It’s hard to believe that it is almost the end of summer. With the weather we have been having lately, it’s even harder to believe. It seems to finally getting back down to reasonable temperatures just in time to cook up some tasty treats for the last big blast of the summer!
Here are a few recipes using the pressure cooker so that your Labor Day can be less laborious.
Since I didn’t want to go yet another week without posting a recipe, I had to come up with something I could make utilizing the pressure cooker in this crazy heat wave we have been having, so I came up with this tomato beet salad with pickled onions, goat cheese and candied pecans.
My wife is not a huge fan of beets (in other words, she doesn’t like them), but if I dress them up with enough accoutrements, such as pickled onions, tomatoes and goat cheese, she can tolerate them.
By doing the cooking part at 8 AM, when it was a mere 80 degrees in our apartment, by the time dinner time came around the cooked components were cooled and it was just a matter of assembling the salad.
I did all the cooking in the instant pot. Even though the onions aren’t cooked under pressure, I used the Instant Pot so I only had to dirty one pot. So I’m happy, the wife’s happy, it’s a win-win!
I used seven smallish beets which came out to about 1-1/4 pounds. Trim the leaves off, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stem attached. Doing this will keep the beets from bleeding while cooking and will help to keep your kitchen from ending up looking like a venue which recently played host to the Red Wedding.
Pour 1-1/2 cups water into the pot and insert the steam tray. I could have used the tray that came with the instant pot, but opted to use the “daisy” style tray that most of us have.
Place the beets in the tray, lock the cover on the pot and set the time for 20 minutes. As I said, these beets were on the smaller side, if your beets are larger, you may have to add 4-5 minutes.
While the beets are cooking, you can get the red onion ready to go. I used the second-thinnest setting and sliced them on my mandoline, which I refer to as “The Widowmaker”, after a treacherous trip to the ER in which my thumb was spewing a stream of blood reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch. Which leads me to caution you to always use the safety guard, kids, or at the very least, a kevlar glove!
When the time is up for the beets, let the pressure come down on its own.
Carefully remove the beets to a plastic cutting board and let them cool for a few minutes while you work on the pickled onions.
Rinse out the inner pot of the cooker, and replace.
Pour 1 cup cider vinegar, or a mixture of vinegars. I used mostly cider vinegar, but added a little sherry vinegar because I didn’t have a full cup of cider vinegar left. Also add 1 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pickling spice. Next, add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set the pressure cooker to sauté mode on the high setting and bring to a boil, stirring often until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Turn off cooker and let cool for about 2 minutes.
Strain the liquid through a strainer into a bowl to remove the pickling spices, Add the sliced onions to the bowl and let them sit until cooled, about ten minutes or so.
Transfer the onions and liquid to a jar or other container and refrigerate. I did this in the morning, so they had all day to steep. If you plan on doing this later in the day, refrigerate them for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Now that the beets are cooled, you can easily rub the skins off with a paper towel. Put in a container and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to wait until assembling the salad to cut them into pieces.
Now, let’s assemble this thing.
Take a pint of halved heirloom cherry tomatoes, all one color or mixed, (regular cherry tomatoes will do as well) and place in a bowl.
Cut the beets into quarters (if larger, cut int 6-8 pieces). Add these in with the tomatoes.
Take about half of the pickled onions out of the jar with a fork and add to the other vegetables.
Pour about 4 tablespoons of the onion liquid and two tablespoons olive oil into the salad and gently mix together.
Crumble a 4 ounce package of goat cheese and a few ounces of candied pecans (pecans are optional).
Gently toss once more and serve on plates or in bowls. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I would recommend serving on top of greens such as butter lettuce, which I would have done if I had remembered to buy some (c’mon Michael), but it was still delicious, but not quite as pretty.
So, I have been using my Instant Pot since the beginning of the year and it has since become part of my normal workflow.
