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ePressureCooker

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  1. You absolutely can. In fact, if you have a copy of Modernist Cuisine at Home, they have a caramelized ketchup recipe. And even if you don't, I'd say that's a hint that they consider pressure cooking the best method of getting the flavor out of the tomatoes.
  2. I can't provide any information as to sous vide, never having done it, but I can add re the pressure cooking and the gelatinization issue (versus traditional methods) I can always get far more gelatinized stock than I can ever manage with stovetop methods. Pressure cook chicken bones and scraps for 90 minutes to make stock, and its going to be practically rock hard from the gelatin after refrigeration overnight. Cook a whole chicken for 20 - 25 minutes in the pressure cooker, and the cooking liquid is going to be pretty firm, after refrigeration. Even if I just cook chicken parts for a few minutes, I'll get some gelatinization. I never got those kind of results from traditional cooking methods, well, unless I simmered stock for a long time, and even then, I don't remember getting so much gelatin as I do now. And gelatinization means not only connective tissues breaking down (thereby reducing what many of us would call "gristle" / inedible parts in tougher meat cuts), but increased flavor. That's absolutelly true, ePressureCooker, and one of the reasons why stocks are better cooked in a (non-venting, spring valve) presssure cooker. Another reason is that aromatic volatiles are better retained, and yet another one that slight Maillard reactions take place, which improve flavour. In fact, "white stocks" are never "that white" in the pressure cooker. And, if you look for very subtle flavor & aroma, SV or low-temp traditional are better, for example I prefer those methods for vegetable & fish stocks. On the other hand, for stews I don't always want the strong gelatin extraction of the pressure cooker, and I may prefer a bit less gelatin in exchange of a not-so-dry meat. You can actually boost the Maillard reaction by changing the pH slightly by adding a small amount of baking soda (not sure if salt is required, but I always add it). I saw a reference to this technique for caramelizing vegetables in Modernist Cuisine (might have been At Home, not sure) and have been experimenting with it, then saw a reference IIRC to Nathan Myrhvold referencing increasing non-enzymatic browning by increasing alkalinity through baking soda. Cookingissues.com also had a multipart series on their testing of chicken stock made in the pressure cooker, and I seem to recall they said they even pressure cooked commercial (canned) stock to see if they got a difference. So I've tried the baking soda stock trick on canned stock for a few minutes, and sure enough, it turned a lovely dark brown color and even the taste had changed. Don't know how to describe it, but I'm definitely going to experiment with making gravy out of it. Also have started experimenting with roasts, got some darkening of the stock that I hadn't gotten before, but I think I might need to add more baking soda to compensate for the increased acidity because of the presence of the meat in the pot.
  3. +1 on the thank you to Enrique for that explanation. Very interesting. I can't provide any information as to sous vide, never having done it, but I can add re the pressure cooking and the gelatinization issue (versus traditional methods) I can always get far more gelatinized stock than I can ever manage with stovetop methods. Pressure cook chicken bones and scraps for 90 minutes to make stock, and its going to be practically rock hard from the gelatin after refrigeration overnight. Cook a whole chicken for 20 - 25 minutes in the pressure cooker, and the cooking liquid is going to be pretty firm, after refrigeration. Even if I just cook chicken parts for a few minutes, I'll get some gelatinization. I never got those kind of results from traditional cooking methods, well, unless I simmered stock for a long time, and even then, I don't remember getting so much gelatin as I do now. And gelatinization means not only connective tissues breaking down (thereby reducing what many of us would call "gristle" / inedible parts in tougher meat cuts), but increased flavor.
  4. Maybe I'm unusual for a pressure cooker aficionado, but I find it nearly impossible to just throw everything into the pot together to cook. I'm always doing various steps, like caramelizing the vegetables / mirepoix first, browning meat separately, adding ingredients at the end - very few of my dishes are chuck everything in together with no "layering" preparation. I also find myself combining various techniques increasingly, for example, parboiling potatoes and then finishing them off for a roast in the oven, or partially cooking a chicken in the pressure cooker to get that lovely softened quality to the meat, and render the chicken skin, and then finishing it off in the oven to crisp up the rendered skin.
  5. Forgive my ignorance, but what makes it Genovese style? ;D
  6. ePressureCooker

