Many of us received new appliances and cooking tools as gifts and our forced seclusion has given us great opportunities to try out these pots and pans, slow cookers, pressure cookers and air fryers.
Did you know that East Kingston Public Library has great resources in the form of cookbooks for specific products and even diets?
Don’t let these new tools go to waste out of fear. They are not your Grandmother’s pressure cookers…no rocking valves…no fear of exploding or burning food. The Instant Pot has a burn notice and automatic shutoff.
Don’t store the pot away out of sight. Have it where you can see it and be tempted to use it.
As the name implies, the new pressure cookers do speed up the cooking process but you do need to allow 15 or 20 minutes for the pressure to build up before you start to count the cooking time. There is also often an additional time for pressure to release naturally at the end.
The advantage of pressure cooking is that as opposed to the slow cooker, the food maintains its own flavor and taste…no mushy carrots. It is ideal for cooking foods right from the freezer in literally a matter of minutes.
If you are using the Instant Pot, it comes with an app that supplies some simple recipes. It was the risotto recipe with mushrooms and spinach that made me a true believer. Put the simple list of ingredients into the pot and cook for 6 minutes…so stirring!…the result = the perfect risotto!
In Martha Stewart’s Pressure Cooker, there is a great summertime recipe for fresh corn and cherry tomato risotto that is unbeatable.
When you choose a recipe to try, take advantage of your pot’s unique possibilities. It would seem silly to use it for a stir fry recipe for example that can be done just as quickly in a wok or fry pan. I have had equally good results with beef or poultry dishes and have a “go to” recipe from The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook by Coco Morante that is a simple sauce of sherry and Dijon mustard over chicken. A small cake pan is set on a trivet above the chicken and a rice pilaf is cooked in it…a whole meal in one pot!
There are a number of good websites to spark your imagination such as:
This site features good basic recipes from Irish stew to Chinese steamed buns. They offer good instructions for beginners and updates on new accessories for your cooker.
There are a number of accessories that will enhance your pressure cooking experience. Silicon pot holders, steam baskets and lids get foods in and out easily and the additional lid makes it easy to take a meal along. Silicon egg bite molds make a wonderful take on the Starbucks favorite SousVide Egg Bites. Their bite sized shape would also make them ideal for making toddler finger food.
And then there is the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid.
The air fryer lid fits on top of your Instant Pot base. By using an avocado oil spray, you can make “healthy” fried foods. Many of the recipes for the air fryer are for appetizers and snacks. It produces the best ever French fries using frozen potatoes and other favorites include fried ravioli and mozzarella sticks. It is great for warming up leftovers and makes them crispy and fresh tasting
There are main dish options, too. I have made a very nice little quiche…of course, you can only make one small pie at a time, but it only takes 12 minutes to cook it so the individual pies can be kept warm or reheated.
The air fryer does not have a large capacity. It is suitable for two or perhaps one teenager’s afternoon snack. However, it’s speed of cooking allows for using it multiple times during a meal.
The Skinny Taste Air Fryer Cookbook: The 75 best Healthy Recipes for Your Air Fryer by Gina Homolka.
As well as the traditional pressure cooker, there are now plastic pressure cookers for the microwave. Tupperware, Nordic Ware and Meyer all make microwave models.
These light weight models heat up easily and cool down quickly. “Saturated steam, combined with microwaves, quickly cooks, while retaining more flavor and tenderizing meats.”
Tupperware has a recipe box site with suggestions for use of their appliance:
One thing which you cannot do with a plastic pressure cooker is sauté but I find that even with the metal Instant Pot, I often use a separate pan on the stove to brown meats. The recipes suggested do seem straight forward and sound tasty.