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Instant Pot. Multi-function cooker (Part 1)


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Add me to the list of interested readers.  I'm not sure I should be paying attention to this topic, lest I find myself working out what has to leave the kitchen to make room for a new multi-pot.  Nonetheless, I'm interested.  Willing to be tempted.   :raz:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Congratulations Anna, I'm sure you'll enjoy it and the lovely food out of it. Might it make the trip to Manatoulin this fall?

They are well packed aren't they, that outer box could survive being thrown off a roof!

An aside, how much did you save by picking it up across the border as opposed to Amazon.ca?

p

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Congratulations Anna, I'm sure you'll enjoy it and the lovely food out of it. Might it make the trip to Manatoulin this fall?

They are well packed aren't they, that outer box could survive being thrown off a roof!

An aside, how much did you save by picking it up across the border as opposed to Amazon.ca?

p

I'm sorry to have misled you but it was not the Instant Pot that I purchased south of the border but the grid-lined notebook! rotuts encourages all of us to keep notes about our cooking adventures and his favorite notebook is grid-lined with a red cover.

But you are certainly correct about the packaging. And here is a little tidbit about the delivery of my pot that I found quite touching. I live in a townhouse complex where the houses are very close together. The mail person had put the package on my back step but as you know the package clearly identifies the contents. So that those contents would be not so visible to my neighbors or anyone with evil on their mind, my mail person had placed my blue recycle bin in front of it to hide its contents!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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So for those who have shown an interest in how I get along with my new toy here we go.

I waited most of the day for the package to arrive and it finally made it here around 3:30 PM. After unpacking it, glancing at the QuickStart guide and the instruction manual I decided to "cook" a cup of water. Putting the lid on and locking it in place was not quite as easy as the videos led me to believe but that's because seeing black arrows on black plastic is for much younger eyes than mine! Once I got that sorted I found myself totally unable to move the steam release valve to the sealing position. I looked at the videos, rechecked the instruction manual and after about half an hour realized that I was not supposed to move the valve to the word "sealing" but to the inscrutable symbol. I admit to feeling quite foolish once I figured it out.

So I had the water in the pot, had the lid sealed and the valve in the correct place for cooking under pressure. I set the time to 10 minutes and looked for the "start" button but there is none. Once you have set the controls the way you want them the IP starts automatically into its program. When it reaches full pressure it does then steam just as the stove top ones do so if you are the nervous type this can be startling. But once it has vented steam for a very short time it becomes silent and the evidence you have that it is in fact cooking is that the time on the front panel counts down.

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So here it is after it has been programmed and before it has reached pressure.

When the cooking time was up the IP signaled that it had finished and I left it alone for the pressure to drop naturally. Almost immediately after the cooking time was complete it switched automatically to keep warm mode and the time begin counting up. I did not realize that I could cancel this keep warm mode so I unplugged the unit. It has no off switch.

Satisfied that it worked fine with just waterin there I had to decide what would be my first dish.

One of the things that most fascinated me while I was surfing the web about the IP was poached eggs. I love poached eggs but cooking them is a hit and miss affair for me. Anything that promises success gets my attention. And so the first thing to come out of my new toy would be "poached" eggs. In quotation marks because poached has a clearly defined meaning and though these turned out to be indistinguishable in taste and texture from the real thing I will leave the quotation marks in place.

The technique I found described is to break the eggs into silicon poaching pods, add 1 cup of water to the IP with the trivet or a steaming rack in place, select the steam function, reduce the time to three minutes and then use the quick release method of bringing the pressure down.

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So here they are in buttered, silicon pods (all ready to go off to a charity as I never used them!), sitting in mason jar rings for stability.

image.jpg

And voilà. Perfectly "poached" eggs atop a homemade English muffin and steamed spinach.

It would have been a fine supper had I taken into account the time it takes for the IP to reach pressure. Instead I had counted only three minutes so in the end the muffins and spinach cooled down considerably before the eggs were ready.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Congratulations Anna, I'm sure you'll enjoy it and the lovely food out of it. Might it make the trip to Manatoulin this fall?

They are well packed aren't they, that outer box could survive being thrown off a roof!

