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JAZ

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  1. I've written one book for both stove top and electric pressure cookers, and one (with another in the works) specifically for the Instant Pot, so I have a fair amount of experience with both. First, an Instant Pot is a "true" pressure cooker. That is, it cooks under pressure. And most Instant Pot models have low and high pressure settings (only the LUX has only high). It's true that in most cases, stove top PCs cook at a higher pressure than electric pressure cookers. When I was researching my first book, I found that the difference in psi didn't translate into much difference in cooking, with a few exceptions. There is less oversight required with an electric pressure cooker, since you don't have to regulate the heat. On the other hand, they do take longer to come to pressure. And they do take up more room than a stove top cooker. As for the settings I use regularly, I stick mostly with the Manual (in older models) or Pressure Cook function. I do sometimes use the Steam setting, since it heats faster, and sometimes that's helpful. There are several reasons I don't use the preset functions. First, the preset times never seem to correspond with the cooking times I want, so I'd have to change the time anyway, so it's not a time saver. Second, Instant Pot keeps changing the preset functions on different models, and since I don't know what models my readers have, I don't want to give directions that they might not be able to follow. And even though my books are written for Instant Pots, I know that owners of other brands of cookers buy the books, so I want to make them useful for those readers too. As for how often I use an Instant Pot, that depends on whether I'm researching recipes for a book or not. Some Instant Pot devotees want to cook everything in one, and so I try to come up with a wide variety of recipes that use them. When I'm not working on book recipes, I use an Instant Pot regularly for several dishes -- pork shoulder and chuck roast, beans, dense root vegetables like beets. If I didn't have the Instant Pots, I'd probably use my stove top pressure cookers, but I like the convenience of the electric ones.
  2. When I was developing recipes, I found the best kind of recipes (to my way of thinking, at least) were the kinds of dishes that people ordinarily start under pressure and then transfer to the broiler or grill. So, for instance, ribs or chicken wings started in the pressure cooker, then browned with sauce under the air crisper. I did a Southwestern braised beef dish and finished it with a cornbread topping, which was a success. Fruit crisps and crumbles worked well for desserts. My contacts at Ninja kept suggesting recipes that started with frozen foods cooked under pressure and then "crisped," but I was able to avoid that.
  3. We have a counter with no cabinets over it, which is where I always used the Ninja. When I was testing it, I thought it might be problematic if used under cabinets, but I never had to do that.
  4. One of the recipes I developed for the book was for egg rolls -- I made the filling under pressure, then filled and "air crisped" the rolls. I was pleased with them. Not exactly like fried, but definitely crisp. I haven't used other air fryers, so I don't know if this is typical, but since the crisping lid only heats from the top, anything you want to get crisp on both sides has to be turned over halfway through cooking. I didn't notice a lot of exhaust when I used it but I was using it in a place that was pretty well ventilated.
  5. I consulted with Ninja when they were developing this product and was then approached to write a cookbook for it. It was a really interesting project. I'd say that for someone who doesn't already have an electric pressure cooker and air fryer, it's worth considering. I'm happy to answer any questions about it -- I used it for several months developing recipes for the book.
  6. When I was testing eggs for my book, I found them to be really temperamental. For me, this is what works: eggs right from the fridge on the trivet, 1 cup of water, 4 to 5 minutes high pressure. Quick release then into an ice bath to cool. But if I ever did anything different, I got different results. One time I just used a different trivet (taller) and the eggs were more like soft boiled. I hate to say it since I'm working on a new Instant Pot book, but when I need to hard cook eggs, I use a regular steamer. After the water comes to a boil, 13 minutes results in yolks cooked to solid pale yellow. 10 minutes gets you yolks that are dark orange and soft in the center.
  7. I've recently started working on a new book for the Instant Pot, this one on Cooking for Two. My editor and I are trying to figure out how to divide the recipes and what categories to include. In the last book, we had "vegetables and side dishes," "beans and grains," "meatless mains," "seafood," "poultry," and "meat" (also breakfast and desserts). We started out with a "Soups & Stews" chapter but decided to fold those recipes into the other chapters. For this one, my editor is wondering if we really need a chapter for side dishes, and I'm wondering if we need a separate chapter for beans and grains. I'm not so worried about folding bean and grain recipes into the other chapters, but it's harder to do that with side dishes. On the other hand, I'm not sure if many cooks use the IP for side dishes. What do you all think? A) do you think we should include side dishes, or concentrate exclusively on main dishes and "one-pot" dishes? B) What do you think about a separate chapter on beans and grains? Would those recipes be just as easy to find in the chapters on Vegetarian, Poultry, etc.? C) any other thoughts on organization? Thanks!
  8. JAZ

    New composting options

    I should explain why I'm interested in this appliance. I don't have space for a compost bin; we have a patio that's large enough for a few potted herbs or maybe a tomato plant. Even if we wanted to turn the patio into a compost bin, we would not be allowed to. My interest is for environmental reasons. I don't think we waste a lot of food, but there are always ends of vegetables, meat scraps, and the like. If I can turn them into something useful, it seems like a good thing. The area where we live doesn't offer a compost service as do some cities (and probably never will -- ours doesn't even provide recycling services) -- if that were an option, then a bucket on the counter would work. So if this recycler works -- even if it doesn't make perfect compost -- I figure it's the best option for my circumstances. It seems like it's that or the trash.
  9. JAZ

    New composting options

    Where did you find that? I don't see it, but maybe I'm missing something obvious.
  10. I've always thought about composting, but have never found an option that wasn't either a lot of trouble, or really gross, or both. But I recently saw this new product which seems like it might be a good answer. We don't have space for it now, but we're planning (after a kitchen renovation) to have a whole counter to dedicate to appliances, so we could probably fit one in. Has anyone used this? Or is there anything similar out there (that is, small, easy to use, and not stinky)?
  11. JAZ

    The Air Fryer topic

    I haven't tried them in an air fryer (just got one), but my usual method for onion rings is soak in milk and egg, then toss in a combination of half rice flour and half AP flour, with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder per cup of flour. Works great in oil; maybe I'll try a few in the air fryer. If they work it would certainly avoid a big mess.
  12. I've braised it in a pressure cooker, but not whole. If it's sliced thin, it sort of melts into the sauce; if it's cut into wedges, it cooks at about the same rate as cabbage or big chunks of celery.
  13. JAZ

    Bastard condiments?

    In Utah, it's fry sauce.
  14. Thanks, I've seen that page, and also read all the troubleshooting items in the IP manuals and on the site. What I'm interested in is finding out more about the details of the circumstances from someone who's actually experienced this message. I'm going to talk to an IP tech person about the phenomenon, but thought if I could gather data from users who'd gotten the message, it would help in my conversation with the tech.
  15. Quick question for Instant Pot users (not other brands, in this case): have you ever gotten a "burn" message (I think in some models the message is "overheat")? If so, what were the circumstances, and were you able to fix it, or did you get the message multiple times? I'm consulting on a pressure cooker book, and the author seems to get this message often. Since I've never had that happen, I'm at a loss to try to figure out what she's doing that causes it.
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