Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pork Sui Mai

This year my 11 year old son discovered the joy of Dim Sum. Now, while his dad also likes Dim Sum, I can stand some of the dumplings. But sui mai? Sui mai isn’t just a tolerable dumpling, it is like a little packet of joy. Perfect for a snack, a dinner, a treat in lunch.

Well, this month also brought my husband fighting Guillain Barré Syndrome, and a need for little pockets of joy at odd hours. Seemed to me to be a perfect time to learn how to make them. I admit to being intimidated by these little gems. After all, I didn’t have a steamer. The last time I had really delved into Chinese cooking I think I was around 12 and learning from a fellow Girl Scout's mom. Having recently picked up an Instant Pot, which could work as a steamer, a whole new exciting, challenging world was opening up! Best of all, it gave me a chance to play with my son and make these wonderful little gems. The best part was watching my kids and hubby fight over who go to eat these as soon as they came out of the steamer.

While we like traditional Sui Mai, I'm not a big fan of shrimp, so I didn't add that in. I did add in some carrots for sweetness, some radishes for a peppery bite, and the green onions because I love green onions! I also differed and didn't use cabbage leaves underneath the Sui Mai to prevent sticking. I instead used leek leaves, which prevented them sticking, but also added a wonderful flavor.
I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did.

Pork Sui Mai
by T.S. Lamb
Adapted from Serious Eats Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai (Steamed Chinese Dumplings)

1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons rice wine
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 carrot, peeled and minced
1 radish, minced
1 green onion, minced
2 leeks, cut in large 3-4 inch sections for layering
1 cup water
1 package extra-thin wonton wrappers or regular wonton wrappers

1 Instant pot with rack

2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon of hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the pork, salt, pepper, cornstarch, baking soda, rice wine, oil, ginger, and sugar. Mix by hand or spatula til thoroughly combined.

Mix in most of the carrots, green onion and radish into the meat mixture.

Refrigerate mix for approximately 15 minutes. When the mix is chilled it is easier to work with.

Prepare the Instant Pot. First put the metal steamer rack on the bottom, then layer leek leaves in a cross hatch pattern on top of the rack. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot.

Take the chilled mixture and the won ton wrappers and form the Sui Mai. Place a won ton wrapper on your palm, take a spoonful of the mixture and place in the center. Pull two opposite corners of the wrapper together. Grasp the base of the Sui Mai with one hand and with the other, using a gentle twisting motion press the wrapper against the pork mixture forming a cylinder.

Now place each Sui Mai in the pot on top of the leek leaves. Leave some space around each bundle. Close the lid, make sure the steam valve is closed, then press the Steam button and set the timer for 3. As soon as it finishes, carefully open the valve and let the steam fully escape. Then open remove and enjoy.

Normally, Sui Mai isn’t served with anything, however...we love sauces in our household. So I’ve included this wonderful sauce. To make, combine the soy sauce, hot sauce and sugar in a small dipping bowl. Enjoy.

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.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Chai Rice Pudding

As a person who was previously rice-challenged, the Instant Pot has not only allowed me to make great rice at dinner time, but it’s given me the courage to experiment! Chai flavors perfume this creamy rice pudding made in record time in the Instant Pot, using the sauté and manual high pressure functions. It no longer requires hours of forethought to enjoy wonderful, homemade rice pudding with an Indian flair. Arborio rice gives the pudding a lovely “toothiness” while the custard ensures silkiness. Enjoy with whipped cream on top, if desired.

Chai Rice Pudding
by Louise Chiffonade Brescia

For spice mixture:
4 whole cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
3 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 star anise
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated on a rasp
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the pudding:
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups whole milk
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped apricots
1 cup whole shelled pistachios
(Ground cinnamon for sprinkling on each serving)
(Additional pistachios for garnish)

Prepare Spice Mixture: Place all spices except grated ginger and cinnamon in a spice grinder and grind finely. Pour into a small bowl or saucer and add the grated ginger and cinnamon. Cover and set aside.

