Monday, May 30, 2016

Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding

My first memories of a pressure cooker are from the 70's. I remember Mom using a stovetop pressure cooker often, usually after work to cook potatoes for mashed. I don't think Mom would have ever thought to use her pressure cooker for bread pudding! You've come a long way, baby! It was very exciting to find that Instant Pot was going to be a sponsor of 37 Cooks! I hadn't used a pressure cooker in so long, to have a cooker that could do so many things in my kitchen is truly exciting! I wanted to try a dessert recipe and had some leftover hot cross buns from Easter, a perfect fit, and I didn't have to worry about buying raisins...they were already in the buns! 

I used my Mom's bread pudding recipe, adapting it slightly for the pressure cooker. Taking into account there would be less moisture loss through pressure cooking than baking, I decreased the amount of milk in the original recipe. I also increased the number of eggs I used, because I love more custard in a bread pudding. It was so easy to make in the Instant Pot. In fact, everything I've made so far in the Instant Pot has turned out pretty amazing! 

Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding
by Mary P.

2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, beaten

Mix together in a large bowl.

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar

Mix until well blended.

In a separate bowl mix:
2 cups hot cross buns, cubed - I used 6
1/4 cup melted butter.

Put the bread cubes into the milk/egg mixture, pushing the bread into the milk/eggs until completely submerged. 

Prepare a baking dish small enough to fit into the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot. Butter the inside of the baking dish.

Put the steamer rack into the inner pot and pour 2 cups of water in. 

Make a sling of aluminum foil long enough to serve as a lifter for the baking dish.  You can do this by folding a long piece of foil lengthwise into thirds. 

Set timer for 20 minutes using high pressure. Then let sit 10 minutes on natural release. Gently turn the pressure valve to let off any leftover pressure and gently turn the lid. This makes a moister bread pudding that can be put under the broiler for a few minutes to dry out and brown the top if you'd like.  Because it is a moister bread pudding, I don't serve it with a sauce. Enjoy!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pressure Cooker Cheese Sauce Slow Cooker - Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a dish that goes over well with everyone in my circle of friends and family. I’m known for my variations on this dish as I do not shy away from getting creative with flavors. I’ve never attempted to make macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker or pressure cooker, so when we were notified about the Instant Pot challenge, I decided now was as good a time as any to experiment.

Instant Pot has made many cooks' lives much easier. I know friends who have two or three pots and use the appliance at least once a day. I’ve made steamed rice, pot roast and a chicken dish in my Instant Pot and was pleased with the results (really pleased I didn’t have any of those dishes on the ceiling of my kitchen). As I began to experiment with the pot the last week, I’m annoyed with myself that I don’t use it more – it really is a spectacular appliance.

Back to the recipe, a major problem with some macaroni and cheese dishes made in a slow cooker, or even made the traditional way, is the texture or consistency of the finished product – who wants a giant bowl of mushy pasta? Not me.

The way to get around this is to make the cheese sauce first in the pressure cooker and then add the pasta in the slower cooker to cook for a short amount of time. These two steps can even be done on separate days. I’ve made sauce in the Instant Pot, refrigerated it, and added the pasta in the next day to slow cook (or bake in the oven). The benefit to making the sauce in the Instant Pot is that there is no grating necessary, no whisking, no standing over the stove, no warming the milk. The Instant Pot does it all!

Pressure Cooker - Cheese Sauce
Slow Cooker - Macaroni and Cheese
by Jenny Blogging at The Cookbook Junkies

For the sauce:
7 ounces of sharp cheddar, cut into cubes
7 ounces of horseradish cheddar (or any flavor you prefer), cut into cubes
10 ounces of mild cheddar, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 cup of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon of ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg

Place the above ingredients in the Instant Pot, secure the lid and select the Soup program – reduce time to 12 minutes – natural release. Twenty minutes later, I removed the lid and stirred the sauce.

To make the macaroni portion:
Add one pound of uncooked pasta to the pot – I used large rigatoni shapes this time. Stir to combine, make sure there is enough sauce to cover the pasta (you can add a little more whole milk if necessary). Place the glass slow cooker lid on the Instant Pot, select slow cooker for one hour. 

After one hour, the noodles were al dente and perfect for us. If you like your pasta a little less firm, extend the time 30 minutes, or allow the warm function to remain on for 30 minutes. 

Note: The glass slower cooker lid needs to be ordered separately and does not come with the pot.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cuban Beef Stew

Several years ago we had dinner with friends. One friend told us about growing up in Miami and his large Cuban family. He made us a family favorite, Cuban Chicken. I remember olives, capers and onions. I could envision steak prepared like this too. When my Instant Pot arrived, all I could think about was those flavors. I decided to make a stew with all of the things I loved that night.

Cuban Beef Stew
By Melissa Cook
Prepared in my super cool Instant Pot

2 pounds stew meat
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons cumin, divided
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sherry
1 32-ounce carton beef stock
1 large onion, cut in 1/4" vertical slices
5 small golden potatoes, quartered
1 cup Spanish olives
4 Tablespoons capers 

Mix flour, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Dredge stew meat in seasoned flour. Using sauté feature on you instant pot, brown stew meat. Remove browned meat from your Instant Pot. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of sherry.

