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Chris Amirault

Pressure Cookers: 2011 and beyond

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To answer both passaglia and Charcuterer:

First, I heard back from Fissler, and they are sending me a replacement valve for the one lid. They also said, " As for the 'Asian' pressure cooker (p/c), you are probably referring to the Vitavit Premium Solar line. It looks like the Vitavit Premium, which we have a small selection in our Los Angeles showroom. The biggest differences are that the Solar has a half circle black and reddish pattern around the pot body, the p/c lid has 3 settings as you mentioned, and the regular lid knob shape is differently shaped as well.

Unfortunately, you cannot interchange the handles or kits between these and the Blue Point. It would have to be an entirely new purchase. Because these lines are for our direct sales sold through our parent company, the price range is also much higher than the Blue Point. "

Too bad.

As for overcooked/undercooked food, I'm still learning. I did some split pea soup that was undercooked (I forgot to add the recommended 10% per 200 feet, or 25% at my altitude). But on the other hand, I thought some broccoli was slightly overcooked and too soft. As I said, I'm still learning/experimenting. The last time I was around a pressure cooker was in the late '40's, when we lived in Cheyenne, and my mother used one to cook pot roasts, etc., in an old jiggle-top aluminum job. I took a class on pressure cookers last weekend, and it seemed like everyone in the class had memories of spaghetti sauce all over the ceiling! Those days are over, thankfully.

I don't have any experience with the Kuhn Rikon, but the Fissler only vents when you exceed the double line pressure, nominally at 18 psi. Once you back off the heat, it is perfectly quiet.

In order to minimize the time required to come up to temperature, I turn the gas stove up to the maximum, until the liquid starts to boil, then put the lid on. Shortly thereafter, it comes up to pressure. Obviously, the smaller 4qt unit comes up to pressure faster than the 10 qt one does. I then turn the heat down to low, and it stops hissing and stays at the double line almost immediately.

But I also have a question, and maybe someone else knows. All of the p/c cookbooks I have, as well as the instruction manual, say to only fill the unit half way. Why is that?

Obviously you need to leave some room for the steam, but if 2 qts is enough for the 4 qt unit, why isn't that enough for the 10 qt unit as well?

Now, some foods might themselves expand, like beans for example, and some others might tend to spatter and mess up the valve, like say applesauce (which Fissler recommends against cooking, along with pearl barley, although other books have such recipes). But if I'm cooking something that is mostly liquid, like making stock, why couldn't I fill up the 10 qt unit to say 8 qts?

But my real challenge these days is to try to integrate multiple cooking methods into a harmonious whole, using the best of each.

Two nights ago, I cooked a rib-eye steak at 51C/124F in my sous vide immersion circulator, fired up the BBQ grill to gently heat up Himalayan salt block (turning it from low to medium to high over the course of 30 minutes until my IR thermometer registered 475F), started cooking some broccoli in the pressure skillet, and took out a small container of beurre blanc sauce and reheated it in the microwave.

I then seared the steak on both sides on the salt block, cooled the p/c in running water, and opened the microwave, only to find that the plastic container had melted, and the beurre blanc was all over the glass plate! But OK, I could recover it.

Then I topped the steak with crumbled blue cheese, and drizzled some espresso-flavored balsamic vinegar over the cheese.

Fantastico!

BTW, I have no connection with these people, but I found a shop in the Hotel La Fonda in Santa Fe that sells nothing but olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salts -- probably 30 to 40 of each, with dipping samples. They also have a store in Key West. Check out http:/www.oleaceaoliveoil.com.

Bob


Edited by Robert Jueneman (log)

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As for overcooked/undercooked food, I'm still learning. I did some split pea soup that was undercooked (I forgot to add the recommended 10% per 200 feet, or 25% at my altitude). But on the other hand, I thought some broccoli was slightly overcooked and too soft. As I said, I'm still learning/experimenting.

I don't know if this bit of knowledge will help or confuse you. But I've found the more dense the food the more time it needs. Veggies, risottos, ect. will probably need very little time adjustments while legumes slightly larger. I've pressure cooked a risotto that is nearly identical at 9, 11, 13 and 15PSI with the exact same cooking time. Whereas chickpeas need twenty minutes at 9 psi and just thirteen at 15. So, if this helps focus your adjustments on the densest foods (tough meats, legumes, whole grains, ect.)