I tend to use it for things that take advantage of its “set-in-and-forget-it” capabilities more than anything. In reality, you can “set it” and kind of “forget it” briefly. Which means you need to remember to release the pressure when you need to or some things will become overcooked.
Anyway, I use it use it most often for cooking sides and such while working on the main dish.
It is now my go-to pot for making rice while I am preparing an entree in one of the stovetop pots. If I am making a cup of rice (dry measurement), I still prefer my copper sauce pan, but if I am preparing 1-1/2 cups or more, I use the instant pot. And if I sauté some onions and substitute a can of Ro-Tel for some of the water, I have Spanish Rice in 4 minutes under pressure.
Making potatoes is a breeze also. Either mashed, steamed or boiled, the Instant Pot makes quick work of it.
After 8 months, I can’t remember the last time I used one of the programs. For the most part, all the programs do is set the time for a certain length. If it is not the exact amount of time that you want, you need to adjust anyway, so I find it easier to always use the manual setting.
I do use the sauté feature. One entree I find easier to make in the InstantPot is pasta. I just brown some ground beef or Italian sausage using sauté, add in some pasta, sauce and enough water to cover the pasta, switch to manual pressure mode and in 4 or 5 minutes under low pressure I have a complete dinner ready.
In fact, anything that requires low pressure I find myself gravitating to the InstantPot. Instead of trying to catch it at just the right moment and keeping the flame adjusted at the perfect amount to maintain low pressure, I just set the Instant Pot for low pressure and don’t have to worry about it.
Hard “boiled” eggs is another thing that comes out better since I have had the Instant Pot, because of the low pressure setting.
For one pot meals such as chili, stew and soups I still turn to the 7-quart Kuhn Rikon. The 6-quart capacity of the Instant pot is just a tad too small for these things.
I still haven’t gotten around to using the yogurt making feature, but that is still on my mental to-do list.
Like my Fissler, I wouldn’t want the InstantPot to be my only pressure cooker, but in combination with my others, it is a very useful tool.
This doesn’t mean that for others, the InstantPot wouldn’t make a good “only” pressure cooker, and it would probably be a good place to start for many, if not most users. It can be quite a bit less intimidating if you have never used a pressure cooker before. But for me, I find the 7-quart stove top cooker to be more versatile.
The removable pot makes clean up a cinch. I have read some complaints that the silicone seal tends to hold odors and takes on a bad smell, but I haven’t had a problem at all. The seal gets washed after each use, and I haven’t once noticed any lingering odors.
Almost exactly three years later, and it is still my workhorse pressure cooker. Because It is my largest, it is my go-to for soups, stews and chilis. Anything that I would make a large batch of. The funny thing is, I was planning on buying the 5-quart model. That’s plenty big enough, I thought, not yet knowing that the maximum you can fill the pot is 2/3, and if you are cooking something that has a tendency to foam, such as beans or grains you should not fill it more than 1/2 full.
Well, as luck would have it, at the time I ordered it from Amazon, the 7-quart model was less expensive than the 5-quart model, so I ordered the 7-quart to save a little cash, and have been glad I did ever since.
The “top model” has a knob on top with two release levels. Simply turn the knob and wait for the pressure to release. On the regular Duromatic models, you need to hold a knob on the top down with a long spoon or something similar and hold until the pressure has been released.
Unless you are cooking huge amounts, I would say the 7-quart is the perfect size. Unless you have larger than a family of four, I would stick with the 7.
The KR is easy to use, and the easy-to-read indicator makes it easy to adjust to either high or low pressure.
When it comes to browning meat, the Fissler pan does a better job of that, but for any large-batch recipes, this is the one I turn to.
It was originally the thought of 20-minute beans that led me to look into pressure cookers. And while they are not technically “20-minute” beans, they are still much faster than letting them simmer for hours in a dutch oven.