Add meat, 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano to sherry and cover with 32 ounces of beef stock. Cook for 20 minutes using your Instant Pot's meat/stew feature. Allow pressure to release naturally. Once pressure has released, open and add onion, potatoes, olives and capers. Salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid back on your pot and cook 10 minutes on meat/stew feature. Release pressure naturally and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Smoked Tasso Burgers

I have never cooked in a pressure cooker much less an Instant Pot. My first experience with this magnificent cooking tool was a great one. The Instant Pot DUO 6 quart model is amazing. Cooking a tasso roast can take some time to get tender, but with this Instant Pot it took 35 minutes to tenderize and the flavor was outstanding. I figured it would have had a boiled taste, but there was nothing but true smoked pork flavor! This is a wonderful meal, enjoy!

Smoked Tasso Burgers
by Luke

1 Tablespoon of olive oil
3 pound Smoked Jalapeno Garlic Tasso Roast
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cups of chicken broth
Hamburger buns
Cole slaw for topping the burger
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce

Turn the Instant Pot on using the Sauté function, add oil and wait until the screen reads Hot. Once hot, add tasso roast, and brown each side of the roast for 8 minutes and remove the roast and place on plate.

Add onions and sauté until onions are translucent. Place tasso roast back into Instant Pot and sauté for another 4 minutes on each side.

After everything is browned, add chicken broth into pot and lock lid and make sure vent is closed. Press the Cancel/Keep Warm button to cancel the sauté function, now press the Meat/Soup button and cook for 35 minutes. Once timer goes off let the pot naturally release the pressure for 15 minutes.

During this time, preheat oven to 350°F. After oven is heated, place buns onto the oven rack and toast buns for 5 minutes. Remove buns from oven and spread butter.

Carefully open the lid and remove tasso roast from pot and place onto a cutting board. Slice roast into 1/2-inch slices. Place one slice onto the buttered buns and add a handful of cole slaw on top of the slice of roast and drizzle the BBQ sauce on top to add a sweet flavor.

Take one good look at it, let your brain understand what is about to happen, and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pistachio Sponge Cake

One of the more intriguing features of the Instant Pot is, to me, how well it makes “un-baked” baked goods. Cheesecakes, bread pudding, flan…there are myriad recipes out there. I decided to take a spin on an old Chinese classic: Sponge cake! Typically served at Dim Sum service, I can also remember my mother turning out pans of this simple, sweet goodness in the midst of a busy cooking day.

I have always loved the flavor of cardamom in baked goods. It has a warmth that I associate with comfort foods, as well as a unique aromatic “edge” that adds an exotic touch to this cake. Almond essence fortifies the nuttiness of the crushed pistachios, which also add texture and crunch. Steaming keeps this cake nice and moist. Try it warm, cold, or topped with cream and fresh berries.

Pistachio Sponge Cake
by Gary Gee blogging at My Cooking Blog
Adapted from Steamed Sponge Cake from The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller
Serves/makes 6

6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely crushed
1 cup water

Separate eggs. Beat whites until stiff. Gradually add sugar and beat two minutes. Add yolks and extracts; beat two minutes more. Sift in flour, baking powder, and cardamom; mix well to make a smooth batter. Fold in pistachios until well-distributed.

Line a 7” cake pan or ramekin with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan. Rap pan on table top to remove large air bubbles.

Pour water into Instant Pot liner. Place cake pan on trivet in liner. Lock lid in place; adjust vent to seal. Select Low Pressure on the Steam setting for 30 minutes; release naturally. Carefully remove pan from pot. Let cool slightly, remove parchment, slice and serve.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Greek Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Steaming chicken doesn't mean bland, flavorless chicken, especially when done in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. The pressure cooker steaming function infuses these chicken breasts with flavor, while keeping them moist and juicy. You can turn this into a main dish salad as well, and serve it with toasted pita triangles or garlic bread, but I went for sandwiches, because my guys like a handheld meal when they're watching the game on t.v.

Greek Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
by Diana
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 Tablespoons Greek seasoning (You can substitute lemon pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried mint and a bit of onion powder)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
4 cloves garlic, not peeled
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 teaspoons finely chopped capers (optional)
4 ciabatta rolls or pita rounds, lightly toasted
Sandwich fixin's, such as romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, roasted red pepper strips, sliced red onion, sliced pepperoncini

Rub the chicken breasts with the seasoning mixture and salt to taste, set aside, This may be done for up to 12 hours in advance in the refrigerator.

Pour the chicken broth and olive oil into the bottom of the Instant Pot liner. Place the steamer rack insert in and then place a stainless steel steamer basket on top of the rack. Scatter half of the lemon slices on the steamer basket bottom and place the chicken breasts on top of the lemon slices. Top the chicken breasts with the remaining lemon slices and garlic cloves. Close the top of the Instant Pot and make sure the vent is set to sealed. Push the steamer button and adjust the time to 7 minutes. When the time is up, immediately do a quick release to release the pressure and stop the cooking. Carefully remove the chicken breasts to a plate and let them cool until easily handled.

While the chicken is cooling, remove the garlic cloves, and reserve. Remove the steamer basket and steamer rack insert and discard the lemon slices. Turn on Instant Pot saute setting and reduce the liquid in pot by one half and then turn on the Keep Warm setting.

While the liquid reduces, make the dressing in a small bowl by combining the mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream, vinegar, feta, and the reserved garlic cloves (peeled and crushed). Add the finely chopped capers, if desired. Chill until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Take a couple of forks or use your hands to pull the slightly cooled chicken breasts into chunks. Once the chicken is all pulled into chunks, add them back into the now reduced and warm steaming liquid along with any juices that may have collected on the plate while cooling. Stir, and keep warm in the Instant Pot on the warm setting until ready to assemble and serve the sandwiches.

To assemble, spread a bit of dressing on each of the rolls/pita rounds, top with chicken and desired sandwich fixin's and drizzle on a bit more dressing if you would like.