An aside, how much did you save by picking it up across the border as opposed to Amazon.ca?

p

Realize that I missed a part of your question. Manitoulin is still a few weeks away and there are a number of issues still to be resolved so we shall have to see how it all pans out.

  • Like 2

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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should you get the chance, would you post a pic of 

 

"  trivet or a steaming rack in place "

 

how 'deep' is the trivet ?

 

many thanks.

image.jpg

image.jpg

Here you go. This is the one that comes with the IP. It is .75 inches/20 mm deep.

Somewhere in this house is a stainless steel petal steamer which I am counting on using also should I ever find it again. I believe you own one of those.

The IP, like all pressure cookers, will come into its own when I have some tough protein to cook. That is not likely to happen for a few days. But I have most of the weekend to play with other things but again will be limited somewhat by what food is in the house.

So I am off to complete my morning chores and then I will start playing with the IP.

  • Like 6

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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what is the distance from the top of the insert they provide or the top of the

 

stainless steel petal steamer "  which i also have as it is also 3/4 "

to the recommended 'fill line ' ?

 

if you were to do potatoes cut-up would you put them above the water on an insert to just let them steam rather than 'boil' in water ?

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Anna, I'll bet there's going to be a rush of sales for this cooker. Thank you very much! I look forward to more reports.

The temperature adjustment on the front panel is interesting. Can it be used to set the temperature in the slow-cooker mode? I'm wondering whether this can be used to slow cook for hours at, say, 140 or 170 (F) for the protein of our choice.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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What a great first experiment with the Instant Pot, Anna. Thanks for your rundown on doing poached eggs - I haven't tried those yet so it is nice to know they come out so nicely (although now I guess I will have to buy some poaching pods).

I found the lid hard to get right the first time too - but even if you can't see the markings on there (or the vent stem) I am sure that you will get the hang of that in no time - I did and I can't see that well either. I seem to hit the pot lid assembly pretty easily now. I have to laugh now too that I couldn't figure out where exactly the lid was supposed to go when open either (one of its handles just slips into the slot on the pot handle and it stands on end straight up very securely) so I had an ah-ha moment there too a couple of days after I started using it.

You will probably find that the pot doesn't vent steam every time. I am not sure what makes it do it or not but it is not whether something is cold or hot already or even a particular level of liquid it seems because mine only does it sometimes and I can vouch for the fact that it 'may not or may' depending on what 'it' is thinking, not what you think. :)

rotuts - one could 'boil' potatoes (either under pressure or in the pot open too I think) OR steam them, your choice, in the Instant Pot. You don't need much water to steam, possibly as little as a half cup. As for the fill line, the top of the measurement is 10 cups - but depending on what you are cooking, it will hold more than that. They tell you not to fill above about 2/3rds of the way up the pot HOWEVER that is primarily for things like soup or stews. The reason one should not fill higher for that kind of item is simply that the mixture could bubble up and clog the steam vent - common sense - but you can fill higher if that won't be an issue which I would think would be the case with a bunch of simple cut up potatoes.

Note: The 10 cup line is well below the max-fill line too, which is about 1" below the top of the insert and about 1 1/2" above the 10 cup line. I don't have a measuring tape handy but I think the total depth is a little over 7 inches (but I could be out a bit there). I would hazard a guess you would get more potatoes into the beast if you cut them up smaller so there was less 'air space' around each bit than if you tried to pile large baking potatoes into it whole.

Edited by Deryn (log)
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by 'steam' im thinking of pressure-steam  

 

as a way to avoid 'potato-soup'

 

thanks for the details on size.

 

Its a bit cooler here so ill try the Fargo for the two types of potatoes Id make much more frequently if I had an On-Off system :

 

for potato salad and for Mashed P's.

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what is the distance from the top of the insert they provide or the top of the

 

stainless steel petal steamer "  which i also have as it is also 3/4 "

to the recommended 'fill line ' ?

 

if you were to do potatoes cut-up would you put them above the water on an insert to just let them steam rather than 'boil' in water ?

The distance from the base of the pot to the max fill line is 13.5 cm/5.3 inches. But I am not sure why you would ever attempt to fill it to the max. Certainly not for pulses, rice, beans etc.

