Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Magic Pot

Like thousands of people this year, I got an Instant Pot for Christmas.  When I first started hearing about the cooking appliance, I was skeptical.  I have a Crockpot, and figured that's all I really needed for a cooker in addition to my stove/oven.  After hearing more about it though, I was intrigued.
I've been on winter break since Christmas so once the holidays were over, I have spent a little time rying to get to know the new pot.
The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker.  I know a lot of people who were raised in families who used an "old school" stovetop pressure cooker.  I was not raised in one of those families, so don't have (fond) memories of it exploding all over the kitchen.  With that being said, I don't really understand the concept of pressure cooking and all its ins and outs.  Therefore, I have not made anything from my imagination - I don't understand enough yet just to throw something in and figure out how to cook it.  However, I've been having a lot of fun just trying it out using yummy recipes I find on the internet.
I started off slow with basic chicken breast (shredded, portioned, and put in freezer for quick meals) and macaroni and cheese.  Both were super easy and worked just like the recipe said they would.

On my third try, I MADE CHEESECAKE!  I joined a Facebook group for Instant Pot users because a lot of time there are a lot specific questions asked that aren't addressed in recipes or online information.  I've liked that, but something else I found out while searching through the group...you can make freaking cheesecake in the Instant Pot.  I've NEVER made a baked cheesecake in my life because it just seemed too hard.  Well, in this FB group EVERYONE has been posting their cheesecakes.  So making one in the Instant Pot is a thing, and I decided to try it!  OMG!  I am wowed!
I made it on Thursday night and topped it with ganache and peanut butter cups Friday morning.  I took it to a party on Friday night, and everyone was stunned it came out of the Instant Pot.  I was very impressed with myself.
Last night I made beef stroganoff, and it was delicious.  Stroganoff isn't the prettiest meal, so I'm not sharing pictures, but I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out.  The round steak that I used was so tender after just 15 minutes cooking time.  When I make it on the stovetop I leave it simmering for at least an hour after browning to make it tender.
So this is my take on the Instant Pot so far...It's similar to a slow cooker/crockpot in that you throw everything in and wait until it's finished without doing anything while it cooks.  This frees you up to make additional parts of the meal (pasta, veggies, etc) or to do something else not even related to cooking.  But the most important differences are that it is FAST, and it doesn't over cook the contents.  At first, I was a little annoyed by the time it takes to come to pressure as it can take upwards of 20 - 30 minutes, but now that I'm aware of that I can factor the time in.  It's still much faster than a lot of other cooking.  While a crockpot has it's place for certain types of meats that you want falling apart - pulled pork for example.  Most things I would cook in the crockpot all day came out falling apart, and sometimes that isn't want you want.  The IP cooks fast while making things tender and juicy, but not overcooked.
I'm kind of a kitchen appliance/gadget geek.  The Instant Pot is making me geek out hard!

15 comments:

  1. All your IP foods look so great!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Seems like a cult to me.

    I looked on Amz and there are vast differences in the price but no clear reasons just why. And yes I do remember the old pressure cookers. My mother had one with a weight you put on a vent -that had a safety aspect-, once it got up to a boil. But I do remember it flying up and hitting the ceiling where a dent remained for years after. You had to remember to lower the gas right down once the weight sat on the vent, otherwise, kaboom.
    In truth though I don't remember the meals. But then my mother wasn't ever a cook, or did much of it. And none once I could cook for myself at about eight. So I've no true feel for the taste and texture.
    I'm a bit curious how the cake didn't stick to the sides.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is like a cult! Ha ha!
      Your exploding story makes me chuckle. It sounds like they were/are kind of temperamental and dangerous even. You're not the first to share a mark on the ceiling story. This one does all the checking and controlling for you, so there shouldn't be any explosion.
      As for the cheesecake, I actually put the mixture in a springform pan (the kind that release the sides and pop the bottom out). I mixed it all up, poured it in the pan and then the pan fit on a trivet in the Instant Pot. It cooked for about 50 minutes, released pressure and was done! (Gasp!)

      Delete
    2. How big is it. And don't go it will take 4 quarts/litres. Ishy how many inches across the top and how deep. That spoon makes it look about 7 inches. But that's probably wrong..

      Delete
    3. It's a 6 quart pot (there are also 3 and 8 quart versions). But diameter is a little over 7 inches, maybe 8. The spring form pan I used for the cheese cake is a 7 inch pan and there was a bout an inch or so space around it. I'd say it's height is about 7 or 8 inches as well. The spoon came with the pot and it is a bit shorter than my other cooking utensils

      Delete
  3. I haven't bought into the instant pot craze yet. We have a crockpot and we have an instant pot sized pressure cooker that we do use for tenderizing meats occasionally. To me it just seems redundant for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is definitely crazed and over break I was a bit obsessed with it. Back to work this week, so I won't have the time. Not ever having the stove top version I don't know if it's redundant or if you're missing out! :) I've enjoyed using it though.

      Delete
  4. I had an old school pressure cooker back when I did some canning and remember always being afraid of it!

    I think these things are neat and your cheesecake is SO IMPRESSIVE! My younger daughter got an instant pot last fall and loves using it. I'm going to send her this post so she can see your beautiful cheesecake! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I was very proud of it and want to make more. Who'd have thought, right?!?!
      The stored of the stove top cookers make me chuckle and a little bit fascinated. I had no idea such a thing existed...and the danger!!!
      If you come back to this, I'll leave this link. Someone compiled all the IP cheesecake recipes into one place. There are so many to choose from! I was going to start off with a regular/plain one but since I had to go a party I thought it might be a bit too plain and went with the PB one. I'm looking forward to a good NY cheesecake though! Here's the link...
      https://instantpot3.blogspot.com/2018/01/cheesecake-recipes.html?m=1

      Delete
    2. Thanks! I'll make sure she knows you added the link. :)

      Delete
    3. OMG! I just checked out that link and there are a gazillion recipes! Combinations I never dreamed of! I've sent her the link...

      Delete
  5. I don't own either pot but that fact that you can make a cheesecake in it is mind blowing.
    My mom had a pressure cooker which she used when she was in a hurry. I've always been a bit apprehensive.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know right?!?! It is fascinating.
      I'm going to have to do some more research about pressure cooking so I can figure out what the point is. As I said, the recipes have been good, but I don't really know what the pot is doing.

      Delete