Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pressure Cooker Flan

Our sponsor, Instant Pot, gave us the opportunity to play and revel in this fantastic new electric pressure cooker. This beauty does it all: 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker: Pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker/porridge maker, steamer, sauté/browning, yogurt maker and warmer. I had been researching and seriously considering buying one around the holidays. I had been following their Instant Pot Community on Facebook, and amazing things were happening in kitchens around the world. I have made a cheesecake in the Instant Pot. It may have been the best cheesecake I have ever made. I have cooked rice at the snap of my fingers. I could go on forever about the eggs that practically peel themselves and the “poached” eggs I have made in this life-changing electric pressure cooker. I cooked a fork-tender brisket in about 1.5 hours. It takes over 4 hours in the oven.

Ha! I saw that eyeroll!! You're thinking "She said this Instant Pot is life-changing". I think you will agree, once you see the fantastic recipes on our 37 Cooks blog. I'm back! I just jumped up to put some eggs in to make deviled eggs for lunch. Like many, I worried initially that this pressure cooker would blow up all over my kitchen and damage me in the process. It didn't take me long to realize that was not going to happen. The Instant Pot is very user friendly. It comes with clear instructions and sample recipes to try. I glean most of my info and recipes from the IP Community on Facebook. With over 52,000 members, there is a wealth of information, people ready to help and more recipes available than I will ever be able to make in one lifetime.

I decided on flan because I have never made it before. I made one as a test dish and the caramel was a tiny bit burnt so this time I kept the burner heat a little lower. My test subjects loved the trial run, burnt caramel and all. They couldn't believe that I made it in the Instant Pot! My second flan, for this challenge, was spot on. Smooth, extra hit of vanilla and a perfect caramel sauce. Give the Instant Pot a try and join the rest of us who continue to be amazed by it’s capabilities.

Pressure Cooker Flan
by Sharyl W.
Adapted from Key Ingredient's Creme Caramel (or Caramel Flan), Pressure Cooker Style

1 cup sugar

Cream base:
5 eggs – 4 whole eggs and 1 yolk
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I used 1.5 tablespoons, because I love vanilla)

I used a 7” soufflé container. Make sure whatever you choose, has a solid bottom.

To make the custard, add the eggs to a bowl and whisk. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla and whisk together. This will be poured over the caramel when it is ready.

Make the caramel in your widest sauté pan. Add the sugar and turn the heat to medium-high and wait (I have an electric stove. The first time I made the caramel I burned it because the heat was too high. What works best for me is a burner setting of 7, sometimes lowering to 6). One rule for making caramel is don't stir it. Don't pick up that spoon! If you must, and I did, swirl the sugar around the pan. Once almost all of the sugar has melted and caramelized, remove pan from the heat. Pour the caramel into the flan dish.

Pour the egg milk mixture over the caramel. Don't overfill - leave at least 1” from the top of the container.

Add 1 cup of water into the liner pot of the pressure cooker. Lay trivet in bottom of liner and place flan container on trivet. It is important that the flan dish be on a trivet (the Instant Pot comes with a trivet). Cover flan dish lightly with foil. Lock the lid into place and make sure the vent is in sealed position. Set the manual pressure to high and set time for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the Instant Pot will beep several times. Don't do anything yet. Allow the pressure to release naturally. After 10 minutes, open the pressure valve to release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid and carefully remove the flan container.

Cool for 1 hour and then cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, set the bottom of the flan dish, in a dish of very warm water, for about 1 minute. Use a knife to go around the sides of the flan to release from the side of the container. Place your serving dish on top of the container and flip it over and voila! You're a pro! You just made tasty flan in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Twice Cooked Pork with Preserved Vegetables

The Instant Pot offers so many options for the home cook: It can pressure cook, slow cook, saute, steam, make yogurt, cook soup, rice, and multigrain dishes. I decided to try several of the cooking modes in one recipe, and this favorite Chinese dish fit the bill. I used it to initially pressure cook the pork, saute the pork, then steam the final dish. Such versatility!

Though this dish has many steps, the final product is worth the effort. The pork is rendered meltingly tender after the multi-stage cooking, and the flavorful sauce, packed with umami from two soy sauces and the salted, preserved vegetables, is truly addictive.

Twice Cooked Pork with Preserved Vegetables
by Gary Gee

Adapted from Mei Cai Kou Rou from The Woks of Life

6 ounces dried preserved mustard greens
2 pounds pork belly or boneless picnic with fat cap
4 1-inch pieces ginger, peeled
2 star anise
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
2 Tablespoons peanut oil, divided use
1 teaspoon PLUS 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce, divided use
2 Tablespoons cane sugar
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce

2 Tablespoons shaoxing wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water

Soak dried greens in a large bowl. Stir occasionally to loosen any grit. Lift greens out of water and place in colander in sink. Rinse briefly. Pour off soaking liquid, rinse out bowl, replace with clean water, and soak greens again. Repeat four to five times, letting soak 20-30 minutes between rinsings. When no more grit is found at the bottom of the bowl, drain greens well, pressing to extract as much water as possible. Set aside.