But I also have a question, and maybe someone else knows. All of the p/c cookbooks I have, as well as the instruction manual, say to only fill the unit half way. Why is that?

The rule of thumb is 1/2 full for foods that expand or foam (legumes, grains, fruits) and 2/3 full for everything else. The reasons are three-fold. The first, of course, is to give enough room for foods that expand. The second is to ensure that the food does not make it's way up to the lid while it's boiling in the cooker and interfere with the valves. The third is to give the steam enough room to build pressure - technically the cooker probably needs less room than 1/3 - but since the other two reasons can have more serious consequences I don't recommend trying to see how full you can get a cooker until it can't build pressure.

Ciao,

L


Edited by pazzaglia (log)

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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First, I heard back from Fissler, and they are sending me a replacement valve for the one lid. They also said, " As for the 'Asian' pressure cooker (p/c), you are probably referring to the Vitavit Premium Solar line. It looks like the Vitavit Premium, which we have a small selection in our Los Angeles showroom. The biggest differences are that the Solar has a half circle black and reddish pattern around the pot body, the p/c lid has 3 settings as you mentioned, and the regular lid knob shape is differently shaped as well.

I've got no idea what "Vitavit Premium Solar" is supposed to be, as I didn't find any evidence of such a line on the web. Fissler Germany only has three current lines of pressure cookers (the Blue Point has been discontinued a few years ago): Vitavit, Vitavit Premium, and Vitavit Edition. All have the new style knob control of the intended pressure setting. The plain Vitavit only has two settings, corresponding to the old-style one or two bars. The Vitavit Premium and Vitavit Edition have a third setting for pressure-less steaming, NOT a third pressure level.

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First, I heard back from Fissler, and they are sending me a replacement valve for the one lid. They also said, " As for the 'Asian' pressure cooker (p/c), you are probably referring to the Vitavit Premium Solar line. It looks like the Vitavit Premium, which we have a small selection in our Los Angeles showroom. The biggest differences are that the Solar has a half circle black and reddish pattern around the pot body, the p/c lid has 3 settings as you mentioned, and the regular lid knob shape is differently shaped as well.

I've got no idea what "Vitavit Premium Solar" is supposed to be, as I didn't find any evidence of such a line on the web. Fissler Germany only has three current lines of pressure cookers (the Blue Point has been discontinued a few years ago): Vitavit, Vitavit Premium, and Vitavit Edition. All have the new style knob control of the intended pressure setting. The plain Vitavit only has two settings, corresponding to the old-style one or two bars. The Vitavit Premium and Vitavit Edition have a third setting for pressure-less steaming, NOT a third pressure level.

Here are the Fissler Solars...

http://www.fissler.c...en.asp?indx=140

Also the new Vitavit for the Korean market has three pressure settings

http://www.fissler.c...0&page=2&s_str=

I visited the Fissler factory in Germany a couple of years ago and saw the lid assembly area. They still have the machinery to build lids with three pressure levels (not counting the steam or release levels). That part wasn't in use while I was there, they were assembling Vitavits for Europe they had not been introduced in the US, yet.

They decided to introduce the Vitaquick to the US, instead, which is not being sold in Europe. The headquarters got some bad information that Americans wouldn't know what to do with thepressure selection twist dial. Of course, I informed them that Fagor has been selling twist-dials in the US successfully for years and highly recommended they do more research on the subject before deciding which model to release in the US.

Just as well.. both the Vitavit and Vitaquick models they sent me fell apart, anyway. Some sooner than others. Loved all their features to death while they lasted.

Ciao,

L


Edited by pazzaglia (log)

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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Yeah, but the Solar line (not Vitavit Solar!) is ancient!

However, I would sure like that Korean Vitavit. Funny that it seems to be really Korea-specific. I didn't find anything of that kind on the Fissler Taiwan site.

I've got an old Blue Point 4 liter model and Vitavit Edition 12 liter model. Both have worked fine so far (although I should re-fasten the screw of one of the Blue Point's handles).

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I am about to order a pressure cooker and would like to know if I should get the non-perforated insert. I can appreciate getting and using the perforated one but what would I use the non-perforated one for?