If I were to do potatoes as you suggest I would do exactly the same as I would do in the Kuhn Rikon 6 quart stovetop pressure cooker.

I would put in sufficient water to come up to the level of the trivet and place the potatoes on top of the trivet.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Anna, I'll bet there's going to be a rush of sales for this cooker. Thank you very much! I look forward to more reports.

The temperature adjustment on the front panel is interesting. Can it be used to set the temperature in the slow-cooker mode? I'm wondering whether this can be used to slow cook for hours at, say, 140 or 170 (F) for the protein of our choice.

Yes it has three temperatures in the slow cooker Mode. I am not finding those temperatures in the manual but I believe if you go to their website you can find them there. I know I have found them somewhere! The temperatures themselves are preset but you can choose low, medium or high. I hope that helps.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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What a great first experiment with the Instant Pot, Anna. Thanks for your rundown on doing poached eggs - I haven't tried those yet so it is nice to know they come out so nicely (although now I guess I will have to buy some poaching pods).I found the lid hard to get right the first time too - but even if you can't see the markings on there (or the vent stem) I am sure that you will get the hang of that in no time - I did and I can't see that well either. I seem to hit the pot lid assembly pretty easily now. I have to laugh now too that I couldn't figure out where exactly the lid was supposed to go when open either (one of its handles just slips into the slot on the pot handle and it stands on end straight up very securely) so I had an ah-ha moment there too a couple of days after I started using it.You will probably find that the pot doesn't vent steam every time. I am not sure what makes it do it or not but it is not whether something is cold or hot already or even a particular level of liquid it seems because mine only does it sometimes and I can vouch for the fact that it 'may not or may' depending on what 'it' is thinking, not what you think. :)rotuts - one could 'boil' potatoes (either under pressure or in the pot open too I think) OR steam them, your choice, in the Instant Pot. You don't need much water to steam, possibly as little as a half cup. As for the fill line, the top of the measurement is 10 cups - but depending on what you are cooking, it will hold more than that. They tell you not to fill above about 2/3rds of the way up the pot HOWEVER that is primarily for things like soup or stews. The reason one should not fill higher for that kind of item is simply that the mixture could bubble up and clog the steam vent - common sense - but you can fill higher if that won't be an issue which I would think would be the case with a bunch of simple cut up potatoes.Note: The 10 cup line is well below the max-fill line too, which is about 1" below the top of the insert and about 1 1/2" above the 10 cup line. I don't have a measuring tape handy but I think the total depth is a little over 7 inches (but I could be out a bit there). I would hazard a guess you would get more potatoes into the beast if you cut them up smaller so there was less 'air space' around each bit than if you tried to pile large baking potatoes into it whole.

Deryn,

I would suspect you can simply use oven safe ramekins instead of siicon pods and the eggs might come out looking a little less odd in shape. I did notice that in my last experiment with rice there was no venting of steam as it came up to pressure.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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So I made a list of a few experiments I wanted to make today. One was determining how long it took to reach full pressure with one cup of water in there and how much water would be lost after 10 minutes at high-pressure with quick release. (Long barbecue tongs make a great tool to move the valve to release the steam without getting burned!)

The answer was four minutes and 250 mL of water became 240 ml. So now I know that my poached eggs should take seven minutes!

My next test was basmati rice. I have a Zoji fuzzy logic rice cooker which does a fine job and requires no attention. But it takes over an hour to produce a couple of cups of rice. Sometimes this is just too long to wait. And yes I know all about cooking it on the stovetop. Nevertheless this is a test of the IP.

I followed the recommendations from the book Hip Pressure Ccooking by eG member Laura Pazzaglia. I am as much interested in reducing quantities of food as anything else being a solo household so I chose to cook just one cup of basmati.

Following Laura's instructions I rinsed and then soaked the rice for 15 minutes. Then it went into the IP with one and a quarter cups water, the lid was closed and locked and the valve put in the sealing position. Time seemed preposterous -- two minutes at high-pressure followed by 10 minutes of allowing the pressure to drop by itself before releasing whatever pressure was left by using the valve.

Was it perfect basmati rice? I don't think so but it was quite acceptable and in considerably less time than it would have taken in the rice cooker.

image.jpg

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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nice.  very nice work AnnaN

 

were the issues w the rice taste related to the amount of water used i.e. the rice was too soft, too firm etc ?

