Columbian Chicken Stew

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Most people think that chicken soup is a great dish for icky weather days. Days when it’s dark and overcast. When you turn on the lights in the house because the clouds make it feel like evenings.  Soups are great comfort foods on days like this, but I grew up loving soups and ramens on hot days too. I think it made it feel a teeny bit cooler while still bringing in that comfort food feeling deep in your chest. Obviously, I still had a glass of ice water to go with it.  I took this recipe from the Serious Eats website and found the potatoes to be very bland even after modifying it a few times.  I thought, at first, the blandness was because of the modifications I had made that first time. I had literally tossed everything in just like my maternal grandfather did when he was cooking in my youth. I had fingerling potatoes on hand so used those (uncut) instead of the standard russet or golds that most people would use. I also added a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes since I had them on hand and they were about to go bad anyways. (I should probably also mention that the soup itself was delicious – it was just the potatoes that felt bland)

The next time I made this, I made sure to mix everything together so that potatoes and tomatoes and chicken were all layered together. I used Yukon Golds and cubed them up evenly hoping that the non-peel sides would help sop up some of the liquid and add some flavor to the soup. The result had a small bit more flavor, but I wonder if the lack is more because I don’t normally eat cooked potatoes that aren’t fries these days.

Of note – this recipe didn’t require liquid like most pressure cooker recipes but when I lifted the lid there was tons. Which is probably why it took almost an hour to make? I might try a little water next time to see if it goes quicker. Most gurus will tell you that water is essential as this is part of what allows the pot to come to pressure. (Heat creates steam, etc, etc etc.)

 

Recipe: Serious Eats
Prep Time: Unknown
Time to Pressure: too dang long
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Time from start to finish:  approximately 1 hour from the time I sealed the pot.

Boiled Eggs made easier

Boiled eggs are probably one of the first things people learn when they learn to cook. One of the easiest and yet still sometimes troublesome.  Cracked shells, eggs that don’t peel cleanly thus looking “ugly”, off-center yolks, too much grey (sulpher) on the yolk, smelly eggs, the list goes on and on.  As you grow older and your cooking repertoire grows, you dissect the process learning different tricks and ways to cook them trying to get “perfect” every time. Or at least I did.

Tricks like adding salt or baking soda to the cooking water.  Specific cooking times followed by ice baths for varying specific times. Oh yes, and then there is the trick of piercing the shell but not the inner lining to create a pocket of air and water between the egg and the shell. Like many, I found some success but never consistent success with any of these methods.

IMG_20151201_195645After I first posted pictres of my first attempt using my pressure cooker to “boil” eggs, people asked why? It wasn’t any quicker to the methods we grew up with. I had to explain, though, that what I found is that I had to monitor my eggs less and also use less water. Oh yeah, and those consistent results I’d been looking for. Not on that first try though. This picture shows you that first try. The bottom squished egg? It was peeled as soon as I pulled it from the pot. (Another plus – being able to handle the egg without tongs sooner)  It was definitely cooked, but the whites were definitely rubbery in consistency. I put the other 5 eggs in that small batch in an ice bath as soon as I could. 5 minutes later, I got that perfect looking one at the top. Both eggs peeled super easy without problems while also having that perfect look we all want for dishes such as deviled eggs. The next batch then showed me that the ice bath wasn’t even necessary, just time to cool a bit more.

 

 

Recipe: 5 Min High Pressure, Steam Setting. Pressure Valve Sealed and released 5 min after Steam Setting finishes. (5-5-5)
Prep Time: Not applicable
Time to Pressure: Approx. 5 Min
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Time from start to finish:  <15 min from the time I sealed the pot.

Teriyaki Short Ribs

Growing up, Short Ribs were this long cut of meat with 2, maybe three small bones in them. They were grilled and served at barbecues and potlucks all summer long and the best, juiciest, most delicious thing on your plate. After I moved out of my parents home, I continued to buy them from the local korean market and cook them for friends who short rib
enjoyed them just as much as I did. Then one day I happened upon these. They were a big hunk of meat and one big bone. After I looked at them for a while, I realized they were the
same thing, just cut differently. Some research told me that this cut also took WAY longer to cook! Auwe!  2 ½ – 8 hours for them to cook to a tender state? Not my style of cooking! I grew up thinking things should be done quickly or in a set it and forget it style. Made getting other things done in the house that much easier.