In the Instant Pot liner, combine Arborio rice, whole milk, coconut milk, sugar and salt. Select sauté function and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Once the rice mixture comes to a boil, stir in the spices and place the cover on the IP. Select manual (high) pressure and set timer for 18 minutes. In the meantime, whisk egg yolks with heavy cream and set aside.

When the beep sounds, allow mixture to rest 10 minutes and then release residual pressure. Remove the lid, stir the rice mixture thoroughly. Turn off the Instant Pot, add the egg mixture, vanilla and apricots, and pistachios, stirring constantly, and continue stirring for two minutes being sure to reach all sectors of the pot. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to rest 10 minutes. Stir before serving. Sprinkle each portion with ground cinnamon and extra pistachios, if desired.

Yield: 8 one-cup portions

Thursday, May 19, 2016

White Chicken Chili

When our neighbors completed their home, they had an Open House for their friends and new neighbors. Our hostess, Kjersti, prepared a tremendous amount of delicious food and this was one of the dishes that went quickly. She is so organized that she has all of her “go-to” recipes in her computer. When I asked for this recipe, I was fortunate enough that she sent me all of her recipes! She’s a marvelous cook and even better neighbor.

White Chicken Chili
by Tamela K.

1 pound of dried white beans, sorted and rinsed
2 quarts water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
One 4-ounce can diced green chili peppers with liquid
3 cups chicken broth
Grated cheddar cheese
Sour Cream
Avocado slices
Tortilla chips

Soak the beans in a large pot covered with 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt for eight hours, preferably overnight, before cooking. Drain and rinse the beans.

Season the chicken with pepper and remaining salt. Preheat the Instant Pot. When it is hot, add 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil, chopped onion, garlic and cubed chicken to the pot and cook on the Sauté mode with the lid off for about 3 minutes. Stir in the crushed red chili pepper, cumin, diced green chili peppers with liquid from can, chicken broth and soaked beans. Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on Beans/Chili mode for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Then do a quick release. Serve with grated cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, avocado slices and tortilla chips.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Baby Back Ribs

This is a simple recipe for making Baby Back Ribs and they're always fall-off-the-bone tender - and with the help of the Instant Pot, you can have them anytime you'd like without spending hours cooking them. Yes, with the Instant Pot, baby back ribs are no longer relegated to making them on weekends only - this will become something you'll do often.

Baby Back Ribs
by Glenn Edwards

2 racks of baby back ribs
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons fresh ground pepper
2 cups of water
Pam cooking spray (or other brand you prefer)
1/4 cup of BBQ sauce for IP water
2 cups of BBQ sauce

Take both racks of ribs and remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Then season both sides with the salt and pepper. After seasoning, place ribs in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes and prepare the Instant Pot for cooking the ribs. Spray the inner pot with the cooking spray and put in the 2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce and whisk. 

Remove ribs from the refrigerator and cut in half. Place ribs on their side in the inner pot and secure lid to Instant Pot. Press the meat/stew button and reduce the time to 25 minutes (the default time for that setting is 60 minutes). It will take at least 15 minutes (plus or minus) to come up to pressure. 

Once the timer completes the cooking cycle, do a quick release and carefully move ribs to a baking sheet that's been coated with the cooking spray and place under your broiler for 5 minutes on each side. Next, coat one side of the ribs with BBQ sauce and place under broiler for 5 minutes and then repeat on the other side. Remove from broiler and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

I love the tangy flavor of creme fraiche. Creme fraiche is super easy to make, and a lot less expensive than what you can find in the gourmet dairy department of your grocery store. If you use the yogurt setting on this wonderful appliance called the Instant Pot, you can cut down the time down on making creme fraiche from 36 hours to 7 hours. I've adapted the procedure for making creme fraiche from our very own Donna Currie, who also has a wonderful blog, Cookistry: Homemade Creme Fraiche in the Instant Pot. The ice cream is not made with egg yolks, resulting in a very light and tangy ice cream more similar to a sorbet in texture. It's a very refreshing dessert in the summer and is perfect served with fresh fruit, a berry compote or, in this case, some wonderful preserves made with Maine blueberries.

