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Everything posted by JAZ

  1. 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!
  2. 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)?
  3. 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.
  4. JAZ

    New composting options

    Where did you find that? I don't see it, but maybe I'm missing something obvious.
  5. JAZ

    Prep bowls

    Since I started assisting with, and then teaching, cooking classes, I've been a steadfast prep bowl user. I've got several types: I first bought the Luminarc set of nine stacking bowls and used the smaller five of them for prep, regularly running out of the small ones and wishing I hadn't bought the set, because I rarely use the larger ones. Then, when my uncle passed away and we were sorting through his kitchen stuff, we found a stack of these Pyrex glass custard cups and ever since they've been what I reach for first. I've broken a few over the years, but I still have eight. They hold six ounces, so they're big enough for most jobs, but I also have four cereal bowls that I grab when I need bigger containers. Recently, I bought this set of Le Creuset silicone pinch bowls because they were just too cute to pass up. My official reason was that it would be nice to have smaller bowls -- these hold two ounces. They also come in a graduated set that double as measuring cups, which seem very cool as well, but so far I've resisted. Anyone else have a love affair with prep bowls? Do you use them, and if so, what do you use? A matched set? Whatever's handy?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. JAZ

    Bastard condiments?

    In Utah, it's fry sauce.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. When I was testing recipes for my first pressure cooker book, which included versions for both electric and stove top models, I didn't find much difference in timing for the two versions. The electric models do take longer to reach pressure, but the difference in pressure levels rarely required a different cooking time once the pots reached pressure (and it was more often a shorter time for the electric than for the stove top). So, yes, using an electric pressure cooker increases total time, but for most dishes, it was only a matter of 5 to 10 minutes.
  12. JAZ

    Pressure cooking v. braise.

    For the liquid, if there is alcohol in the braise, I use the same amount of it for the PC version of the dish, but as rotuts mentioned, you do want to reduce it first. Any other liquids I generally cut in half, so long as there's at least half a cup to start. So if the braise recipe called for 1 cup of broth, I'd use 1/2 cup, but if the braise called for 1/2 cup, I'd still use 1/2 cup. One thing you see a lot with traditional braise recipes is an instruction to bring the liquid halfway up the sides of the meat. That's generally a mistake in a pressure cooker, since the meat gives off so much liquid as it cooks. If you start with the meat halfway covered, you'll end up with a soup, not a braise. For the time, I usually start with about 40 percent of the time in the PC that I'd use in a traditional braise. If there's one thing I've noticed with the proliferation of blog recipes for the Instant Pot and other electric PCs, it's that most people cook their meats for way too much time. Even respected, experienced recipe writers like Melissa Clark cook meat for too long.
  13. JAZ

    Pressure cooking v. braise.

    I think the danger with pressure cooking is adding too much liquid. If you're used to braising on the stove top or in the oven, there's a learning curve in finding the right amount of liquid for a pressure cooker. Otherwise, I really haven't found much difference in taste or texture.
  14. While I haven't cooked oxtails by themselves, we have a barbacoa recipe that includes them along with chuck. They get seared first, then we cook them (along with the chuck, which is cut into strips) for 25 minutes with natural release. The meat falls out of the bones.
  15. It was fresh. I would guess that frozen would work better; the fresh salmon was just a touch overdone by the time the pasta was ready. I broke up the salmon with a fork and stirred it back in with the pasta, so if a frozen chunk wasn't quite done, it could finish cooking then.
  16. While I think fish and shellfish aren't the greatest candidates for pressure cooking, you can make them work with some thought as to timing. When I was working on my pressure cooker books, my editor really wanted me to include some fish recipes, and I was able to come up with several solid recipes. I think the best recipes pair seafood with other ingredients -- for instance, I just tested a recipe for pasta with cherry tomatoes, fennel and salmon, which worked out pretty well. The salmon was a center cut piece about 8 ounces, which I placed on a trivet above the pasta and vegetables. It was a little more done than I would consider ideal, but on the plus side, it cooked in the same time as the pasta and veg, so in about 15 minutes, we had dinner on the table. I count that as a win.
  17. That recipe is from my book, and my publisher has said it's fine if I give out the occasional recipe. So here you go. I will add that a couple of people have mentioned that the cake doesn't seem quite done in the time I used, so especially if you use a smaller diameter pan, you might want to add a minute or two to the cooking time. Also, use your manufacturer's recommendation for the amount of water necessary to steam -- some require more than 1 cup. Edited to add that pressure cooked cakes do tend to be pretty dense -- more so than oven baked cakes. But they are very moist, so they keep well. Browned Butter Apple Spice Cake 6 tablespoons butter 1 egg 1 cup Greek yogurt ⅓ cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon cardamom 1 medium apple, peeled and diced ¼ cup powdered sugar 1 cup water for steaming 1. Brown the butter. Place the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Melt the butter and continue to cook until the milk solids begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Measure out 3 tablespoons and set the rest aside. 2. Prepare the pan. Lightly butter a 6- or 7-inch spring form pan (or cake pan with a removable bottom). 3. Make the batter. In a medium bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons browned butter, the egg, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom, and add to the wet ingredients. Stir just until combined. Stir in the diced apple. Pour into the prepared pan. 4. Pressure cook the cake. Add 1 cup water to the Instant Pot. Place a trivet with handles in the pot and place the pan on top (if your trivet doesn’t have handles, use a foil sling to make removing the bowl easier). Place a piece of aluminum foil over the pan to keep water from leaking in. Lock the lid into place. Select Manual; adjust the pressure to High and the time to 18 minutes. When cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure. Unlock the lid. 5. Finish the cake. Remove the pan from the Instant Pot. Remove the foil. Let the cake cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan. Let cool for another 10 minutes. Reheat the remaining browned butter if it’s solidified, and drizzle over the cake. Dust with the powdered sugar.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. We do that -- freeze the broth and use it again. Works great.
  21. JAZ

    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.
  22. JAZ

    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.
  23. JAZ

    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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.