Pressure Cooking cuts that time down so I took the recipe I grew up using for short ribs and tried it with this cut. Imagine my delight when I found it even better and more juicy than the short ribs I grew up with! Bonus that the bone just falls right out. The only downside to using this recipe with this cut is that this cut is much fattier than the thinner versions. I’ve got plans to try other recipes with this cut so keep watching for those.

This recipe, like I said, is one I grew up with. Good on short ribs, bulgogi, chicken and probably many other proteins. An all purpose teriyaki recipe if you will. Mix ½ cup Shoyu (I use Aloha Shoyu), ½ cup water, 2T sesame oil, 3T (about) Honey (or ¾ cup Sugar), 1t minced Garlic. mix well. Add ribs to pressure cooker in one flat layer fat side down.. This should be about 2-3 lbs. Pour the sauce over it and seal the lid. Set it for Manual High Pressure, 50 min, then release the pressure immediately.  Enjoy!

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Prep Time: <5 minutes
Time to Pressure: unmonitored
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Time from start to finish: approximately 1 hour

Split Pea with Ham

IMG_20160325_211216One of my husband’s favorite dishes is Split Pea soup. For many, this is a traditional post holiday meal to make with leftover Ham and Bone. This past Thanksgiving, I was embarrassed to admit to him that I had never had it before. To my surprise though, it was completely delicious!

When we came home from that quick vacation, I made it for him again using one of those pressed ham loafs you can buy year around. I didn’t see a reason to buy a whole bone-in ham when it was just the two of us. Sadly, it lacked the flavor a bone-in ham has. I made it again tonight because a friend recently mentioned that they were having a ham and promised to save the bone for me. I also managed to find a pressure cooker version of the recipe! Lucky me right?

I chopped all the loose meat of the ham bone which combined with the leftover turkey I had, was way more than enough meat for the two of us. After adding the Dried Peas, sliced Onions, Carrots and Celery & liquid (4 cups chicken broth & 2 cups water) I closed the pot up, set it for High Pressure Manual and 9 minutes. The recipe I used indicated that I should let the pot naturally depressurize and like many Instant Pot fans, I sat impatiently waiting for the natural pressure to release. Thankfully, another group member said that after 10 minutes I could release the pressure carefully but recommended I keep a dishtowel on hand for any loose spatter. The pot had been sitting for 28 minutes already so I was excited!

The pressure released nicely with no abnormal sputter and when I gave the initial stir, it was to the delicious looking soup you see above.

Recipe Used: https://www.plantoeat.com/recipes/5490935/
Prep Time: <5 minutes
Time to Pressure: Approx. 40 Min
Cook Time: 9 minutes

Time from start to finish: 1 hour 5 min.

 

Under Pressure

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Pressure cooking used to be a thing done more regularly but for some reason, we’ve (That royal – all of us US Citizens “we”) gotten out of the practice. Might have something to do with them exploding as a common practice. Might have something to do with the lure of how easy fast food and TV Dinners are. Who knows?  Either way, the introduction of the Electric Pressure Cooker has renewed an interest in the style of cooking and I am one of the masses that joined the crowds.

I talked someone into gifting it to me a year ago and like many, it sat for a bit before I finally started playing with it. This is my log of things I’ve made and my thoughts on each of those processes. The first thing I ever made was ribs. Because that was the Youtube video that convinced me I “needed” one. Then I ventured onto other things slowly and it’s only been the past few months that it entered into the regular use rotation. I’m good at remembering at 5:45pm that someone should start thinking about what’s being made for dinner. When that fails, you go out to eat right? Wrong! This pot changed that and here’s a few ways I was able to do it. I’m moving it out of my Facebook album into a more public setting so others can benefit through my successes and failures. And because I miss writing. Hope you enjoy!