Add a little more juice on top of the meat.
This is a bit of a messy sandwich (or maybe I am just a slob), so it may require a knife and fork.
It’s Time To Make Your Vote Count! A Pressure Cooker Poll.
In light of some recent negative feedback regarding my Wednesday posts, in particular the “Sneak Peek” posts, I wanted to take a quick survey just to see what others think.
For all email subscribers to this blog, an email is automatically sent whenever I do a post. Apparently some readers are only interested in the recipes and do not appreciate any other posts coming through their email.
Regular readers of Pressure Cooker Convert may have noticed that starting at the beginning of this year I have been posting twice a week. The weekend post is always a recipe. On Wednesdays I post various things, such as Quick Reviews such as this one on my InstantPot. Or I might post more of an editorial type thing such as this one about why to keep your Pressure Cooker out and ready for action all summer long. Other times I might include a Sneak Peek, letting you know what is coming this weekend. And then again, there are times I may conduct some lame poll!
So if you could leave a line or two in the comments whether these posts are helpful, entertaining or anything else, or if you just prefer all recipes all the time, it would be helpful to me regarding the focus of Pressure Cooker Convert moving forward.
Alright, let me clear up a couple things from the get-go. Yes, it is called Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, but that does not mean that it has pineapple in it. There is NO pineapple in this, and simply adding pineapple to something does not make it Hawaiian. Also, this is in no way, shape or form intended to be a healthy dish, so please do not try to substitute Low Fat Mayo, skim milk or brown rice (or spelt, etc.) macaroni. Any of those changes will automatically render this dish Non-Hawaiian.
This dish is meant to emulate the creamy, decadent macaroni salad that is typically served with the Hawaiian Plate Lunch. If you have never had a plate lunch, it usually comes with one or two entrees such as Teriyaki Chicken or Kalua Pig, with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. It is definitely not “diet” food, but it is definitely delicious. I will admit, though, that I have used less mayo and milk than most recipes call for (believe it or not).
I have found that adding the vinegar to the water while cooking the pasta will permeate the macaroni with vinegar flavor, giving it the “tangy” quality that restaurant versions have. If you taste the macaroni by itself, you may find it kind of odd tasting, but once it is all mixed together you will have a tangy, tasty treat.
I made this in the electric pressure cooker, so that is how I wrote the recipe. You can easily use a stovetop model using the same timing. But make sure that you are cooking on LOW pressure, so as not to overcook the macaroni.
Start by dumping the macaroni into the pressure cooker pot.
Add 1/2 cup rice vinegar and about 2-1/2 cups water (liquid should just barely cover the macaroni, adjust as needed). Apple cider vinegar will also work, but I prefer the milder taste of Rice Vinegar.
Add a tablespoon of oil to help reduce foaming and salt the water liberally.
Place the top on the pressure cooker and set for LOW pressure.
Set the time for half the time that is listed on the macaroni package (mine said 9-11 minutes, I set the time for 5 minutes). You want the macaroni to be soft and fluffy, not al dente, so that it will easily absorb the dressing.
While the macaroni is cooking, get your dressing ready. In a bowl whisk together 1-1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup milk, a tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, a couple teaspoons prepared mustard, a tablespoon of brown sugar and one teaspoon of onion powder. This mixture will look thin, but once it is blended into the macaroni and some of it is absorbed it will be just right.
When time is up, do a quick release. Remove the top and let it sit for about a minute.
Transfer the macaroni to a colander and quickly rinse with cold water. Drain for a few minutes, then transfer macaroni to a large bowl.
Add about 1/4 cup grated carrot, 2 stalks finely chopped celery and 3 finely chopped scallions and mix together. I used the medium side of a box grater for the carrot.
Pour the mayo/milk mixture over macaroni and stir it all together.
Taste and add salt, if needed.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Top with freshly ground black pepper and/or paprika, if desired.
For authentic plate lunch, serve with white rice and an entree, such as teriyaki chicken. It is also a great side for just abut anything, Hawaiian or not!
Coming This Weekend – Macaroni Salad Made Quicker In The PC!
My favorite part of the Hawaiian “Plate Lunch”, is probably the macaroni salad that comes with it. Creamy, tangy and oh so unhealthy. But tasty as heck. And no, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is not Macaroni salad with pineapple in it. A lot of folks seem to think you can toss a handful of pineapple into anything and it magically becomes “Hawaiian”. But this dish earned its moniker simply because it is the kind of macaroni salad that is served in Hawaii, with nary a pineapple chunk in sight.
This is not a one pot meal like a lot of pressure cooker recipes. The macaroni is cooked under pressure, with a twist that gives it the characteristic tang of the original.
Come by on the weekend to learn the secret. Mahalo!
Well, it might not be quite as healthy as some kale dishes, what with having bacon and whatnot, but being able to eat it is healthier than not being able to eat it because of overwhelming blandness.