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
by Diana

For the creme fraiche:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk

Pour 3/4 cup heavy cream and a 1/4 cup buttermilk in a 12-ounce canning jar and stir. Repeat with the remaining heavy cream and buttermilk. Place the jars on the steaming insert rack in the Instant Pot. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and push the yogurt button and adjust the time to process for 7 hours. Once done, remove the jars and refrigerate overnight.

For the ice cream:
1 1/2 cups half and half
2/3 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons orange blossom honey
2 cups creme fraiche
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Gently warm half and half, sugar and honey in a small pot over medium-low heat, until sugar and honey are dissolved. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. You might want to place the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer now, as well, if required by manufacturer.

The next day, place a sieve over the bowl of the ice cream maker. Stir together the homemade creme fraiche, vanilla and the half and half/sugar mixture in a bowl or 1 quart measuring pitcher, and pour through the sieve into the ice cream maker bowl. Churn according to the ice cream maker's instructions. When it reaches a soft-serve consistency, spoon into a 1-quart lidded container, cover and place in freezer. Freeze until firm then serve with blueberry preserves, fresh berries or dulce de leche.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Vegetable Insta-Stock

​I live in Colorado, where farmers markets abound, and cook with a lot of fresh produce, but I've never quite known how to make the most out of my kitchen scraps. All those herb stalks, onion ends, celery leaves, mushroom stems, carrot tops and ginger peels add up to a lot of organic waste in the trash. Now, if I gardened or was allowed to compost (bears abound in Colorado, too), that would solve the issue, but my thumb is black. 

Homemade stock, on the other hand, now that's something I've always aspired to make because it not only makes use of something I'd otherwise toss, the flavor of homemade stock can also make a huge difference to the quality of your cooking. Now, I say I aspired to make stock, because while it's not perhaps difficult, the process can be an undertaking, with many hours spent watching a pot. And, well, I never got around to it, until...

Until there was a shortcut in the form of my new Instapot IP-DUO60 Series pressure cooker, which made stock so easy. I'll never again throw all those precious organic scraps away. Instead, I save all those tops and ends and stems in the freezer in a gallon-sized freezer bag. When the bag is full, I make a new batch of stock, and I always have bright, flavor-packed stock on hand to elevate any dish I make to another level. 

Notes: Avoid or minimize bell pepper scraps, which tend to overwhelm in flavor. For a clearer stock, avoid onion skins. Otherwise, feel free to experiment with which veggies' flavors you enjoy in your stock. While this recipe is for a purely vegetarian stock, feel free to add meat scraps and/or pieces (for example, chicken trimmings or wings) alongside your produce scraps. 

Vegetable Insta-Stock
​By Kate J.

1 - 1 1/2 gallon bags of frozen vegetable scraps (see above)
2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
6 peppercorns
2 bay leaves

Place directly into the Instant Pot, no need to thaw. The Instant Pot's preheat will handle the cold vegetables without a problem. 

Fill the pot with water to maximum, 6 quarts. Add salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Give the mixture a quick stir. 

Check the seal, securely close the lid, set valve to SEAL, and select the SOUP function. Set the time to 22 minutes and allow the cycle to begin. 

When the cycle is complete, cancel the KEEP WARM. Allow the pot to return to normal pressure on its own — though you can begin to release it after 10 minutes if you're in a hurry. 

Once the stock is completely cool, strain the stock through a mesh colander to remove all the scraps and spices. Then transfer the stock to airtight containers. 

Keeps 7-10 days in the fridge and several months in the freezer. 