Place pork in Instant Pot liner with ginger, star anise, and salt. Add enough water to just cover pork. Lock lid in place, and set cooker on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Release naturally. Remove pork, drain, and blot dry with paper towels. Discard cooking liquid and solids. Clean out the liner, wipe dry, and return to the unit.

Set cooker to Saute, and when hot, add one Tablespoon oil. Brown pork on all sides, taking care not to disturb the meat too soon and tear the surface. When brown, add one teaspoon dark soy sauce and one Tablespoon water, coating the pork with the liquid. Remove pork to a shallow dish, and pour pan liquid over all. Set pork aside to cool (may be refrigerated at this point overnight). Clean out the liner, wipe dry, and return to the unit.

Slice pork into thin slices against the grain. Arrange pork, shingled, in a shallow pan that fits well in the Instant Pot liner on a trivet.

Heat cooker to Saute, and add remaining Tablespoon oil. Add sugar, stir and cook until slightly caramelized. Add ginger, stir to combine. Add 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and chicken broth. Add preserved greens, stir to mix well, then press Cancel to stop cooking. Spoon preserved green mixture over pork. Clean out the liner, wipe dry, and return to the unit. (This could be a good reason to own more than one liner!)

Add one cup of water to liner. Place trivet in liner. Set dish of pork on trivet. Set cooker to Steam for 45 minutes. Release naturally. Carefully remove dish from liner. Remove trivet and pour off water. Heat cooker once more to Saute, and carefully tip accumulated liquid from dish of pork into liner. Bring to a boil. Make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water. Add to simmering liquid, and stir until thickened. Carefully flip pork and vegetables out onto serving platter (you may spoon vegetables off of pork first, then lift pork with a spatula and turn over on top of vegetables. Check sauce for seasoning, and spoon over pork. Serve at once with steamed rice and a fresh vegetable.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pinto Beans with Jalapeno Sausage

Being from the south, we love our pinto beans. Before the Instant Pot came along, it was a long affair in the slow cooker. But no more - you can have your beans ready to eat in less than an hour for the entire family to enjoy!

Pinto Beans with Jalapeno Sausage
by Glenn Edwards

Here's what you're going to need:
1 package of Jalapeno sausage, sliced into half-inch rounds
1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
5 cups of water
1/2 of a 6-ounce package of Canadian bacon, cut into quarters
1/2 of a 24-ounce package of thick-cut peppered bacon (pre-cooked in the oven and torn into 1-inch pieces)
1 pound of dried pinto beans (rinsed and soaked overnight)
1/2 cup of sweet jalapenos

Start by slicing the jalapeño sausage and onion and sauté in your IP. Next add the 5 cups of water, as well as Canadian bacon, peppered bacon and pinto beans (that have been drained) and mix well. Select the Bean setting on your Instant Pot and adjust time to 20 minutes. As always, allow it to come up to pressure which may take 15-20 minutes. Once the timer expires, allow it to NR for 10 minutes, then do manual release and serve!

As a side note, if you desire, make your favorite cornbread recipe to have with it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Instant Pot Burgundy Beef

The Instant Pot is such a great tool to have in the kitchen. With so many different functions, it is nice to have one appliance that does so much. I chose to slow cook this recipe because I knew I would be home all day. Having a sauté function in the same place means less mess and cleanup. After using the Instant Pot for a while, I know for sure it now has a permanent home in my kitchen.

Instant Pot Burgundy Beef
by Sarah M.

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
2 Tablespoons beef roast seasoning (I used this Beef Roast Seasoning from The Spice House)
3/4 cup flour
6 thick slices of bacon, diced
1 heaping Tablespoon garlic paste
1 8-ounce package of white mushrooms
1 8-ounce package of cremini mushrooms
3/4 pound pearl onions (frozen works perfectly here)
1 10.5 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups burgundy wine
100 milliliters (2 shots) cognac

Add the beef roast seasoning to the flour in a large bowl. Add in the beef and toss to fully coat each piece.

Set the Instant Pot to the sauté function on the more setting. Add in the bacon and sauté until the bacon is crisp. Once the bacon is done, take it out with a slotted spoon.

Add the floured meat to the pot to let it brown on all sides. This will have to be done in batches. Make sure that all the flour is browned. Add all the meat back to the pot. Right on top, add in the garlic paste, mushrooms, onions, crisp bacon, tomato sauce, wine and cognac.

