The Festivities Are Endless!
I will be taking this weekend off to celebrate my birthday. I will return next week with a new recipe!
Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Review
This is the one that started it all. My gateway cooker. The one that got me hooked. The Kuhn Rikon 7-quart Duromatic Top Model.
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.
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.
The printable recipe is right here:
|Ground Beef Curry|| |
Soutzoukakia? Just Call Them Greek Meatballs!
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.
|Pressure Cooker Soutzoukakia|| |
And The Winner Is…
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!
Chicago Style Italian Beef… Sort Of
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.
Top with Giardiniera (if desired).
|Pressure Cooker Italian Beef|| |
Plate Lunch Style Macaroni Salad Made Quicker
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!
|Pressure Cooker Hawaiian Macaroni Salad|| |
A Tasty Version of the Puzzlingly Popular Plant
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!
|Pressure Cooker Kale|| |
Non-boring Kale! Who’da thunk it?
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!
Stop by this weekend for my recipe!