Wiener Sauce

Wiener Sauce
by Christine

1/4 cup shortening
1 pound 80% hamburger
1 large onion, minced
2/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
Hot dog rolls
Yellow mustard
Chopped onion
Celery salt

With lid off, select saute and add shortening, hamburger and minced onion. Cook until brown and add water, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, cumin, paprika and black pepper. Close lid, press the Meat/Stew setting (Instant Pot will automatically set at normal and 30 minutes). When the cooking time is up and while the Instant Pot naturally releases pressure (it won't take long), cook wieners and steam the rolls. Top the wieners with the sauce, mustard then onion and sprinkle with the celery salt.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Instant Pot Turkey Steak a l’Orange with Spring Vegetables

When I first got my Instant Pot, I was a little fearful. All I could think about is my grandmother’s giant pressure cooker exploding while she was cooking soup. The soup exploded onto the ceiling, the walls, everywhere!  Thank goodness no one was in the kitchen when it happened. That was over 50 years ago and with today’s technology, the new wave of pressure cookers are smarter, much more user-friendly and safer. 

The Instant Pot has become my best friend in the kitchen and, like others, I wanted to spread news on how great it was. I found myself telling my doctor all about it the other day. She is a young mother that struggles with getting a healthy meal on the table at a reasonable time. With confidence, I told her, she needed an Instant Pot. I asked if she wanted to have a delicious roast and fresh vegetables on the table in less than an hour, or a whole roasted chicken on the table in less than 30 minutes. I went home and sent her a link to where she could buy one and links to a couple of my favorite pressure cooker cookbooks. I almost felt like I should have included my bill for services.  

For the 37 Cooks Instant Pot Challenge, I wanted to show off the poultry setting, so I choose Turkey Steaks a l’Orange. They are delicious and very easy to make. My husband loved the Spring Vegetables I also cooked in the Instant Pot. I cooked the Turkey and the Vegetables separate, but still had my meal on the table in less than 45 minutes.

Instant Pot Turkey Steak a l’Orange with Spring Vegetables
by Linda MireSeasons to Seasonings

For the vegetables:
8 mini-carrots
8 Brussels sprouts
1/2 pound green beans (mixed green and yellow, if available)
1/2 cup of water
Olive oil
Sea salt
Coarse ground black pepper

For the turkey:
3 white meat boneless turkey steaks, about a half-inch thick.  
Sea salt
Coarse ground pepper
Olive oil
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 navel oranges
2 Tablespoons orange liqueur
3 Tablespoons orange marmalade
1/2 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish

1)   Wash and dry vegetables. 
2)   Place 1/2 cup of water in the Instant Pot.
3)   Place vegetables on a stainless steel steamer. Place steamer in Instant Pot and secure lid.
4)   Cook vegetables on high pressure for 2 minutes (manual setting button).
5)   When vegetables are done, use the quick release option.
6)   When all steam released, remove vegetables and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
7)   Lightly sprinkle the vegetables with olive oil, sea salt and coarse black pepper. Toss, making sure all vegetables coated.  
8)   Place in 150°F oven to stay warm.
9)   Clean Instant Pot.  
10) Lightly salt and pepper turkey steaks, set aside.
11) Place about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in Instant Pot. Hit the saute button.
12) When oil is heated, brown the turkey steaks, about 1 minute per side. 
13) When brown, remove turkey steaks to a plate and turn Instant Pot off.
14) Pour 1 cup broth in Instant Pot.
15) Using one of the oranges, slice three rings, about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.
16) Juice oranges, you need at least 1/2 cup, if you have more, that is fine.
17) Place orange juice, orange liqueur and marmalade in Instant Pot and whisk together.
18) Add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
19) Place turkey steaks in Instant Pot, directly in liquid. Secure lid.
20) Hit the poultry button to begin cooking for 15 minutes.
21) When done, use the quick release option.
22) Place turkey on platter leaving the sauce in the pot.
23) Place orange slices in Instant Pot and secure lid.
24) Using the manual setting, place on high pressure for 0 minutes.
25) When done, use the quick release option.
26) Place orange slices on turkey steaks.
27) Pour sauce over turkey and orange slices. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with vegetables.

Butter Chicken

I have made Butter Chicken for years, but my usual recipe did not work in the Instant Pot due to the chicken being marinaded in yogurt. I have been experimenting and I hope my husband is not too tired of it, as the fridge is full of attempts! Here is the one that turned out the best and I hope you enjoy it too!