 

I also have a Fuzzy Rice cooker and it does take 50 minutes, which I don't really mind.

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nice.  very nice work AnnaN

 

were the issues w the rice taste related to the amount of water used i.e. the rice was too soft, too firm etc ?

 

I also have a Fuzzy Rice cooker and it does take 50 minutes, which I don't really mind.

I am absolutely not a connoisseur of rice of any kind. In fact until very recently I was among those archaic Brits who believed that rice belonged in puddings and nowhere else. Kerry Beal dragged me over to the darkside as she does with so many things. Nevertheless to me basmati rice is one rice where you should be able to see every single grain as a separate entity. I aspire to make rice as they do in our favourite Indian restaurant.

I did want to mention that there was minimal sticking of rice on the bottom of the IP. It was not burned by any means just stuck and a very quick soak took care of it. To stress how little this involved I am sure I could've counted the grains without any difficulty. This does not happen in the Zoji which has a nonstick surface.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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So on to some real cooking because I'm darn hungry. Recipes have to be chosen based on what is currently in the house or what can be easily substituted. I had a couple of pork chops, half of a very small cabbage, a bit of red onion needed using up and a reasonable complement of Asian condiments. A recipe from Bob Warden's Great Food Fast called Moo Shu Pork seemed to fit the bill.

image.jpg

Ingredients

image.jpg

Prepped and ready to cook. Excuse the look of my fresh produce as my fridge has decided to freeze everything!

The initial step is to sauté the pork and the onions. I had expected the sauté function to be the Achilles heel of this pot. But surprisingly it did an excellent job.

image.jpg

image.jpg

See that fond?

The problem was that I am so vertically challenged that I had to get out a stool in order to be able to see into the pot and to take a photograph of what was happening there. How sad is that?

To be continued…

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Im salivating already.

 

and my library system has that book.

 

I guess monday or so Ill Piggy-Back on my sisters AmazonPrime and maybe push Return on

 

http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO60-Programmable-Generation/dp/B00FLYWNYQ/ref=sr_1_1/191-8754096-2934929?ie=UTF8&qid=1440874266&sr=8-1&keywords=instant+pot+7+in+1

Don't do it on account of the Mushu pork! Wait for the conclusion to the story. I'm awaiting two unexpected visitors but once they leave I will get back to my story. In the meantime have another glass of MR.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Interesting.

 

Very Interesting.

 

My mother would have said to me a long time ago :

 

""  Do you have Ants in your Pants? ""

 

well

 

I looked into that book i mentioned.

 

you can get at Amazon, but Id have to wait until Wed., probably 3 PM !

''

:blink:

 

then I called 'around'

 

granted that physical bookstores are in decline, there is one killer resource near me :

 

the NewEnglandBookFair.

 

a bazillion books, most discounted.

 

so i called them Id like that book tomorrow.

 

what did I learn that connects to the " Instant " that is the Pot ?

 

this is an " instant " book

 

you have to order through Amazon and each copy is then printed !

 

one can learn Sooooooo Much at eG.

 

so Ill ask my library to get it, and then i hope to learn some conversion times

 

from 15 psi to the IP' lower pressures.

 

easy peasy.

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Sorry to keep you waiting and on tenterhooks, rotuts, only to tell you that this was not a particularly good outcome.

image.jpg

I do not believe it is the fault of the IP but rather of the recipe and the particular brand of hoisin sauce. The recipe suggested it be served with flour tortillas but since I had none of those but did have some basmati rice that is what I served it over. I considered it barely edible.

Not at all sure I would give you a recommendation for this particular book. I would like to hear other members opinions if they own it. I am not basing that on a single recipe but on my fairly careful review of the book.

But the other thing I wanted to say was that it was foolish of me to try a completely brand-new recipe in the new toy. A far better plan would be to take a familiar recipe that you have cooked in another way and change it to be compatible with the IP.

A few groceries just arrived courtesy of a very good friend so tomorrow looks like an exciting day for playing about. Having eaten very little for lunch I may yet use the IP again today for my dinner. But first I have to get caught up on a few things that didn't get done while I entertained visitors.

  • Like 4

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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