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Everything posted by JAZ

  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. In this topic on sweet potato salad, Jaymes said (about mayonnaise): I have to disagree: while some cooks here in Atlanta use it, most that I know prefer Hellman's. I certainly do. Duke's is oddly sweet -- halfway to Miracle Whip, in my opinion -- and I can pick it out immediately in things like tuna or potato salad when it's used. If I were faced with the choice of Duke's or nothing on a sandwich, I think I'd have to choose the latter. Am I missing something? Do people really like Duke's? Are there other brands worth trying?
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.)
  16. 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.
  17. I sometimes use plain cheese, but more often mix in cooked chopped shrimp or chicken. Crabmeat would be good too. My favorite addition lately is chorizo, browned and cooled (so it doesn't melt the cheese). If you're interested, here's the complete recipe I've been using: chiles rellenos.
  18. I can't really tell how large those chunks were, but I'm surprised that it took 90 minutes to cook them. I generally cut pork shoulder up into chunks or strips about 2-3 inches thick and it's done in 25 minutes (with natural release). It's always easy to pull into chunks or shred, but stays very moist. What was the texture like?
  19. I'm not familiar with breading and frying chiles before stuffing them. However, I have been making chiles rellenos for a long time and have developed a pretty good method. After reading a recipe for chiles rellenos by Rick Bayless, I switched from charring the poblanos over a gas burner or under the broiler to frying them in very hot oil to remove the skin. I find that you lose less of the flesh and you can better control how firm the chiles remain. If you fry them just until the skin starts to blister and blacken, the chiles will be firm enough to keep their shape. They're really easy to stuff like that, but they're not quite done enough for my taste; they're still a little tough even after battering and frying. I prefer to cook them longer, until the skin is all dark brown to black and the chiles are just barely starting to collapse a bit. After cooling, you can rub the skins pretty easily with a paper towel.
  20. Pimento Cheese

    I had never tasted pimento cheese until I moved to Atlanta, but almost all the versions I've had here are just cheddar and mayo -- no Velveeta or American cheese. A very few contain a little cream cheese. I based my recipe on one from Duke's Mayonnaise, with a few modifications by way of Linton Hopkins and Sean Brock's recipes. I also use piquillo peppers because I can't readily find decent pimentos. Here's a link. (I originally wrote the recipe when I was running About.com's Cooking for Two web site, so it makes a very small batch. I usually double it; I guess I should probably update the recipe.)
  21. If by "better" you mean "better tasting," it's probably not going to be. On the other hand, you can make it in one pan instead of two and a colander to drain the macaroni. And you don't have to stand and stir. So it's definitely more convenient, and if you use a good recipe, it's as good as or better than many stove top mac and cheese versions.
  22. If you cook potatoes in a pressure cooker, you only need enough milk to bring the pot up to pressure, not enough to cover the potatoes. So, as in the recipe Anna linked to, it's possible to cook them with just enough cream or milk and butter to mash when they're done. But if you don't have a pressure cooker and you're concerned about losing flavor to the cooking water, why not just steam the potatoes?
  23. When I was researching my first book, I saw times for pork shoulder or beef chuck that were ridiculously long -- 90 to 100 minutes -- and I still see recipes with these times on blogs and in books. Some people seem to believe that the goal with these cuts is to have the individual meat fibers falling apart, which is what you get with these long times. Needless to say, you end up with really dry meat. Unless a piece of pork shoulder is more than 2-3 inches thick, it will only take 25 minutes (with 10-12 minutes natural release) to dissolve the collagen and most of the fat. That should result in meat that's tender, easily shredded, but still moist. That being said, the texture is different from long and low sous vide, so if that's what you're after, I'm not sure you'll get it from pressure cooking.
  24. Thanks. I did see the specs on the website, but didn't think to download the manual.
  25. Does anyone have the new Duo Plus 9-in-1 6 qt. Instant Pot? I have a quick question about how it differs from the plain Duo version.