Butter Chicken
by Nancy Follwell

1 Tablespoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon garam marsala
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound chicken tenderloins, cubed
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Turn on the Instant pot and press "Saute. While it warms up to hot, place red curry paste, garam marsala, cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar, ginger and garlic into a bowl. When the Instant pot reads hot, add the olive oil and butter, when it sizzles, add the onions, and salt. When onions become soft, add the bowl of ingredients, stirring to release their aromas.

Add the chicken, mix together and cook for two minutes. Then add the tomato paste and coconut milk, stirring to remove stuck on bits from the bottom on the cooker. Place the cooker lid on, lock and select "Poultry", and adjust the time to 3 minutes. When the time is up, quick release the pressure. When ready, open the lid, stir and mix in the yogurt.

Serve with Jasmine rice.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Instant Pot Risotto with Butternut Squash and Dried Mushrooms

I was full of skeptical curiosity the day my Instant Pot arrived. It's a big thing on the cooking-related Internet, and you can read all kinds of glowing recommendations, just as I did. It's an electric pressure cooker, sure. But, it does so much more than that! It steams, sautés, slow-cooks, keeps warm. It knows how to make rice and yogurt. It has pre-programmed routines for poultry, soups, porridge, and stews. Now I tend to be an old-fashioned cook. Would this new-fangled machine really make me love it?

I unpacked my new 6-quart Instant Pot IP-DUO machine, washed it, made it welcome, and tried the necessary first pressure test with plain water. Yes, it gets to pressure; yes, seems to work fine. Now it was on to cooking!

I love risotto. It's both luxury and comfort in a bowl. What I don't love about it is standing at the stove, constantly stirring, so the texture is perfect. So I tried a savory risotto made with butternut squash, dried mushrooms, and saffron.

Wow! What a taste, and so easy! While my recipe instructs you to check the consistency at the end, and simmer again if the squash was watery, my risotto didn't need this at all. It was perfect just as it was.

Instant Pot Risotto with Butternut Squash and Dried Mushrooms
by Maurita Plouff blogging at Get the Good Stuff!
Serves 6

1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and washed free of dirt
1 small butternut squash (to yield 2 cups peeled and chopped)
1 ounce dried mushrooms (you can use as little as half an ounce of dried porcini, morels, or a mixture) 
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups white Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used vermouth)
4 cups (1 quart) chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
A generous pinch saffron threads
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

Slice the white and pale green parts of the leek into thin slices. Peel and chop a small butternut squash, so that you have about 2 cups of squash in half-inch cubes. If you're using prepared pre-cut squash, cut it into smaller pieces, so it will get tender. Crumble the dried mushrooms so they're in fairly small bits.

Put the liner in the Instant Pot - always make sure that the liner's in there! Push the "sauté' button, and melt the butter. Add the leek and cook, stirring often, until softened - about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it is coated in the butter. Pour in the wine and stir over the heat until fully absorbed into the grains, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, squash, dried mushrooms, thyme, and saffron.
Lock the lid onto the pot. Use the manual mode, and set the machine to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

At the end of these 10 minutes, use the quick-release method to bring the pot’s pressure back to normal. Unlock and open the cooker. Stir the risotto gently to check its consistency. Sometimes the squash will have released lots of moisture, and if it has, a quick simmer-and-stir at the end will fix it. Push the 'sauté' button again, and bring the risotto to a gentle simmer. Stir until it's thickened, about 2 minutes, then turn off.

If you will be using cheese, stir in the Parmesan now. Replace the lid onto the cooker without locking it in place. Set aside for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and blend the flavors. Stir again before serving.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spicy Indian Dal with Fragrant Jasmine Rice

It's a funny thing. Willie, my husband, signed up for the Instant Pot Challenge. I wanted nothing to do with it, because pressure cookers are just not my thing. That's what I thought. Then the Instant Pot was delivered to our front door. Willie was away on business and I kept getting all of these recipe ideas. Not to mention, I joined the Instant Pot Community on Facebook and 52,000 (and counting) people kept posting the amazing Instant Pot this and the incredible, life-altering Instant Pot that. And then there were the food photos. So, what was I to do? I sent Willie a text. "Um, honey, can I use your pot?!"