    Onion overload

    You could also quick / refrigerate pickle a small portion of that 20 pounds, just enough that you could eat within a couple of weeks. Family loves them on tacos, tostadas, green salads, potato salad, etc.
  7. The thing is I don't use wine I couldn't drink to cook, so no keeping in the fridge for me. I'm not suggesting using BAD wine, merely wine that has gone flat but still has the proper flavor, if I understand correctly (I don't drink myself, only cook with wine, and I pretty much stay with fortified wines/alcohol as a result, since it takes a long, long time to use up a bottle.)
  8. Interesting! Unfortunately, they didn't comment on the thin vs. thich cut fries, but their technique of determining the specific gravity (and presumably, the wetness or dryness) was certainly interesting -- one more variable to eliminate. And this might account for the earlier recommendation to use one to two week old potatoes, rather than fresh ones -- presumably they are somewhat dryer. Unfortunately, at the moment I am recovering from a nasty fall that severely dislocated my left ankle and broke the fibula in four places, requiring a 10" plate and a bunch of screws to hold everything together. So I won't be standing up and cooking fries anytime soon, but maybe somone else can try some of these techniques, and post their results. As an additional piece of information, as someone who has actually home grown their own potatoes, fresh potatoes, like corn, have a lot more sugar than the ones you get even in the farmer's market. That sugar starts converting to starch the minute you harvest them, and I would assume that conversion continues, albeit more slowly, when they are in proper storage. So it may also be a matter of maximizing starch, as well as minimizing water. ;D
  9. You're right, making your own stocks is one of the great benefits of owning a pressure cooker. Although I rarely have enough to can it, it usually is used up so fast. (We're trying to eat a lot of homemade soups.) If you'd like to read two really interesting articles re making stock in the pressure cooker, I can recommend: http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/11/22/pressure-cooked-stocks-we-got-schooled/ http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/01/27/pressure-cooked-stock-2-changing-pressures-playing-with-chemistry/ Its really quite interesting to read about their experimentation and their comparisons of making stock conventionally and in the pressure cooker. Excellent read. Those are great reads; I stumbled upon them while I was perfecting my stock recipe and couldn't decide on what pressure to use. I ended up using 15 psi. Yeah, you pretty much want to use the highest pressure setting available to you for making stock, want to extract all the flavor possible from the bones, exploit the Maillard reaction, etc.
  10. Interesting. If you have leftover wine you didn't drink in time, or that you took home from a restaurant and there wasn't enough to drink, you could also keep it in the fridge for cooking. You can still use it for cooking after its not really good for drinking anymore.
  11. You're right, making your own stocks is one of the great benefits of owning a pressure cooker. Although I rarely have enough to can it, it usually is used up so fast. (We're trying to eat a lot of homemade soups.) If you'd like to read two really interesting articles re making stock in the pressure cooker, I can recommend: http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/11/22/pressure-cooked-stocks-we-got-schooled/ http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/01/27/pressure-cooked-stock-2-changing-pressures-playing-with-chemistry/ Its really quite interesting to read about their experimentation and their comparisons of making stock conventionally and in the pressure cooker. Excellent read.
  12. My guess is if you used a conventional beef stew recipe in the pressure cooker, it probably wouldn't come out well. There's a couple of things you need to adapt. First, you need to reduce the liquid by about a third. There's far less evaporation inside a pressure cooker, therefore you don't need as much liquid. I usually will add a teaspoon or two of beef base to compensate for any lost beef broth I would have started with, depending on the volume of the meal. Second, if there's any alcohol in the recipe, you need to reduce that as well. I would probably start with 2 tablespoons at most, and see how that is. (You can always add more after pressure cooking, and just let it boil for a few minutes to get rid of as much of the alcohol as possible.) Third thing is, pressure cooking can dull some herbs and spices. I would add any fresh herbs in at the end, after pressure cooking. And although Jane Sass recommends increasing spices by a third before pressure cooking, I actually "bloom" them instead, that is, saute them for a minute in a little oil, before adding the rest of the ingredients and putting the lid on. Blooming the spices increases the fragrance and the taste, and IMHO, compensates somewhat for any dulling of the spices pressure cooking may do. so simple, how long does it take to cook herbs under the lid? so that spices lose no flavor and taste Herbs and spices can be a little tricky in the pressure cooker. The pressure cooker will enhance the flavor of some, mute the flavors of others. I can tell you from personal experience, never use a fresh bay leaf under pressure - it already has a strong flavor, boy does it get a really strong flavor. Fresh bay leaf is much, much stronger than dried bay leaf. If you're using fresh herbs, I'd personally try to arrange the recipe depending on whether the fresh herbs will be left in, or removed from the dish. If they're to be removed, I'd cook them only a couple of minutes. If they're to be left in, I'd add them after the pressure cooking is done, and then let them simmer gently for a few minutes before service. If you're using dried spices, there are two ways you can approach it, because pressure cooking can dull the taste of spices. You can either try to add the spices at the end, after the pressure cooking is done, or what I sometimes do is bloom the spices prior to pressure cooking, to enhance their flavor and aroma, before the pressure cooker dulls it back down a bit. Just in case you don't know (no offense intended), blooming spices means to take dried spices and herbs and to very briefly cook them in hot oil (like for a minute). Quickly cooking them in oil enhances both the smell and the taste. I think I read somewhere that many of the flavors in spices are soluble in oil, so that helps increase their "pungency".
  13. I beleive I first saw the grated butter trick in a Julia Child book...There too? Well, maybe he got it from her, or came up with it on his own. There's not a thing cooking wise that one person can't think of that someone else (or many others) can't think up on their own, either contemporaneously or later. ;D
  14. What Lisa said. Or if you don't want to keep the other onion half in the fridge, you could saute it and then freeze it for later use (that takes up less room).
  15. Well, I was going to suggest wine in ice cube trays and using pyrex custard cups for the mise en place question, so I'll proceed on to my own "tips". The first two are baking related, when you are supposed to get butter into little small bits for your biscuits. ATK had a clever biscuit recipe where you melted the butter (I know what you're thinking, but wait for it) and then let it cool somewhat. You then add the cooled liquid butter to the buttermilk for the recipe, and then stir vigorously. The coldness of the buttermilk instantly solidifies the liquid butter and you have a bunch of little balls of butter. The second ingenious method for doing this is from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, and you freeze your butter for a little bit before using it, until its stiff but not completely frozen, then you use a cheese grater to "grate" the frozen butter into your flour. Smart, huh? My general tip has to do with stains on your clothing while cooking. Don't waste money on stain sticks. Grab your bottle of dishwashing liquid (Palmolive, Dawn, it doesn't matter which brand) and rub some of the liquid, without water, into the stain. Dishwashing liquid because of its chemical properties will help prevent the stain from bonding with the fibers in your clothing until you can get the fabric into the wash. ;D
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