I also credit the Kuhn Rikon with allowing me to get more experimental with Chili than I was in the past, with such triumphs as my Everyday Chili, my Game Day Chili, my Coney Island Chili and my Chicken Chili. Instead of taking the better part of a day to taste the results, now in an hour or so I can taste the fruits of my labor, and if it turns out not to be a winner, no biggie, I can try something else next time.
Over the course of several years, I have had to replace most of the parts on the lid (gasket, valves, etc.), which is totally normal for something that is used so often. Parts were very easy to find and readily available. Besides that, I have had no issues. It was very intuitive. In fact, I just took it out of the box and started cooking (well, after washing, of course.
So if you are looking for a stovetop pressure cooker to get started, or even to replace an older cooker, I would recommend checking out the Kuhn Rikon.
If you are a total newbie to pressure cooking, these days I might recommend an electric for your first cooker if you are not set on a stovetop model. Those are words I thought I would never say a few years ago, but electric pressure cookers have come a long way in a short time. I will touch on that, and more specifically the InstantPot next week.
Is this even a recipe? I don’t know, but it is quick and tasty. And it is about all I could muster in these near triple-digit temperatures we’ve been having. Besides a little rough chopping, everything is dumped in the pressure cooker pot and cooked under pressure for 4 minutes. Even in my 90 degree apartment, the pressure cooker and the 4 minute cooking time didn’t even make it feel any hotter. The traditional Seafood Boil is usually cooked outdoors in a large pot, but if you are only feeding four or so and don’t have access to a giant pot, or you don’t have access to cooking outdoors as applies to many of us urban apartment dwellers, the pressure cooker can be a suitable stand-in.
Basically, you just take all the ingredients and add them to the pressure cooker. I used my 7 litre Kuhn Rikon, but I am pretty sure it would fit in a 6 quart as many of the electric cookers are. Anything smaller than that would definitely be too small.
Here are the ingredients, listed in the order in which to dump them in the cooker:
16 ounces of beer (Use a lager or something similar. I haven’t tried an IPA, but I am guessing that would work fairly well. Just don’t use anything dark, that would not lend itself to this recipe).
1 heaping tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning. Most grocery stores should have this. It is a must for recipes such as this one, or for crab cakes. I always have some on hand.
1 teaspoon of crushed red peppers, the same kind that you sprinkle on pizza (at least that’s what I do, don’t you?).
About 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
A few grinds of black pepper
2 medium onions, cut into chunks. I cut each one into 8 pieces.
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed slightly with the side of the knife
About a pound of tiny potatoes. I used “pee wee” potatoes. If you cannot find any that small, just use the smallest you can find and cut in halves or quarters. They will need to be small enough to cook in the allotted time.
4 ears of sweet corn, cut into thirds. I used white, because it looked better than the yellow at my grocery store, but yellow is fine as well.
A 12-ounce package of smoked sausage. I used Andouille, but Kielbasa will work as well. Make sure it is the fully cooked kind, which almost all Andouille and Kielbasa is.
1-1/2 pounds of large shrimp. I bought ones with shells still on, but heads removed. I recommend using shell-on because it adds a lot of flavor. I admit they can be a bit of a pain to peel while you are eating them, but the yumminess more than makes up for it.
So, you just add all of this to your pressure cooker, lock on the top, turn the heat to high and bring to high pressure.
When you hit high pressure, adjust the heat to maintain high pressure and set the timer for 4 minutes.
When time is up, remove from heat and do a quick release.
Serve in bowls or on plates and pour a little of the liquid on top.
I accompany with some melted butter and some Tabasco Sauce, along with French or Sourdough baguette.
I know, I am a day late with my post, but I somehow managed to give myself a stress fracture in my foot, and didn’t do much except rest yesterday. But better late than never, I say, so here you go!
After a couple years, I thought it might be time to do some quick reviews of my pressure cookers. These will be totally unscientific reviews, and are 100% my opinion.
Up this week, the Fissler Pressure Pan Set. If you are considering a second pressure cooker, this is a great choice. It would not be a good choice for your only pressure cooker, but as a second cooker it is excellent.