He said yes and from that point on I believe I've made dinner for 3 weeks straight in the Instant Pot. I am a true fan and I've been trying to convert some of my favorite recipes for use in the Instant Pot, as well as making up original ones. Sometimes you just know things and I know I will be a lifelong fan of this machine. It's a game changer.

I seem to have become something of a walking infomercial for the Instant Pot. It's one thing to tell all of your besties (which I did), but I had to have a medical procedure and while I was in the recovery room, I started telling two nurses about the Instant Pot. "Did you know you can make dinner in mere minutes in one pot?" "Did you know you can make boiled eggs that are guaranteed to peel easily?" "Did you know you can make cheesecake in this thing?" One nurse ordered on her's phone right then and there and the other nurse said she would be ordering later in the week on payday. Luckily, my daughter, Lauren, was there to witness how this all went down, otherwise, who would believe me?

The following dish is healthful and that's all fine and good, but it is incredibly flavorful as well, and I am just as addicted to this dish as I am to the Instant Pot. The recipe was primarily written for the slow-cooker that took 5-7 hours on low. In the Instant Pot, I cooked it on Manual - 7 minutes. MINUTES, people! I told you! It is truly a game changer!

Spicy Indian Dal with Fragrant Jasmine Rice
by Sandra
Adapted from a recipe in The Six O'Clock Scramble Meal Planner: A Year of Quick, Delicious Meals to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes

1 cup Jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (OR 1 1/2 cups water and one teaspoon Better than Bouillon)
1 stick cinnamon, optional
6 whole cloves, optional
2 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil* (I used avocado oil)
1 red onion, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon garam masala (an Indian spice blend)
1 1/2 cups red or yellow lentils
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
28 ounces canned whole tomatoes, with their liquid, crushed by hand + 1 can full of water
Cilantro, chopped, as garnish on top of each serving
Mango chutney, about a Tablespoon on top of each serving

Note: I have one Instant Pot, so I make the rice first and then set the rice aside and make the dal. If you have two Instant Pots, you may make both recipes at the same time, or make the dal in the Instant Pot and use a rice cooker or stove top method for the rice.

To make the rice:
Place all rice ingredients in the liner of the pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the knob on top of the lid to "sealing". Press the Manual button and set the pressure to high and the time to 3 minutes. After cooking is completed, do a "no pressure release" by letting the pot rest for 10 minutes. Then release any remaining pressure and remove the cinnamon stick and cloves and stir the rice. Pour contents of the liner into a serving dish and set aside. Clean the liner and dry it thoroughly and you are ready to make the dal.

To make the dal:
Press the saute button and when the LED display shows "HOT", add the vegetable oil and then add the onions, jalapeno, garlic, and ginger. Stir constantly until onions have softened. Add turmeric and garam masala and stir until vegetables are well coated. Turn off the Instant Pot. Add lentils, salt, tomatoes, and water. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the knob on top of the lid to "sealing". Press the Manual button and set the pressure to high and the time to 7 minutes. When cooking is completed, immediately release the pressure (also known as "quick release". Remove the lid and stir the contents. Garnish with cilantro and mango chutney.

*If desired, you can just skip the saute step, omit the vegetable oil, and instead put all ingredients (except garnishes) in the liner and follow cooking directions from that point forward.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Earl Grey Crème Brulée

Earl Grey Crème Brulée
by Sarah Kwan of The Garden of Earthly Delights
Serves 2

2 3-ounce ramekins
2/3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon loose leaf Earl Grey tea
2 large egg yolks
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) granulated white sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons superfine sugar

Combine the cream and tea leaves in a small pot over medium heat.

As soon as the cream boils, cover and remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together until it forms lemon yellow ribbons.

Stir the cream into the egg yolk mixture, then strain into ramekins to remove the solids. Press down on the solids to extract as much flavour as possible.

Cover the top of each ramekin individually with tin foil.