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I am about to order a pressure cooker and would like to know if I should get the non-perforated insert. I can appreciate getting and using the perforated one but what would I use the non-perforated one for?

Excellent question, as I'm thinking about the same thing!

One possible application I thought of would be if you wanted to save the juices that came as a result of cooking something, and didn't want them diluted with the water used for steam. So perhaps you wanted to cook a ham hock, and add the juices to some soup. I would think that the ham hock might take 30 minutes or more, while something like split pea soup might take only 15 minutes. (I haven't looked up the times, so don't trust me on those.)

Of course, you could probably use the water and juices as part of the stock for the soup, so maybe that isn't the best example.

So how about stewing apples, so some other fruits or veggies, where you want to save the juice?

Probably someone with more experience would be better able to answer the question!

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I am about to order a pressure cooker and would like to know if I should get the non-perforated insert. I can appreciate getting and using the perforated one but what would I use the non-perforated one for?

Anyone?

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I am about to order a pressure cooker and would like to know if I should get the non-perforated insert. I can appreciate getting and using the perforated one but what would I use the non-perforated one for?

Excellent question, as I'm thinking about the same thing!

The convenience of an un-perforated insert is that it has a handle and it's the perfect size for your pressure cooker. Some manufacturers make ones that are quite nice, others are badly designed negating the whole point of having an un-perforated insert - with the hole for the handle going more than half-way down the height of the insert..

Other than the convenience of the handle, there is nothing that you can't make with this insert, that you can't make with any heat-proof dish (stainless steel, pyrex, ceramic or silicone) and a foil sling.

helper-handles.jpg

The uses include making desserts "bain marie", steam juicing, and steaming delicate foods like fish.

Ciao,

L


Edited by pazzaglia (log)

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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All American. PERIOD. Built like a tank and will last many lifetimes with little maintenance.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

Seconded. I love mine. And the added bonus is you neither need a replaceable gasket, nor to get the pressure gauge checked on a regular basis. The weighted valve does the trick. The dial gauge is more of a visual cue than anything else. The pressure is regulated by the weight on the valve.


Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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Has anyone got an opinion about the Kuhn Rikon titanium non-stick fry pans?

If I want to brown ground meat for stock, could I bring to a sizzle then put the top on, reduce heat and get Malliard brown goodness after a few minutes with an occasional shiggle.?


“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Has anyone got an opinion about the Kuhn Rikon titanium non-stick fry pans?

I have the Duromatic Hotel 5 liters pressure-cooker "pan". It is excellent. I have not tried with very sticky foods like eggs or fish, but for browning meats, vegetables and the like it works extremelly well. It has a sandwiched bottom with 5 layers that spreads heat very efficiently. In fact it has became my default pan for browning, frying, rices, etc (with and without pressure).

If I want to brown ground meat for stock, could I bring to a sizzle thTen put the top on, reduce heat and get Malliard brown goodness after a few minutes with an occasional shiggle.?

Yes. But for that you should use a standard lid of the same size (not sold with the pan), not the standard pressure cooker lid.

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same boat as others here, I'm going to put one of these on my xmas list. Most likely Kuhn Rikon, I like other things they make and they seem great quality. And come in a wide variety of sizes. Unfortunately.

And even different sizes for the same empty space it seem, tall and slender vs more wide and not so tall. I doubt I'll pressure can in one of these, if I'd want to do that I'd most likely get a dedicated pot at the hardware store for that.

So, for a family of 4 and "normal" cooking, what's good? I'm kind of intrigued by a set that comes with 5-1/4-quart pressure cooker and 2-1/8-quart pressure fry pan, both can be used with the pressure lid. But is 5 1/4 enough? If I make stock, I make it from one chicken (leftovers) or maybe two, I don't use stock that much and have limited freezer space. (yes, despite a chest freezer in the garage....)

But is the 5 1/4 big enough for soups, beans, stews? I'd prefer this set if they'd have a larger pot in there, the small one seems like it could be handy for all kinds of things.

Or should I go with the 7.4 quart? Seems like a very large pot, but I can't really judge it. Since you can't fill these as much as an other pot.

If you could get only one, the set or the 7.4 quart, what would you select, and why?

Thanks!