No, this isn’t great for making a big ol’ pot of chili or soup, but for recipes such as my Chicken Adobo, or Chipotle Orange Meatballs, or perhaps my Atlanta Brisket it really shines. The extra width and the “Novogrill” grilling surface that allows for excellent browning makes it perfect for wide flat cuts of meat or multiple items like meatballs because it allows you to keep them in one layer.
A couple things to keep in mind when reading the description on the Fissler Website.
1. The description may lead you to believe that this has a nonstick surface. It is true that the surface sticks less than a normal flat surface, it is by no means nonstick, as in it does not have a nonstick coating. To me, this is a good thing. I try to avoid all nonstick cookware. The “Novogrill” surface does do a great job of browning meat, though. And the shallow depth prevents the meat from steaming rather than browning which seems to happen when trying to brown meat in a deeper pot.
2. The basket that comes with it is referred to on the website as a “frying basket”. Don’t let this lead you to believe that you can deep-fry under pressure in this! You can use this pan as a fryer, but not with the pressure lid. Doing so could be dangerous.
The basket also doubles as a steamer basket, which can be done under pressure. Since a conventional steamer doesn’t really fit in this pan, it can come in handy.
It also comes with a glass lid, which lets you use it as a conventional skillet or steamer.
I occasionally use this as a skillet, since it is my widest and deepest fry pan. I use it for things such as home fries when my 10″ cast iron skillet isn’t quite deep enough.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the handle tends to get loose after using it for awhile. It can be easily tightened, it is just something to look out for since a loose handle can be dangerous.
All in all, I would say this is well worth the price. I use it at least as often as my 7 litre Kuhn Rikon, it’s just that each one excels at different things. And its usefulness as a non-pressure skillet, fryer and steamer is just a bonus.
So if you are considering a second pressure cooker, the Fissler would be well worth taking a look at.
This review is entirely my opinion and I am in no way compensated for this review.
Is it Keema Curry? Is it Dry Curry? I Call It Ground Beef Curry.
I’ll just call it Ground Beef Curry for now. I set out to duplicate the filling of an Aussie Curry Pie that I had recently, but once I started getting the recipe figured out I realized that without the pie element it is basically the same as Indian Keema Curry or Japanese Dry Curry, but it is still tasty nonetheless.
After spending the week trying to get everything just right, I started coming up with different ways to serve this, just to have a little variety. And this made me discover just how versatile this ground beef curry can be.
I started out more traditionally with Curry and Rice. By the end of the week I was getting a little crazy. My Ground Beef Curry Poutine was my favorite, but the sliders I had tonight were great as well.
A little different from typical curries which can be quite “saucy”, this is almost like Indian Sloppy Joes. The possibilities are endless (ok, maybe not exactly endless, but it is quite versatile). If you have any ideas how to use it, let me know!
So, here’s how to make it:
Heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat in pressure cooker pot. Any oil will do (well, maybe not Quaker State), but I prefer coconut oil with this recipe.
Lightly brown a couple pounds of ground beef, breaking it up as it cooks.
When the beef is browned, drain most of the fat, leaving enough to sauté the onion.
Scooch (you heard me, scooch) the beef to one side and add a diced onion.
Sauté the onion until it starts to soften, then add 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, run through a press, and sauté for another minute or so.
Stir together the meat, onion and garlic and add in the 1 tablespoon Curry Powder, a tablespoon of Garam Masala, 1 teaspoon of Cayenne (less if you don’t like it so “Zesty”) and 1/2 teaspoon Salt and 1/4 teaspoon black Pepper.
Let it cook for 30 seconds or so, stirring the spices into the beef mixture.
At this point pour in a cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water, along with the a teaspoon of beef base (I use Better Than Bouillon, but you can substitute 1/2 cup of beef stock for the water and BTB).
Add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, a tablespoon of soy sauce and a cup of frozen peas, then give it a stir. Peas should still be frozen, no need to thaw.