Pour 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot, then set the steaming rack into the pot. Place the ramekins on the steaming rack, then close the lid.

Make sure the steam release handle on the lid is set to "sealing", then press "manual", and adjust the time on the display panel to 10 using the "+" button. This will set the pot to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

After the pot beeps to indicate it's finished cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the steam release handle over to "venting" to release any remaining pressure. Open the lid and remove the ramekins from the pot.

Let the ramekins cool down at room temperature for about an hour, then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle a teaspoon of superfine sugar over each custard, and put in the oven approximately 4 inches below the broiler element. Broil for 8-10 minutes until the sugar is nicely caramelized, then remove carefully. Serve immediately.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cinnamon Wheat Berry Salad

I love having easy salads in my refrigerator during the summer. They are perfect to add to anything grilled or packed up to take on a picnic. I made this salad several times last year and it was always enjoyed.

One of the greatest perks to a pressure cooker is being able to cook dried beans and grains without soaking. I usually remember that I need one or the other the day I need to cook it, skipping an overnight soak is one of my favorite things. Even with skipping an overnight soak, it still cooks in less time than soaked on the stove top. The greatest thing about an electric pressure cooker like the
Instant Pot? You can start it and walk away – you don’t have to watch it. I really don’t know how I made it without my pressure cooker for so long!

Cinnamon Wheat Berry Salad
by Lindsay, blogging at Kitchen Musings Today
Adapted from Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed

1 cup wheat berries, rinsed and picked over
3 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
3 carrots, 1/4-inch slices
1 cup dried apricots, sliced
6 Tablespoons packed chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1. Place wheat berries, water and cinnamon stick in your pressure cooker. Replace lid and turn knob to sealing. Select manual and set the cook time for 22 minutes. Once it has finished cooking, allow to rest in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Turn knob to venting and release any remaining pressure. Transfer the wheat berries to a colander and allow to drain. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add 1 cup water to the empty pressure cooker liner and place steamer basket filled with carrots in it. Replace pressure cooker lid and turn knob to sealing. Press the steam button and set the timer to zero. Once the cook time is done carefully turn the knob to venting. You will have a lot of steam released. Transfer carrots to the colander and run cold water over them until they are cool. Add to the bowl with the wheat berries.

3. Add the apricots and cilantro to the wheat berries.

4. In a small bowl add the first 6 dressing ingredients. Whisk until combined. While constantly whisking drizzle in the olive oil. Pour dressing over the wheat berry mixture. Give it a good stir. Add salt and pepper as needed. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator at least one hour. Stir in the toasted almonds before serving.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Slow Cooked Potato Soup with Dill

Having a Polish Babcia, growing up eating dill sprinkled in soups was very common in her house. I have been making this soup for years, but never in the slow cooker because you need to sauté the veggies before simmering them. Sautéeing the veggies adds a depth in flavor that you wouldn't get if you simply put them in the pot to simmer. It's a must. Enter the Instant Pot IP-DUO, which has both sauté and slow cook functions...game changer! This pot is not only an electric pressure cooker, it can sauté, make yogurt, steam, and slow cook, and much more. 

Slow Cooked Potato Soup with Dill
By Tonda
Adapted from Chunky Potato Soup with Dill by Ruth Cousineau

1/4 cup butter
3 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 large stalks of celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function and press the Adjust button once to heat the pot on More. Once the pot is heated, melt the butter in the pot and then add all of the veggies. Sauté the veggies until the potatoes begin to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot, approximately 10 minutes. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel on the pot to stop the Sauté function. Press the Slow Cook button and then press the Adjust button twice to heat the pot to less. Add water, salt and pepper. Cover the pot (I used a lid that fits one of my pans, and it fit perfectly.) and cook for two hours on low. After two hours, remove 3 cups of the soup and blend to puree. I use an immersion stick blender for this and it works perfectly. Mix 5 Tablespoons of the puree, one Tablespoon at a time, into the milk, and then pour the milk mixture and the puree back into the pot. Stir in the dill.