Set the Instant Pot to the slow cooker function on the less setting for 8 hours.

I chose to serve this over whole-wheat egg noodles, but it would be great over mashed potatoes as well!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blue Cheese Polenta

Polenta takes 5 minutes in the Instant Pot - five! With no stirring, that’s right, no standing over a pot at the stove. This is NOT the way I was raised making polenta. I remember standing at the stove stirring the big pot of polenta with my great-grandmother. With it popping and hot splatters on my skin. This version is quite simple with just a few ingredients, but it is full of flavor. I have made it with both broth and water. My family prefers it cooked with water by far. I know that I will make polenta much more often with my Instant Pot, hopefully you will give it a try also.

Blue Cheese Polenta
By Lindsay blogging at Kitchen Musings Today
Adapted from The New Fast Food

4 cups water
1 cup coarse polenta
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Optional toppings:
Steamed broccoli*
Toasted pine nuts
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Sliced lemons

1.  Add water, polenta and salt to your pressure cooker, give it a good whisk. Add lid to the pressure cooker and set your knob to sealing.

2. Select Porridge and use the ‘-‘ button to adjust the time to 5 minutes. Once the polenta has finished cooking, allow it to rest for 10 minutes before opening the pressure cooker. Hit the cancel button.

3. Turn the knob to venting and allow any remaining pressure to release. Remove the lid tilting it away from you.

4. Add your blue cheese to the hot polenta and whisk it in until the cheese has melted. Mix in the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Transfer to a serving dish and top with steamed broccoli, toasted pine nuts, fresh Parmesan and lemon wedges.

*To steam broccoli in the Instant Pot, place once cup of water in the liner. Add a steamer basket and place broccoli florets on it. Replace the lid and set knob to sealing. Select steam and use the ‘-‘ to set the timer to 0. Yes zero! Once the time is up hit cancel and carefully turn knob to venting, there will be a lot of steam that will be released. Once the pressure has been released remove lid and enjoy perfectly steamed broccoli.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New England Clam “Chowda”

I live in Pennsylvania these days, but I grew up in Kennebunkport Maine. Each region in New England has their own style of clam chowder. Within those regions, each family has their own recipe for clam chowder. My family always argues about who in the family makes the best clam chowder. I have always loved my mother’s version. It is thinner chowder, not the thick “pudding” chowder I have seen where I live now. I can’t eat that! One problem I faced making this chowder for the Instant Pot challenge was meeting the richness of the milk we had delivered when I lived in Maine as a child. But, I figured a bit of a thickener would work, without changing the flavor of the chowder. If you are happy with thinner chowder, just skip it. My other challenge was not having access to my beloved “steamers”, also known as Ipswich clams. Little neck clams got the job done! I was really impressed with the Instant Pot and the cooking options to use one pot to get this wonderful chowder completed!

New England Clam “Chowda”
by Susan Ritchie-Hubbard

6 dozen little neck clams
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 ounces salt pork, finely chopped
2 ounces bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, small dice
3 celery stalks, small dice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
Fresh ground black pepper
2 large russet potatoes, washed peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Clam broth
2 Tablespoons corn starch (optional)
2 Tablespoons cold water (optional)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup light cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Soup crackers for serving

Clams can release sand when cooked. I put the clams in a bowl, covered them with cold water and gave them a scrub with my hands. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee sand-free clams. Put a steamer basket in the Instant Pot liner, add the clams and pour in 3 1/2 cups water. Cover the pot and set to Steam for 6 minutes. QR. Every clam in the Instant Pot opened! Transfer the clams to a large bowl and strain the clam broth through cheesecloth, or 2 layers of white paper towels into another bowl. Reserve the clam broth. Remove the clams from their shells and place in a small bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of strained clam broth to the clams. Letting the clams rest in the broth will remove any additional sand and keep the clams moist. Clean the liner and return to the Instant Pot.

Set the Instant Pot to Sauté, normal heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of the butter, the salt pork and bacon. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, approximately 7-9 minutes. Add the onion, celery and white wine. Continue to sauté until the onion is soft and translucent and the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot. Add the bay leaf, season with pepper and add the potatoes. Pour in the strained clam broth. If there is not enough clam broth to cover the potatoes, add water as needed. Cover the pot. Set Manual pressure for 6 minutes. QR. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and water together to make a “slurry”. (Optional)

The final step! Remove the bay leaf. Set to Sauté, less heat. Return the clams to the pot. Stir in the milk, cream and slurry, (if using). Stir constantly until the chowder thickens. Add the last Tablespoon of butter and stir until melted. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired. Ladle the chowder into bowls and top with soup crackers. Serve immediately.