Drop 2 bay leaves on top, wave goodbye, and lock the cover on the pressure cooker.
Turn the heat to high and bring the pressure cookers to high pressure.
When high pressure is reached, adjust the heat to maintain high pressure and set your timer for 5 minutes.
When time is up, remove the pot from heat and do a quick release.
The curry should be fairly thick, not saucy (about the consistency of Sloppy Joes). If it seems too liquid, you can place it over medium high heat for a few minutes to reduce a bit.
Discard bay leaf and serve with rice, pita bread, naan or fries. I think my favorite way to serve this was my Poutine I made with it a couple days ago. For this, serve it over french fries with some cheese curds and sliced hard boiled egg on top. I had the Ground Beef Curry quite a few times this week, but I still have a hankerin’ (did I really say hankerin”?) for the Ground Beef Curry Poutine.
This is one of my super quick weekday meals, a fragrant and tasty ground beef curry. I was going for the flavors of an Aussie Curry Beef Pie that I had at a local shop here in SoCal, but didn’t want to deal with the crust so I made it to serve on rice or fries instead.
As it turns out, what I had though of as curry pie filling is also very similar to Keema Curry, or Japanese Dry Curry. But whatever you call it, if you need a super quick weekday meal, stop by this weekend to get the recipe!
I think I make meatballs almost as often as I make chili, and like chili there is an almost endless variety of flavors and styles.
Sometimes called “sausages”, Soutzoukakia are actually more of a torpedo shape than actual balls, though you could shape these into balls if you like, but this is the traditional shape
I got the idea for these the same way I get a lot of my inspiration, from watching TV. I think it was Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives this time. At a Greek Restaurant they were putting these together and I thought “That looks good!”, and the next thing I know I’ve got a pressure cooker full of Soutzoukakia on the stove.
Greek flavors such as cumin, cinnamon and mint set these apart from other meatballs. And as you are preparing these and have the fresh mint and the cinnamon and all the various ingredients out, your kitchen is going to smell great!
I know some people are not crazy about mint, but don’t be tempted to leave it out. I, too am not very fond of mint flavoring in candy, ice cream or pretty much any other pastry or confection. In fact, when my wife asks if I want any type of mint flavored treat, my usual response is “No thanks, I don’t care for toothpaste flavored food.”
But fresh mint, that’s a whole different ballgame. It gives such a fresh aroma and flavor to whatever it is used in. So, give mint a chance!
Let’s make the meatballs first
In a food processor or blender, place 1/2 of a large chopped onion, a small handful of parsley, a small handful of mint and 4 cloves of crushed garlic and pulse it a few times. You don’t want it to be completely liquid, just kind of grated. I don’t like big chunks of onion and leaves in my meatballs, but you still want that flavor.
In a bowl, mix together the 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup of bread crumbs (I used Panko), 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese (I used the “green can” type, please don’t think less of me) , 2 tablespoons red wine, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Add in the onion mixture.
Mix the whole deal together with your hands until everything is combined. Don’t be too vigorous with the mixing, or you may end up with tough meatballs.
Pop it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let those flavors get friendly with each other.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator and form it into twelve oblong rolls (torpedo shaped). I make them fairly large. You can make them smaller if you like.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, brown the meat rolls on all sides and remove them to a plate.
Now it’s time to get saucy
In the oil from the meat, sauté a finely chopped shallot until it starts to soften.
Add in the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of allspice, and sauté for 30 seconds or so.
Pour in a 26 ounce box (or can) of crushed or strained tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and 1/2 cup of red wine.
Stir in a tablespoon of brown sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
Return the meat to the pan and toss a couple of bay leaves on top.
Turn heat to high and lock the lid on your pressure cooker.
Bring up to high pressure
When high pressure is reached, reduce heat to maintain high pressure and set time for ten minutes.
When time is up, remove pressure cooker from heat and let the pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release.
Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve these with french fries or rice.