Why eat kale at all if I am not that enthusiastic about it? Because of convenience and the sheer ubiquity of it. For weekday cooking, I often just want to get things prepared as quickly as possible so we are not sitting down to dinner at 11:00 PM. These days, when looking for pre washed bagged greens it is difficult to find anything other than kale. Believe me, if there were bagged collard greens sitting next to the kale I would certainly opt for the collards. And on rare occasions I do find the collards, but more often than not, there is nothing but kale. So what do I do to make kale a little easier to swallow? Pretend it is collard greens! As an added bonus, when making collard greens in the pressure cooker, they need to cook under pressure for about 15 minutes, and kale can cook in 5 minutes.
In the pressure cooker pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat to keep the bacon from sticking at first.
Add the 6 slices of chopped bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until it just starts to crisp. Thick sliced bacon works best for this.
Add an onion, halved then sliced and sauté until it softens, about 3-4 minutes. I like to use a sweet onion for this.
Take 5-6 cloves of garlic, and run through a press, then add to the onion. I know that some cooks frown upon these devices, but I find it is a huge time saver. Sauté for another minute.
Pour in 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of crushed red chiles and a little salt and pepper. You can adjust the salt and pepper at the end if it needs more. The amount can vary depending on the saltiness of your bacon and what chicken broth you use.
Stir everything together and adjust heat to high.
Add in the kale. If it goes over the maximum fill line on the pressure cooker, let it cook down for a couple minutes. You can place a glass or metal lid over the top until the kale gets to down to the maximum limit.
Lock the pressure cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure.
When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure.
Set timer for 5 minutes.
When time is up remove from heat and do a quick release.
Immediately transfer kale and liquid to a serving bowl. Make sure to include some of the liquid when serving. That’s the best part!
Use as a side to any protein, or make it a meal by serving on top of rice, grits or polenta.
If you feel like I do about the usual kale preparations, give this one a try and let me know what you think in the comments!
Now, if I can come up with a recipe for non-gross quinoa, you guys will be the first to know!
I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of Kale, and fail to understand its current popularity. But, sometimes convenience trumps all else, so I find myself buying Kale in a bag because lately the stores are stocked up with Kale at the detriment of all other greens.
So, how to make Kale more tolerable? Pretend it is Collard Greens!
Looking For a Quick Dessert for Your BBQ Bash? You’re Welcome!
I know, I seem to be going full midwest on you all lately. First, I use Onion Soup Mix, then a Taco Seasoning packet, and now this. Cake Mix? What the heck was I thinking? Well, I guess I was thinking “mmmmmm, I need something tasty and quick for dessert.”
By using the pressure cooker, you can make a quick and tasty dessert without heating the entire kitchen.
And on top of that, four ingredients! That’s right, four!
You will be using the steam rack or trivet that came with your pressure cooker, along with a bowl or steam insert (solid, not perforated). It should be about 4 cup capacity or more. My insert has a handle, which makes things easier. If you use a bowl or a cake pan, you may need to fashion helper handles from aluminum foil, so that you are able to easily remove it from the pressure cooker. Mine is just about 4 cups, and was just about exactly the correct size. If yours seems a little small, you can just cut back a bit on all the ingredients.
I call this “Red, White and Blue Cobbler”, though mine wasn’t quite as patriotic as I had intended. The title was derived from the ingredients, which I intended to be blueberries, red cherries and white cake mix, but my extremely clever idea was thwarted at every turn. The store I went to did not have white cake mix, so I used yellow. Either will work fine, by the way. The only canned cherries I could find were not all that red, although they were quite tasty.
So, the only 4 ingredients are 1 can of blueberries in syrup, 1 can of cherries in syrup, 1 box of white (or yellow) cake mix and 1 stick of butter.
Start by coating your pressure cooker insert with cooking spray, oil or butter. I used oil.
Melt the stick of butter ( I did it in the microwave, so as not to use the burners on the stove).
Dump the blueberries and cherries into the insert or bowl. Dump the cake mix on top, and pat it down lightly. Pour the melted butter over the cake mix.
Cover the insert with aluminum foil, sealing it as best as possible.
In the pressure cooker, add the minimum amount of water that your pressure cooker can use. I did this in the InstantPot, so the minimum was 1-1/2 cups. Then insert the steam rack, or trivet.
Carefully lower the insert onto the steam rack in the pressure cooker.
Place the cover on the pressure cooker and set to reach high pressure.
If using an electric pressure cooker, set it for high pressure and set time for 20 minutes.
If using a stove top pressure cooker, set heat to high, and when pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure, then set timer to 20 minutes.
When time is up, let pressure come down naturally for 20 minutes. If pressure isn’t fully released after 20 minutes, do a quick release.
Let it cool for 5 minutes or so.
Carefully remove the foil and dish onto plate. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (it is excellent with both!).
Need some (pressure cooker) ideas for your holiday get-together?
Well, I just happen to have some right here!
In addition to my Cherry Sriracha Ribs from last week, I thought I might list a few other things that could work for the occasion.
How about these Frijoles Charros? All-American? Perhaps not, but if you are having anything such as pulled pork or carne asada, this is the perfect accompaniment.
For a change from the traditional, mayonnaise-y potato salad, give this pressure cooker German version a try.
And last, but not least, if you happen to hail from the Midwest and you happen to be grilling some hot dogs, you might just want to try this Coney Island Chili. I have been told it is closer to the original than most. Give it a try!
So, have a great holiday, and be careful out there!