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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get the pot that fits the pint sized canning jars. my 6 qt just does. see above. its an added use and not for canning. see MC@H

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my Fagor has this part:

PC part.jpg

is it meant to elevate the perforated plate one puts on the bottom of the pan for say pressure steaming?

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So, for a family of 4 and "normal" cooking, what's good? I'm kind of intrigued by a set that comes with 5-1/4-quart pressure cooker and 2-1/8-quart pressure fry pan, both can be used with the pressure lid. But is 5 1/4 enough? If I make stock, I make it from one chicken (leftovers) or maybe two, I don't use stock that much and have limited freezer space. (yes, despite a chest freezer in the garage....)

But is the 5 1/4 big enough for soups, beans, stews? I'd prefer this set if they'd have a larger pot in there, the small one seems like it could be handy for all kinds of things.

Or should I go with the 7.4 quart? Seems like a very large pot, but I can't really judge it. Since you can't fill these as much as an other pot.

If you could get only one, the set or the 7.4 quart, what would you select, and why?

Thanks!

That's the set I have and I've been very happy with it. The 5-qt. will easily make enough stew, soup or beans for 4. I've used it for small amounts (about a quart) of stock as well, but you won't be able to make more than a couple quarts in it. I use the small "fry pan" as a pressure cooker but also quite often as a regular saute pan.

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my Fagor has this part:

PC part.jpg

is it meant to elevate the perforated plate one puts on the bottom of the pan for say pressure steaming?

Yes.That's the trivet, be sure to pull the legs of the V to a wider position, the steamer basket will be much more stable.

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thanks Jaz, that's exactly what I needed to know! I have limited space for canned things, and make stock occasionally when we have a whole chicken, but I don't do much with sauces (actually not sure why, something I need to look into more). But with the colder season coming, something for soups, beans, etc is probably more practical than a giant pot.

Off to update my wish list :-)


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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OliverB, as I said previously, I wish I had bought the Fissler Quato Large set. It includes a 4 qt pressure skillet (more than enough for cooking small amounts of veggies for two, and probably for four, unless you have two very hungry teenagers). And the 8 qt pressure cooker is probably enough for making stock, sauces, canning, etc. I bought the pressure skillet and the 10 qt P/C, but because I ended up paying for two lids, it cost more than it should have, and takes up more space.

Eight or even 10 qts may seem like a whole lot, but remember that in general you can only fill these half full. So 8 qts is really only four qts, in practice. If you are making stock, by the time you go to the trouble to roast the bones, add the veggies, simmer, reduce, etc., etc., you will probably wish that you had made more. For that reason, I don't think the 5 1/4 K-R would be big enough. YMMV.

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Eight or even 10 qts may seem like a whole lot, but remember that in general you can only fill these half full.

Pressure cookers should be filled no more than 1/2 for legumes, grains and food that expand and 2/3 for everything else (this includes the cooking liquid).

Ciao,

L


hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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thanks all, goo input! I agree that what I'll be getting might not always be large enough, but for now it should do. I might get a pressure canner someday, which I could then use for larger stock operations. I rarely make lots of stock right now though, I use a chicken carcass if we had a whole chicken, make a soup or a bit of stock the next day, but I don't make sauces all that often. I'll post eventually with an update, once I worked with the set I ordered.


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I noticed today that Cook's Illustrated rated Fissler their favorite, and the only tested model to reach the US standard of 15 PSI. I am not sure exactly which Fissler. From the picture I think perhaps the Vitaquick 8.5 quart.

Since I just purchased an ice cream maker I am not likely to be replacing my broken Cuisinart pressure cooker any time soon. I was quite happy with the Cuisinart but they don't make replacement gaskets. Something to keep in mind when shopping for a pressure cooker.

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I noticed today that Cook's Illustrated rated Fissler their favorite, and the only tested model to reach the US standard of 15 PSI. I am not sure exactly which Fissler. From the picture I think perhaps the Vitaquick 8.5 quart.

Since I just purchased an ice cream maker I am not likely to be replacing my broken Cuisinart pressure cooker any time soon. I was quite happy with the Cuisinart but they don't make replacement gaskets. Something to keep in mind when shopping for a pressure cooker.

What size is the gasket? A lot of asian appliance places sell various sized silicone gaskets and you could probably find one for just about any size.

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