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JAZ

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  1. While they are prolific writers, I don't think they're particularly good. At the beginning of the book, they make a big mistake, stating that you should use low sodium ingredients because in a pressure cooker, the salt has "nowhere to go." Also, I don't think they really tested the times for both kinds of pressure cookers -- stovetop and electric. They seem to use a standard increase in time for electric pressure cookers, when in most cases (in my experience when I was working on my first book), the time is the same or even less for electric cookers, because of the increase in time it takes them to come to pressure. But if you're careful with your times and don't believe them on anything scientific, then it's probably a useful book to have.
  2. Every once in a while, that happens to me -- a regularly reliable brand of cream just won't whip. (Most recently, it was in a class I was teaching. Fortunately, we had a different carton in the fridge to use.) The only explanation I've ever read was by Harold McGee, who said that it can happen if the cream warms up at some point in its shelf life -- even if it's chilled after that. I don't think it has anything to do with shaking. And incidentally, with very few exceptions, ultra-pasteurized cream whips fine for me.
  3. We do that -- freeze the broth and use it again. Works great.
  4. Sausage Roll Question

    The recipe that Anna linked to, which is similar to one I've used, calls for mixing bread crumbs into the sausage. That seems to absorb some of the grease -- at least the pastry doesn't come out grease-soaked. I'm not sure what would happen if you just rolled up plain sausage.
  5. Lasagna Wars

    One thing to keep in mind is that traditional lasagna has plenty of umami-rich ingredients as is -- tomatoes, Parmigiano, cured meat, and mushrooms. I'm always wary of bumping up umami too much (as with fish sauce, dried shrimp, etc.); I've found that it can result in an unpleasant sensation. It's similar to too much salt, but more of a mouth feel than a taste.
  6. Lasagna Wars

    The first lasagna I had that I truly liked was made with fresh pasta, and balsamella (bechamel) instead of the ricotta mixture I'd always had before. So that's how we make it. Very plain tomato sauce, spicy Italian sausage, mushrooms, very thick balsamella, and parmigiano in the layers, with mozzarella only on the top. We don't cook the pasta; since it's fresh, it cooks in the dish. Coincidentally, we're making it this weekend for an Italian cooking class -- the students have fun making it and it's a huge hit.
  7. Yes. If you aren't using the pressure cooker for the sauce, then there's no reason to use it for the chicken. Just like in stove top cooking, the longer you cook meat, the more liquid (and flavor) leaves the meat and transfers to the cooking liquid. So if what you want is a strongly infused sauce (or stock), then a pressure cooker is the way to go. Not so much if you've expecting the meat to gain extra flavor.
  8. In my experience, that's way too long -- although many recipes call for times like that. My editor really wanted me to include chicken breast recipes in my Instant Pot book, so I did a lot of experimenting with them. My best results with boneless skinless pieces came from cooking them whole, for about 5 minutes on low pressure with natural release (which took about 8 minutes), or 7 minutes with quick release. I couldn't get chunks of chicken breast to come out tender and juicy, so the recipes that use chunks call for cooking the breast whole, then cutting it up afterwards and adding it back to the sauce.
  9. All Things Mushroom

    But then you have to cook small batches and watch them carefully. I also find that depending on the mushrooms, they can soak up all the cooking fat before they cook, and they never really get rid of it. We're lazy and use a variation of the Cooking Issues "wet crowded method" -- pile a pound or more of quartered mushrooms in a pan and add enough water until they just float. Add salt and enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan and bring them to a boil. They'll lose much of their moisture, which evaporates along with the starting water. Then when all that's left is butter and mushrooms, you can brown them beautifully, after having ignored them for most of the cooking time. We do this with button or creminis, although I have tried it with a mixture of oyster and shitake mushrooms as well.
  10. I found this article by Kenji over at Serious Eats to be very interesting. I'm a convert to doing stock in the pressure cooker. While I can't make a large volume at a time, it's fast, I don't have to skim, and I think it's better than conventional method stock.
  11. I just can't cook __________!

    What I hate more than things I can never make well is when I go to make a dish I've made so often I feel like I could make it in my sleep, and it just doesn't work. The most recent was lemon curd -- it just wouldn't thicken, and since I was making it for lemon bars, I ended up with overcooked, lemon glazed shortbread.
  12. I just can't cook __________!

    Actually, as far as I know, they both got it from Harold McGee, as did I, for an article I wrote (ahem) way before either Kenji or Ruhlman wrote about that technique.
  13. Chipotle chilis in adobo

    We puree them but don't freeze. We use the puree within a few weeks, but have never had a problem with it going bad. We find that it's much easier to scoop out a spoonful of puree than to have to deal with whole chiles.
  14. This is on sale on Amazon for $1.99: Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. The author has a pretty popular blog, at least among the Instant Pot crowd. (Disclaimer: I copy edited this book.)
  15. I use low pressure for anything that can easily overcook (like pork tenderloin or chicken breast), or foods that cook really quickly -- broccoli, shrimp, fish. Not only is the pressure lower, but because of that, it comes to pressure much faster, so the total cooking time is less. Some people use low pressure for eggs, too.
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